Who is God, and why should one strive for Him? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Who is God, and why should one strive for Him

Question: As I read couplets of Kabir Sahib, he talks of God in them. Who is ‘God’, and why should one strive for ‘Him’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why should I answer your question? You don’t strive for God, I will not answer your question?

Next one.

How do you feel, when I do not answer your question? That is exactly how one feels, when he is godless. Because you want God, Abhishek (questioner), that’s why you want the answer to this question.

‘God’ is the answer to all questions.

Why does anybody, ever want anything?

Because he actually wants ‘God’.

‘God’ is the end of all the things that you want.

And therefore, all those, who have gone, a little mad, have said, “God is everything that you want.” As they say, “Love is all you need.” They have said, “God is all you need.”

The thing is, you are a man of need. You need, you need, you need, and you keep needing, you keep needing, you keep needing. So, there must certainly be something, that you are asking for. That is ‘God’.

You don’t ‘have’ to strive for ‘God’.

You ‘are’ striving for ‘God’.

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Expectations in relationships after marriage || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Question: Acharya Ji, before marriage, very relationship that I had, has been very natural. I never did anything to be good with them. But once I got married, it is not coming that natural.

Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Where there is desire, there is conflict.

Even the relationship with the family members before marriage is not really natural. It is just that, you know that there is not much to be desired there. If you have desires even with your parents, then there would be conflicts even with the parents.

It is not about marriage, it is about desire.

Especially in India, girls know that do not have very high stakes in the parents’ house. Soon they would be out of the ancestral place. So, they anyway do not raise there desires very high, with respect to parents, and the parental place. They know that they are anyway going to go away. So, the expectations are not very high. And because the expectations are not very high, so the relationship remains smooth.

Parents keep saying, “Girls are better than boys, you know.” And girls keep remembering parents’ place was much better than the in-laws’ place. A lot of that was much because, both the parents and the daughter know that the relationship is short-lived. Soon she would be away. If the girl were to stay with the parents the entire life, then there would be conflict with the parents.

It is not about a time-period pre-marriage, and post-marriage.

It is about the human mind.

And it is about the basic principle that – expectations lead to disharmony and clashes.

Once you are with the husband, you want the sky. You never tell your brother, to fetch the moon for you. Do you? But on the first night of your marriage, you ask your hubby, “Where is the moon?” And the little fellow…..He promises the moon. He is not honest enough to admit.

If you want the moon from your father, you would find quarrels. It’s just that the society, and the movies, and biology, have conditioned you to demand the moon only from your conjugal partner.

Try this. Start having expectations, from any of your near friends, and see how quickly the relationship nosedives. And, when it comes to your Mr. Perfect, you are supposed to have expectations. So, you are supposed to break your head, against his. 

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Going with the flow, and being a lazy loser || Acharya Prashant(2016)

Going with the flow, and being a lazy loser

Question: How to differentiate between and recognize, whether one trusts in the universe to unfold one’s destiny, and goes with the flow, and allows the life to unfold, and being the one who is a loser, who is lazy and doing  nothing?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The lazy one, does a lot. The lazy one is lazy and inactive, only externally. Internally, he is very active.

Please appreciate this.

The ones we call as ‘lazy’, are not lazy at all. They may not move their limbs, but their minds are very active. Absolute laziness, is a supreme virtue. Sages like Ashtavakra have sung greatly in praise of ‘Divine laziness’.

‘Divine laziness’ is – a total stopping of all movement.

Coming to that point within, where nothing moves at all.

That’s why is is being called as ‘lazy’.

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Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth

Question: On one hand, I want to spiritually grow towards enlightenment. But, at the same time, some side of me wants to have earthly freedom, experiences, like traveling. Even though, I know, that those things won’t bring me True Joy.

Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth?

Acharya Prashant Ji: (Addressing the questioner) Isa, there is no dissonance between Spiritual Joy, and earthly living. The one, who is not spiritually developed, may travel to all corners of the earth, but would still remain joyless.

So, what is the point in travelling?

There is, the wandering monk. Look at his Joy. There is the Fakir(Monk) who travels from place to place, village to village. Sometimes, from country to country. Traditionally, in India, Sadhus(Monk), would forbid themselves, from staying too long, at any one place. They would just keep travelling.

Buddha and Mahavir, the great ascetics, they traveled all their life. Even Guru Nanak made voyages, long distance travels – the east, to the south, to the west. That’s one kind of travelling, in which you are already full of Joy, and you are travelling to disseminate that Joy. You are travelling, so that, even others may have that Joy.

And the, there is the traveling tourist. The average traveler. What does travel give him? Some consolation. Some very feeble support, to enable him to carry on, his otherwise wretched life. Once a year, twice a year, he saves money to travel, and not much comes out of that travel, because he is not internally complete.

Even the earth, discloses it’s real treasures, only to the spiritually accomplished ones.

To the spiritually accomplished one, the earthly living itself, is heavenly.

And that would also tell you what is ‘hell’.

The one who is not spiritually accomplished, to him, the earth itself is ‘hell’.

So it is not as if, there are two different worlds, offering two different kind of joys. That is the mental model you are coming from. You are telling me, “There is the earthly joy, which is an inferior kind of joy, but still quite alluring. And then, there is a metaphysical, transcendental joy, spiritual joy. And the spiritual joy, is quite attractive, but it seems to come at the cost of earthly joy.

No. Wrong. That’s where you are mistaken.

The ‘Spiritual Joy’, does not come at the cost of earthly joy.

In fact, there is nothing called ‘Spiritual Joy’.

All joy is earthly, because all Joy is to the one, who is the product of the Earth.

No Man, no Joy.

If there is no Isa (the questioner), who is there to be joyful? And Isa, who is she? Someone who has arisen from the earth. Who are you? You are the soil, you are the water, you are the air, you are the sunlight. Without these, would there be any human being?

So, the one who is Joyful, is always an earthly one. Therefore, there is no distance, or distinction, between these two kinds of joy. In fact, if you create two dimensions of joys, then you do not know, either of these dimensions. Any of these dimensions.

It is a very common misconception, and we all need to get rid of it.

We feel that, to have spiritual joy, we have to give up earthly pleasures. And such stories have come to us, from various sources. They continue to keep coming to us. No, not at all true.

Spirituality is Wisdom.

Spirituality is deep Intelligence.

Spirituality is to give up the inferior, in the favor of superior.

That which you call as ‘earthly pleasure’, definitely has something, which is worth rejecting, worth dropping. Therefore, Spirituality, is to drop incomplete, costly, ephemeral pleasures, in favor of an ending pleasure called ‘Joy’.

Are you getting it?

You could even say that – ‘Spirituality is the art of absolute hedonism’.

The common man, he satisfies himself with bits and pieces. Some crumbs here, some crumbs there – of little bit of happiness, of little bit of pleasure. The monk, the spiritual seeker, he says, “Nothing doing. Not only I want happiness. I want happiness Absolute.” He is ambitious. He is very-very greedy, you know. Because he is very-very greedy, so he tells you to shun normal greed. Because he is absolutely greedy, so he tells you, “Do not be a little bit greedy.”

You think that he is against greed. He is not against greed. He is against everything, that is incomplete. So, he says, “If you have to be greedy, you must be not incompletely greedy, but absolutely greedy.”

Spirituality is Absolute greed. Spirituality says, “I do not want anything small. I want now, only the infinite Ultimate.”

See, what dimension of greed it is. Similarly, happiness and pleasure. Common man says, “Give me happiness. One hour a day, please.” What does the spiritual one say, “I want the total, unending, diminishing, eternal happiness.” And where does he want it? In some other world, some other planet, some other galaxy? Where exactly doe the spiritual seeker want that?

Listeners: On this earth.

Acharya Ji: On this earth. When does he want it – after seven hundred years, after death, in seventh life, in the eighteenth life? When exactly does he want it?

Listeners: Now.

Acharya Ji: After fifty years, when he turns seventy-five, and enters the last ashram of his life? Is that when he wants it?

Listeners: No. Now.

Acharya Ji: If Joy is absolute, would you want to postpone it? It would be so very alluring, that you won’t be able to postpone it. You would want it, right now.

That’s spirituality – to have the highest happiness, and have it right now.

Here.

The highest, right now, right here.

Getting it?

Now, do you want the earthly things? Are they still attractive?

If the earthly things are attractive, then that should tell you, that you have a faculty for attraction. If even, a little attracts you, it should tell you that you know how to get attracted. And if you know how to get attracted, then how would you feel in front of the Immense?

I repeat: if even the little attracts you so much, what would be your condition, in front of the Immense?

You would go bonkers.

That’s how the spiritual mind wants to live – in an absolute craziness.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The real Goal dissolves you along the journey to the Goal || Acharya Prashant on Swami Vivekananda (2017)

The real Goal dissolves you along the journey to the Goal

Take up one idea.

Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea.

Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone.

This is the way to success and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.

~ Swami Vivekananda

Acharya Prashant Ji: Wonderful!

It’s just that not every idea will be able to fulfill these conditions. The idea must have some worth, the idea must have some weight, the idea must have some gravity. Otherwise, you will not be able to make the idea your life. Otherwise, you will not be able to live, eat, breathe, sleep, by that idea.

Mark the words, “Take up One idea.”

That one idea has to be about ‘The One’.

It has to be an idea, that is arising from ‘the One’.

Every other idea would fail these conditions. Have you not had ideas, aplenty, already? Have those ideas, really served you well? Have those ideas survived? Have you ever been deficient in ideas?

In fact, you have far too many ideas, for your comfort. So, you must be very clear about the quality of the idea, that Vivekananda is referring to. Don’t be deceived. Vivekanand is not saying, “Take up some random idea, and give your life to it.” Not that it is bad, it is impossible. Because, you will not be able to give your life, to any random idea.

Sooner than later, that idea will wither down. Sooner than later, you will become bored of that idea. Sooner than later, some other idea will come to substitute, that idea. As happens with us.

You have an idea, to go to Nainital. Next day, you have an idea to go to Ooty. What happened to Nainital? Nainital had no immensity. That idea was not arising from your heart. That was just a passing wave. It went away. It disappeared. Now, Ooty has come. Do you think, Ooty is going to survive?

You have an idea – ‘Let me start a business in real estate’. Next day, you receive some other news. The first idea, is gone. Finished! Vivekananda is saying, “Live by that idea. And die by that idea.” That idea therefore, must have some timelessness. That idea, therefore, must be irreplaceable by any other idea. Hence, it cannot be an idea about, the so-called little things of the world.

This idea has to be an idea of the Immense.

And you cannot really have an ‘idea’ of the Immense.

This idea is something arising from the Immense.

You must, of course, give yourself, a goal. But, that goal, has to be so total, that it totally possesses you. It consumes you. If your goal is smaller than yourself, then very soon you will find, that you are on top of your goal, in the sense that you are the master of your goal, even without achieving it. And hence, you substitute your goal.

Don’t we do that often?

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Ji: You set up a goal, and because the goal is ‘your’ goal, you feel that you are the controller of the goal. You have decided the goal. And if you have decided the goal, you have the power to …..

Listeners: Give up the goal.

Acharya Ji:

Let the goal decide you.

Let the goal be on top of you.

Let the goal own you fully.

That is possible, only when the goal is – God.

That is possible, only when, the goal is – Totality itself.

Then, you will not be moving towards the goal, the goal would be drawing you in. Then there is no question of boredom. Then, there is no question of shortage of energy. Because now, the energy would be supplied by the goal itself.

Now, there is also no question of confusion. Because you are now, a slave to the goal. Let the goal, clear the confusion. You are just allowing yourself to be moved. You are not really moving. You are not the ‘doer’. The ‘doer’ is the goal itself.

As long as, the goal is not tremendously big, life has no real purpose.

If your goal are small, they are no goals.

You will be frustrated, if you do not achieve them.

And you will be doubly frustrated, if you achieve them.

Having achieved them, you will find, that the next goal is waiting for you. And that is deep frustration. You will feel, as if all your investment, in reaching up to the first goal, has totally gone down the drain.

Give yourself a goal, that is – ‘the Final One’.

Give yourself a goal, after which, no more goals will be needed.

Give yourself a goal, after which the goal-setter, himself would be no more.

That goal can only be, of your total annihilation.

“Let me disappear. Let me surrender myself to something so worthy, that it deserves my total sacrifice.” Unless your goal is that magnificent, that worthy, that tremendous, you will be just frustrated.

Normally, when you have goals, you go to the goal, to gain something. You go to the goal, to succeed. The mark of the ‘Real Goal’ is – when you reach there, you will not be gaining something, you will just be losing. And you know that, the movement to that Goal is, a movement to a loss. So, you are being made an idiot, and yet you move to the Goal. That goal has to be so enchanting, so enamoring.

Unless you are completely owned, enamored, you will not allow yourself to be looted, and destroyed.

The ‘Real Goal’ dissolves you along the journey.

And you know that you are being dissolved.

You know that you are paying a price, every step you take.

Why will you pay a price? That goal has to be extremely attractive. Know, whether or not your goal is worthy, by this test alone. Do you expect to gain something, on reaching that goal? Then that goal is worthless. Do you know that you are only losing, and losing, and losing, as you are proceeding towards the goal? Then, that goal is worthy.

If your goal, gives you something, dump that goal. Real success then, is your total failure. You have totally failed, in preserving yourself. You wanted to preserve yourself, and you totally failed – that is ‘Real Success’.

Only a ‘real goal’ can give you ‘real success’. False goals, will give you a false failure. And worse still, false successes. False successes, are worse than false failures.

You are not in this world, to beef yourself up, accumulate, fatten, and then die an obese man. You are here, to burn yourself out. And, you must burn yourself, doubly fast. The image that I love is, that of a candle, burning from both ends.

Matter turning into light – sublimation.

That is the purpose of life – burn fast.

Turn into light, and disappear.

Don’t carry a lot of wax, a lot of fat, a lot of material.

Burn it fast! Burn it fast!

You were born with a lot.

Die empty.

You were born with a lot of clothes. Every child, is born from the mother’s womb, wearing just too many clothes. The purpose of life, is to die naked. Keep on peeling-off the clothes, one after one. Layer after layer.

Such a Goal must be there.

A Goal that denudes you.

A lot of it, I know, sounds like plenty of madness!


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant on Swami Vivekananda: The real Goal dissolves you along the journey to the Goal

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The real cause of human poverty || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Question: Whenever I visit any temple, I see a lot of children begging on the roads, outside the temple. I give them some money, and also think, that what can I do for them. I often feel, that had they been literate, they would have not been begging like this.

If we are not literate, then what can we do to know ourselves?

Acharya Prashant Ji: First of all, the need for your normal, conventional education, and it’s relation to poverty.

Where does ‘poverty’ come from? Do you see anything in entire existence, that is poor, except human beings? There is the grass on the ground, is it ever poor? When there is rain, it is green. And when the Sun would be beating hard, the grass would just hide beneath the surface, with it’s roots intact, only to emerge back again in the rains. There is no poverty. It does not cry that – “I am short of resources.”

Birds, animals, trees – nothing is ever poor. Nobody needs to go out, fight, earn, save, secure the future. Not at least as much as human beings do. Nobody has as much knowledge, as human beings have, and yet it is only the human beings, that are dying of starvation, of poverty, of war, and of ten other things.

Hundreds of millions of human beings have died, because they did not receive enough food. You would have not heard of hundreds and millions of animals dying this way. They don’t.

So, where does poverty come from?

Poverty is not at all natural.

Poverty is just the dual opposite, rather the dual partner, of greed.

If a few humans are seen begging, it is not because there is something wrong with them. It is not because they did not go to schools and colleges. If you pay attention, it is really because, there are few handful of other humans, who have out of their greed, hoarded all the resources with them.

I do not know whether you are aware of this, but more than ninety-five percent of the world’s wealth, resides in the hands of less than 1%, or 2% individuals. When all the resources have been taken over, by just a few individuals, is it not obvious that starvation will be there, and rampant poverty will be there?

Trees and animals, and everything in nature, takes only as much as it really needs. Go to a jungle, and you would never find an obese animal, a fat animal, because no animal ever eats more than what it really needs. You will never find that a tree has saved, hoarded, for the next fifty years, for the next seven generations.

It is only human beings, that collect, hoard, and that they glorify as ‘savings’. And why is that so? Because there is deep security in the human mind.

Work has been done by economists, who studied the famines and food shortages. And they found out that, the food shortages are not really from the supply side. They are more from the side of distribution. Enough food is there, enough food is there. It is just not reaching everybody. Why is it not reaching everybody? Why is it not reaching everybody?

Similarly, is there really shortage of space for kids to study? No. Every kid can have space in the school, but the school will not admit the kid. The school has enough space, but the school won’t admit him. Why would the school not admit him? Because the school must take the fee.

And why must the school management take the fee? Because it has to pay somebody else. And why must somebody else be paid? So that somebody else may be paid. And ultimately, where is the money going? In the pockets of the few greedy, and insecure individuals.

It is because of these handful of people, that the entire world is suffering. But again, that does not mean, that we are apportioning the blame on somebody. Those handful of people, are able to exist and prosper, only because the remaining ninety-nine percent of the population supports them. Not only supports them, it actually respects them, worships them.

Your great corporate icons, you do not understand that it is they, who are responsible for your poverty. And remember, poverty is of two kinds – absolute, and relative.

Absolute poverty is when your basic needs are not being met. Absolutely, not many of us are poor, because our basic needs are being met. We have food, clothing, shelter. But, relatively, each one of us, is very-very poor. Each one of us, lives in a complex, that we have lesser money compared to somebody else. And that is why, there is this thirst to acquire more and more.

You look at the large buildings, and the great palaces that these people have raised. And what do you feel? I must also have this. This is called ‘relative poverty’. “Oh, I am so poor, compared to him.” Now, no animal is poor, compared to another animal. At least not in the degree, one human is compared to another human.

So, is poverty something, that existence gives you? Or, is poverty something that you bring upon yourself? is poverty something, that existence gave you, or is poverty something that society has given you?

Listeners: Society.

Acharya Ji: If existence were to be blamed, then ask yourself, “Why is nothing else so poor?” The rose is shining so majestically, without earning anything. The animals are leaping, and playing, so beautifully, without going to work. And, man is being told again and again, that unless you make a career, you will die of starvation.

We have not seen rabbits, and lions, and elephants, die of starvation, because they don’t wear a tie and go to offices. In fact, they are so healthy. They live their full, natural life. They don’t get heart-attacks. They don’t suffer from aids and cancer. They don’t have to go to psychologists to get treated for depression, unless they are in contact with human beings.

They don’t do MBAs, and they have no bank accounts. Yet they are all so happy. Look at the flowers in your campus, and look at your own face. Whose face looks happier? And why is your face so sad? And not only not is it sad today, it is going to be remain sad till death.

It is so rare, to find an really joyful man. And, it is equally rare, to find a sad flower. The flower may be this small, but it would still be laughing. And man, would be sitting in this large a car, he would still be sobbing that – “The car of the neighbor is bigger. That corporate honcho has a private jet, I only have a  Mercedes. I am so poor.”

So, who gives poverty to you?

Does existence give poverty to you?

It is the society that gives poverty to you. And even if, absolute poverty is eradicated, relative poverty would always exist.

Because that is the nature of our culture, of our education, of all training and conditioning.

Isn’t it ironical, the kids that you are talking of, are standing in front of a temple? And that temple must have been built, for a crore, or a five, or may be fifty. So, was there shortage of money? Money is there, but where is the money going? Where is the money going?

The kids are standing on the highway. Do you know how much does it cost, to build one kilometer of the highway? So, is there shortage of money?

Poverty is the companion of riches.

There cannot be riches, unless there is poverty.

Look at your corporate structures, for example. They are shareholders, then there is the CEO, and the COO. Then there are the managers. And then there are the workers. Come what may, the workers would always be getting, less than one percent share of the profit. Right? Who would always be getting a huge disproportionate share of the profit? The shareholders. Right?

So, the more this firm progresses, who will progress more and more.

Listeners: The shareholders.

Acharya Ji: Whose poverty will deepen more and more?

Listeners: The workers.

Acharya Ji: That is the nature of your economy. This fellow, the worker, will gain five rupees. This fellow, the shareholder, will gain five crore rupees. When he will gain five crore rupees, that five crore will be used to make things, even more expensive. You see, when there is somebody, who is prepared to pay fifty rupees, for a twenty rupee thing, what will happen to the price, of the twenty rupee thing?

You are there, and your neighbor is there. You are the worker, your neighbor, is the shareholder. In front of you two, is the seller. You can spend twenty rupees, but you cannot spend more than that. Your neighbor bought something, and the seller was selling it for twenty rupees. Now, your great neighbor, the share holder, comes out, and says, “I am prepared to pay fifty rupees for it.”

Now, what is the price of thing increased to?

Listeners: Fifty rupees.

Acharya Ji: Now, can you purchase it anymore?

Listeners: No.

Acharya Ji: Is this not artificial poverty? There was no poverty. But, poverty has been artificially created by somebody, who has an obscene sum of wealth.

You are alright with a bike. But then you see a four-wheeler, and the bike is not alright anymore. And then the poor ‘Alto’ sees a ‘Corolla’, and it becomes ashamed. Then the ‘Corolla’ sees a ‘BMW’, and then ‘BMW’ sees a Jet. And then ‘Jet’ sees a ‘Spacecraft’ to Mars.

(laughter)

And everybody becomes the poor.

Who suffers?

The poor kids in front of the temple.

Because everybody must have his pound of flesh, so the one who is the most vulnerable, will be left begging.

A day may come, when out of economic progress, these kids may have enough to feed their stomachs. But, remember, with this kind of a system, they will never have enough to feed their souls.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant, with students: The real cause of human poverty

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Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Consciousness is just physical

Question: Acharya Ji, what is consciousness? Is it possible to purify consciousness? How to bring about a change in consciousness? Is consciousness an object?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Show me consciousness, devoid of content. So, thought is consciousness. Show me thought devoid of content. Tell me that you are thinking about nothing. When you think, don’t you think about an object? So, is there thought without object? Try thinking object-lessly.

So, consciousness is nothing, but it’s own content. Consciousness is nothing, but it’s own content. (Holding a glass of water) Once I was talking to an audience, so I showed this glass of water. I said, “You see, these are the contents of your consciousness, and these have been poured into the consciousness, from outside.”

So, a wise girl got up from the audience, and said, “If all the content can be poured out, would I have a clean and empty consciousness?” I said, “No. To have a clean and empty consciousness, you have to throw away the glass as well.”

You cannot have the glass, and not have anything in it. So, when the water goes out, the air rushes in.

You cannot have anything called ’empty consciousness’.

‘Empty consciousness’ is – ‘No-consciousness’.

Consciousness, does not like a vacuum.

Because consciousness is objective, therefore like the objective world, it abhors vacuums.

Whenever you have a very low pressure area, you know what happens. It tries to suck in anything, and everything, from everywhere. And it does not differentiate. Whatsoever can be sucked in, would be sucked in. If there is a very low pressure zone, and you go close to it, you too would be sucked in.

That is consciousness.

Consciousness and it’s contents, are inseparable. I know, some teachers ave talked of consciousness, without content. That is a euphemism. That’s a way of addressing ‘zero consciousness’, or ‘no-consciousness’.

There is no point talking so much about consciousness, because consciousness is conditioned. Even if you bathe, teach and decorate a slave, he won’t become the master. Why are you so busy talking about the slave? Why are you so busy attending to, and glorifying, and investigating about, the slave?

If the slave troubles you, the trick lies in going to the Master. And once you are with the Master, the slave will fall in line, on his own. And that’s where, the intellectuals are missing the point, the psychologists are missing the point.

They too talk of consciousness, the psychologists, the intellectuals, even the neurologists, – they all talk of consciousness. And they are busy, looking at nothing, but the consciousness. The slave is behaving erratically. A mean slave, who has come to acquire bad manners. And what are all the intellectuals, and psychologists doing? They are trying to teach the slave, a few good manners.

What does the Mystic do? He ignores the slave. The Mystic has nothing to do with the slave. He goes right to the Master. And once you are with the Master, one look of the Master is enough, to discipline the slave. That’s the trick the intellectuals have been missing.

All psychology keeps talking of mind, and consciousness. What they don’t talk of, is the Lord. They are so afraid. Truth and Mysticism are an anathema to them. They would say, “Let’s limit ourselves to the mind.” So, what happens in the mind? And who would understand that?

If the mind were smart enough, to understand itself, and it’s rubbish, why would it stay engaged in rubbish? But you don’t see this obvious fact. You want the mind to understand the mind, knowing fully well, that that which you want to understand, is stupid, and that is why you want to understand it.

Had it been functioning properly, would you have felt a need to investigate, what is going on? So, you want to test a malfunctioning machine, using, the same malfunctioning machine.

The car is junk, the engine has collapsed. And, you want to drive the car, to the service station in the next city. You want to get the car repaired, using the services of the car itself. It is so non-sensical.

But then, intellectuals, face a very acute dilemma. They are compulsive-avoiders of all mysticism. It harasses their ego, to accept that there is the unknowable. And the unknowable, is at the commanding heights. They would rather self-destruct, than devote the self.

You see, man is more terrified of psychological death, than physical death.

And the psychological life, is the life of the ego.

The ego says, “I can accept anything and everything, except mysticism.” That’s the mark of the stupid man. To him, everything exists, except Him. All else is a possibility. The unknowable one is not a possibility.

He says, “I am very open-minded. I am very liberal. I am a liberal.” But, he is greatly illiberal. Because he does not want to consider the possibility, that, THAT, and THAT alone exists.

In some sense, the open-minded community, is the most narrow-minded one. There minds are so narrow, that nothing broad, nothing immense, can gain entry into it. Only little things find their way, to these little minds.

Are you getting it?

(Addressing the questioner) Even in this question, Dori, where is surrender? Where is devotion? These things that you are asking, cannot be grasped intellectually. Why don’t you see that intellect is such an incapacitated organ? A child’s little finger. And you want to move the mountains.

You are determined. You have been exercising the finger regularly . It’s a very muscular finger now. The Himalayas are shivering.

(laughter)

Question 2: Do you, Acharya Ji, use the concept of ‘consciousness’ as analogous to mind.

Acharya Ji: Yes, broadly. States of consciousness, happenings in consciousness, are the states of mind, and happenings in mind. Right?

Or, as Awareness.

The foundation of consciousness, is awareness.

Pure consciousness, which is ‘zero consciousness’ is – Awareness.

However, that does not mean, that to be aware, you have to give up on consciousness.

No.

Being aware implies – not identifying with consciousness.

So, the stupid consciousness, is busy with it’s own little matters. and where are you? An arm’s length away. That’s awareness. It’s always a choice – to abide in awareness, or to fool around, in the domain of consciousness.

And the domain of consciousness, will keep existing, as long as the body is there. You cannot drain consciousness, of it’s contents. You cannot just, take the vessel, and pour out the contents it has.

Question 3: How far back, the seat of Truth lies?

Acharya Ji: Awareness, and Truth, are one. So, not very far back. Just one step behind. Just one step behind. You are standing on the edge of the cliff, behind you is an abyss. Just one step behind.

Close your eyes, and take a step backwards.

Taking that one step backwards, is therefore, so impossible to most people. Because the every dimension changes. You can take innumerable steps forward, and the dimension remains the same. But behind, is an abyss. That one step, will not allow you, to remain the one you are.

The Earth will change. The very physics will change. Your very station will change. You will change. That’s why, that one step, is the most difficult thing in the world. And the saints, therefore, have gone on wondering, that why is the Lord so inaccessible, when he is always so close-by.

Now, you see why He is so inaccessible?

Where is He?

Just one step behind.

But you are standing, on the edge of the cliff.

And your eyes are always looking at the ground, not at the abyss.

However, you are instinctively aware, that there is no ground behind you.

So taking that one step backwards, is impossibly difficult.

However, you can keep taking a lot of steps forward, because nothing changes there. You are on the terrain, and the terrain does not change, whether you move left, or right, or forward.

But if you move backwards, everything changes.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is Tapasya? What is concentration? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is Tapasya What is concentration

Question 1: What is ‘Tapasya‘(austerity)? Why is ‘Tapasya‘ necessary?

Acharya Prashant Ji: In the cold areas of the country, it becomes important, especially in winters, to let the sunlight in. Quilts etc. are kept out in the open, so that they receive the Sun treatment. The Sun must beat down on them.

The ‘taap'(heat) of the Sun removes, a lot of impurities.

That is ‘tapas’.

Feel the heat. Feel the heat.

Questioner: Still I don’t get it.

Acharya Ji: You know where the heat is. You know where the Sun is. Face it! There are many ailments for which you require heat treatment, or you require UV rays emitters. What do you do? You just bring yourself to the heat emitter, and stand in front of it, naked. You allow the heat to bake you, roast you, cleanse you.

There was a man, who once had few microbes, you know little germs, bacteria, on his skin. The doctor told him that sunlight kills these germs, or at least makes them run away. The germs overheard the doctor’s advice.

So, when the man was gleefully returning to his house, preparing to try the heat treatment, the ‘tapas’, the germs said, “You know what, the heat would do bad things to us. But the heat would do bad things to you as well.”

“Remember that you have not been exposed to sunlight since long. And we live in a tender part of your body, which is usually not exposed to harshness, to harsh Sun. If you will subject us to heat, you will be subjecting yourself as well to the heat, because you and we are very closely associated, attached now. And not only the two of us, are very closely attached now, it is some very weak part of you, it is very tender part of you, that is attached to us. You could even say that it is your weakness, which is attached to us. So, do not try what the doctor just advised. We will suffer, but you too will suffer.”

So declared the germs.

What did the man reply?

The man said, “I will merely suffer, but I will survive. And if I can survive that suffering, I would emerge healthier. But you, would not survive that suffering. I am a man. I have something in me, that can survive the Sun, because it is related to the Sun. I will suffer a lot. But, I will suffer brighter and stronger. The suffering will help me. But as far as you are concerned, you will not come out alive, out of that suffering.”

“The same heat, the same Sun, that is life-giving to me, is life-threatening to you. So I am prepared to go through the suffering. In order to avoid the suffering, I cannot give you an extended life. It is true that you will suffer, and I too will suffer. But that suffering is a blessing to me. That same suffering, is your end.”

This is ‘tapas’.

In killing your germs, you too suffer. In killing your germs, you too suffer. You willingly take that suffering, because you know that, that which kills the germs, makes you stronger.

So the suffering, has utility.

It is very difficult to defeat someone, who is prepared to give up everything, for victory.

This is ‘tapas’.

You defeat someone, not because he is weak.

You defeat someone, when he wants to protect his weaknesses.

Understand this.

It is not your weaknesses that defeat you.

It is your fondness towards your weaknesses, it is your protective attitude towards your weaknesses, that defeats you.

If you are  prepared to give up everything, if you are prepared to give up all your tender spots, your weaknesses, you would be very difficult to be defeated.

The final fulfillment, the final victory, that we had been talking of, would then be yours.

It is therefore, no crime, to find yourself weak. Biology and society, leave no stone un-turned, to keep you weak. Therefore, it is never surprising, if you look at yourself, and discover, a hundred weaknesses. It is normal.

It is normal to be weak.

But it is not alright, not acceptable, to be protective towards your weaknesses.

Finding them is alright. protecting them, is not.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, you have made it very easy.

Acharya Ji: If at the very first step, you declare it difficult, then there is no second step. Remember, what the germs said? “It’s going to be very difficult for you.” Do not buy into what the germs speak.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, can you give clarity in ‘concentration’? How to concentrate?

Acharya Ji: To concentrate, is to allow something worldly, to occupy you fully. To concentrate, is to allow something worldly, to occupy you fully.

Does concentration have a role in spiritual process? Yes, and No. Concentration can have a very beneficial role, and a very deleterious role as well. There is stuff in the world, that can take you beyond the world. If you concentrate on that, then you move into ‘dhyaan’(meditation).

Concentration has something worldly, as your goal.

Meditation, or ‘dhyaan’, is to have ‘the Beyond’ as your goal.

Now, ‘the beyond’ as the goal, is beyond the capacity of the mind.

Therefore the mind, has to necessarily start with concentration.

But, we said that concentration, is both – a boon and a curse. Concentration is a boon, if you have discretion, if you really know what to concentrate on. If you really fall in love with the right object, to concentrate on, that is ‘Ishq-e-majazi’, then concentration will lead you to meditation.

Therefore, in Patanjali’s path, concentration is one of the steps. But if you concentrate, on something stupid, it will take you deep into itself, and far away from meditation. Therefore, concentration, is a double-edged sword.

Come to the right object, and concentrate fully. Along-with concentration, discretion is needed. Discretion is needed, so that you concentrate on the right object.

Concentration, plus discretion – a good recipe for meditation.

Concentration, without discretion – devastation.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, does Vipasanna help?

Acharya Ji: It totally depends on the person. You have to hold the hand of something, or somebody, that is evidently taking you to the beyond. And, you have to hold the hand tightly. This ‘tightness’ of the hold, is called ‘concentration’.

But, before you hold someone’s hand tightly, do determine, who he is.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session:  What is Tapasya? What is concentration? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation||Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir(2016)

The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation

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Question: Why do people practice techniques like ‘Yoga’ and ‘Meditation’? Do you think they are necessary?

Acharya Prashant Ji: 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 that-  “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?

Acharya Ji: 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’. “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 has 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?

Acharya Ji: 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 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, I repeat, 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 Sahab, 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 descends 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?

How? 

Kabir’s life is a message. In continuing his life as a weaver, Kabir Sahab 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 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 Sahab 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 Sahab 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. 


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation

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How to test whether your wisdom is growing? || Acharya Prashant, on Yoga Vasishta (2017)

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How to test whether your wisdom is growing

All the arts acquired by men are lost by lack of practice, but this art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.

~ Yoga Vashishth Sara

Chapter 1, Verse 13

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the litmus test to determine it’s wisdom rising, or new clothes on the old self? How to know whether I am on the right path of Spirituality?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It becomes very self-evident Shilpi (addressing the questioner). Forget about having new clothes on old-self, even the old-self is not permitted to remain as it is. Even that starts appearing foolish.

Assume that you now weigh 50 kgs, and three years back, you wore a lot of flab, and you weighed 80 kgs. How do you feel looking at those old photographs? Big, unshapely, fat woman, having a lot of unnecessary stuff. And you juxtapose these two photographs, the eighty kg one and the fifty kg one. How do you feel? Would you ever allow yourself, to go back to the 80 kg days?

That’s what a saint means, when he says, “This art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.”

The very fact, that you have known what it means to be ‘foolish’, will not allow you to be foolish once again.

Foolishness is not merely a concept for you.

You have been through it.

Been there, done it.

“Yes, I know idiocy. I have been the most stupid one, and I don’t want to be there again.”

The growth of wisdom, is a parallel aversion towards stupidity. Not only personal stupidity, also the stupidity of the world. When you look at others, and you see them caught in the same tangles, as you once were, you quickly identify the situation. You say, “I know that.”

The moment you say, “I know that,” two parallel things happen. One – you are full of disdain towards what is happening currently with the other one, and you are full of gratitude that you could be rescued.

Are you getting it?

A fellow who knows what it means to experience drowning, and has been saved, ask him, “Would you want to go through that, ever again?” he will tell you what it means to be rescued.

No relation, no compassion, no identification, with the old self, remains possible anymore. Not only that, the change that has happened, keeps you vigilant, and keeps you open to receive more change.

You say, “If I were blind once, it is possible that my eyes are still not fully open. When I was blind, even in those days, I had a lot of belief in my vision. So, belief is such a danger. Even right now, I cannot allow myself, to believe too strongly.”

That keeps you open, that keeps you prepared to change. And that is how this verse is saying, “This wisdom keeps growing.” In the sense, that you keep open to change, you keep growing.

You keep growing, stupidity keeps reducing. 

Beauty is not merely a happening. Beauty is a a parallel fascination for the happening. Beauty is the love for the happening. Who wants to return to ugliness? Who can un-see,  what he has seen? Beauty is a very stubborn thing. It makes you resistant to ugliness. You can no more be welcoming, you can no more be tolerant.

You dis-identify so completely, that you are no more shy of talking of your old days. You talk of yourself of the old, as if you talk of another wisdom. That’s wisdom. You do not hide your shortcomings. You mention your faults aloud. And mentioning your faults aloud, you do not even say that now you are perfectly free of faults.

You say, “Some of them, might still have remained. One must always be alert towards cancer. Even when the tumor has been removed, it’s quite possible that a few cancerous cells are left behind. And then, there can be a re-lapse. Those few cancerous cells, can not only multiply, but move to different places of the body. And in fact, the whole organism.”

One remains alert, like a cancer survivor. One starts valuing his life, even more. This life is a gift now. “On my own, I had destroyed it. By virtue of grace, I got a new birth. I can’t squander it anymore. I can’t go back to my old ways.”

The more this feeling remains, the more this realisation remains, the more your life gains in beauty. The more your life gains in beauty, the more you despise ugliness. You cannot have a relation with ungodliness now. You can’t even force yourself.

It’s a dynamic departure. It is not some kind of marginal, incremental change. The rowing away, away, away, and gone. You are not wandering here and there, nearby.

Gone!


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: How to test whether your wisdom is growing? || Acharya Prashant, on Yoga Vasishta (2017)

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In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom?|| Acharya Prashant, with students

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In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom

Question: Acharya Ji, every thing that we develop, comes from conditioning, how do I then, find my real identity?

Acharya Prashant Ji: (Addressing the questioner) Pallavi, had everything been coming from outside, then this question could not have arisen.

If everything comes from outside, then we are a system, like a machine. A machine never has the urge for self-enquiry. A machine will never feel uncomfortable, or befuddled at the fact that it does not know it’s true identity. In fact, the question of identity itself, is not relevant to a machine.

So, what happens, yes we realise that a lot what constitutes our psyche comes from what we have read or heard, assimilated directly-indirectly, consciously-subconsciously. We realise that. And the more we realise, the more we become free of that which is just an external layer upon me.

How do I know?

Just by enquiring.

Just by seeing.

And this ‘seeing’, is very simple, very straightforward.

“The environment is noisy, and I find it difficult to concentrate.”

“In the morning, I get a few compliments, and my mood cheers up.”

“My favorite team loses a match, and I feel down.”

These are the simple, routine, everyday events, which if observed, give freedom from the power of the outside to control us, from the power of the outside, to become our identity.

Are you getting it?

So, no real action has to be taken. You know, you do not really need to ‘do’ something, or go anywhere, or actively negate your thoughts. You just have to be little more thoughtful, conscious, and it becomes very clear that – “O! It happened there, and it is effecting me ‘here’.”

The more clearly you see this, the more frequently you see this, it starts becoming awkward then, to let your control remain somewhere else. It won’t be very nice, right? Every second minute, you are realising, that the world is controlling you, through a remote system. Does it remain pleasant? Would you feel nice that way?

But we all, the people around us, the entire world, allows that to continue, only because, we are not present to that fact. We do not realise that. That realisation itself, is liberation. Nothing else needs to be really ‘done’. It is kind of a slight, kind of an insult, to frequently keep on seeing, that my strings are being pulled by the world in all directions. And whosoever pulls my strings, succeeds.

One does not feel good with that fact. This ‘not feeling good’, is your freedom. Because, after all, there is no real string. The string is only mental. The string is ignorance. You realise and you are free.

In a physical sense, however, that mental freedom, may take time to show up, time to materialise. You might have a physical location, you might have a concrete timetable, you might have a certain routine. Realisation does not mean, that immediately your physical whereabouts will also change.

One might be there, trapped in some kind of enclosure, practically a jail, without ever knowing that he is trapped, that he is a de-facto slave. And then, he starts seeing that, where he is, every single thought and action, is commanded by somebody else.

At the psychological level, this is instant freedom. You see that you are being commanded, and you are free from the command. However, that does not mean, that physically too, he will become instantly free.

Whatever is physical, is a result of time, comes from a process, that extends over time, and hence, the physical manifestation, also takes time.

So, do not be worried, and do not start doubting, what I just said, if you do not see your freedom, expressing itself in a very material way. That material expression may take time. For example, you might be with somebody, since years. And now, because you are with that person since years, the company of that person is meshed in your daily program.

You go and catch the bus with him, you take your dinner with him, you watch movie with him. Probably, you have a joint membership with that person, in some club. It is a result of your long standing association. Then one day you realise, that the fellow, has actually been domination you, controlling you. That does not mean, that the next day, he will disappear from your life.

There is a long past. And that long past has its own residue. It will take time to be cleaned away. But rest assured, that the process starts. And then, it also expresses itself materially.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant, with students: In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom?

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting|| Acharya Prashant

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

Question: Acharya Ji, how to attain stillness of the mind?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘Stilling the mind’, or ‘Stopping the mind’, are very popular and lucrative catchphrases. There is a small problem. The problem is – for the mind, everything is a verb. Everything is a verb. Everything denotes action. So when the mind says, “Stop,” even that means – ‘do’ the act of stopping.

Mind only knows movement. Mind does not know anything called ‘stillness’, or ‘stopping’. So we may find it tempting, to talk of stopping the mind. But the moment yo usay, “Stop the mind,” you have started a new action.

Do you get this?

The moment you say, “Stop the mind,” you have just started a new action. Now it doesn’t matter whether you want to make the mind ‘do’ something, or whether you want to make the mind come to a pause. Essentially, you are doing the same thing. You are ‘doing’. Essentially you are doing the same thing, which is that you are ‘doing’.

In making the mind run to a particular place, you are ‘doing’ the running.

In making the mind stop, you are ‘doing’ the stopping.

So, this stopping is no stopping, and hence all attempts of stopping the mind, or stilling the mind, are necessarily going to go waste.

For the mind, even ‘silence’ is something, even ’emptiness’ is something. Even ‘nothing’ is something. So, language is not very useful here. Language may lure us into believing, that we are stopping the mind, but all that we are doing is that, we are still ‘doing’.

That is why, methods that aim at stopping the mind, tricks, techniques, that all fail, because they are all actions.

And no action is going to lead to non-action.

It is not possible, to run harder, to stop. Yes, you may get exhausted and fall down, but the tendency to run, will remain. It is possible to keep chanting a particular phrase, for hours and hours, for many years. And that may make the mind, so exhausted and bored, that when you enter into that activity repeatedly, it just stands in one place, out of frustration and boredom. But that does not mean, that it’s tendency to run around has stopped.

The moment it gains favorable conditions, it will again start running. That is why effects of traditional meditation, do not last. That is why you have to repeat the practice, over and over, and again and again.

One must ask a basic question: what kind of peace it is, that comes and goes? Is it peace at all? That which comes and goes, necessarily has to be a movement, a  wave, an action. Only ‘something’ can rise and fall.

How can peace rise and fall?

Peace, by definition, is an absence, a nothingness.

If you have to exert yourself, again and again, in order to retain your peace, it only proves that it is not peace at all.

It is some kind of enforced silencing, of the mind.

Like kids, that hush down on seeing the teacher. Would you call that silence? That is mere temporary wordless-ness. Out goes the teacher, and out goes the so-called silence.

Do you get this?

So, first of all, one has to drop this belief in one’s capacity to silence the mind, or even in the concept of a ‘silent mind’. There is nothing called ‘a silent mind’. There is something called ‘Silence’ which is beyond something-ness, which is an absolute, which cannot be used as an adjective, to describe something else.

Are you getting it?

You cannot have a ‘silent mind’. Mind, when silent, dissolves in the Silence. All that remains is Silence. What do you mean by a ‘silent mind’ then?

But we want to believe, and we have a stake in believing, that just as we, the ego-sense, try to control its destiny, through a thousand ways, through ten kinds of efforts, through multiple attempts arising from doership, it would also attempt to, and succeed in, controlling the mind, or silencing the mind.

What is the mind? Some kind of an object? Who would control the mind? Who are you who would whip the mind in submission, or trap it, or seduce it, or counsel it? Who are you, who is stalking? When you say, “I will silence the mind,” who is this ‘I’? So, even after silence, this ‘I’ would remain. What kind of silence is this?

Is it not obvious?

Silence and Mysticism, Spirituality and Mysticism, they are one.

They go together.

And Mysticism, is about being comfortable, with the unknown.

Not having that urge, to be in control.

Not trying to be a master of your destiny.

“I do not know whether the mind can be silent, I do not know whether any method will succeed. I do not know whether there is this thing called ‘silence’. But I will honestly know that, which is in the purview of knowledge. I will know that which can be known. And beyond that, I will not venture. It is not my province. Why should I dare enter forbidden areas?”

“And it is not even about forbidden. It is not as if I have the capacity to enter it, and I have been just outlawed from there. I do not even have the capacity to enter it. I do not even have the capacity to imagine entering there. I do not even know what lies there. I do not even know whether actually, there is any place called ‘there’.”

This, crudely, is the beginning of Mysticism.

There, you do not claim to be knowledgeable.

There you do not claim to be the doer, or the master.

There you just submit yourself.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

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What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?: Acharya Prashant

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What is rebirth What takes rebirth

Question: What is re-birth? What is transmigration of soul? What travels after death? What carries forward?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘You’ do not carry anything. A few things must be clearly understood. ‘You’ as a ‘person’ are not a very important carrier. That which carries, is the total stream of mankind’s consciousness.

(Referring to the people sitting in the audience) Her mind, her mind, his mind, your mind, his mind, her mind, the mind of the kid, the mind of the old man – we all are carrying remnants, carry forwards from our collective past. That is what is carried forward.

See, it is like this. There are waves in the ocean. One particular wave, is carrying, a little sugar, a lump of sugar. Now the wave rises, and falls. What happens to the lump of sugar? It gets distributed throughout the ocean. Now it belongs to everyone. That is how things are carried forward.

What you do in your life-time, has gone to many, many, many.

Through every single action of yours, you are impacting the entire mankind.

In other ways, you are responsible for forming the mind of entire mankind.

In turn, your own mind, is being formed by the entire mankind, because you are an active recipient as well.

The subtle becomes the gross. The more the mind is impacted at some point, many, many years later, that also changes your body. Have you seen that when you are angry, your face changes? When you are in love, your eyes change. So, the subtle has a way of changing the gross.

If you are impacting the mind of the mankind, always you are also impacting, even the form of the mankind. That’s how it happens. Otherwise, all that is ‘personal’ about you, gets burnt down in funeral pyre. There is no way, something can get carried forward from there. All is reduced to smoke and ashes. Nothing remains. But, what you have done in your lifetime, that remains. And that is going to affect all future generations.

Take it this way.

Suppose you are a teacher, and you have taught hundreds and thousands of students. And you are a good teacher, just for the story’s sake. Good teachers are rare. Now the students have really imbibed, what they received from you. You can say, that the rubbish in the minds of the students has been cleared-off, by your teachings. Either way.

You die, and one of your students gives birth. You die, and one of your students becomes a father, or a mother. The kid that is born, would be raised by your student. And, because your student has been a good student, and he has really imbibed your teachings, so those teachings would go to the kid. The kid would have the same, pure quality of mind, as you had.

In a poetic sense, you can say that you are being re-born as that kid. In a poetic sense, as a metaphor, now you can say that the teacher who had died, has been re-born as the son or the daughter of the student. But the re-birth has not taken place, because something arose from the dead-body, and entered the womb of the student. The re-birth has taken place, because of the stuff that has taken place, during your active life-time. Not after your death.

Whatever one person does, impacts the consciousness of entire mankind.

And that is how re-birth takes place.

And, therefore, re-birth is taking place every moment, because I might do something just now, which may cause you to transform. Now, haven’t you been re-born? That’s re-birth. And, you have been re-born, not because my soul entered you. You have been re-born, because the Truth transmitted to you, via me.

The opposite is also possible. You might be otherwise an innocent person. But you acquire bad company. And the bad company overshadows all your innocence. Now, you have been re-born, because the innocent one has died. The innocent one has been died, and someone else has been re-born.

That’s how it happens – through your actions.

You see, subtle truths cannot be conveyed very subtly, to everybody. And therefore they were figuratively, communicated. So that people somehow, at least partially, get a grasp on them. Therefore, you must not be too concerned with the literal meaning. Go deep into the myths of transmigration and such things, and figure out what they really would mean.

You know what, it is also possible, that the kid which is born to the student, has something in his eyes, that resemble the dead teacher. That doesn’t mean, that the dead teacher has physically fathered the kid. It’s just that, all eyes that are peaceful, have something in common.

All eyes, that are peaceful, have something in common. So, when you would look into the eyes of the newly born kid, you would be reminded of the dead teacher. And you would be then justified in saying that the dead teacher has taken re-birth, as this kid.

Questioner: Then why do we have such rituals after death like Tehravin, on 13th day, etc.?

Acharya Ji: No Upanishad says that. No scripture, worth it’s name, says that. The Puranic literature, that talks of such stuff, is stories and fancies. It is not serious metaphysics. It deals with a lot of imagery, a lot of fables, a lot of things that are there, just to involve you, engage you, even entertain you.

One has to understand the difference between the Upanishads and the Puraans. They are not in the same dimension. You cannot take Isavasya Upanishad and Garuda Puraana, and compare them.

The stuff that you are talking of, would be found in Garuda Puraana.

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: It’s alright. Read that. But understand that, in the light of the Upanishads. If you want to read the Puraanic literature, read it in the light of Upanishads. Then you will not be misled.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?

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False concepts regarding mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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False concepts regarding mindfulness

Question: Acharya Ji, some teachers say that one should never forget that one is a watcher, and teach oneself to be mindful while watching, eating, sleeping, etc. Is it doable? What is its significance?

Acharya Prashant Ji: I just do not subscribe to this. It is quite harmful, in fact.

The mind is already too eager to gather news from here and there, like a very suspicious old man – what is happening, where? It needs rest, not more news. Because any bit of news, any bit of information, that comes to it, would only be mis-utilised. And it already has millions, and trillions, of Terra-bytes of information.

Could that do any good?

Isn’t it far better, to just forget everything? Why add to your existing and overflowing repository of information? Just forget everything, and be engrossed in rest. Ignore these things, they belong to the body. The body will take care of them: eating, walking, sleeping. If you start being observant about every step that the body takes, you will go mad.

Such advice have managed to sustain, only because such advice have never been fully implemented. If somebody could actually fully implement these advice about watchfulness, and mindfulness, then the dangerous nature of these advice would be exposed.

The mindfulness industry has managed to survive, only because nobody can practically do, what they are advising. If even one person can practically do, what they are advising, he will prove the very debilitating nature of that advice, through his madness. He did it fully, and he went crazy. And that would be the end of these teachings.

But, fortunately for these teachings, they are so impractical, so crazy, that they can never really be implemented. Nobody can be watchful about every morsel of food, or every blink of the eye, or every round of respiration. So people just survive, going mad.

And when they cannot implement these teachings fully, they feel that they are guilty, and have therefore not benefited from the teachings. “I could not benefit from them, because I could not implement them fully.” The bugger does not know that if he could implement them fully, he would go crazy.

A saint has never, never been known to be the one, who is observant about these minor microscopic things in life.

The saint’s heart is elsewhere.

He in fact, ignores these tit-bits, called ‘daily life’.

You look at his clothing, and it is possible that you may find that something is torn somewhere, and he is oblivious of it. He totally ignores these things. He is carrying some utensil, and utensil has a hole. You become conscious of that hole, the fakir(saint), keeps ignoring that hole. Forget about ignoring the hole, if you tell him that there is a hole in your vessel, he will say, “Is there? Where? Where?” He is lost, he is somewhere else.

That’s hardcore spirituality. Not this.

There is the famous tale of Sohni and Mahiwal in Punjab. Sohni used to cross the river using pots. They don’t sink. So, she used to use them, to help her cross the river Chenab. One day some jealous woman, kept a raw pot for her, not a properly baked one, an unbaked one. Sohni just picked it up and went into the river, and drowned and died. That’s the heart. That’s ‘real love’.

You are so lost in your beloved, that you do not even bother to cross-check about these things – what am I eating, what am I using for my physical defence? The mindfulness industry would have said, “Oh! She was not mindful enough. That’s why she died.” Obviously she was not mindful enough. And that is why she was a lover.

Who said that lovers are mindful?

Questioner: Acharya Ji, but then why do saints put high emphasis on observation?

Acharya Ji: That observation is inner. Not the observation of the food you take, and the steps you put, and this and that. The observation there is, just this – “Am I with the beloved or not?” There is just one thing, that you have to watch out for. It doesn’t matter where else I am. It’s either  a zero, or a one. One, if I am with ‘him’. Zero, if I am anywhere else. It doesn’t matter where I am.

You are born with a purpose.

The purpose is your primary concern. Otherwise, why are you alive?

You are born to get rest.

You are born to get freedom from your restlessness.

And therefore, that is what you must be fully occupied with.

That is your central mission.

Everything else is incidental. Everything else, is stuff, worth ignoring. Not something you can afford to get entangled in.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  False concepts regarding mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)

One day, we will have such a Temple

 

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Question: What is a ‘Temple’, and what purpose should it serve?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A ‘Temple’ must definitely, have elements, that elevate your consciousness.

Being at a place, being with elements, being with people, being with structures, being with sites, scenes, sounds, that remind you of the beyond, that take the lowly consciousness to a high point, where it becomes receptive to signals from the sky.

That’s a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, a ‘Temple’, first of all, must have those elements. Secondly, wherever those elements are present, that place is a ‘Temple’, even if, you call it by some other name.

So look at the effect, the whole situation, the arrangement, the whole architecture is having on you. Is it taking you beyond, the mundane things that keep circulating in your mind?  If ‘yes’, then it deserves to be called, a ‘Temple’. If ‘no’, then it is just another place – entertaining probably, imposing probably, but not elevating.

The aspect of elevation, is central.

‘Temple’ is a place, where you are elevated.

If you are not being elevated, the place is not a ‘Temple’.

And, if you are being elevated, in some place, that place is most definitely a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, ideally, today’s temples must be great centers of learning. Temples must be spiritual universities. A ‘Temple’ cannot be just a place, where there are some stone carvings, and such things. Real Education must have to be imparted in temples. That’s elevation of consciousness.

Temples have to be centers of, not only scriptures, they must also be centers where education is imparted in arts, and sciences. Because, unless you are scientific, it will be very difficult for you, in today’s age, to be really spiritual.

In fact, I have this vision. Vishranti (Monthly Spiritual retreat) was organised in Udaipur, in the month of February. I was with Anshu (one of the volunteers), on one night, till 2 a.m., and we saw a temple on a hill-top. And I said, that one day, it is possible, that we will raise a Real Temple. Not the one where we go, ring the bell, and get the prasad. Not a temple where all kinds of superstitions breed. But, a temple that would be a center of real scientific research, a place where fine arts find great expression. A place where human consciousness is refined, broadened, elevated, in all possible ways.

I remember, I said to him, “In a temple, there must be a center of contemporary studies, where one is taught about all the current worldly issues.”

A ‘Temple’ must really be a university, in purest sense of the world.

Great creativity, must arise out of a ‘Temple’.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place where great ideas must be discussed.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place of great conversations, and healthy debate.

Great scholars from all directions, and dimensions, must converge in the ‘Temple’.

When people go to a ‘Temple’, they must return enriched.

You are able to listen to a profound lecture, or to an animated debate. You come to know of things, that you anyway do not know. Economics is being discussed, geo-politics is being discussed. The recent, cutting-edge research and advancement, are being discussed. There are physicists, there are medical-researchers, there are geologists, there are cosmologists.

And, they all are present in the ‘Temple’.

That’s what a temple must really be like.

And, obviously, when I say that, the foundation of the temple, has to be mystical.

I am only talking, of those things, that are currently missing in temples. I must correct myself. Actually, mystics too, are currently missing in temples. So I must talk of them as well.

So when consciousness is raised, only then it becomes capable of transcending into the mystical dimension. Consciousness, under the burden, with all its shackles, cannot fly away, cannot gain freedom, from the worldly entanglements.

First of all, it must gain clarity, with respect to the world. When there is clarity and knowledge, with respect to the world, only then there is a possibility, of going beyond the world. So, a temple, must first of all, be a place of knowledge, then a place of learning, and then a place of mysticism. It has to be a composite thing.

One day, God willing, we will come up with such a ‘Temple’.

Let’s see.

How would it be, to find a lab of nuclear physics, in one quarter, and an aggregation of the world’s best dancers on the other side. Both in the same campus. How would it be?

Live long everybody, to see that day!

I hope, I also live long enough, to see that day.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them|| Acharya Prashant (2012)

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Questioner (An engineering student): Acharya Ji, what made you inclined towards Spirituality, after education from premier institutions like IIT-D and IIM-A?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A couple of decades ago, I was on that side, where you all are sitting now, in another engineering college, IIT-Delhi. We too used to take a lot of things lightly. We too would fool around in lot of sessions, tutorials, lab sessions. But we also knew what is not trivial, not casual.

Once in a while, such a thing happens, and then we should be awake to the happening.

We will be together.

So, one of the members of your organizing committee, immediately asked this question, when he met me. His question was: After IIT, after IIM, after Civil Services, and after a few years of successful corporate life, why this?

I said, “Let me first look at the anatomy of your question.” Your question pre-supposes, assumes, a couple of things. The first is: Education gives you a few specific directions to move in. And that is why, you are surprised, even shocked, that someone is breaching those directions, violating those directions.

Before we discuss the breach of violation, it is more important that we see whether education is supposed to be a liberating force, or a constraining force.

If you look at people, who are not educated, you will find them captivated, you will find them option-less. We  could even say, ‘enslaved’. They can say, “Because we are not educated, because we did not have that kind of luck, or merit, so we are forced to take up, just these kind of jobs. Our spectrum of choices, is very narrow.” That is what a person with little luck, or ability, or understanding, would say.

Now, if you go into an institution of higher learning, even a couple of such institutions, and then you would say, “I cannot find the entire life open for me. I cannot see that all kinds of possibilities, and opportunities open up for me, irrespective of the direction they come from. Then what is the use of such education?”

Is education there to widen your choices, or is it there to constrain your already narrowed down choices?

If the purpose of education is to liberate, then why should you feel that after your educational degrees, you must follow a particular kind of script? Why must you move in only pre-determined directions?

The questioner is surprised at me taking a particular direction. I am surprised that why do you do, what you do.

A particular company arrives in campus, for campus placement. When I was a consultant, in corporate sector, then I would go for the campus hiring, to the best of institutions. And it would be quite amusing, as well as insightful to observe them.

So, four hundred students from fourth year, would have applied for the same job. And if you ask them , “Why have you applied for the same job?” half of them would directly say that this particular job is their dream job, and other half would indirectly imply this job is their dream job.

I would listen to them with patience, but at some point during the discussion, I would start laughing. I would ask them, “How is it possible that all four hundred of you, have the same dream. Is there any individuality, or are all of you, meant to follow the same current?”

Now, what is more surprising: that intelligent, empowered students, are all following the trend, or that a few break away? Breaking away should be the norm, breaking away should be the trend. Breaking away should not be the exception.

In fact, I should be the one, who should turn around, and ask the premier students, in the premier campuses, in the country and the world, “How is it possible, that after all your education, you constrain yourself to a narrow pattern of working and living? How is it not possible, that you branch out in all directions? How is it so, that an already chained life, becomes all the more chained, after going to an IIT, or an IIM?”

A fellow, who has not had the best of education, would say, “I can accept any job. I can start any kind of business, because I do not have any background in anything.” But I have seen, not only as a matter of principle, but actually practically, that unfortunately it so happens, that we become even more constrained, limited, in our decision-making, because we have been empowered with an elite degree.

That must not happen. That assumption is invalid.

If life has given you power, use it to blossom.

Use it branch out.

Use it to express all your creativity.

Do not feel pressurized.

Do not feel limited. 

You are not obliged to follow the trend.

You must, first of all, try to gain maximum clarity, as to what is right. And then, the only remaining task, is to commit yourself wholeheartedly, to what is right.

Know what is right.

Do what is right.

Nothing else matters.

Most people do not know what is right. Obviously, they lead their lives in ignorance, in darkness – a drunken kind of living. And then, there are others. Others, who have the intellectual capacity, to know what is right. And it is absolutely tragic, that such people, in spite of knowing what is right, do not ‘do’ the right.

Now, this would be  very impotent life.

One could have been forgiven, had one been totally in the dark. Had one not known at all, what to do. But, if you know, and still do not ‘do’, then your life itself is a punishment. You would be leading an incomplete, and compulsorily blind life. 

A man, with eyes, who has been forced to act blind, his suffering is limitless.

So, please get the first assumption, out of your mind. If you will go into it, if you will question it, then it will be easy for you, to surmount it.

The second assumption that you have is that – somehow technical or managerial work, is superior, in it’s class and dimension, compared to Humanities, and specially compared to Wisdom and Spirituality. No, if such is the opinion that you carry, then this opinion is misplaced.

I understand why this opinion gets the better of us. It is because, whatever happens in the field of Science and Technology, is quite tangible, quite direct, quite measurable, and precise. Whereas, what happens in the field of mind, in the field of words, rather than numbers, is intangible. Often hazy.

But just because something is intangible, it does not mean that it is valueless. It only means that it’s value is subtle. Something may have a gross value, (referring to a bottle kept on the table, in front) this may have a gross value, but there are other things that have a subtle value. Things like Joy, things lie Understanding.

I can hold this bottle in my hand, I cannot hold understanding in your hand. You cannot hold love in your hand. You cannot hold clarity in your hand. Just because there are certain things, that are not material enough, to be formed, to be weighed, to be experienced through senses, it does not mean that they are valueless.

You are right now listening to me. Even ‘listening’ cannot be held like this bottle. But then, if you are listening, you very well know the value of listening.

All education, all civilization, all progress and advancement, is for welfare.

And what is ‘welfare’?

That which gives man peace.

Yes, material welfare does give man peace, and is quite important. But there is another more important, and dimensionally higher component of welfare, that needs to be addressed. As engineers, you work for welfare – others’ welfare, and your own welfare.

Spirituality too aims at welfare. And what spirituality can accomplish, the other fields of human endeavor, cannot.

So, it becomes obvious now, why one can move into the field of understanding life, if that can be called ‘a field’, at all. Life itself is the field, because it is a terrific field, because it is the most important field. Because that work is more important, than the work of an engineer, or a manager.

That does not belittle the work of the scientist. It’s only to say, that – the work of the scientist, is ultimately, to bring welfare and peace to man.

Science addresses only that, which is measurable, numerable, experiencable, perceivable through senses.

And there is a lot, that involves human welfare, but cannot be the material subject of any science, any technology, any mathematics.

That must be addressed, otherwise, science will remain blind.

Otherwise, the products of science, the entire area and produce of science, will be channelized, only towards devastation.


Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant, with students: An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them


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How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


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Why blame social media? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Why blame social media

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Question: Acharya Ji, Namaskaar. My question is not related to Spirituality. I am sixteen year old, and many of my friends who are of my age, are stuck to social media. They are lost in the visual world, and it is affecting their personal lives. How can they get rid of this? Is social media good or bad?

Acharya Prashant Ji: How to get rid of their personal life?

Questioner: No. All youngsters have this same problem.

Acharya Ji: So you want to get rid of other’s problems.

Questioner: No, it’s my problem too.

Acharya Ji: So why are you talking of others? In the spirit of philanthropy?

(laughter)

This is how we are. You are talking of your own Facebook account. It’s as particular, and as personal, as that. It is so personal that you would not share the password even with me.

Questioner: I will share the password with you.

Acharya Ji: And then change it.

(laughter)

But I will talk as if I am talking of a global menace. “Oh my God! You know, it is affecting the American elections you know. The Russians got Trump elected by interfering. And therefore I am concerned.”

Why must you put it this way?

So, what is wrong with Facebook then?

Questioner: There is nothing wrong, but it is addictive.

Acharya Ji: So what’s wrong with being addicted?

Questioner: It wastes time.

Acahrya Ji: How does it tell you that time is being wasted?

Questioner: We are continuously opening the app and checking notifications.

Acharya Ji: That’s okay. But how does it tell you that time is being wasted?

Questioner: Our parents say that.

(laughter)

Acharya Ji: So now you bring the Global Parents Association in the picture. So you are saying that on one hand, Facebook attracts you, and on the other hand, parents stop you. That is your condition.

It is as simple as that. Why don’t you put it this way? That would make it easier for me and you. “I want to do a lot of Face-booking, but Mumma tells me that it is bad habit. And I do not know what to do. Though I know what to do. That is what I do everyday. I tell Mumma to go away. But still she keeps bugging. That is the problem.”

So, the question boils down to – how to keep pestering parents away?

Questioner: No, how should we minimize our time on Facebook?

Acharya Ji: And still get as much satisfaction.

(laughter)

More bang for the buck. Yes. Small packet, big return. Yes.

Do we know what we want? Do we even understand what our wants are, and where they are coming from, and what do they actually mean? Do we even articulate them rightly? Do we?

Alright! Let’s go into it. So you say that time is being wasted on social media. When do you call something as ‘wasted’? When do you call something as ‘wasted’?

Questioner: When one doesn’t gain anything from it.

Acharya Ji: (Holding a mug) There was tea in this mug some time back. If the tea would have spilled from this mug, would you have called it ‘wastage’?

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Why would you call it a ‘wastage’? If I sip the tea from the mug, it would be emptied. And if I spill the tea, then also the mug would be emptied. So, sipping it, or spilling it, in either case the mug would be emptied. So, would do you call it a ‘wastage’ when the tea gets spilled over?

Questioner: Because it didn’t serve it’s purpose. I couldn’t use it.

Acharya Ji: It didn’t serve it’s purpose. So when is time called as ‘being wasted’?

Questioner: When it doesn’t serve the purpose.

Acharya Ji: When it doesn’t serve the purpose. But for that, you must know what the purpose of time is. What is the purpose of time? Before you say, “I am wasting time,” or, “He is wasting time,” you must know what is the purpose of time. Only then can you rightfully claim whether it is wasted or utilised.

So what is the purpose of time?

‘Time wastage’, ‘Don’t waste time’ –  all these are very popular phrases. Aren’t they? So how do you use them then, if you do not know what is the purpose of time? How do you call something as ‘wastage of time’?

Listener 1: When you are not doing, what you are supposed to do.

Acharya Ji: What are you supposed to do?

Listener 1: (Referring to the questioner) He is supposed to study usually…

Acharya Ji: Why is he supposed to study only. He is also supposed to login to Facebook. What do you mean by ‘supposed to’? Which scripture will tell you what you are ‘supposed to do’? Please tell me where one can find that Oracle. Where is that Oracle which would would determine to us, what we are ‘supposed’ to do? Yes.

How do you know what is the purpose of time? What is the purpose of time?

Questioner: It must give me satisfaction.

Acharya Ji: If Facebook is satisfying you, you cannot call it ‘wastage of time’. Full stop.

If the purpose of time is your satisfaction, and if doing all kind of this or that, and non-sense, satisfies you, then you cannot call it as ‘wastage of time’. And I am leaning upon your own premise. You said that purpose of time is – satisfaction. If that be so, then do whatever fetches you satisfaction.

If it satisfies me, to spill this tea on this table, then you would not call it as ‘wastage of tea’. Or would you? If it satisfies me to abscond from this session, it would be a great use of my time. I may be running around on the beach. A gala time on the beach.

What is the purpose of time?

Listener 3: It can be different from person to person. So, as a body, if one is a student, the purpose of time is to study. As a seeker, if you are seeking something, to get it to the next level, is your purpose for the time being. So it is different…..

Acharya Ji: With what purpose are you a student?

Listener 3: For academic qualifications, and all.

Acharya Ji: Because you are ‘supposed’ to that. So that brings us back to the Oracle. So, either you use common sense, or you fetch the Oracle. Otherwise, you are stuck.

Whenever I ask you that what is the purpose of this or that, you say, “This.” And when I ask you, “Why?”, you say that because you are ‘supposed’ to do this, because you are ‘supposed’ to be like this.

Now I cannot proceed with that. Who is the one, who brought all these suppositions into your mind? How do you ‘suppose’ so much, and continue to live on, based on suppositions, assumptions? Or, please bring the Oracle here, so that I may have a frank word with him, it, or her, or whatever.

How do you know that you are ‘supposed’ to be a student?

What is the purpose of time?

Of special note are those, who have been with the Courses and Camps, since long. At least theoretically, one may explain this.

Listener 4: Practically, it is for liberation. And in the course of getting that liberation, if something is stopping you, you get rid of that, and finally reach it!

Acharya Ji: So, is Facebook good or bad?

Listener 2: Depends on what we are using it for.

Acharya Ji: That is the answer.

The only thing that determines whether time, or money, or any other resource available to you, is wasted, or properly utilised is, whether it aided your liberation.

Anything that contributes to your liberation, is a thing, well utilised.

Anything that impedes your liberation, is a thing, badly wasted.

If Facebook can contribute to your liberation, Facebook is great. But if on Facebook, you are just adding to your non-sense, to your conditioning, then obviously, it is very wasteful. And the blame does not lie with Facebook, the blame lies with the use you are putting Facebook to.

Amongst you, there might be a few, who might have found me on Facebook. Facebook is wonderful for them. Or, you could also access all kinds of trivia, and non-sense, and rubbish on Facebook.

You know what, social media is so addictive, so addictive, that half the volunteers of the foundation, are only watching YouTube for fourteen hours a day. Thank them for that. Thank them for their addiction. Otherwise, these videos would not reach you.

Now, is YouTube good or bad?

It depends on what you are doing there. Half of the foundation, I repeat, is only watching YouTube fourteen hours a day. Is YouTube good or bad? Even as I say this, thousands are watching the videos on YouTube. Is YouTube good or bad?

Good or bad?

Depends on what you are using it for.

Depends therefore on, who you are.

Now, remaining who you are, if you de-activate your Facebook account, that would still not help you.

Addicted to Facebook, you are a slave to all the content on Facebook that you watch. And if, due to pressure from some quarters, you de-activate your Facebook account, then you are still a slave. Slave to the direction from where the pressure came. Facebook might have gone, has your slavery gone?

Influence came from one direction, and you opened an account. Influence came from another direction, and you closed or suspended your account.

Have ‘you’ really changed?

Have you?


Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Why blame social media? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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


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How to know one’s calling in life?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: How can I understand my ‘calling’ in life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What do you mean by ‘calling’?

The question is: How do I understand my ‘calling’? How do I decide what to do?

Do you mean in terms of profession, or career? Are you already not confused, about whether to do this or that? Are you asking from clean slate?

Questioner: I am confused.

Acharya Ji: If you are confused, that means you already attach importance to two or three options, right? And you are confused only because you cannot choose, from in-between those pptions. That is your confusion. Correct?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Right?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: You are confused because you cannot choose between Wine, Vodka, Gin, or Whisky. And even when you want to ask regarding your calling, you want me help you, put your finger on one of the four bottles, right? Wine, Vodka, Gin, and Whisky.

That is the reason behind your confusion. What is the reason? You have these four options. Now where is the apple juice? Where is the apple juice? Unless you first remove these four, would apple juice ever figure in your mind? That is what is meant by – asking from a clean slate.

Whenever you ask a question, you already have a set of ready-made answers. All you want from this speaker to do, is to help you choose from A, B, C and D(Wine, Whisky, Gin, and Vodka). Now had these A, B, C, D  not been already there with you, you would have anyway not asked the question, because there would have been no confusion.

Instead of trying to know your genuine calling, just remove all the options that are there in your mind. Just remove them. Now, that appears so dangerous. You will say, “I am anyway not able to figure out when I have four options, how will I figure out, when I have zero options?” But that is the beauty of the game.

With four options, all you get is – confusion.

With zero options, all you get is – direction.

The solution to the confusion, that four options cause, is not a fifth option, not a sixth option. Not eight options. When four options are causing confusion, the solution will emerge, when you remove all four. Remove all four, and now you are free to know. Now, a decision will arise from your freedom. As long as these four options are available, there is no possibility of any kind of solution.

That is the thing with questions. They have preset answers, ready with them. The question already decides the scope of the answer. And when the question has pre-decided the scope of the answer, then the answer cannot dissolve the question. Then the answer is just a continuation of the question. And the question is a problem. So the answer then, is the continuation of the problem.

Remove all the options that you have.

See that you are just newly born.

See that you have no experiences.

See that you can decide on a totally clean slate.

That totally clean slate, is called ‘the Self’, or ‘the Atman’.

And now see what is possible for you.

Don’t imagine about it. Just keep all your existing priorities away, and then ask yourself, “Had these not been in my life, how would have my life gone?”And then you would know, what to do with your life.

As long as you keep deciding, from within your existing priorities,

you will only get that, which is anyway already existing in your life.

For a moment set aside all of this, and ask yourself, “Had all of this not been there, how would have I lived?” then you would know what calls. Then you will know the meaning of ‘calling’. Right?

A fellow comes to commit suicide. And you are on the other side of the counter. And he is asking you to choose between four kinds of poisons. Is there any real choice involved in this? Would you say, “I am helping him choose rightly?”

“I will give him the best kind of poison.”

Choice can happen, only when there are no choices.

Remove it from his mind, that he needs to be poisoned. And then see what is the fresh decision that arises. Then he will know how to live his life.

When you are shopping, for a car, may be what you actually need, is a bike, or a cycle. There is no point in asking for expert advice, to choose the best car.

The real thing that you want, may lie outside the domain of your choices,

the whole set of your choices.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: How to know one’s calling in life?

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Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape

The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape

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“Love is a state in which there is no ‘me’; 
love is a state in which there is no condemnation, no saying that sex is right or wrong, that this good and something else is bad.

Love is none of these contradictory things.

Contradiction does not exist in love.”

~ J. Krishnamurti

Question: Krishnamurti says that one craves sex, because in that, one finds no ‘me’, ego, and hence no conflict. And one uses it as an escape. Why does one not use, meditation too, as an escape? Is it because that one lacks understanding, energy, or is it because that the outside influences and inherent tendencies, acquired and hence biological, are too strong?

Does this call for an inner strength stronger than the outer influences? How would one describe this inner strength in words, if it exists?

Acharya  Prashant Ji: The basis of the question is, that one probably does not use meditation as an escape. But one does use meditation as an escape. One uses everything, as an escape.

One uses meditation, in precisely the same way, as one uses sex, or any other means of getting away.

Of course, Krishnamurti is spot on, when he says that, in the experience of sex, there is no ‘me’, no ego, and hence no conflict. So, there is a great peace, a silence, a touch of the beyond.

That peace, that silence, that touch of the beyond, is one’s ultimate desire.

But, is one ready to go beyond the touch? The ego is so afraid, and so stupid, that it is terrified of the one, it loves. That it wants to run away, from the same healing touch, it so craves for.

One will have ‘a little’ of it, one does not want ‘the whole’ of it. A little of it, ensures continuity of the ego. A little of it implies that one could have the healing touch, and yet remain what one is, yet continue with one’s ways. That much, is acceptable to the ego. But only that much, not beyond that.

The ego says, “My first priority, is to remain, exist, and after that comes everything else. Even the Truth must be subservient to my first priority.” So, liberation is alright, as long as, it is a second of liberation. Peace is alright, as long as, it is five minutes of peace. But, if silence threatens, to take over the entire life, if peace starts dominating noise, to the extent that noise might be completely annihilated, then the ego rejects.

The ego wants Truth, but only a modicum of Truth.

The ego wants peace, but only a sliver of peace.

The ego is foolish.

It’s first priority is always, it’s own sustenance.

So when, the ego will enter meditation, it will enter false meditation, it will enter limited meditation.

People meditate for five minutes. People set a particular time to meditate. I would ask, professional meditators, people who have been practicing meditation for so long: if you love meditation so much, why do you get up from it? If you love meditation so much, why do you limit it to half an hour of the morning time? Why don’t you let meditation, your entire life? Why can’t you live meditatively?

They would not have an answer. The answer is clear. The answer is: if you start living meditatively, rather than limiting, just isolating, relegating meditation to a corner of your daily schedule, then your daily schedule itself, would be threatened. You do not want to allow that.

The ego does not want to allow that. The ego says, “Meditation is good, as long as it is for half an hour. Then it will serve my my ends. I can become a little peaceful. Mind you, just a little peaceful. I can become a little peaceful, and then go about doing my usual, daily tasks.”

“Even if meditation has to be there, it has to be there as a servant of my daily priorities. I want to go to the same office, and continue with the same humdrum business, and to be effective in the same humdrum business, and to perform more efficiently in the same office, I want to be meditative.”

“I will not let meditation overpower me. I will not let meditation, become a canopy, over the space of my life. I will not let meditation become, a complete solution, that dissolves me away.”

“I will use meditation as a tool. I will use meditation as a tool, to remain more of what I anyway, and already am” – that is how the mind uses meditation, that is how the mind uses sex, that is how the mind uses Truth and God.

Because you are disturbed, dull, restless, after the entire day’s soul-sapping routine, in the night, you use sex as an entertainment, as a relief, as a getaway. Using sex as a relief, enables you, to wake up the next morning, and again continue with your routine, and then again hit the bed in the night, again use sex as a dissipator, again use sex as a temporary healer, and then again go back to the same shop, same work, same office, same society, same people, same routine, that disturb you.

Sex, Meditation, Prayer, God – in that sense, all of them, just are used by the ego, as enablers.

They enable the ego, to continue, as it is.

One returns to his shop, and then goes to the temple. Going to the temple, enables one, to return to his shop.

One does, what one does the entire day, and then in the evening, one wants to atone. One goes and confesses. It might be an evening, or it might be a Sunday in the church. One goes and confesses. Or one would write a letter of guilt, confession, admission, to a teacher. One would say that I wasted the entire day. One would say that I am a lousy man, an evil man. And all that confession in the evening, enables one, to conveniently again embark the next morning, on the same beaten path.

That is how we work.

We exploit even the highest.

If a prophet would come to us, we would use him to serve our petty purposes. Don’t you see, what people do when they go to holy places, to pilgrimage, to a Dargah, to a Guru? They go there, and they ask about their little things. That is all the relationship that they have, with the Guru, or the Pir, or the Granth, or the temple, or the Gurudwara.

Let everything exist, to allow me, to even help me, remain as rotten as I am. That is the world view of the ego. That is how we look at the entire universe. Unfortunately, that is also, how we look at the one, beyond the universe.

The ego is an exploitative being. The ego is a stupid being. It exploits the one, it ought to surrender to. It goes to the ocean, and asks only for two drops. And it thinks it is being quite clever, in asking, just as much as it can hold.

Can you look at the mind, the psychology of the person, who has the entire ocean available of him, and is instead asking for only as much, as his limitations would allow? Can you see that?

Sex is a window. Organised meditation too, is a window. Every moment in life, is a window. But the ego is scared of free, open, unlimited space. It would have only as much of the sky, as the window would allow. That is why one is so agreeable, to the five seconds of peace that orgasm brings, but one is not agreeable to Samadhi, because Samadhi is infinite peace.

One wants customised Samadhi. One wants temporal Samadhi. One wants Samadhi that can be used and exploited. One wants Samadhi, that would not be a total and final dissolution. One wants Samadhi, that one can be on the top of. And that is why, one never gets Samadhi.

And that is why, that which is so easily available, and one’s innate nature, remains elusive.


Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape


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


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