Why did Acharya Prashant Ji leave his Corporate and Bureaucratic career?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why did Acharya Prashant Ji leave his Corporate and Bureaucratic career

Question: Why did Acharya Prashant Ji leave his Corporate and Bureaucratic career?

Answer: We are a flux. We are changing constantly and that is life. Heraclitus, the great Greek philosopher said, “You don’t step into the same river twice.”

Man is like a river – flowing constantly, changing constantly; flowing towards the sea, the ocean, to dissolve there, disappear there.

The one who is 15 years old and preparing for IIT-JEE, has one kind of thought in mind. He is a child who is conditioned by the situation at home, by the fact that he was born in the family of bureaucrats, by the fact he thinks that the only way to live a meaningful life, the only way to contribute is through the government machinery.

And he thinks that if you want to be an IAS then you first must be an IITian because he saw that the IITians were making through IAS top rankers’ list. So he says, “It is alright to reach IAS via IIT.” That’s why he prepared for IIT.

And then the time changes. The teenager is no more a teenager. In the process of preparation itself, he sees what is meant by centralized government, what is the truth of bureaucracy and he does get selected. He spends a couple of months in the training academy. He sees how things operate there, and sees that wherever there is centralized government, there would be a lack of freedom.

And by this time he is already 22 and he says, “No, I am young. I cannot spend my life in a system that will constantly dictate how I am to be.” So, he quits. But you know, this question is not of such great importance to you except for one thing  – It doesn’t matter where you are. Your entire history has brought you to a point, but that history doesn’t matter. In your awareness, in your deep understanding, what is right, is right.

Yes, I had invested a lot of time in pursuing my B.Tech degree and I had invested time in preparing for civil services exam and I invested time in doing my MBA also. But that doesn’t mean that my past becomes so heavy upon me that I live just as a slave to it, that I must be an engineer because I have engineering degree, that I must work as a manager because I am MBA from Ahmedabad, or I must be a bureaucrat because I cleared civil services exam.

No, past doesn’t matter.

In fact, if at a particular point something looks right to you, go ahead and do it.

Don’t be a captive to your history.

Don’t say, “Now that I have invested so much in it, how can I leave it?”

These are sunk costs.

You go to watch a movie, and, you go inside and you discover in first one hour that movie is crap. Now there are two options. One option is: You can say, “I have already invested three hundred in ticket and one hour in the movie so I will invest one more hour.”

The other option is: “I have only invested three hundred rupees and one hour, why should I waste another hour?” And whether you go by first choice or the second one that decides the entire destiny of your life.

Do you see these two approaches? First approach says, “I have already invested three hundred rupees and one hour so let me spend another hour.” Second one says, “I still can save one hour and I have invested only three hundred, why am I investing more into something that does not deserve it?”

Nothing is permanent.


Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading website on spirituality. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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The loving way of life || Acharya Prashant(2019)

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The loving way of life

Question: Acharya Ji, why do we procrastinate?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When we love what we do, procrastination is out of the question.

Procrastination is a challenge we have all faced at some point in time. If you find yourself procrastinating a lot, if you find that you have fixed a schedule and you can’t stick to it, then that is a clear indicator that you have filled up your life with things you don’t love. A clear indication that the climate in the mind is that of suffering and irritation.

One does not postpone Joy.

One does not postpone Freedom and Love.

One only postpones suffering.

And that is ‘procrastination’.

“We will do it tomorrow!” What does it tell us about the quality of our life? We are not in love with what we are doing. We don’t find joy in it and hence, there is a tendency to lose time.

A few words go along with Intelligence — Joy, Freedom and Love. They happen only when there is Intelligence. They are not carried forward from the past; neither Love, nor Freedom. They are always in this moment. But misery, boredom, inattention, repetition, habits are all carried forward.

Whatsoever is unworthy is always carried forward, taken ahead.

And whatsoever is really worthy, lives and dies in this moment.

Relationships are carried forward, Love cannot be carried forward.

Pleasure can be carried forward, Joy cannot be carried forward.

It is right now, in this moment. And as the moment goes, Joy will also go. You may have to rediscover your Joy again in the very next moment. There is no inertia in it. Only matter has inertia to it. Freedom, Love, Joy, Truth are without any inertia.

Procrastination is not about laziness. We often think that lazy people procrastinate. No, it’s not about laziness. It’s about the climate of the suffering mind. You want to escape the misery, so you are sending it away. You are saying, “It need not happen right now, it must happen at some other time.”

So let’s not ask, “How to end procrastination?” Let’s simply live in a way, in which there is no need to procrastinate, in which the very thought of procrastination does not arise. Can one live in that way? Is that kind of a mind possible?

Procrastination is always about the future. A mind that is immersed in the present, will not procrastinate. And a mind that is continuously thinking of the future, will do nothing but procrastinate.

Awareness is not some magical trick. Awareness is just about looking at your daily actions and seeing – ‘This is my life.’ Life is not some imaginary quantity somewhere. What you do from morning till evening, is life. And if your life is full of delays, procrastinations, gossips, worries, tensions, then that is what you are living. And nothing good can come out of this kind of climate.

Misery begets misery. Miserable decisions will lead to more miserable decisions. As is the seed, so is the fruit. You will have to look at the seed, that is extremely important. Find out what is it that makes you want to not procrastinate, and give more of that to yourself. Allow yourself to have more of that.

Procrastination is like saying, “Don’t get hurt today, get hurt tomorrow.” But ultimately you are admitting that hurt is inevitable. Today or tomorrow, it will happen. Instead of this kind of a dejected surrender, ask, “Is it really inevitable? Why don’t I like something? Why don’t I like anything? Why is it so that I feel bored always?”

Find out that to which you can dance.

Find out that which you can do even without being paid.

I am not saying that don’t get paid, but find that out which you can do, even without being paid.

Find out a loving way of life.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading website on spirituality. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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To know Kumbh, understand struggle between heaven & hell || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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To know Kumbh, understand struggle between heaven and hell

Question: What is the legend behind the festival of Kumbh?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The legend of Kumbh revolves around the perennial struggle between the Devas and Danavas, the resident gods of heaven, and the lords of hell, respectively.

The two keep jostling for superiority, and the demons are ever eager of defeating the gods and occupying heaven.

Even when the two once unusually collaborate to churn the great ocean to procure the nectar of immortality, the partnership goes badly sour. One of the demons makes away with the pot (Kumbh) of nectar, and as he speeds through the universe to ditch his furious brethren chasing him, a few drops of ambrosia fall at four places on Earth. Since then, says the myth, the Kumbh is celebrated at those places.

Humans of Earth get a great festival to celebrate, but the struggle between the occupants of heaven and hell continues unabated.

Demons remain both envious and desirous of heaven, forever frustrated in their attempts to conquer it.

To know Kumbh, it is important to understand this struggle between heaven and hell.

So, heaven and hell are obviously not geographies.

What is holy?

That which is unblemished, uncorrupted.

We call the pristine as ‘holy’ because there is something within us that demands cleanliness, that does not like filth, corruption and conditioning.

Something within us just does not agree with blemishes, bondages, ignorance and littleness.

It wants absolute Truth and Freedom.

We want freedom, but live a life of bondage. However, amid our bondages, there stands the possibility of coming in contact with a situation, a person, a book, or an environment, which can remind us of our essentially liberated nature.

Association with something, someone, whose presence reminds you of your own internal Truth; whose presence is proof that if liberation is possible in one case, then it is possible for you as well.

This is what gives one the courage to dream of freedom.

Otherwise, one is stuck.

There are the overpowering forces of physicality, home, family, work, society, education, economics. And there is that occasional, faint call from within, that gnawing feeling of discontent. One cannot escape anywhere else, and in the middle of his inevitable situations, one also does not feel satisfied. Stuck!

Many people take the easy way out: “Why talk of liberation? Why not just eat, sleep, drink and be merry? There is nothing more to life; don’t even talk about it, it’s dangerous.”

They say so, because they feel hopelessly stuck. There is nothing around, which offers them any kind of help. And even if they try to rise a little, there are a thousand forces to pull them down.

Association with the holy offers a helping hand.

It does not take you away to another world.

It only helps you do what you have always wanted to do in this world.

It helps you realise that your own deepest desire of freedom is attainable.

Heaven and hell are obviously for the mind. Heaven is a situation in which the mind gets what contents it deeply: a total relaxation that eludes our otherwise agitated and stressed life. Heaven is the company that relaxes you, and also gives you the courage to rebel for liberation, “I can be free! My deepest dreams were there to be realised!”

What is your deepest dream? Your deepest dream is to be free and contented. The world gives you a thousand miscellaneous desires that obfuscate this deep original dream. Heaven is where you see that this dream is realisable. You are struggling, labouring, somehow plodding along. You have given up all hope of freedom, and then, miraculously, the hope is rekindled. Heaven!

Correspondingly, there is hell: All that which convinces you that just this humdrum state of affairs is life. The company of forces that tell you not to fly too high, that compromise is the name of the game, that you must play safe and secure, that the world is a terrible place, that you must be afraid, that you are born to follow practices and patterns – the company of such voices is hell.

The world itself can be heaven. When is the world heaven? When for you the world is a gateway to the beyond. The beyond is not heaven, remember! Because beyond, there is no mind, and heaven and hell are in the mind.

Spirituality is the journey from hell to heaven, and then beyond into the absolute joy of liberation.

The very thing that was craving for heaven, the very thing that was suffering, that very thing is to be peacefully retired.

That is the climax of spirituality, and the essential calling of Kumbh.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading newspaper website on 5th March, 2019. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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Kumbh: Churning of mind to escape cyclic hopes and despairs || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Kumbh Churning of mind to escape cyclic hopes and despairs

Question: What does Kumbh Mela stand for?

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, the demigods and the demons, vigorous and adventurous as they were, thought of adding to their bounties. And got together, uncharacteristically, for a joint exploration mission. Together they churned the great sea using the great mountain as the churner and the great python as the rope.

One of the first things to show up was the great fuming poison. Shiva protected the three worlds by consuming the poison. And then emerged the nectar of immortality. The mission had succeeded. The ambrosia had been churned out from the depths of the great ocean, and was now available to be gulped down some ambitious throats. Both parties looked lustfully at their biggest exploit: the pot — Kumbh — of nectar that would put an end to death, and make them invincible.

But death is so overwhelming a threat that the prospect of deathlessness can make anyone do strange things.

One individual, probably a devta, probably a danav, particularly inspired to make it big in life, simply ran away with the pot. Obviously, others gave him a hot pursuit. On the run, he had to pause at four places on planet Earth to catch his breath. Trembling as his hands were, thinking of his infuriated and powerful brethren, a bit of the nectar fell at these four places.

The Kumbh is celebrated at the four places as a mark of immortality reaching mankind. Since millennia, devotees have been taking bath in Ganga, Shipra, Godavari — the Kumbh rivers — hoping to gain freedom from the clutch of death. The Kumbh is acknowledged as not only the biggest pilgrimage event on the planet, but also the biggest congregation of mankind for any purpose.

The story, the myth, is elaborate, multi-layered, and replete with symbolism. However, in the middle of the rich clutter that the Kumbh saga is, there is one word that firmly dictates the narrative: Immortality. The whole celebration revolves around man’s fear of death and his desire to taste the nectar of deathlessness.

What is death?

Why does man fear death so much?

In spite of all their powers and glory, why do even gods run after ambrosia of immortality?

Death is the thought of loss.

Death is the fear of not existing any longer.

Man is in a strange situation. On one hand, everything he identifies with is perishable. His body, his thoughts, his feelings, his world, his relationships, his identities are all ephemeral. The world means change, and time is always threatening to ruthlessly change and destroy everything he bases his life on. On the other hand, this same destructible man, a puppet of time, has an inexorable love for deathlessness, changelessness, timelessness.

What does one make of this dissonance? If one looks at his life truly, what does one see? A series of movements. Acts, hopes, desires that are failing to find a climax, and are therefore continuing ad-infinitum.

Man’s eyes are endlessly searching for something.

He is trying to find that through action, knowledge, possessions, relationships, pleasures, experiences, feelings, through everything at his disposal.

That’s what the human condition is.

To live on, man keeps bearing this condition, even glorifying it.

What does man really want? What did the gods and demons want despite owning the grandeurs of life? Let’s rather see what all ways man tries to satiate his want. We have already done a lot. Have our ways succeeded? If not, then an altogether new kind of exploration is needed in an altogether new dimension. What is that dimension?

The Kumbh legend gives us a clue. The mythical ocean is the mind, the Bhavsagar. Its churning is needed. That’s simple to say, but what one initially gets upon churning is accumulated poison: Old tendencies, suppressed desires, the haunting residues of the past that one has been carrying forward in evolution.

Poison is stuff that is basically worthless and harmful, but is still preserved within, due to ignorance and attachment. This churning of the mind is essentially self-observation through an honest and dispassionate seeing of one’s life, thoughts, fears, desires, actions. But most people do not proceed with self-observation for long. As soon as they counter the poison, they back off.

To go beyond the poison, dedication and love towards truth — Shiva — is needed. One has to trust Shiva to surrender one’s poison to Him. This is faith. And then, upon such cleansing, what is left is deathlessness.

Deathlessness thus demands both:

A burning determination to get rid of the indignations of cyclic hopes and despairs, and a great love for an unknowable, indescribable freedom.

And deathlessness is timelessness. Immortality is to live deep, not necessarily long.

Another Kumbh beckons us.

Can we go beyond the ritualistic dip, and honestly observe life as it is, within and around us?

——————————————————————————————————————————

Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading newspaper website on 15th Jan, 2019. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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Spirituality is not delinking yourself from the world || Acharya Prashant(2018)

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Spirituality is not delinking yourself from the world

Question: Given that all our relationships seems to be arising purely out of a sense of imagined need, is it possible to have any other kind of relationship?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Those who are free of the world, are free to relate with the world in a healthy way.

And those who are dominated by the world, have no real relationship with the world.

Given that all our relationships seems to be arising purely out of a sense of imagined need, is it possible to have any other kind of relationship?

Given what we are, we would probably, quickly, want to say, “No, if I do not need the other, why would the other have a place in my life?” Because that is what we see all around.

“The other has to serve some utility; he has to provide me financial security or physical pleasure, or has to be related to me by way of memory, and if neither of these are applicable, then why at all would I bother to have a relationship?”

Yes, you are right. Our relationships are just a bother. If the things that I mentioned do not hold, then you would not bother to have a relationship, then you would not really be constrained by your relationship.

It is possible to relate without having the need to relate.

It is possible to have a totally purposeless and aimless relationship.

We are trained in usefulness, we pride ourselves on deriving uses out of even seemingly useless things. That is what we call as ‘innovation’. That we also call as ‘human creativity’.

“You see, this was just sand and we made a nuclear bomb out of it. Look at our creativity.”

But unless one learns the art of uselessness, his life will remain a perennial search; and that is not a good life to lead.

When one is not related to the other by way of habit or expectations, then there is complete freedom in the relationship.

Then one does not accept limitations or obligations, and nor does one impose obligations on the other.

It is really a healthy relationship, because then it is real, and present, moment to moment.

You are not obliged to carry forward the past. You can really know who the person standing in front of you is. You can really talk, you can really relate.

Once I told somebody, “Let’s say a stranger knocks at your door and before opening the door, you look at him. You at least pay some attention. You want to see what that person looks like, what his eyes are saying, what his purpose might be. But when the knock on the door is by your father, or by your friend, or by your husband, you don’t even bother to look at the face of the person, because you are carrying forward a lot of past.”

You say that you already know. How can there really be a relationship now? One can look sharply at the faces that appear in the magazines and in newspapers, but one hardly ever looks sharply at the faces and the eyes of the so-called ‘loved-ones’. For that matter, one does not look sharply even at his own face.

Only the man free of others, can have loving relationship with the others.

It is only when you do not really need the other, that there is a possibility of really relating with the other.

You want to know the health quotient of your relationships? It’s easy! Just investigate your relationships for dependency. Are you dependent on the other, in any way – physical, psychological, material, immaterial? Is the other dependent on you?

Where there is dependency, there would only be violence – not love.

You need something, you are dependent on it, would you bother for its freedom? The thing says, “I want to go away,” but you need it, would you allow it to go away? And dependencies can be very subtle.

Good news is: it is possible to relate totally and freely without being dependent.

Spirituality or wisdom is not about cutting off your links from the world, rather it is about relating completely and fully.

However, the main objective is never to relate with the other. The main objective is to remain centered in oneself. Relationship with the other comes as a by-product, as a surprise gift.

“I am immersed within myself. And strangely, surprisingly, pleasantly, I find that the whole universe is a friend. The universe was never my pre-occupation, I was not thinking about the universe, I was not so bothered about the universe. And if I am very bothered about the universe even if in a so-called ‘well-meaning’ way, the universe would not be good towards me and I would not be good for the universe.”

——————————————————————————————————————————–

Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading newspaper website on 5th Dec, 2018. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Or, call the Foundation at 9650585100, or write to requests@advait.org.in


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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay…

Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here

Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay….

I will miss you so much,
Pardon me, I will have to die.
We played together for long,
Now I’m going home to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I’m going to where I belong.
It breaks my heart to leave you,
I tried hard to bring you along.

I will miss you so much,
My time has finally come.
As a friend I could not help you,
So a stranger I must become.

I will miss you so much,
But now the Sky is pulling me.
All the glorious stars are here,
I’ll miss my silly games with thee.

I will miss you so much,
Body is cold, faint is breath.
The mission I failed in my life,
Maybe will succeed in my death.

I will miss you so much,
My pain will make the stars cry.
I’ll come down in some other form
To bring you one day to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I am departing to settle my due.
When in doubt, you must remember,
I had to die because I love you.

~ 31st May’19


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KUMBH: Nothing, but immortality || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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kumbh mela

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, the demigods and the demons, vigorous and adventerous as they were, thought of adding to their bounties. And got together, uncharacteristically, for a joint exploration mission. Together they churned the great sea using the great mountain as the churner and the great python as the rope.

One of the first things to show up was the great fuming poison. Shiv protected the three worlds by consuming the poison. And then emerged the nectar of immortality. The exploration had reached its zenith. The mission had succeeded. The ambrosia had been churned out from the utter depths of the great ocean, and was now available to be gulped down some ambitious throats.

Both parties looked lustfully at their biggest exploit: the pot – kumbh – of nectar that would put an end to death, and make them invincible. But death is so overwhelming a threat that the prospect of deathlessness can make anyone do strange things. One individual, probably a devta, probably a danav, particularly inspired to make it big in life, simply ran away with the pot. Obviously the others gave him a hot pursuit. He was chased just as one chases immortality.

With both the gods and demonds hot on his heels, he had it horrid. On the run, he had to pause at four places on planet Earth to catch his breath. Trembling as his hands were, thinking of his infuriated and powerful brethren, a bit of the nectar fell at these four places.

The Kumbh is celebrated at the four places as a mark of immortality reaching mankind. Since millennia, devotees have been taking bath in Ganga, Shipra, Godavari – the Kumbh rivers – hoping to gain freedom from the clutch of death. The Kumbh is acknowledged as not only the biggest pilgrimage event on the planet, but also the biggest congregation of mankind for any purpose.

The story, the myth, is elaborate, multi-layered, and replete with symbolism. There appear to be many themes and ideas. However, in the middle of the rich clutter that the Kumbh saga is, there is one word that firmly dictates the narrative: Immortality. The whole celebration revolves around man’s fear of death, and his desire to taste the nectar of deathlessness.

What is death? Why does man fear death so much? In spite of all their powers and glory, why do even gods run after ambrosia of immortality? Death is the thought of loss. Death is the fear of not existing any longer.

Man is in a strange situation. On one hand, everything he identifies with is perishable. His body, his thoughts, his feelings, his world, his relationships, his identities are all ephemeral. The world means change, and time is always threatening to ruthlessly change and destroy everything he bases his life on. Change and disappearance appear to be man’s inevitable lot when he looks at the world.

On the other hand, this same destructible man, a puppet of time, has an inexorable love for deathlessness, changelessness, timelessness. His heart yearns for something that is so reliable, so true, so firm that time cannot touch it. All his life man randomly wanders groping around in search of something infallible, something final.

What does one make of this dissonance?

If one looks at his life truly, what does one see? A series of movements. Actions after actions. Acts, hopes, desires that are failing to find a climax, and are therefore continuing ad infinitum. Man’s eyes are endlessly searching for something. He is trying to find that through action, knowledge, possessions, relationships, pleasures, experiences, feelings, through everything at his disposal.

That’s what the human condition is. To live on, man keeps bearing this condition, even glorifying it. He is compelled to call his frustration and poignant helplessness as motivation and achievement. He puts on a brave face. He calls his blind, stumbling, totter through life a challenging or heroic journey. He dons regular festivities even as he mourns within. At no point is he ever able to say: I am done. My ultimate desire has gained fulfillment. I am complete now, forever. And hence I now have unfettered freedom.

What does man really want? What did the gods and demons want despite owning the grandeur of life? Let’s rather see what all ways man tries to satiate his want. We have already done a lot. Have our ways succeeded? If not, then an altogether new kind of exploration is needed in an altogether new dimension. What is that dimension? The Kumbh legend gives us a clue.

The mythical ocean is the mind, the Bhavsagar. Its churning is needed. That’s simple to say, but what one initially gets upon churning is accumulated poison: old tendencies, suppressed desires, the haunting residues of the past that one has been carrying forward in evolution. Poison is stuff that is basically worthless and harmful, but is still preserved within due to ignorance and attachment. This churning of the mind is essentially self-observation through an honest and dispassionate seeing of one’s life, thoughts, fears, desires, actions.

But most people do not proceed with self-observation for long. As soon as they counter the poison, they back off. To go beyond the poison, dedication and love towards Truth – Shiva – is needed. One has to trust Shiva to surrender one’s poison to Him. This is faith. And then, upon such cleansing, what is left is deathlessness.

Deathlessness thus demands both: a burning determination to get rid of the indignations of cyclic hopes and despairs, and a great love for unknowable, indescribable freedom. And deathlessness is not about living a million years. Deathlessness is not a huge stretch in time. Deathlessness is timelessness. Immorality is to live deep, not necessarily long. A moment spent deeply is a moment in eternity. What is depth? To go to one’s deepest desire and fulfill and extinguish it forever.

Another Kumbh beckons us. Can we go beyond the ritualistic dip, and honestly observe life as it is, within and around us? If we could see how desperately we want the One beyond time and death, and equally if we could see how that which we call life is one with death, would we still continue to live the same way we do? Realizing that our thoughts and plans are not adequate to fulfill our innermost desire, won’t we instantly shrug off our drowsy dreamy demeanor? Won’t we rebel against our self-sanctioned sleepwalk through life?

We have been thirsty since long. The time given to a human body is short. Man’s energy too is limited. And the task is onerous. Nothing short of total immortality, total security and total rest would satisfy man. What we want is available, and we have as much claim over the nectar as the gods and demons. The magical thing is: the great pot of divine nectar is so much our own that we don’t even have to steal it away from others.

Let’s heed the real message of Kumbh.


Excerpts from the above article were also published in DNA, India: Kumbh: Churning of mind to escape cyclic hopes and despairs:

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Who is collecting your sacrifice? ||(2013)

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Question: Why do we sacrifice in the name of Life?

Acharya Prashant: Who says that? What is your name?

Listener: Ankush.

AP: Ankush, who told you that Life is a big ‘sacrifice’? And whenever there is a ‘sacrifice’, there is somebody collecting the sacrifice. Who is collecting the sacrifice? You are giving your Life who is taking that Life? Have you ever seen this?

Life is not a sacrifice. 

It was surely a very defeated, a very sad man who has said that Life is the ‘sacrifice’. Life is there to live. It is your one precious Life and you are ‘young’. It is meant to be lived. It is not even meant to be given away. But a divine part is this that

When you live your Life fully, you actually give a lot to others as well.

Like a candle. A candle shining brightly is able to light a hundred other candles as well. And that takes nothing away from its own Light. It does not have to sacrifice its own Light.

Ensure that you are up and aflame like that candle then others will also get something from you. But that will be just incidental. You don’t have to sacrifice. Sacrifice what and why?

Attain your fullness and then there will be of great use to others as well. You will be able to help everybody and there will be no sacrifice in that. No sacrifice at all. The Upanishad, that is the very puzzling thing, it is the Shanti-Path of many of the Upanishads. They say when the full is taken away from the full what remains is still full.

There is no ‘sacrifice’. The full has not yet been reduced. It cannot be reduced.

Are you getting it?

Only a limited can be reduced. And what can a beggar give to others? If you are a beggar, of what use is a sacrifice. Gain completeness, gain richness. And then you will find that this richness is overflown and everybody is benefitting. A madman cannot help another madman. But madmen are too eager to sacrifice their lives for another madman and the entire world is becoming mad because too many madmen are sacrificing their Lives for another madman.

Don’t sacrifice.

Find yourself out.

Gain your completeness.


~ Acharya Prashant Ji speaking at the ShabdYoga Session at KEC, Ghaziabad on 29th January 2013


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How to prevent myself from emotional self-harm? || (Acharya Prashant, 2018)

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Questioner: An episode in my life haunts me. It’s me who keeps on revising that ugly memory when there is a similar situation? How do I prevent myself from such an emotional self harm?

Acharya Prashant: The mind is such a bottomless abyss. An abyss tired of its own bareness, vacancy. An abyss trying to fill itself in all possible ways. A scared loneliness groping, clutching at everything, even if those things are obviously useless, or even harmful.

The past is therefore clung to. If life is insubstantial, mind tries to find substance in the past.

The question, hence, is not so much about why the past keeps haunting the mind. Mind has to stick to something. The mind cannot live alone. If, among all the objects available for engagement, the past, or an event of the past, appears the most attractive, then the mind will obviously stick to that event, and keep revisiting it by way of memory.

Hence, can we, today, give the mind something very beautiful? Something so beautiful that it enamours the mind, and something so vast it fills up the abyss? If we can bring the mind to beauty and truth, the mind would be both enthralled and illuminated. Then it will find no need, no reason, to repeatedly rush to the past.

How to find beauty and vastness today? Maybe one can begin by going to those who devoted their lives to peace and clarity. There have been those who have sung all their life of beauty and Truth. Maybe, in their company, the mind will learn what to seek and where to seek.

They, in their compassion, have left behind an endless repository of their words, songs, and sagely advice. When one is with them, the past is no more a scare.

~ From an online interaction with a seeker.

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Acharya Prashant: What is the best thing you can get for free?

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If you can understand the answer to this question, then you already have the best free thing. The best free thing is ‘understanding’ itself. Well, just that understanding is not a thing, and the best things in life are, as they say, not things.

Think of it. Many machines, many computers can read this answer that I am writing here. But only a human being can ‘understand’ this answer. A machine can mechanically analyze, or interpret this answer. A machine can even translate this answer to a hundred different languages. But no machine can ever ‘understand’ what I am saying. For that matter, no machine can ever ‘understand’ a verse from the Gita, or a common statement as ‘I love you’.

We get that gift free, right? Understanding. But since it comes free, many of us don’t value it and don’t live by it.

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Acharya Prashant: Difference between believing and realizing?

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It is a strange thing, and paradoxical. Must be understood with care.

Is there a need to tell the free one that he is already free? It would be absurd and useless to do do.

When I say, “You are already free”, to whom do I say that? To the free one? No!

To the free one, I say nothing. He needs no advice. He can, though, give advise to many.

I say “You are already free” to the one who staunchly believes that he is NOT free. Why do I say that? The answer must be obvious.

In spirituality, no statement is a statement of Truth. Truth cannot be contained in a statement. So, statements by Teachers are not Truth, but just useful devices.

Useful devices? For what? Useful devices to cut down that which is untrue or false, and therefore damaging.

Since “I am unfree” is a highly damaging belief, so to counter it, I say “You are free”.

The purpose is not to give the listener another belief: “I am free”. So, if someone comes to me with a strong belief that he is free, I tell him, “You are not free”.

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Acharya Prashant: What is the ultimate purpose of life? || (2017)

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Question: As the years go by many of us remain confused about the ‘Goals of Life.’ I would like to be guided about the ‘Ultimate purpose of Life.’

~ Colonel S. D. Joshi

Acharya Prashant: But we have had purposes throughout our Life. Is there ever a purposeless moment in one’s Life. One is always driven by purpose.

You are going to the market to buy a vegetable, you have a purpose. You are going to your office, you have a purpose. Even if you embracing a stranger, you still have a purpose. Even if you are smiling at a kid, you still have a purpose.

Rare is the one who can even kiss purposelessly. 

We are very purposed human beings. 

You know what purpose is, benefit. What will I get from this? Do you ever do anything without a purpose? So Life has always been ‘purpose driven.’ You are asking, what is the ‘Ultimate purpose of Life?’ That question can be asked only if firstly the futility of all other purposes is seen.

Life has been a series of purposes. Parallel purposes, contradictory purposes, conflicting purposes, but purposes nevertheless. One doesn’t take a step purposelessly, that is the curse of our Life. The question ‘why?’ is always present.

If You tell someone, you are going to someplace what is the first thing that you are asked? Why? And what does ‘why?’ mean?

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Acharya Prashant: On Perfection and Imperfections (2014)

 

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You are not under any obligation to be perfect. Alright!

Your incompetencies, your deficiencies are all welcome. They are the part of the game. Just be alive and alert.

And then even out of your own botched up action, something auspicious will happen. Like Shabri, she doesn’t know how to welcome a King. So, all she can do is taste the fruit and give it to him. That’s a very botched up action. Yet something auspicious is happening out of it.

You are imperfect, alright. But then even in your imperfection, there is a lot of perfection. And be sure of that the demand for perfection is a great arrogance of the ‘ego.’

To demand this out of yourself that I must be perfect is a great arrogance of the ‘ego.’ How can ‘I’ be content to anything left than perfection. ‘I’ deserve the ultimate. No, you don’t deserve the Ultimate. You are alright as you are. And that there is perfection.

Getting it?

Do whatever you must and dedicate it to perfection.

Dedicate all your imperfection to the perfect. I could do only this much. The body is limited and thought is limited and the body could move only this much. The words could express only this much. Now, the rest is upon you. Take care! I am imperfect and I know that fully well. For me only, there are twenty-four hours in a day. I have only two hands. I have a mind that can have only this much of information. And I use words that are so limited in their communication. So, I can do only this much. Now, The remaining is upon you. You take care! And this is perfection.

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Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love

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Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?

Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?

If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.

Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.

But that is not the true meaning of religion.

Real religion cannot be changed.

What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.

Because there are no different religions.

True religion is just one.

How will you change it? There is no second religion.

Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Thoughts, Understanding and Realization

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Acharya Prashant: We rarely understand. We only keep thinking. And we think that we are understanding.
Naresh, there is a humongous difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘understanding’.

We ‘think’, but we rarely ‘understand’.
When you look at that mobile phone, you are ‘thinking’, you are not ‘understanding’. ‘Understanding’ is a totally different thing.

‘Understanding’ happens when thoughts have been quietened.

You think about the mobile, have you ever thought about the ‘Tack Sheek’? Is there anyone here who thinks about ‘Tack Sheek’?

Listener: We don’t know what that is!

AP: You think about the ‘mobile’, because you know about the mobile already. No one here has ever heard of ‘Tack Sheek’ before! And that’s why you don’t know about it.

All thoughts come from the past. When you are looking at something, the only thing happening is, that your mind is recalling something that it already has recorded previously.

And that is why, when I said ‘Tack Sheek’, you all were clueless about it. Because there is nothing to recall. This is not ‘understanding’. This is just a recalling of the past.
There is something previously fed into your brain, and you just recalled it again. This is not called understanding. This is highly mechanical. This can be easily done by a computer’s hard drive, which has no intelligence at all, which is purely instrumental.

So, when you are looking at this mobile, then you are just dealing in an image. That is merely a thought, not ‘understanding’.

L: So, what then is ‘Real Understanding’?

AP:

‘Understanding is the fruit of intelligence.’ It operates only in an environment of attention. When you are completely still, then the process that happens instantaneously, that is called ‘Understanding.’

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Taking care of child, or earning an income || Acharya Prashant on Single Parenting (2017)

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Listener: Basically I have an issue. I am unable to make a decision basically. I am very confused right now. I am in a phase of being a single parent. I have a kid with me and have no source of income right now. I have to look after my child and source of income. But I am unable to understand how to manage both.

Acharya Prashant: First of all being a single parent is great. At least for the child. Instead of two to pester him, there is only one. I am mentioning this because yesterday as well you talked of that fact as it is a bit of a handicap, it is not.

Socially we have been trained to visualize, the happy family as a kid with his two arms being held by two people of opposite gender. That’s really not needed. The kid is already being held in the palm of his real father. The real father is not even holding his arm. He is holding the kid in his palm. So if you are a single mother, great!

Now, the question of the kid being four years old. And you being needed to earn. He is four. The troublesome period is behind you. Had he been one or two, then the situation would have necessitated your constant physical presence near the kid. He is four years old now. You can have periods in the day when he can be left with the relatives, with his grandparents or even in daycare. So, get going with all sureness figure out a means of livelihood. And don’t look at your situation as if you are in a bind.

Never ever think of yourself as if you lack in fortune.

You see look at the animal world. How long does a cub stay with the lioness? For how long? For how long does the calf stay with the cow? Please?

L: Few months.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: How to be contented in life?

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Acharya Prashant: Ishita asks, “What is contentment and why do we run behind it?”

Ishita we never run behind contentment. We run behind another thing called ‘satisfaction.’ Contentment is not a goal to be achieved. Contentment is right now. Contentment is our intrinsic fullness which opens up in the absence of any desire. When there is no desire, then you know everything is alright! That is contentment. That is intrinsic fullness, you don’t run after it to get it.

But yes there is another word. You know the dictionary would say these two are synonymous contentment and satisfaction. But in lives, these two are poles apart. Very-very different. We run after satisfaction. What do we say? We say that if we get that then we will be satisfied. That which you are after is always ahead. Always in future. Am I right?

Listener: Yes, sir.

AP: Do you ever say that in this moment if I get something I will be satisfied? Because if you say this moment, then by the time you say this moment this has already become a time. Become past. So, defacto you are always aspiring about the future. A hope into the future. If I get that then.

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Acharya Prashant: Attention wipes your sins away

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Question: How is the karma of the past linked to my current state of mind?

Acharya Prashant: What you call as your current state of mind is always a friction, a conflict, a tug-of-war, between two opposing forces. One is the ‘force of the past’, one is the ‘force of conditioning’, and the other is ‘the call of peace’. The call of the untouched, the call of the core.

What we call as the mind is nothing but a sandwich between these two. But it is not a normal sandwich, it is not a normal conflict, it is a conflict between two parties in which the first party is the first party, and also the power provider to the second party.

Are you getting it?

So, there is that which you can call as the core, and then there is that which you can call as conditioning, or illusion, or Maya. What is happening in the mind? A tussle between the call of the core, and the lure of the Maya. But in this, we will remember that Maya is not really a power opposing the core, because Maya itself is being powered by the core. So, two parties are in conflict. Yes, there is a tussle, yes, there is a tug-of-war. But, it is a special conflict in which one party is powering the opposite party as well; that’s why it is called ‘Leela’. I want to have a good time, so you know, I am powering the other party.

Sometimes, it happens, when you are very playful. Let’s say you want to have a race, a sprint, with someone, who can’t run too fast. So, what do you do? You run slow, or you give him a lead. You say, alright, I will cover 100 meters and you have to cover only 60 meters. So, you are powering the other party, because you want to just have a little bit of fun. That kind of a war it is. But nevertheless, it is a war, and the mind is a battleground.

When you say, ‘Is my state of mind, a result of my karma, my past?’ Yes, it is.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Is the ego a gift from God?

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Acharya Prashant: Himadari’s question is, “Does ego have a negative impact on one’s life?”

Himadri, we found out that ego is a disease. What effect can ego have upon you, except a negative impact? There is no positive impact that the ego can have.

We have been saying all along that ego is slavery, ego is lifelessness. Are these not clearly negative? Do you know what ego means? Ego means that you will be always afraid. Those of you who have experienced fear. Fear of any kind they must know. That all forms of fear come only from the ego.

Don’t you see directly that ego is such a terrible thing? It makes life hell. Because ego comes from the outside and you start internalizing it. You also realize that it can also go back to the outside. So, you are always afraid. You always think that someone can take it away from you. Your sense of self is given to you by a group of people. So, those group of people will become your master. You will remain always afraid because they can take back their acceptance. You are at their mercy.

When you come over to speak on a podium. Don’t you see why you are so terribly nervous? Many of you? Would you be nervous had you been told to speak in a vacant room, just in front of the mirror? You won’t be nervous. Right? But you are nervous in front of the audience. Why? Because your self-image comes from that audience. If the audience tells you, “You are wonderful.” You start believing that you are. And you are afraid that now the audience may say that I am a coward. So you start shivering. All forms of fear come from the ego. From a borrowed sense of the self. There is no other cause of fear.

Now you tell me, “Whether it is positive or negative?” Yes, what is it?

Listener 1: Sir, if it is always responsible for fear and other things. So, should one be egoistic?

AP: You tell me.

L1: I am asking you.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: How to have confidence in oneself?

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Question: I don’t have confidence in myself. How to gain it?

Acharya Prashant: The question comes from an extreme – “I do not have confidence in myself.” But surely, this question addresses a pain that all experience in varying degrees, on various occasions.

There is nobody who does not feel short of confidence at one point or another. There are many, who keep feeling perpetually short. There are others, who feel confident most of the time, but find that their confidence is deserting them often when they need it.

You say you want ‘confidence’ in yourself. You want confidence in yourself only when you are in doubt. When things are just flowing smoothly, is there need for confidence? When there is no fear, is there need for confidence?

Confidence is a medicine.

Confidence is not your natural state.

Just as, medicine is not health. When you feel sick, then you ask for medicine and the role of medicine should be to make itself unnecessary. You do not want to have a medicine that you will perpetually need. What you must rather perpetually have, is a normal and ordinary state of health. What you must normally have is a state of fearlessness, in which confidence is not needed at all.

If you are requiring confidence, it means that something has already gone wrong.

Now, do you want to cover up what has gone wrong? Or do you want to directly address what has gone wrong? Because if the wrong stays wrong, then you will keep on needing confidence more and more, and more frequently.

When you are addressing your friends, do you require confidence? No! But when you are making a public presentation, then you require confidence. Do you notice that? When you are with your family members, do you require confidence? Hardly ever! But when you are in front of an interviewer, then you say that you require confidence.

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