If nothing succeeds in changing you, try Love || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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If nothing succeeds in changing you, try Love

Question: Acharya Ji, Namsakaar!

I want to get rid of some compulsive habits and some compulsive thoughts. There are some aspects of my personality that I do not like. I want to get rid of those aspects.

Also, I want to know how to develop unwavering attention.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s such an easy demand, you know.

(laughter)

It’s a small question.

You are what you want.

If you want to change who you are, then you will have to want something radically different.

Your destination, your desire decides your constitution.

You become what you intend to achieve and be.

If you love the mud, you will become an earthworm.

If you love the Sky, you will grow wings.

Your entire personality will change.

That’s what you want, right? The entire personality must come apart. Then you have to change what you Love.

If you love the mud, then you cannot grow wings. Can you? if you love the mud, all you will get is a mud-worm. Do you have love for the Sky? If yes, the personality will change. The wings will appear.

The desire, the target has to be there.

You have to submit yourself to something tremendous.

Your goal will decide your life.

Instead, we let our life decide our goal.

And that is such a costly mistake.

If you want to let things continue as they are, then let your life decide your goal. Things will remain exactly as they are. The status-quo will prevail.

“This is how I am living, and hence this is where I want to go.” That’s how most people live, don’t they? Their goals are a product of their ways of living. Therefore they do not bring about any change, any fundamental change in the way they live.

If you really want to fundamentally change the way you are, then you have to have a goal that is tremendously brilliant, supremely attractive, and Surrender to it.

Your entire system will then be forced to adjust itself, rather take a re-birth, in order to achieve that goal.

The goal must not be what your system is already programmed to achieve, the goal has to be such that it causes a breakdown in your system. It tells your system that it is beyond the capacity of the system. Therefore, the system will have to re-configure itself.

And that re-configuration is what you want, right? A total change in personality. That can only be brought about under tremendous pressure. Unless that pressure is there, things will just stay the way they are.

But why will one tolerate so much pressure? Pressure is not welcome to the system, right? Who loves pressure? Nobody. Therefore, there has to be an overpowering Love. Only when there is such great Love, that one wants to take that kind of pressure.

One says, “For the sake of the Beloved, I am prepared to die. I am prepared to take that pressure. I will be shattered. And I do not know whether I will come up again.”

It has to be something overwhelming. It has to be something that numbs down your intellect. It has to be something that challenges your reasoning. It has to be something that goes beyond your reasoning. If it is within your reasoning, then your reasoning will shoot it down.

Otherwise, personality is a tough nut to crack.

Cosmetic changes in personality are easy to bring about. You can grow some hair, or you can grow a beard. You can start wearing some western outfits, or you can lose or gain some weight. Or you can get a good tan, or get yourself tattooed. You can learn a new language. You can develop new skills and hobbies. Such superficial changes in personality are easy to bring about.

But if you want a total re-constitution of the self, then that requires a change in the center itself.

And the center is that which you live for.

You have to start living for something very-very different.

The purpose of life has to change.

When the purpose of life changes, then the personality of the living one follows.

I assure you, most people carry one the same personality that they are born with. You might find it surprising. You will say, “Oh, but the child undergoes so much. There is surely a great difference between the personality of the seventy-year old and the seven-day old.”

No Sir. The personality of the seventy-year is in many ways just a continuation of what he was when he was a seven-days old. Nothing changes. The same instincts, the same basic tendencies. Only cosmetic and peripheral changes happen. Deep inside, the same thing – fear, want, greed, comparison, anger, hope, despair, lust. What has changed?

And that’s terrible, because man keeps wanting change all his life.

What is each fellow working for? Change. We all want some betterment, we all want things to change. Right? And here we are saying that the seven-day old is the same as the seventy-year old. Then what have we worked for all our life? What was all the striving, all the effort for? It has all gone down the drain, because the center of the newly born, and the center of the seventy-year old, remains the same.

The seven-day old is driven by the prakritik center, the center of the body. And so is the seventy-year old. Both are driven by their respective bodily centers. So the personality too remains the same.

Yes the height changes, the weight changes. But do you call that ‘a change’? That’s no change. The eyes remain the same. If you look at photographs of a fellow over the various points in his life-cycle, the face keeps on changing, the eyes do not change. Do they? Because the eyes reflect the mind a lot. The mind doesn’t change. Fundamentally, it doesn’t change. But you already have a goal. And that goal in your eyes is justified.

To want something different, to take something totally different as your goal, you will have to go against yourself.

You will have to bear that suffering.

A while back we talked of ‘pressure’. You will have to take that pressure. And that pressure is difficult to take. Let’s know the facts.

Do you have the kind of Love that will enable you to willingly pass through that suffering? That’s the question that you have to answer. Only in Love can there be a radical transformation. Most of us are loveless, dry beings. Unfortunately that’s not our destiny, but that’s how we have made the choice.

They say, “It was the love of the flower, that turned the caterpillar into the butterfly.” Without that love-affair, the metamorphosis won’t have happened.

Go, find a flower!

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: If nothing succeeds in changing you, try Love || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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How to let things happen? || Acharya Prashant (2017)

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How to let things happen

Question: Acharya Ji, how to get rid of boredom?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Boredom comes only when you have an idea of what would not bore you. “I feel that the only exciting things in life are ‘achievement’, ‘video games’, and ‘sex’.” And situations have gotten me where I neither have achievement, nor video games, nor sex. Now what would I feel?

Questioner 1: Bored.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

You  feel bored only because you have an image of what would not bore you.

You decide in advance that if you can have exciting food, then it will not bore you. Now you cannot always have exciting food.

The result is boredom.

Before you say that you are bored, find out whether you have ideas about what does not bore you.

Anybody here who will keep silent when asked what is it that he finds exciting?

And if you can list what you can find exciting, why don’t you see that you have already listed what you find boring? Everything that you do not find exciting, is something you will find boring. But you will never ask, “Sir, why am I excited?” Rather, you will always ask, “Why am I bored?”

You are bored because you are excited. If you are excited, then your excitement is going to vanish at some moment. And then, what will you be left with?

Listeners: Boredom.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, then how to not be excited?

Acharya Prashant Ji: By seeing that the excitement is not just excitement. It is excitement plus…..

Listeners: Boredom.

Questioner 1: There is another side to it too.

Acharya  Prashant Ji: Yes, boredom is not just ‘boredom’. Boredom is preparation for excitement. When you get bored, obviously you jump into excitement. Now, as long as you feel like playing this game, go ahead, play this game.

But if you are even semi-intelligent, there comes a point when you want to drop out. When you say, “I cannot  allow these two to affect me. May be I can just let them continue in their way. Let them do what they want to do. But I cannot allow them to affect me deeply. I cannot allow them to become statements of my state, or my self-worth.”

“Yes, of course the movie is interesting, exciting, let the excitement be there. But I cannot allow myself to become the excited one. Even in the middle of excitement, let me just remain alright. Because the movie is going to get over. And then I will be bored. Why do I want to invite that? Why do I want to inflict that upon me?”

Question 3: Acharya Ji, does that mean that boredom is not ‘boredom’ if I can see it, and excitement is not ‘excitement’ if I can see it?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes.

Question 4: Acharya Ji, you just said that let the states of mind do what they want to. So, does it mean that I let all this happen?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously you let this happen. And this statement ‘letting this happen’ there are two things. The wise man exists parallely at both these levels. Pay attention.

Letting things happen – now there is ‘ the happening’ contained in this, and there is ‘the letting’ contained in this.

The one who lets, is the ‘Atman’.

Where all the ‘happening’ is, that is the body, the mind, prakriti apparatus.

Both of these must be there parallely, together, concurrently.

The Center and the periphery, both.

The Witness and the world, both.

So, there is the game of excitement and boredom going on, and then there is the ‘letting’ also happening. Pay attention.

‘Letting things happen’.

Things ‘happen’ in the world, in the mind, that’s where all the movement is.

And ‘letting’ is the thing of non-movement.

Both these be together.

Are you getting it?

Is ‘letting’ an action, is ‘letting’ an activity? What does ‘letting’ mean? Does ‘letting’ mean that you are doing something? And when things happen, then there are things ‘happening’, moving. And ‘letting’ is?

Questioner 4: Opening the doors.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Not even opening the doors. Let the doors open, if they have to.

So – “I am letting myself dance.” Now there is beauty in this dance. Dancing is hardly a thing of beauty, but letting yourself dance is so beautiful. Do you understand the difference between making yourself dance, and letting yourself dance?

Questioner 4: Making is mental, and letting is…..

Acharya Prashant Ji: Natural.

There is nothing good or bad about dancing, what matters is whether you are letting yourself dance, or making yourself dance. When you make yourself dance, then dance is nothing but thought.

Question 5: Acharya Ji, when we are in utmost excitement, in the excited mental state, then how to let that natural thing happen?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

There is no method of – letting things happen.

‘Letting things happen’ means – not doing anything.

And ‘method’ means – doing something.

So there is no method involved in letting.

‘Letting’ simply means – cessation of all control.

“Ah! You are free and I am free. You are free to happen and I am free to let.”

“You are free to happen, and I am free to let you happen.”

“I am not obsessed with interfering, blocking, doing, and you don’t have to worry about somebody suppressing you, policing you, or energising you. You want to dance, Mr. legs, Mr. hands. You want to dance, you dance. You don’t have to worry about anybody sitting on top of you. You are free to dance. Both legs are free to dance.”

Are our legs free to dance? No, they are supervised by the mind.

“Are the steps following rightly? Are the hands moving rhythmically?”

“O! Is he not watching me?”

“What is she thinking of me?”

“Am I synchronised with music?”

Now you are ‘making’ yourself dance.

“How can I quit? Everybody else is still dancing. No the time to leave the floor.”

Now you are making yourself dance.

Let the body dance.

When you let the body dance, this ‘letting’ is total Freedom – for the body and for the mind.

This ‘letting’ is both movement and non-movement together.

Questioner 5: Acharya Ji, does it mean that if I let myself be excited, then I will have to let myself be bored.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Let yourself be bored.

Questioner 5: In excitement, there are chances that there are no thoughts, but in boredom there are thoughts. So, how can letting happen in thought?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When you are excited, the may be there are no thoughts, but a tendency deeper than thought.

In boredom, there might be thought.

Yes, there are times when you do not know why you are bored, and you also do not know why you are excited. You cannot place your finger on the exact cause. That however does not mean that  the cause is not there. May be you cannot however think of the cause. You cannot think of the cause because, the cause is deeper than thought. Then the cause is ‘a tendency’.

A young man looks at a young woman and feels excited. Is there a thought involved in this? It is just the deep tendency. So even if the thought is not there, it is still the same mental thing, may be deeper than thought.

Similarly, if you are bored, it is not necessarily because of thought. It may be a tendency deeper than thought.

Question 4: Seeing a woman, if there is excitement. So, when I let things happen, does it mean that I let the tendency do, what it does?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Of course.

When the tendency is totally free, then the tendency gets totally suffocated due to absence of resistance.

You need to come close to this.

All tendencies are sicknesses. They exist and continue as victims. You give them a touch of Health, they go away. You allow Freedom to the tendency, you give the tendency freedom to exist, the tendency will die of suffocation.

Because the tendency exists only as the un-free one. Having touched it with Freedom, having given it the total freedom to exist, the  tendency will have nothing to complain about. It cannot now continue as a victim.

She has come to assault me saying, “I want to kill you because you never let me do what I want to do. I have come to kill you because you never let me do what I want to do.” And what do I say, “Come, kill me.”

She will not kill me. Why?

Because I let her do what she wants to do. Now her complaint cannot survive. She is gone! But what do we normally do?

Questioner 4: We resist.

Acharya Prashant Ji: We say, “No, no, you cannot kill me.” And by saying, “You cannot kill me,” you have only validated her stand. And what has she been saying? “You never allow me to do what I want to do.” And in this moment what does she want to do? She wants to kill.

And you have not allowed her to kill you. She says, “See, this is exactly what I have been saying. You never allow me to do what I want to do.” When she comes to kill you, just say, “Okay fine, all yours. Kill me.”

Questioner 5: Acharya Ji, but it can also become a cycle. For example there is a tendency, and I allow that tendency to fulfilled. Tendency is like a desire only, an un-fulfilled deire. And if I allow that desire to get fulfilled, the cycle continues.

Acharya Prashant Ji: No, no. Don’t allow. ‘Allowing’ is not same as ‘letting’. Allowing means – “I stand as a gatekeeper. Show me your admit card. Now you are allowed in.” That isn’t quite nice. Is that?

“I stand as a policeman, show me the money. Now you are allowed to walk past.” Is that nice? Allowing?

‘Letting’ is something totally different.

‘Letting’ means – “I do not exist. I am out of your way. Let things happen?”

Questioner 3: Is it like that the more we let things happen, the more we will be more natural?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Blocking is something that one acquires.

Letting is not something that you can get used to, or learn progressively. Letting is your nature. You don’t cultivate it.

Questioner 4: If I let myself to do something which is anti-social, then?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Not in just thought. Give yourself total Freedom to indulge in what you want to, and then see. Without resisting it, without even ‘allowing’ it.

Questioner 4: So, it shouldn’t be just in mind?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Just see whether the energy to still do it, remains.

All tendencies exist to get freedom.

Having gotten Freedom, they disappear.

Ego exists because it loves the Truth. Having been touched by the Truth, it disappears.

Tendencies that are there, they are nothing but un-fulfillments.

All incompletenesses that are there.

Freedom is total completion. 

When you let the tendency be free to do it’s thing, then the tendency loses it’s justification to exist.

It’s very rationale for existing was that – “I don’t have freedom. I don’t have freedom, so I exist.” You said, “Now you have total freedom. You are totally free to do whatever you want to do.” It disappears. It disappears.

Question 5: There are times when we let things happen, but suddenly it changes to making things happen. And then there is lot of confusion.

Acharya Prashant Ji: The answer always is – Love.

Remember that whatever troubles you, essentially is in need of love.

And between lovers, force and methods do not work.

You  just have to trust that you won’t be harmed by the other.

When the lover is angry, you do not respond by defending yourself. And if you do that, that makes the other one even more angry.

That’s why I said, “When she comes to kill you, allow yourself to be killed.” That is the only way of surviving.

If you do not know that, then you won’t have any relationships.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant: How to let things happen?

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Is it alright to listen to many Masters parallely? || Acharya Prashant, on Osho (2019)

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Is it alright to listen to many Masters parallely

Question: Acharya Ji, I have come across people who have been listening to Osho  for a very long time, and they wish to hear some other Master too. But then they feel disloyal towards Osho.

Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

If you go to a Saint and that makes you feel that, that is being disloyal to another Saint, then you have understood neither of the two.

The Sikhs have ten Gurus. And being with one of them, makes you more eligible, more eager, more open to be with the other ones. That is the thing about really being with a Teacher, a Master, a Saint, whatever.

If you have really-really been with one, then you have been with his Essence, not with his name, or face, or form.

And if you have really been with his Essence, that would encourage you to be everywhere, that Essence takes form.

How can you be with Raidas, Saint Raidas, the Bhakti Saint, how can you be Saint Raidas and successfully avoid Kabir Sahib? If you can do that, then you are magically special. If you are with Saint Gorakhnath, you will have to go to Kabir Sahib. If you are with Ravidas Sahib, you will have to go Kabir Sahib.

Where is disloyalty in this?

But if you are talking in those terms, disloyalty etc., then it means that you have not gained closeness even to the one Master, you professed loyalty towards. It means you are not being disloyal when you go to another Teacher, you are already disloyal when you are even with the one Teacher.

What is loyalty to the Teacher?

What does the Teacher want from you?

Some kind of personal association?

Some kind of personality worship?

If the Teacher is genuine, his intention is to take you to the Essence, not to the name, shape, form, face, colour, whatever.

Osho himself was such  great door. If you have read him, then you know how many great Masters he spoke on. In fact, some names would probably have gone obscure, had Osho not spoken on them.

That shows the love and authenticity of the Teacher.

He holds your hands and takes you to every place worth visiting.

He takes you to every Teacher worth listening to.

It is not some kind of personal or bodily relationship. It is not some kind of filial affiliation. Loyalty and such things become abusive when used in terms that resemble conjugal behaviour.

The husband is telling the wife, “You remain loyal to me.” And the wife is telling the same to the husband. Does the Teacher-student relationship belong to this category?

Question 2: Acharya Ji, Osho had millions of followers all over the world. Why from those millions, not even a single one attain enlightenment?

Acharya Prashant Ji: How do you know? Do you know all the million ones?

Questioner 2: When someone gets enlightenment, then……

Acharya Prashant Ji: He becomes famous.

Questioner 2: No, it is just that he has such a fragrance, or such positive energy that everything around him changes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: That is very true. Flowers have such great fragrance, monkeys still pluck them. The fragrance might be there, but there equally has to exist someone who respects and appreciates the fragrance.

Have you seen monkeys respecting fragrant flowers? I have in fact seen monkeys chewing roses. And cows and goats when let lose on a rose gardens, have a good time. What do they do? They chew all the rose flowers. The fragrance is there, but so what?

If the fragrance comes to a monkey or a goat, who will respect the fragrance? So forget about all this the headcount of number of enlightened people and all that. There is no such census.

You care for your own development and liberation.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, it is wonderful to read Osho, but I also came across readings where he talked about some other things as well like: an internal voice will be there, a light will be shown up. I love Osho, but I see that these things come in between. They somehow keep one entangled.

So, at one time I want to enjoy listening to him, and at other times it feels like I might be entangled to these things.

Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: I love watching the YouTube clips of Test matches of Seventies and Eighties. I am talking of Cricket matches. Test matches from Seventies and Eighties. And the batsmen are having a torrid time.

I watch Lillie (Dennis Lillee), and Hadlee (Richard Hadlee) bowl to Gavaskar (Sunil Gavaskar). And I see how Gavaskar is leaving one delivery after the other, one delivery after the other. I see Marshall (Malcolm Masrhall) bowling to Vengsarkar (Dilip Vegsarkar), and I see how difficult it is.

Today on the list of all time highest run scorers, or all time highest wicket-takers, those heroes of Seventies and Eighties are nowhere. Sunil Gavaskar was once the Number One in the ranking of most runs in Test Cricket. I believe he is now close to Number Ten. Kapil Dev with his four hundred thirty four wickets, was once Number One. Today he too is nearing the Tenth place.

The strike-rate of Vivian Richards in (ODI) One Day International Cricket was nearly Ninety-two. That Ninety-two is far inferior to the strike-rate of many a lesser batsmen today. But when it comes to Test technique, Gavaskar is unparalleled. When it comes to sheer dominance in one day cricket, there is nobody like King Richards.

Those days were different. Those audience were different, those pitches were different. The entire condition was different. You have to be sympathetic.

You have-to-have sympathy towards the Teacher as well. In fact ’empathy’ would be a more appropriate word. You have to see under what conditions has he been operating. If you will want to detect trash, you will find trash in every religious Scripture.

You say that you listen to me, but I find a lot of trash in every single recording that goes out in my name. I find it so distasteful to listen to my own audios.

One needs to have a certain empathy.

One needs to understand that there are audience, and the Teacher has to keep up with the audience.

He cannot run too far ahead.

If the audience is demanding entertainment, the Teacher has to provide them. Otherwise they will walk out. And if they walk out, why is the Teacher speaking at all? When you talk of Osho, you are talking of the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties.

The world has come a fair distance ahead since then. Those were the times when even superstitions ruled a fair area. Those were the times, when a lot of people equated spirituality, with something metaphysical. So the Teacher had to dole out a little bit of all that, just to keep the audience satisfied.

Do not turn critical too easily.

Focus on that parts of the Master’s teachings that are absolutely pristine and timeless.

Today, even minions, dwarfs are hitting six sixes per match. King Richards would have had them for breakfast. But then, he was not hitting too many sixes. It was difficult to hit sixes in those times.

It was difficult to be an Osho in those times.

There was no internet, no YouTube, and India was a very poor country. And he had taken up a colossal mission for himself.

Keep in mind his situations.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Is it alright to listen to many Masters parallely? || Acharya Prashant, on Osho (2019)

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

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


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When does one find the final spiritual teacher? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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When does one find the final spiritual teacher

Question: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam!

I have observed that the mind gets coloured with the subject that I get myself involved into. Firstly it was Osho, Krishnamurti, Adi Shankaracharya, Rumi, and Ashtavkara. And now the subject is ‘you’.

Ever since I came in touch with you, I feel coloured with you. When will it happen that I will settle down in my real nature, the Source. Where am I going wrong? Where will my search end? What am I missing?

Request for your help.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

You are making a fundamental mistake. You are treating the Teachers as colour-pots. You are treating them as ‘subjects’, by your own admission.

You say, “I have observed that the mind gets coloured with the subject that I get myself involved with.”

Teachers are not subjects.

You do not read them.

You get read in their light.

Do you get the difference? Please meditate.

You do not read a Teacher, you get read in the light of the Teacher.

You get read.

You read yourself.

If you say that you are using the Teacher to colour yourself, then the basic material is remaining the same. The poor Teacher is just the colour on the surface. And you are stubborn, insistent that you will not allow the teacher to penetrate deep enough.

Colours do not change the clothes, or do they? Colours do not change the wall, or do they? Colours do not change the car, or do they? You ask that what is the mistake you are making.

This is the mistake that you are making.

You are continuing to have a ‘subject-object’ relationship with the Teacher.

And if you want to remain an ‘object’, it is imperative for you that the Teacher remains a ‘subject’.

And where there is an ‘object’ and there is a ‘subject’, there would always be a distance. The ‘subject’ and the ‘object’ cannot be one. They determine each other, they work upon each other, they play with each other, still they maintain a distance between them.

The subject, the object and the distance, all go together.

And as long as there is the distance, how can there be dissolution?

A lump of soil looks into the river and sees it’s own reflection, how does it help? How does it help? The distance is there. The lump of soil is the object, the river is the subject for that object. And all that the object can see is, it’s own reflection.

The distance has to be reduced.

There has to be a Real Contact.

A Real Contact.

And then there is dissolution.

Now the lump of soil sees nothing, talks of nothing, just flows with the river.

Dissolved, Resolved, Finished.

Alive!

Don’t read them, get read in their Light.

Light cannot be read.

What are you reading?

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: When does one find the final spiritual teacher? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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

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


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Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness || Acharya Prashant (2017)

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Don't ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! My question is related to ‘confidence’. Confidence is something which is within ourselves. But there are situations, and there are circumstances, where we do not feel confident. Suppose a person is suffering from stage-fear, how can he bring confidence in himself, in such situations?

Acharya Prashant Ji: See ‘confidence’ and ‘fearfulness’, ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’, these two are actually two names for the same state of mind.

‘Fearfulness’ says, “I am at the risk of losing something important” That ‘something important’ can be anything – money, security, respect, relationship, whatever.

‘Confidence’ says, “These things are important, yes. But I am not at the risk of losing them.”

What is common between ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’?

(silence)

I am repeating.

Fear says, “What I have from the world is important, and is at a risk of getting lost.”

Confidence says, “What I have from the world is of course important, but it is not at the risk of getting lost.”

Now, what is common between ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’?

Questioner: The dependence on the world.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Both say that what I have from the world, is surely important.

In fear you feel that it might be lost. In confidence you feel that there is no threat of it being lost. But remember, this feeling of ‘no threat’ depends on time. It depends on time. What is not threatened right now, will be threatened after five minutes, or after five days.

Confidence will surely turn into fear, because you have already made the basic preparation to be afraid. The basic preparation to be afraid is the thought that -‘What the world has given me is important’.

The root is there. Confidence is the point when the root has yet not expressed itself into the tree. The root is there, the tree is invisible. It has not yet come forth. Fear is the stage when the root has become a full-blown tree. But the root of both confidence, and fear is same – giving importance to external attainments.

Also, try to understand, let’s say when you are speaking to a friend, do you need confidence? Contrast that to when you are speaking to an enemy, when you are in a position where you feel that something is at risk, something is being threatened. You need confidence then, right?

You don’t need confidence in the everyday situations of your home, or with your friends. But for the interview room, everybody says, “I need confidence.” Right?

When do you need confidence?

When does the question of confidence arise?

The question of confidence arises only when you are afraid.

Do you see the linkage between fear and confidence? The one who is confident, is surely afraid. It’s just that he is not realising it at that point. If there is no fear, there is no need of confidence.

I am not at all confident, as I speak to you right now. I am just speaking simply, spontaneously. There is no confidence involved in this. When you are with a loved one, do you speak confidently? Or do you simply speak? Your presence is enough. Is it not? Or do you require confidence? But you surely require confidence when you are going to kill someone, because you are afraid.

Confidence is the shadow of fear.

But those who do not know this, they keep on saying, “You must be confident,” and now this thing has deeply entered our minds. It’s like saying that you must worship the colour white, or any other colour – yellow, red, blue, black. What you do not realise is that, for black to be visible on this board the background must be white.

White will always accompany black, that is the fundamental law of duality. No black, no White. Remove all whiteness from the world, and black will disappear. These are two faces of the same coin. You remove one face of the coin, and the other face too is gone. There cannot be coin with a single face.

Confidence is a disease, a disease that comes to those, who are basically afraid. You can put it the other way round. Fear too is a disease that comes to those who want to be confident.

Don’t ask for confidence.

Seek simple, spontaneous, unloaded being.

You don’t need to walk confidently, behave confidently, talk confidently.

You are alright as you are.

Confidence is not needed.

If you will inquire into confidence, you will see that there is a subtle aggression in confidence. Is that not so? Look at all your images of confidence, and you will see a hidden, a subtle, a fine aggression there. Which will inevitably be there, because fear and violence go together, always. Wherever there is fear, there would be aggression and violence. But our entire upbringing has been such that we have been told to worship confidence.

Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness.

Confidence and fearlessness are very-very different things.

Confidence means – fear is present.

Hence confidence is needed.

And that confidence is a false medicine.

Fearlessness is an entirely different thing altogether. Fearlessness means- “Fear is not there at all, what will I do with confidence? Fear is not there at all.”

Fearlessness, not confidence.

Do you understand this?

Simple fearlessness. And that fearlessness will come when you know that nothing important can be lost, when you can very carelessly say, “Take away what you want to take away, I will still be alright.” That is fearlessness.

As long as you keep giving importance to what you get from here and there, you will live in fear. and that is not necessary. Nobody wants to live in fear, right? Neither do you want to live in fear, nor do I want to live in fear. That is not necessary at all.

The more the world will mean to you, the more afraid you would be.

The more your mind is full of others, and thoughts of others, and opinion of others, want the others can give, what the others can take, what they are saying, how they are looking, how you are looking to others, as long as your mind is full of this, your face will be dripping with fear.

More is the presence of world in the mind, more is the life full of fear.

More is life full of fear, more is the demand of confidence.

Unfortunately, confidence is no treatment for fear.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant, with students: Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness

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Truth is not for those who want pleasure || Acharya Prashant on Ashtavakra Gita (2019)

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Truth is not for those who want pleasure

वाग्मिप्राज्ञामहोद्योगं जनं मूकजडालसम् ।
करोति तत्त्वबोधोऽयमतस्त्यक्तो बुभुक्षभिः ॥ १५-३॥

vāgmiprājñāmahodyogaṃ janaṃ mūkajaḍālasam ।
karoti tattvabodho’yamatastyakto bubhukṣabhiḥ ॥ 15-3॥

This awareness of the Truth makes an eloquent, clever and energetic man dumb, stupid and lazy,
and therefore Truth is avoided by those whose aim is pleasure. || 15.3

Question: Acharaya Ji, Pranaam! Please help he understand the given verse from Ashtavakra Gita.

Acharya Prashant Ji: “Truth makes the eloquent man dumb,” Ashtavakra is saying, “Truth makes the eloquent man dumb, the clever man stupid, and the energetic man lazy. And therefore those whose aim is happiness in life, they avoid the Truth.”

If you have been eloquent, you talk too much, then Truth puts a lid on your mouth because you start seeing the foolishness of your words. You used to yak so much, and a little touch of the Truth – awestruck! What to say? The words have been stolen away. It feels stupid to express the non-sense within.

Similarly, if you have been clever, Truth makes you see how stupid your cleverness is. So you give up on cleverness. Giving up on cleverness is not stupidity, but in the eyes of the world only two states exist – cleverness and the opposite of cleverness, the absence of cleverness, which the world calls as ‘stupidity’.

The spiritual one is certainly not clever.

The Saints have said, and repeated, and repeatedly emphasised that even a moron can reach there, but not a clever mind.

The ones who have beliefs in their tricks, and methods, and personal wisdom, and intellectual strength are never-never going to reach there.

Truth is for the innocent ones.

Similarly the one who keeps running about here and there, starts seeing the futility of his efforts. Incessant movement ceases. In the eyes of the world, the energetic man has become lazy. He has not become lazy, he has actually become just restful. But the world does not know rest, the world will call rest as ‘laziness’, which does not mean that rest and laziness are one.

There is laziness that is very-very restless, and there is rest that looks like laziness.

These two should not be conflated, they are not one.

But if you do not have discretion, then you may conflate these two. You may start talking of the relaxed person as ‘lazy’.

So when the world looks at the disappearance of eloquence, the disappearance of cleverness, and the disappearance of running around, the world says, “O, terrible! Spirituality has left this fellow totally useless. Earlier he was in fine condition. He was an impressive speaker, he was a sharp thinker, and a high achiever. Surely in fine fettle! We looked up to him.”

“But this thing called ‘spiritual realization’ has made him totally worthless, useless. Now he doesn’t talk too much, now he doesn’t come up with clever ideas to win the world, or gain pleasure, or prestige, or riches. And now he is not seen making frantic efforts to rise up the social ladder. He has become absolutely worthless.”

And having seen and concluded that spirituality turns a fellow worthless, the worshippers of pleasure and happiness, start abhorring spirituality even more. They were already scared of the Scriptures and the Teachers, not they may actively start hating the Scriptures and the Teachers.

They will say, “Don’t talk of Ashtavakra. I know what he did to my brother. My brother was such a nice man. And now he is of no use to anybody.”

Do you see what society wants? That you remain useful. You remain useful to?

Listeners: Society.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

And spirituality liberates you from being a useful slave to others, therefore the others will really dislike it, when you turn spiritual.

The spiritual man is not of much worldly use to others.

The fact is, that now he becomes really useful to others.

But the real use is not what the world wants from you.

The world wants from you, a worldly use.

And the worldly use you will now refuse to provide, therefore, the world will get angry.

Questioner 1: Does it mean that he is incapable of enjoying the pleasures of life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes, he is now incapable of committing himself to stupid pleasures. He now has deep and high pleasures. He now has deep and high pleasures.

Questioner 2: So, is that why Bible says, “Only those will enter the kingdom of God who are innocent like children”?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes.

Don’t be scared. There are pleasures beyond the pleasures. I did not speak on this to scare you away.

(laughter)

If the spiritual man no more cares for happiness or regular pleasures, it is now because he has a deeper and higher pleasure, a pleasure that abides, a pleasure that doe snot come along with displeasure, a pleasure that does not come along with sorrow.

What do you want – a small pleasure that comes along with displeasure, or a huge pleasure that comes only with itself?

What do you want – a plus one that comes with minus one, or a plus hundred that does not come with minus hundred?

Questioner 1: If it is so, then bring it on!

(laughter)

Question 2: Acharya Ji, I have received a lot of things, and I am grateful for them. At the same time, I feel indebted because I keep on receiving. What about this ‘indebtedness’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Settle the debt.

Questioner 2: It is like an ever increasing debt.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Settle as much as you can.

Question 3: What is the meaning of ‘real innocence’? Jesus mentioned very clearly that only those will enter the Lord’s land who are innocent like children. What kind innocence does Jesus talk about?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You know of one guilt from the Bible. What was the guilt of Adam and Eve?

Questioner 3: They ate the apple.

Acharya Prashant Ji: If guilt is to do what Adam and Eve did, what is ‘guilt’?

Questioner 3: To take away the apple which was of no use.

Acharya Prashant Ji: To take away the apple which was of no use, and not following the instructions. So now you know what is ‘innocence’?

‘Innocence’ and ‘guilt’ are related words, right? Innocence is freedom from guilt. So, the same source from where you are quoting about ‘innocence’, also gives you the definition of ‘guilt’.

What was the guilt?

To not to listen to the One, who is your father.

To not to follow his instructions.

To be tempted by the apple.

To give more credence to the words of the snake.

And then you know what happened after the guilt? They started getting civilised. Eve demanded some designer dresses, and God came and asked, “Who taught you to wear all these clothes? I left you naked.” And then He said, “O! You have knowledge now. Now you know what is guilt.”

Avoid guilt – that is innocence.

Innocent, you remain with Him.

Guilty, you consider yourself as earthly beings.

They were subjected to the Earth, banished from Heaven. The innocent ones continue to remain in Heaven, the guilty ones are banished to Earth, and they think of themselves as ‘earthly beings’.

Question 4: Acharya Ji, I do not see myself as very attached to pleasures. But if they come in my way, I do not see any resistance in enjoying them. So, if I am living in a five-star hotel, it’s fine. I won’t have any resistance to it. And if I am living in a hut or something, with some other amenities, that too is perfectly fine for me.

Acharya Prashant Ji: You don’t accidentally stray into a five star hotel, do you? You are saying that if providence brings me to a five star hotel, it is okay. And if I have to live in some rag-tag place, even then it is okay.

Are these acts of providence, or you book your hotel two months in advance?

You choose where you would stay, and you would actually pay up for it. Is that the best use of your money? No. But you are devoting your resources to pleasure. It’s a choice, it’s not an accident. Providence didn’t bring pleasure to you, you arranged for pleasure.

But your presents as if pleasure accidentally came your way. It didn’t accidentally, you paid up for it.

Questioner 4:  But I can afford it, that’s why.

Acharya Prashant Ji: The thing is that you have limited resources, and we have talked of the best use of resources.

What is the best use of one’s resources in life?

Liberation.

Now, have your resources gone towards liberation? No. You found something higher than liberation, that is pleasure.

Questioner 4:  I am obviously choosing.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously it’s a choice. But your question. See how deceptively it presents a situation.

Questioner 4: I am just trying to understand myself.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Where could the same money have gone?

Listeners: In liberation.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Pleasures are hardly ever accidental. And if accidental pleasures do come to you, fine. But these are pleasures that we pay for, with our life. These are very-very costly pleasures. Very costly.

The chirping of the bird, is an accidental pleasure.

Unexpected rain, might be an accidental pleasure.

Questioner 4: So, the ‘I tendency ‘ is still attached to pleasure.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously it is.

It is not merely attached to pleasure, it is also not accepting something higher life. That higher thing is more pleasurable than pleasure.

Come to it.

It’s an invitation!

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Truth is not for those who want pleasure || Acharya Prashant on Ashtavakra Gita (2019)

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

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


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Penetrate fear, a surprise is waiting for you || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Penetrate fear, a surprise is waiting for you

Question: Acharya Ji, you have said in one of the Satsangs that one has to go to the deepest fear, to find the key. I go to that deepest fear, visit there. How do I get the key? Do I get the key, do I not get the key, I don’t know. How to know?

Acharya Prashant Ji: One is never afraid of anything, except this opportunity going waste. If you will look at fear, with fear, then you will never know ‘fear’. You will have to fearlessly penetrate fear.

So, for example when you say that you are afraid of something, you will have to ask, “What am I really afraid of?” Penetrate it.

Questioner 1: There are pains. I can feel it physically. If I visit there and touch them, they go away.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Don’t just touch them, penetrate them.

Questioner 1: There are so many.

Acharya Prashant Ji: There are not so many. There is just one. There is just one, that is showing up in so many ways.

Fear tells you that something wrong is going to happen. Ask fear, “What is it that you are going to threaten me with? What is it that you see as being lost?”

Questioner 1: Acharya Ji, I don’t care much about what the fear says. I just want to go in and get it done, whatever it takes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Get done what?

Questioner 1: Get the sukh (happiness).

Acharya Prashant Ji: That’s what the fear is saying, “You will not get the sukh.”

Questioner 1: But I don’t allow fear to not let me enter that zone.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Then fear is irrelevant. Then you would not have needed to talk about fear. Had you been the master of your fears, you wouldn’t have needed to talk about them.

Questioner 1: It’s there, but…..

Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s there for a purpose. It wants to tell you something. You must listen to all that it says.

Questioner 1: Does the fear has a message?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously.

Questioner 1:

There is nothing in life, that does not have a message.

The more loudly something occurs to you, the more importantly something is related to you, the more significant is the message it has to deliver to you.

Questioner 1: But I have always known that whatever fear says is wrong.

Acharya Prashant Ji: But what does it say? What fear says is wrong, right? So how to discover what is wrong?

Questioner 1: By listening to whatever fear says.

Acharya Prashant Ji: By listening to the fear. So, that’s why you must listen to fear. May be, fear is to tell you that a lot of things about you are wrong.

Questioner 1: Yes.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Fear is never reasonless, or purposeless, or message-less.

It tells you of your insecurities.

It tells you where you are not real, it tells you of your vulnerabilities.

If you do not listen to fear, you will keep assuming that you are all solid and strong. It’s only fear that would drive a little humility into you. Otherwise, you can license yourself to keep feeling like a superman.

It’s only when the superman starts shivering, that you know that the superman is not so ‘super’ after all.

Questioner 1: There are so many fears, should we counter them one-by-one?

Acharya Prashant Ji: If you go deeply even in one of them, you will see that all of them are being engendered from the same source probably.

Questioner 1: I don’t have the intellect to go into that.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Go into just one of them.You don’t need intellect, you just need an honest face-to-face conversation.

Isn’t fear almost like a voice within – trembling, yet threatening?

Questioner 1: Yes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: So have a conversation. The voice says something, you reply to it. Probe it. “What are you threatening me about? And why the hell are you so nervous?” Ultimately the fear will say, “Such and such bad things are about to happen.” And then you must ask, “Who told you that these are bad things? How do you know that these things or events, even if they happen, will have a catastrophic impact on me?”

You don’t have to fight fear.

You just have to talk to it.

Fear says, “You will lose that.” You say, “Fine. First of all, the probability of me losing that is not great. And even if I lose that, would it really be so cataclysmic as you present it to be? Can’t I survive that loss? And if I can survive that loss, why do you behold me to it?”

Questioner 1: So this questioning is not coming out of ego?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Let it come out of genuine curiosity. You want to know. Further the fear baby is shouting so much. If you don’t talk  to it, it will fall ill.

Questioner 2: I have spoken with that fear many a times. I get to that point, that the fear is trying to tell me, “You are going to change, or not exist anymore.” That what I am right now, the attraction what I have, the attachment I have, all is going to cease.

What should I do next?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Am I today what I was ten years back? A lot has changed. In fact, the more has changed than has remained the same. And has all this change been necessarily for the worse? So if all these major changes in the last ten years, were not all reprehensible, then why must I assume that further changes in my life would be necessarily matters of regret?

And if change were really so very abhor-able, and dreadful then all of us should have remained just as we were physically, psychologically, economically at the age of five.

Who over here would want to return to his or her psychological condition at the age of five? Have you not almost entirely changed? Are you not glad that you have almost entirely changed?

You are glad that you are no more what you were at five. Then why do you secure what you are at thirty-five? Please. Let you be a totally different person at forty-five. How is that going to be a thing of dread? How?

But yes, the five year old girl, would have wept just like this, had she been told that her favorite doll is being taken away. Now do you bother for that doll? These are dolls, a doll for each age. You anyway throw away the doll on your own. Don’t you? But when somebody tells you, “A doll is just a doll, why are you so attached?” then you become all emotional and traumatised. “O! Something grievously bad is going to happen. They will take away my doll.”

Okay, nobody is going to take away your doll. Next day, what do you do? You will throw away the doll on your own. And then you don’t remember how you were in tears the previous night, holding the doll to your chest and saying, “My doll! My doll!” If the doll is so dear, never throw it away. Take it to the crematorium, and then beyond.

When Yamaraj (the Hindu god of Death) comes, then tell him that you would be tripling –  Yamaraj, you and the doll in between.

(laughter)

He is wearing a natural helmet, you would be challaned (penalised).

(laughter)

Okay, let’s not change anything in your life, for the rest of your life. Deal? That’s what you want? Daily you tell your kids, “Grow up.” Don’t you? Daily you tell your boss, “I need a raise.” On the other hand, you are so very terrified of change. So go and board the flight, and block it from taking-off.

Don’t you see the contradiction in which we live?

On one hand we are deeply longing for change, on the other hand, how much do we resist change. What if your wish is fulfilled? What if change is permanently blocked? What would you do then? Tell me.

The food will really never cook, no change will really happen. You would not be able to get up and leave from here, no change is possible. Don’t you see that we are beings of change? We require change.

And fear tells you, “Oh! There is going to be change.” So ask fear, “So? Even you were not always there. You too came to me, as a matter of change. And now you are warning me so much against change.” When the five-year old was weeping, then you were laughing at her. How would you look at yourself, when you are fifty-five? Then you will again laugh at yourself.

The problem is – the little bit of laughter that we get, is always in retrospect. We are never able to laugh in the present. Looking back, we may manage to laugh, “O, I was so stupid.” Wouldn’t it be great if you could say that in the moment, not in hindsight? And the fact is, whenever you look at yourself in hindsight, you always find that you have been stupid.

And then you can laugh at yourself. “Ah! Yes, yes. I was stupid. I was just fifteen years old, so I had the license to be stupid.” When you are fifty-five and you look at yourself as you are thirty-five, so you say, “No, no. I was still young. I was thirty-five, so I was stupid.” And then you can laugh at yourself with abandon, “O! I was just thirty-five.”

But at thirty-five, you cannot laugh at the one who is still thirty-five. You leave that to happen twenty  years later. And who will laugh at the one who is fifty-five? There would be nobody left. Don’t worry. None of you is going to live that long. It’s a very polluted earth. Seventy-five is a very far cry.

(laughter)

So, why not laugh at yourself right now?

This kind of conversation, fear cannot stand. Fear would say, “It’s extreme stupidity. I am leaving. I am boycotting this conversation.” So in indignity and humiliation, fear leaves you all red-faced. Stamping it’s feet, it goes away.

“Stupid woman, I don’t want to talk to her. All she does is laugh. All the time she is laughing at herself. I am trying to drill a bit of seriousness in her. But what does she do? She keeps laughing.”

So fear leaves. Too bad for fear, it leaves. Good for you, it leaves.

What is it that won’t leave?

Anything?

What are you afraid of?

And you know, if there is something that won’t leave you, it would become a huge burden on you.

So do keep praying that everything does leave you in due time.

Question 3: How to have the lightness of that laughter that you just talked about? And also how to balance it out with the seriousness of little things that are happening in nature, on planet earth, right now?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

You don’t have to be serious about the Earth, you have to be serious about yourself. It’s a massive delusion that you and the Earth are separate. Not only are you not separate in the physical sense, you are also not separate in the psychological sense. Man, if he colonises another planet, will no more be ‘man’ as we know him. It would be some other specie altogether.

When you are serious about the real thing, it is then that you get levity, lightness about the serious stuff.

No kind of seriousness is important, except that which is unavoidable.

A suffering one cannot say that he is not serious about his suffering, because he is. Had he not been serious about his suffering, he wouldn’t have been suffering. So there is suffering, and we have to be serious about it.

What is ‘seriousness’ then?

‘Seriousness’ is – attention.

Attention.

Attend to it.

For you, it exists. So don’t try to pretend that it is not. This is ‘seriousness’.

Attend to it, go close to it.

Don’t escape the fact of it’s existence.

And when you attend to something honestly, then you don’t let your energy be scattered.

And that is when you become casual about so many other things.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Penetrate fear, a surprise is waiting for you || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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

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Why doesn’t the current education system create a Vivekananda? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why doesn't the current education system create a Vivekananda

Question: What is the purpose of our current education system? Why can’t this system produce more Vivekanandas? What will it take for the system to create one?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Every system is designed by someone, for some purpose. Can you blame the car if it doesn’t travel to the moon?

Questioner: No.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why? Isn’t it a serious shortcoming that the car isn’t able to fly up to the moon? Why don’t you blame it? Why don’t you blame it? Because that was not the designed goal. The car is perfectly fine at doing, what it has been designed to do.

What has it been designed to do?

Questioner: It has been designed to move on the road.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It has been designed to be a terrain vehicle. It has been designed to horizontally scan the surface. So it does that.

What is the intention of the current education system?

The system is good, very good at doing what it has been designed to do. But what is the intention of the designer, must that not be asked? And when you ask the intention of the designer, you will have to ask: “What is your vision of the products of such a system?”

When you envisage a product of the current education system, what do you see?

And related to that, is the question: Do you understand who is entering the education system? If you understand who is the one who enters the system, you would probably be nicely placed to see: who is it that must emerge from the system?

In other words: Do we know who we are, and therefore who we must be? The ones that we are, is the input into the system. The ones that we must be, must be the output of the system. Do we know who enters the system at age three or five? And therefore, do we know what to expect from the one, who emerges at the age of twenty-three, or twenty-five?

Do we understand both our fact, and our possibility?

And is not education the movement from our somber fact, to our splendid possibility?

Must that not be the very definition of our education – a movement from the sordid, primitive fact of our existence to the glorious, splendid possibility of a liberated human being?

Education is what must connect these two.

Right? But is that even the thought, or the idea? Is that the intention? No it is not the intention. I will tell you what the intention is. The makers of the system, think of the input as a raw material, and the output as the finished product, that must serve the needs of the social order, and in the process ingratiate itself as well.

So, if the existing social and economic order requires people who can produce shopoes, then the education system will be directed towards educating kids and young men, about leather, about tanning, about shoes, about marketing of shoes, and such things.

In the process you would be told that if you do this well, then you will get material comforts. “If you are a good manufacturer of the shoe young man, or a good marketer of the shoe young man, then you will get good material comforts from the society, young man.”

In other words, if you provide the society with good material comforts in the form of good shoes, then the society too would reciprocate by providing you too with good material  comforts like money, like respect, like other physical and monetary things.

Is that not how our education system proceeds?

Are we not producing goods for social consumption? In fact, is that not what we consider a great virtue in a college, or a university?

The products of this university find good positions in industry, and we say, “Wow!”

The products of this university find good positions with government, and we say, “Wow!”

We fawn and grovel at someone with good placement figures, don’t we? What is exactly this thing called ‘placement’? Absorption of the individual into the social-economic order. Is that not what placement is? And we take that as a great virtue.

If that is happening, then we say that the education system is – practical.

Where is ‘Liberation’ in all this?

Where is ‘Truth’?

You are being educated to become something, you are not being educated to un-become what you erroneously have become.

A good education system will have two components.

On one hand, it will surely tell you of the world. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you do not know about the world, then you are prone to imagination. The absence of facts, is a good breeding ground for imagination. So you must know the facts, so that you do not fall prey to baseless imaginativeness.

Secondly, when you know the world, then you also know the hollowness of the world. If you do not know the world, the world remains a distant attraction. When you go close to it, only then it’s attractiveness starts waning, and you see that it cannot offer you what you deeply, desperately want.

So that component education must surely have – deep, clear, factual knowledge about the world.

That includes Sciences, Mathematics, knowledge about different lands, their cultures, their political systems, History, Cosmology, the rivers, the trees, the hills. Man, his life, his health, his body. The molecules, the atoms, the medicines.

Education must surely tell us about these things. If we do not know about these things, then we will be superstitious. And education must have a very important, second component also.

Education must tell us about ‘the one’ being educated.

How important does that sound?

If you are being told of lot of things, if you are being given a lot of knowledge, without being told of ‘the one’, the knowledge is coming to, how good is it for you?

So, the second component of education must tell you of – who you are, why at all do you need to being educated? Why do you want to know about the plains of Central Asia? Why do you need to know about the Prairies? Why do you need to know about the Ural Mountains? You would probably never need to go to Antarctica, then why do you need to know about the glaciers there? You are never going to be found on Saturn, then why do you need to know about the rings and moons of Saturn?

The second component of education must tell you who you are, and therefore why do you need knowledge.

It will tell you why you need knowledge, and it will tell you the distance to which knowledge can go. And therefore, the limit of knowledge.

And where knowledge stops, love begins and meditation begins.

If you do not have this second component of education, there is no possibility of love and meditation.

All you will have is factory-made products.

Those factories would be needlessly named as ‘universities’. There would be a admissions office, and there would be a placement office. And in-between there would be the assembly line.

The second component of knowledge is almost totally missing. The ones who are educating do not know they are, and who is being educated. The one who is being educated has no idea why all the knowledge is being thrown upon him.

If you ask him, “Why do you need to read those books?” if at all he wants have to justify himself, you will have just one response. He will say, “It will give me acceptance and placement. I will get a job. Or, I will get admission into a subsequent course.”

Ask him, “Why do you need that?,” he will mumble something. Go deeper, repeat the question, and he will get irritated because he has no answer, because he has no understanding.

It’s alright if a three-year old has to be just taken to the school, let’s say to the play school. You really can’t explain him why you need to take him there. So you have to just engage him, and entertain him and these things. But by the time the student reaches the age of six or ten, the thing has to be consensual. The student must know why he is proceeding to class five or six.

There has to be clarity about the learning process, and only then there would be love for learning.

Isn’t this a obvious question to ask, “Mom, I am going to spend eight hours in school, every day. Why at all do I need to be there?” Does the fellow not deserve a convincing answer, a solid and truthful answer.

But who would answer? Mom herself never knew why she got educated, or got married, or gave birth. What does she have to tell the kid? She will say, “This is the way it happens. You just go.” Or if she has some wits, she will say, “Son, had I asked so many questions, you would not have been there to ask even a single question.”

Knowledge is totally meaningless without an understanding of the knower.

Getting it?

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Why doesn’t the current education system create a Vivekananda? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why do you want to get married? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Why do you want to get married

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Currently there is a lot of pressure on me to get married. I am completely confused about this decision. I am not mentally prepared for it right now. I feel incompleteness in my life, and I want to settle things in my life.

There is a lot of pressure, but I am still holding on. This issue is taking lot of my time and attention. What to do?

Acharya Prashant Ji: 

Companionship is wonderful. Be with one person, ten persons, anybody who helps your mind be centered. Being with such a person, or a group of persons, is wonderful.

If marriage is another name for beautiful companionship, wonderful. But what matters is not the social institution of marriage, but the fact that you are with someone.

When you are with someone, the presence of that someone, will necessarily have an effect on you, and vice-versa.

You must know the effect that the other’s presence have upon you.

If someone’s effect has a becalming effect on your mind, soothing effect on your mind, illuminating effect on your mind, liberating effect on your mind, go ahead and boldly be with that person or persons, as much as you want to.

But be with them, only as long as their effect on you is liberating. And be with them only as long as you do not become dependent on them, neither they become dependent on you.

It has to be a mutually healthy relationship, not a relationship in which you enter because of sexuality, or loneliness, or social pressure.

You already have enough troubles, right? You don’t want to invite another trouble into your house, into your bedroom. Do you? But yes, if someone can bring Joy and Truth to you, invite them right into your heart. And then marriage is inconsequential.

With the right person – you marry, wonderful. You don’t marry, wonderful. With the wrong person – you marry, bad luck. You don’t marry, bad luck.

What do you think, only married people have troubles? You might be single, you might be a bachelor, and still you may have very bad company. And then you are equally troubled, as a husband and as a wife is.

It’s not a matter of being in that institution. The question is: What brings you that institution? Look around, see why people marry. Do they marry because it’s an affirmation of their divine love? Is that how it happens? Seriously?

In our country (India), most people marry because that’s the only way to get some good sex, good and assured sex. Otherwise, the fellow would have to spend a lot of money, or a lot of time, or both. And may then still return empty-handed. Isn’t that so?

Now if one marries for such a reason, or many other prevalent reasons –

“I will have someone to look after me when I grow old.”

“Muma needs someone to share her daily chores.”

“Grandpa is very fond of kids.”

“All my friends have married, now I have nobody to watch the movies with. They don’t take me along. I feel like a left-out if I am single.”

“These days they don’t allow me entry into night-clubs and pubs. Stag-entry is expensive.”

If these are your reasons, then look at your mind. Sort out your mind, and with a sorted mind whatever you do, would be right. There have been liberated ones, who have married. And there have been liberated ones who haven’t married. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is – liberation.

If you are sorted and liberated, go ahead and do whatever you want to.

And if you aren’t sorted and liberated, whatever you do would be wrong.

An action that arises from fear, will only lead to more fear.

An action that arises from conformity and deprivation, cannot lead to Freedom.

Questioner 1: Currently my feeling is that, I am in the process of sorting my mind. I don’t know whether I am right or not. But the current feeling is that, if I take some more time, my mind will get sorted out and things will be clearer to me. That’s the current state of my mind.

Acharya Prashant Ji: People who are recuperating in a hospital, can avoid discotheque for a few days.

Questioner 1: Acharya Ji, I want to ask one more question on relationships.

Some people gang-up, and when you identify that it’s a ‘gang’, you clearly avoid it. But sometimes, there are one or two people in that gang who respect you, and you too respect them genuinely.

What should be our response to them?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When they are ganging-up, in that moment they are not respectable. ‘Respect’ is not a permanent tag that you give to someone. When they are in a frame of mind that is worthy of respect, respect them. And when they have ganged-up with unworthy ones, with debauched ones, in that moment are they still worthy of respect? No.

So don’t label people as ‘respectable’ or ‘not-respectable’.

Look at their actions.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, one of my friends pushes my pain-buttons all the time. He is the most irritating person around.

Acharya Prashant Ji: And he is your friend.

(laughter)

Questioner 2: He cares for me.

Acharya Prashant Ji: By pushing your buttons?

Please sort this out.

A fellow who irritates you, and keeps your mind agitated, why is he present in your life as a ‘friend’? How exactly is he taking care of you, if his presence leads to an unsettled mind? What are these ‘tags’?

The only definition of a friend is: Someone who brings you back to yourself, to your Serenity, to your Peace.

That is the only ‘friendship’ possible.

And that is also the definition of ‘love’.

Isn’t it?


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video:

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Without this, all is worthless || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2019)

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Without this, all is worthless

Jo main piyake man nahin bhaaye
To kaa padosin kaie dulraye
Kahaa chudaa paayal jhamkaaye kahaa bhaye bichuaa thankaaye
Kahaa kaajar sindoor kaie diyyaie solaah singaar kahaa bhaye kiyaie
Anjan manjan karaie thagauree ka pachi maraie thagauree bauree
Jo patibrataa hai naree kaisehi raho so pihayee piyaree
Tan man jeevan saunpee sareeraa taahi sohaagan kahai kabeera

If you cannot win the love of the Lord,
What if you can lord over your neighbour?
What is the good of dressing your hair and donning your feet with jingling jewellery?
What is the value of all your make up with kaajar to your eyelids and vermilion to your forehead and all the efforts to deck yourself, if you are not loyal in your love?
It is all a self-deception and does not touch the Lord at all.
Says Kabir: if you can surrender Your body, mind and heart to the Lord and remain loyal in love to Him, sans make up and ornaments
you will win His favour in whatever state you be!

~ Guru Kabir Sahib

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Please elaborate on these lines of Guru Kabir Sahib.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why do you want me to speak on this? Just keep on reciting these lines over and over again.

Alright! Let’s see what Kabir Sahib is saying. What is he saying? He is saying, “How do you manage to give yourself the right to celebrate?” Kabir Sahib is wondering that how does the ordinary man or woman, when I say, “Man,” I mean person. Have clarified this many a times. It’s just a matter of habit.

How does the ordinary man gather the guts, the dishonest audacity to pretend that as if everything is alright? How do we manage to laugh out so loud? How do we manage to have such ravishing parties? How do we manage to sing and yell? How do we manage to say, “Thumbs up. All is well”?

Wow, that has rhymed!

“How do we manage to sing and yell?
How do we manage to say, ‘Thumbs up, all is well’?”

Kabir is astonished at our dishonesty. He is saying, “How do you tolerate yourself smiling?”

You have nothing. The only thing worth having in life is, His companionship, nearness to Him. That you have lost. You didn’t invest your life in earning His nearness. You lost all which was precious, because you were never determined to earn that. And now, loveless, sire-less, see how shamelessly you rejoice.

You have vermilion on your forehead, you have kohl on your eyes, so you are wearing all these things, as if the season is festive, as if some great achievement has happened, as if you are ‘somebody’. Instead of mourning, you are celebrating.

What is this absurdity?

That which is the essence of life, you are separated from.

And still you walk on, carry on, as if nothing has happened.

The sole purpose of life is getting defeated day-by-day.

Every passing day is a new defeat, time lost.

And yet you keep saying, “All is well.”

Not a trace of melancholy.

Not an iota of regret.

And then he says, “Had you not had any of these celebrations and happinesses, and you had Him, then your life could be said to be fulfilled.”

Kabir talks of the ‘I sense’ as the female – the woman searching for her beloved. He too talks of all mankind as female, because the ‘I sense’ is there in both man and woman. So he says that the ‘I sense’ is the woman, and she is looking for her beloved Lord. And she is not finding Him. Therefore she is restless.

At one point he says, “Pativrataa mailee bhalee (The faithful one, the loyal one, is better off as shabby).”

If you are aiming for Him, if you are in the process, your looks, your appearances become dusty and unattractive, that is okay. But if you have lost Him, and still look attractive, and young, and market-ready, then you are just a ‘vyabhichaarinee‘ (adulteress).”

Who is a ‘vyabhichaarinee‘ in Kabir’s jargon?

The ‘I sense’ that has not only not attained the Beloved, but is also not eager to attain the beloved. She is lost in the world, in miscellaneous pursuits.

So Kabir says, “Do not bother about counting your worldly achievements. Assess yourself on just one parameter. Do not assess yourself on how much you have progressed in the worldly sense. Ask yourself just one question: ‘Do I have Him?'”

If you have Him, you have everything.

And if you do not have Him, then what is the point in having everything.

So he is taunting mankind, both men and women. He is saying, “You are flaunting your looks, you are brandishing your wares, you are giving yourself the right to hold festivities. But all that is just self-deception.”

You are so dishonest, that you want to convince yourself that you are alright, when it is very well-certain that things are not alright.

In fact, the more you display your ornaments and makeup, the more it becomes ascertained that your laughter is all made-up.

If you go to Kabir Sahib, you will ask just one question: “Do you have Him?” There is nothing else to discuss. Point-blank, one shot.

What is the question?

Listeners: Do you have Him?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

If ‘Yes’, no more questions.

If ‘No’, no more questions.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Without this, all is worthless || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2019)

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


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Why is singing of great importance in spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2018)

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Why is singing of great importance in spirituality

Question: Acharya Ji, how is music related to spirituality? What do Bhakti Saints sing of?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sing with a Kabir, or sing Kabir with yourself. That’s the best thing.

The best thing is to sing.

The best thing is to – sing.

But you know, we have become very-very unmusical. Our instruments have lost their tuning. We have forgotten to sing. We have lost all verse. So the fallout of that is, that your Acharya Ji has to laboriously speak in prose. And therefore he has to speak so much. Otherwise, two lines of a Kabir Sahib, are much more than sufficient.

And even after speaking so much, do I even come close to what he said? I don’t.

Sing, there is no alternative to that.

Questioner: Without knowing the meaning?

Acharya Ji: Then know the meaning, and sing. He definitely wanted you to know the meaning and sing. That’s why he sang in the language of the people. Had he just wanted you to croon anything unintelligible, then why would he compose in the everyday language of the ordinary people.

Why did he do that? Because he wanted you to also know the literal meaning of his words. if I can help you know the literal meaning of his words, good. To that extent, use me. But do sing.

Man ko maruun patak ke, tuuk-tuuk hoyee jaye,

(Let me hit hard the mind and break it into pieces).

vish kee kyaree boye ke, ab kahe pachtaye.

(After performing bad deeds, why repent now?)

~ Guru Kabir Sahib

Question 2: Acharya Ji, why do saints curse the mind so much, even though the same mind brings me to the Guru?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Then Kabir Sahib has a different couplet for you.

Kabira man nirmal bhayaa, jaise Ganga neer,

(Kabir’s mind has become pure, as the water of Ganges).

Paache paache hari phire kahat Kabir, Kabir.

(Now God runs after him, speaking aloud, ‘Kabir’, ‘Kabir’).

Not all verses of mind are applicable to all states of the mind.

Pahle to man kaaga tha, karta aatm ghaat,

(This mind was once like a crow, causing self-harm).

Ab to man hansa bhaya, moti chug chug khaat.

(Now the mind has become like a swan, chooses and eats with discretion).

So, it’s not as if the Saints have just cursed the mind incessantly. They have also praised the mind – if the mind brings you to the Guru, glory to the mind.

If the mind takes you towards destruction then, “Man ko maruun patak ke, tuuk-tuuk hoyee jaye (Let me hit hard the mind and break it into pieces).”

Depends on the direction the mind is taking.

If you will go to the Upanishads, they will say, “There is no greater friend than the mind. And neither is there enemy bigger than the  mind.”

The mind is both – best friend, and biggest enemy.

Your friend and your enemy are at war with each other. Who will win? Who will win? You are the referee. You don’t even have to choose. You have to just declare. Keep declaring the right result.

Keep declaring the right result.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, when we face reality, we feel as if we have been badly bashed. So, how should one respond in such situations?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You have to remember what I just said.

Irrespective of how one behaves, or what one says, deeply and ultimately all want – the One. So, irrespective of what your impulsive reaction is, you must also remember that nobody does anything for self-harm.

Even when a person commits suicide, he is actually trying to minimize self-harm.

Doesn’t matter whether the world is ignorant or arrogant. It doesn’t matter what qualities and characteristics are being displayed. Are they being displayed so that the one displaying them gets harmed?

You might be ignorant and you are walking towards a hole. But is it self-harm that you want? You are just ignorant. And if you are ignorant, do I curse you, or do I help you? The prakritik instinct would be to curse. Wisdom would be to helpfully curse.

So when you curse, curse in a way that helps.

When Kabir Sahib is saying, “Man ko maruun patak ke,” obviously he is cursing the mind. But look at the love. What is he scolding the mind for? He is saying, “You are the one who sowed all the poisonous seeds.”

vish kee kyaree boye ke, ab kahe pachtaye.

(After performing bad deeds, why repent now?)

Now you are repenting.

He is actually teaching the mind something. What is he teaching the mind? Do not sow seeds of poison. Like the benevolent grandfather you know, who scolds you but nevertheless helps you. And he scolds you so that the need to be helped reduces.

Saints have scolded a lot. In fact, even Buddha who is commonly considered to be the epitome of poise and compassion, has been very-very harsh in his scoldings. He has used choicest words. Sometimes he has called you ‘an ass’, sometimes ‘a pig’.

It is for the sake of compassion.

And it is because those who run from the center of fear, sometimes require fear, even to be helped.

Suppose there is a patient,  diseased one in the spiritual sense. And what is his disease? His disease is that he works only through fear. His disease is, that he knows only fear. Nothing can make him move or work, except fear.

Now, you want to take this person to a doctor of spirituality. This fellow is a sick man in spiritual sense. And you want to take him to a doctor who would cure him. And this man knows only one motivation. What is that motivation?

Questioner: Fear.

Acharya Prashant Ji: How do you take this man to the doctor?

Questioner: By using fear.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Therefore the Saints scold.

Questioner 4: Acharya Ji, I think honesty is needed to be afraid.

Acharya Prashant Ji: No, honesty is not needed. Honesty is needed to be fearless. Honesty is not needed to be fearful, it is needed to be fearless.

The ones who live by the center of fear, always live in the imaginations of feared outcomes.

That’s why they live in fear.

So, all that the Teacher then needs is a certain worldly power, using which he should be able to induce fear in the other person.

The Teacher must have a certain worldly authority as well, using which he should be able to induce fear.

But when we are talking about the worldly authority, and the intent of the Teacher to induce fear in someone, let it not go too far.

We are only talking of as much fear, as is required to bring the patient to the doctor.

Nothing more than that.

We are not talking of fear becoming a way of life.

We are not talking of fear, as the preferred instrument of the Teacher.

We are not glorifying fear.

The aim is fearlessness.

But sometimes our love for fearlessness, can get so very shrouded beneath all kinds of rubbish, that we just lose that charm. The Teacher may come and say, “You know what, you live in fear. Come with me and I will take you to fearlessness.” And the fellow would say, “Fearlessness. I don’t want that.” He wants that, and yet does not know that he wants. That’s the situation of man.

So the Teacher has no option, but to temporarily use fear.

Getting it?

That power has to be very-very discreetly applied.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Why is singing of great importance in spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2018)

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You have chosen to be bonded! || Acharya Prashant on ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand (2012)

Fountainhead MAG

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Question: Acharya Ji, in breaking the law, we think that we come out from our daily routines. Does our society allow us that?

Acharya Prashant Ji: How old are you?

Questioner: Twenty years.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Twenty. Most of you here would be between eighteen and twenty-one years of age. You are not eight years of age, and you are not eighty years of age, right? You are neither eight, when you don’t have your brain cells yet fully made, when you are yet dependent upon everybody else, neither you are eighty yet, when you don’t have any physical vigor or stamina left. You are young, right? You like to call yourself ‘young’. Is that a question a young man should ask?

Is that a question a young man should ask – “Will the society allow me?” (Referring to the Holistic Development Program (HIDP) conducted by the Foundation in educational institutions). Your facilitator last semester would have surely recommended one particular book to many of you, ‘The Fountainhead.’ Many of you might also have read it.

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: The protagonist there, ‘Howard Roark’, he is a student in an architecture college. Fiercely individualistic. Fiercely. He is about to be expelled from his college, because he would not subscribe to the type of designs being recommended by his professors. He says, “No, all that is outdated. Today different types of designs for buildings are needed.”

So there is this conversation between him and the Dean of the college. He has been expelled, but the Dean has called him in his office to give him another chance. He thinks that Roark will come and submit apologies, and the Dean will get a chance to forgive him, and take him in again, because Roark is otherwise a very talented student.

Now, when Dean is talking to Roark, Roark is totally non-submissive. So Dean asks him, “For all that you are saying, who will allow you to build these crazy designs?” The Dean thinks that the designs made by Roark are crazy, that they are impractical, that they are ahead of the times.

So the Dean is looking at the designs made by Roark and he says, “Who will allow you to build these designs?” Roark says, “That is not the question.” Pay attention to these words. He is a student like you. Roark says, “That is not the question that who will allow me. The question is: Who will stop me?” And that is what I call ‘a young man’.

Him I call a young man, who says, “It’s not a question whether society will allow me or not. The question is: Who will stop me? Who can stop me?”

And only people like Roark cannot be stopped, because they are so sure that they cannot be stopped.

Because they know that they cannot be stopped.

Because they know that they would rather die than stop.

But then a young man gets up and asks me, “Will society allow me?,” you have already declared the force of society over you. You have already declared that you are afraid of the society. Who is the society? Where is the society? Show me the society!

One of you sitting here is an individual. When a crowd assembles here, it starts calling itself a ‘society’. What is there to be afraid of? What are you afraid of? And if you are afraid today, when will you give up fear? When will you give up fear?

But I tell you why you are afraid.

You are afraid because society is collectivism – people collected together.

And you deeply believe in that.

Even when at this moment I am talking of fierce individuality, I can see at least five of you, not with yourself, but with your neighbor. And I blame not those who want to chit-chat. I blame those, who are willing to let their ears to their neighbor. They have already lost the battle with the society.

The battle with society, the battle for being myself, has already been lost on those who cannot tolerate being alone with themselves.

Roark is very contented with himself and himself alone, and that is why he deserves to be the protagonist of that novel. What do you think, this is what Roark does when he sits in a gathering, or when he sits in a lecture, or in a seminar, or in a Samvaad event? Would he be chatting with others? That’s what he does? No, not really.

Why think about society at all? Who can stop you? Who can stop you, unless you are prepared to be stopped? And why are we prepared to be stopped? Because we have entered into a surreptitious kind of contract with the society.

You are not afraid of the society.

You are afraid of letting go of your privileges, your emoluments that you get from the society.

Your self-worth comes from the society, so you are afraid of the society.

That – “What happens if the society takes away my self-worth?”

The society has given you your name, it gives you a certain respect, it gives you all your identities. You are afraid that the society can take all of them away. You have entered into a business contract with society. That is the reason why you are afraid. You are taking so much from them, you don’t want this to stop. You want to keep taking from them.

Students across campuses often come to me and say, “This is what we want to do. I want to do this, I want to do that, but my family does not allow me. Under pressure of these people I have given up, and now I want to do this. I really think that I love that field, but I am not really being allowed.”

And there are people in their final years of graduation, they come up and say, “Well, we are students of Electronics Engineering, but we are being pressurized to take jobs in Software and IT sector. And we do not want to do that.” And I ask them, “Why do you feel the pressure? It is alright if another person wants to exert the pressure, but why do you feel the pressure?”

And let me tell you why they feel the pressure. They feel that pressure, because all the time they are benefiting a lot from that they are taking from others. I have been a student of IIT and IIM, and a very significant number there, studies on education loans. Very significant number. Not that their parents are beggars and cannot afford their education, but they prefer to take education loans. But I have come across to any private engineering college, where not more than a quarter are studying on education loans.

How many over here are studying on education loans? (A few in the audience raise their hands). Again, not more than a quarter. See. The statistic holds good. It is further affirmed. When you are taking lakhs and lakhs from a person, now can you really think of freedom from society? Are there any free lunches in life? And then you come and cry and weep and put up miserable faces and say, “Oh, we are slaves. We are bonded.”

You have chosen to be bonded.

The same fellow who is a shopkeeper, and will not give even a two-rupee discount to anybody, you think that fellow can give ten lakhs, and forget it? The mind is the same, right? The mind is the same. From the customer it will extract cash, from others it will extract in time, if not in cash. But the extraction will happen, and that is the reason why you are afraid, because there is a lot that you are taking.

When I was studying in IIM Ahmedabad, the study regimen there was toughest amongst all business schools in the world. I am not talking of just business schools in India, but amongst all business schools in the world. Just search on Google, and you will come to learn what does it mean to be competing in that campus.

And even when I was studying there, I ensured that I was earning enough for my monthly expenditures, by going and teaching. So I would teach in a few CAT Coaching institutions, I would even teach as a visiting faculty in another MBA institution. And from that money that I would earn, I would take care of my monthly expenses, and I would even use a part of that to go to Gandhi Ashram, which is in Ahmedabad, and buy something for the kids there. I love to be engaged with the kids.

Now, when I am doing that, I am totally on my own. And of course, it was uncomfortable. Of course, there was a price to be paid. Of course, I needed to be more efficient with my studies, so that I can find out time for that as well. But that gave me freedom, because freedom was dear to me.

Now, is Freedom dear to you? I am talking of life in a campus (IIM Ahmedabad) that had an absolutely packed, tight schedule. And look at your university. Out of the 52 weeks in a year, actually the number of working weeks will be no more than 25 or 30.

When we prepare the semester-long schedule of Holistic Development Program (HIDP), we find it difficult to complete even a 10-weeks program per semester. It is difficult to squeeze out 20 weeks in a year, because the actually number of working days available are very less.

There is this much of free time available to you, and what you do with that free time? Do you use that to secure your freedom? No, you don’t use it for that. You squander it away with others, with others like you.

Is Freedom really important to you?

If it is important to you, you will secure it, you will get it.

Do you love being free?

Are you really a free bird?

No, you had accepted slavery long back.

And then you complain, and then you put up miserable faces.

That won’t do.

These are masks.

The one who wants it, gets it. 

Questioner: Acharya Ji, if we remove our mask then people will find us weak and vulnerable. And then they can exploit us.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Paras (the questioner), who told you that a particular way of behaving or being, is a weakness? Who told you that anything is a weakness? Who told you that there are parts or shades of your being that are unworthy? All of this has been drilled deeply into you. None of this has any authenticity to it. But you have been repeatedly told that – you are incompetent, unworthy, and you need to hide your weaknesses.

There is no weakness.

There is no question of hiding anything.

What you are calling as a ‘weakness’, is your own being.

This is what you are.

And if somebody calls it a ‘weakness’, tell him, “Take it or leave it. I am package, a complete package. I can’t hide one part of myself.”

Who told you that weaknesses exist? Who told you that? Others.

And the same others, then teach you, to also hide your weaknesses.

Don’t you see that the entire question is full of fear and insecurity?

“Sir, if I show them my weakness, then they will exploit me.”

Don’t you see you are already terrified? Of whom? Of others. Why have you created this monster? Why have you created this monster? All of you would have written down something on those sheets of paper, but very few of you would dare to get up and speak, even though those questions are your questions and they are important questions.

But you will not get up and speak. Why? Because you are afraid of others, and these others happen to be your own friends. You are terribly scared to rise and speak. You are terribly scared.

Last time when I was here I spoke. And after the event completed, when I was moving towards my vehicle to leave, many from the audience came over to ask some questions. And some of them asked beautiful questions, genuine inquiries. And I asked them, “Why didn’t you raise these questions in the hall during the event, when everyone might have benefited from it?” And they just hanged down their heads and said, “We didn’t dare to.”

And as I am speaking to you, you know who I am referring to. So many of you want to ask a question, but won’t do it, because you are afraid of revealing your so-called weaknesses. “If I ask this question, everyone will come to know of my weaknesses. How do I ask this question in the presence of 100-200 people that I am afraid? How do I ask in front of so many people that why I am living like this? What do I do?”

You are not even living, you are just afraid. And it is so sad, so disappointing.

One of the worst sight is to look at a young man, a young woman, who is not sure of himself or herself, who does not dare to live life according to his own Intelligence.

There are no weaknesses.

There are no weaknesses.

There is just ‘you’.

The ‘you’ in your completeness, the ‘you’ in your entirety.

Do not think that some part of you is strong and the other part of you is weak. Do not think this. What happens when you declare something a ‘weakness’? You suppress it, don’t you? You try to hide it. And whatever you suppress, gains in strength. Whatever you suppress gains in strength.

You would have noted that in the HIDP sessions, the students who are the least comfortable with coming up and speaking, are also the ones who miss the maximum of classes. They are also the ones, who when given a chance to speak, would shy away and stand at the back. They are also the ones who would take up the smallest roles in the role-play activities. Why? Because you do not want to reveal your so-called weaknesses. And then those weaknesses become more and more powerful.

The moment you look at it, and you cannot look at it till the time you are calling it a ‘weakness’.  Till the time you are declaring it to be ‘ugly’, you will not be able to look at it. Who likes to look at ugliness? Who likes to look at his own ugliness?

The first thing is – stop calling it a ‘weakness’ and look honestly, directly at it.

And let it be. Just let it be.

Don’t even try to fight it, let alone suppress it.

And in that ‘looking’, you will be the overcoming of the so-called ‘weakness’.

The weakness will not go away.

Your attitude about it will go away.

Getting?

Listeners: Yes.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant on ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand: You have chosen to be bonded!

If you feel inspired upon reading the above interaction on Fountainhead, and wish to enrol in the ongoing online course series on the same : click here


Listen to a small clip on Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark,
in the words of Acharya Prashant Ji:

Fiercely Individualistic! 

Unshakable! Unruffled! Unavoidable! 

Meet Howard Roark in the raw, through the eyes of Acharya Prashant Ji. 

A strongly recommended online course series.


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Woman as the passive player in sex|| Acharya Prashant (2017)

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Woman as the passive player in sex

Question: Why are females silent players in sex, in this society? Why do they spend their life as deaf, blind and dumb in matter of sex? Why does the society make them like this?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the society? The society is what you and me are. If you and me are exploitative, the society too will be exploitative.

Man keeps on fantasizing sex as the ultimate remedy to his mental chaos. And to get this remedy, he must have the woman’s body. To ensure that the woman’s body is available, the man must keep the woman in bondage. Otherwise, she may or she may not acquiesce.

Is it not very straightforward?

Is it not all in line with the ancient pattern of the ego?

What is surprising about this?

But what you are not seeing is, that just as the man wants to enslave the woman, because the ego is hungry for satiation, and being hungry it cannot let go of it’s promised food. Similarly, the woman too wants to hold the man captive. Their ways are different.

Man may use physical force, the woman may use force of the emotion. And if the woman is powerful in some other ways, she will use that power.

So it is great to be compassionate towards women, but it is greater to first of all understand, where all this exploitation stems from. Then you will be compassionate towards both men and women.

You must realise that – it is the fundamental nature of mankind, to be exploitative.

Man exploits woman, and woman too in her own enslaved way, exploits man.

Of course, one can go only as far as one’s apparent powers allow. And one can exercise his powers only in dimension, where on is powerful. So they both do that. They are masters of their own respective dimensions. And both want to have slaves in their own dimensions.

Man and woman together, both have to realise that this sordid game, that is being played behind their back.

No man realises what his true relationship with a woman is. And neither does a woman realise, what being related to a man means. Unless they both realise that, there would be suffering for both. The nature of suffering, the appearance of suffering, might differ. But suffering is, suffering.

Man cannot live in peace, when the woman is suffering.

And when the woman is suffering, how will she ever want peace for the man.

You must see, you must be liberated.

And then you will help all men and all women around you, to see and be liberated.

It is not then a gender-specific thing.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant: Woman as the passive player in sex

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

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Why did Acharya Prashant Ji leave his Corporate and Bureaucratic career

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, past doesn’t matter.

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

Don’t be a captive to your history.

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

These are sunk costs.

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

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

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

Nothing is permanent.


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

Edited for clarity.


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

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The loving way of life

Question: Acharya Ji, why do we procrastinate?

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

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

One does not postpone Joy.

One does not postpone Freedom and Love.

One only postpones suffering.

And that is ‘procrastination’.

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

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

Whatsoever is unworthy is always carried forward, taken ahead.

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

Relationships are carried forward, Love cannot be carried forward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out that to which you can dance.

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

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

Find out a loving way of life.

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

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

Edited for clarity.


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

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To know Kumbh, understand struggle between heaven and hell

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

Acharya Prashant Ji:

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, heaven and hell are obviously not geographies.

What is holy?

That which is unblemished, uncorrupted.

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

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

It wants absolute Truth and Freedom.

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

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

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

Otherwise, one is stuck.

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

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

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

Association with the holy offers a helping hand.

It does not take you away to another world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited for clarity.


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

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Kumbh Churning of mind to escape cyclic hopes and despairs

Question: What does Kumbh Mela stand for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is death?

Why does man fear death so much?

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

Death is the thought of loss.

Death is the fear of not existing any longer.

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

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

Man’s eyes are endlessly searching for something.

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

That’s what the human condition is.

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

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

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

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

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

Deathlessness thus demands both:

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

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

Another Kumbh beckons us.

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

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

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

Edited for clarity.


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

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Spirituality is not delinking yourself from the world

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

Acharya Prashant Ji:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited for clarity.


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If one is Brahm, why does one work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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If one is Brahm, why does one work

Question: If I keep remembering that – ‘I am Brahm’ – then why should I work?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Then you won’t work, Brahm would work.

If you do not know that you are ‘Brahm’, then you work.

And you work, in your own little and illusioned ways.

When you know that ‘you’ are not, only Brahm is, then Brahm works.

And Brahm works a lot, without breaking a sweat.

Look at the entire universe. There is so much happening. Who is the worker? Do you know how much works it takes to keep a planet in it’s orbit? You want to launch a little satellite into space, and you keep crying about fuel.

The engines are not yet ready, the fuel is not compatible, and what are you trying to deliver into orbit? Just a little satellite. And here you have millions of planets, and suns and stars, all fully established. And black holes, and supernovas. Who is working so hard? Who is working so beautifully?

You cannot run one nuclear reactor properly. There are accidents, and you think of a million safeguards. And have you looked at that nuclear reactor that gives you light everyday? Who is running that nuclear reactor? And He runs it without a blemish. And it’s a very small sample of all the nuclear reactors that he runs.

Let something beyond you, work through you.

You will be amazed, you will be thrilled.

You will then know what it means to really live.

If you are living only for yourself, if you are so afraid that you cannot give up your control of yourself, then all you get is – ‘yourself’.

And are you happy with yourself?

Are you somebody whose company you would enjoy? If you have only yourself to talk to, would you prefer that? No. The proof is that you keep looking for others to talk to. You aren’t happy with yourself, and the proof is that you want to change and improve. Don’t you? And still you want to follow your own whims and desires. Isn’t that stupid?

If you are so established and arrived, and wise, then why do you want to change? But you want to change all the time. Don’t you? ‘How do I become better?’ – That’s the question you are always asking. Which means, that you accept that as you are, you are not quite alright. If you are not quite alright, why do you chase directions dictated by your own desires?

Question 2: Acharya Ji, I don’t know what the ‘other’ here is. The ‘other’ might be my boss. So, should I allow myself to be completely dictated by him?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When you do not know the ‘other’, would you ever cede control to him? When you say that you allow yourself to be dictated by your boss, is that dictation, or is that trade. Have you not deliberately decided that?

You have decided that you will let your boss control you, so that you get paid with money. Now have you really lost control of yourself? You are still very much in control. You are taking a decision. You are saying, “By letting him control your labor, you will earn money.” So have you still given up control?

Giving up control happens, when you see that all such agreements, deals and decisions are stupid.

When you see that whether you allow the other the to control you, by ‘other’ I mean, the other that you choose. Whether you allow the other to control you, or whether you control yourself, in both the situations you are just ending up as a loser always.

When you are honest enough to admit that, then you just say, “Enough of this. I give up.” Spiritually, that is called ‘surrender’. That is called ‘surrender’. But that happens only to those, who are firstly intelligent enough to see that they have been stupid and secondly, loving enough to see that they have been cruel to themselves.

If you have neither intelligence, not love, you will have a very strong desire to live life your own way.

And that is the worst violence you can inflict on yourself – to live as per your own personal desires and dictates.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, we are sitting here in an air-conditioned room. Had somebody not felt uncomfortable with the conditions, why would somebody invent it?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Has the fan helped you understand what I am saying? You are sitting near the Television, but do you still understand what I am saying? What is of more value to you – the television, the air-conditioner, or what I am saying?

You are wearing this suit which is a product of technology, and human development. Has it helped you understand anything? And if you could not understand anything, irrespective of this watch and this suit, what is the worth of all this?

I will switch-on the air-conditioner. How will that help you know? And if you can’t know, what do you live for? The air-conditioner? You live to be cooled? You live to wear this watch, when you do not know ‘time’? All you know is that it is 2 p.m., but you do not know what ‘time’ is. What will you do with the watch?

It’s better to get out of that suit, be naked and understand.

You do not live for all this – the air-conditioner, the television, the fan. All these are there, so that you can understand. Unfortunately, they become the end, rather than the medium. That which should have helped you understand, becomes the obstruction to understanding.

There is this mobile phone in front of me. And somebody can get so attracted to the mobile phone, that he loses track of me. That is what happens to the man obsessed with this and that.

Getting it?

Kabir puts it very beautifully. He says, “Hunger is like a bitch. She starts barking when you are sitting still in peace and devotion. And she disturbs. So you better throw a bread towards her, better throw a piece or a loaf of bread towards her, to keep her silent.”

That is the purpose of earning bread. To keep the bitch silent. But if your life becomes devoted to the bitch, rather than to the Silence, then you have lost it totally.

Earning bread is necessary, to keep the bitch quiet. But how do we live? Wedded to the bitch. That’s too bad. She deserves a bit of attention, so that she may be quieted. She can’t become the objective of your life. Can she? And if you want to bake the bread, you require some technology. Right?

Now do you see what is the rightful function of technology in life? To give you that, and only that much which will keep the dogs and the bitches away and silent.

If you just keep on cooking, and cooking, and cooking, then you don’t know what’s cooking.

(laughter)

The fan is wonderful, if it has brought some clarity to you. Of course, the fan cannot bring clarity. But the fan can ward that off, which could have distracted you from clarity. Had you felt a lot of heat, then it would have been like the bitch barking. So the fan is there.

That is the purpose of all technological advancement – to keep physical distraction silent, so that you may attain to the purpose of your life.

And the purpose of your life is – freedom.

Instead, what happens in all cases, except a handful, is that man’s creation, man’s work itself becomes the barrier and the bondage. It was there to get you relief from bondage, and what it has instead become? The biggest bondage itself.

You must know the medium and the end, and you must know them apart.

Otherwise, this little and precious life, will be spent chasing the unworthy.

As happens in most of the cases, unfortunately.

You will die in a super-speciality cancer hospital, getting cutting-edge treatment, and you will die unfulfilled. Now will that cutting-edge technology help you, if you are dying unfulfilled? Yes?

Do you know what it means to live and die unfulfilled? Go into that? Do you know what it means to live and die love-lessly? Go into that. The A.C. will not help, the bed will not help, if you don’t have love.

Strange are man’s ways.

We have people who make love to A.Cs., and they call it ‘cool’.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: If one is Brahm, why does one work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Why help others be liberated? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why help others be liberatedQuestion: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam!

You have told that individual liberation is not possible. Either we can go together, or nobody can go. So we have to help others to cross-over. Acharya Ji, I can’t even help the people close to me, they are caught up either in routine work, or they indulge in entertainment. No time for enquiry or devotion is left for them. And there are others, who say that they are not interested in spirituality. I feel helpless.

There are billions of people on earth. Even if they all get liberated, miraculously, then these monkeys and chimpanzees, may evolve into human beings, and it is going to be a never ending process, until the final destruction.

It seems we all are going to be stuck here forever. I know I am asking something childish, but this is how I am thinking. Please give clarity Acharya Ji. Thank you.

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, tonight’s query is: If all are to be liberated, for the liberation of one single individual, then what about the chimpanzees? By the theory of evolution, it seems one day they too will evolve into human beings, and so work will remain pending. Total liberation is still not there. What to do?

Parmeshwari (the questioner), liberation of everybody is not like vaccination of the entire population, where you have to have a head-count. As they used to say in anti-polio campaign, “No child left.” No we are saying, “No chimpanzee left. All liberated.”

There is no such equivalence.

Are you getting it?

Now, how do I explain, because you have quoted me fully correctly. These words are actually mine. But the meaning you are drawing from them is not mine. I will credit you with quoting without a flaw. But this is not what I intended to say.

What does ‘liberation’ mean? Let’s start from basics. What does ‘liberation’ mean? What does one liberate herself from? What is ‘bondage’? If you are talking of liberation, it is always in the context of bondage. What is ‘bondage’ first of all? What is human bondage?

Acharya Ji: Suffering. Expand on that.

What is ‘suffering’ related to?

Listener 1: Sorrow, pain.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sorrow, fear.

Proceed, give me more words.

Listener 1: Shame.

Listener 2: Desire.

Listener 3: Death.

Acharya Ji: Which is fear.

Listener 4: Grief.

Acharya Ji: Which is sorrow.

Listener 5: Jealousy.

Acharya Ji: Which is comparison, and limitation.

Listener 6: Resentment.

Acharya Ji: Which is insecurity and resistance.

And more….Talk of time. Let me drop a hint. When we say, “The mind has to be liberated,” the mind has to be liberated from…?

(Chuckling) Time, time.

Expand on that. What in ‘time’?

Listener 7: The past and the future.

Acharya Ji: The past and the future. With respect to the past, the mind has memories.

Listener 8: Sorrows.

Acharya Ji: Not only just sorrows, one could have had pleasurable experiences as well. So, the mind has to be liberated from memories. And, with respect to the future, the mind has imaginations. And…..

Listener 8: Hope.

Acharya Ji: What was that word? Hope.

So when we are saying that we must be liberated, we are saying that we must be liberated from – hope. If you are to be liberated from hope, can you hope for liberation? Parmeshwari (the questioner), can you hope for liberation? And if you are not to hope for liberation, why are you becoming hopeless?

What is ‘liberation’ then?

Liberation lies in not even wanting liberation.

Liberation lies in not wanting, even liberation.

Not wanting even liberation – and that is the ‘desireless action’ of Krishna.

And that is the love of the Saints.

You work not so that you would be somehow benefited from the work. You work, because you love the other. Even to work for the other, with the expectation that by working for the other, your own liberation would be facilitated, you are just playing in the hands of hope.

So, Parmeshwari, though you have quoted me right, but you have got me wrong. I did say that unless all are liberated, the individual cannot be liberated. But I did not say that this should be the reason, why you should work for the other’s the liberation.

The reason has to be – self-love, desire-less action.

Do you get the difference?

If you work for the liberation of the other, hoping that the liberation of the other would help in your liberation, then you would work for the other, only as long as you are convinced that the liberation of the other would in some sense, help you.

If somebody comes and convinces you that the liberation of the other has no bearing upon your liberation, then you would just drop the other, very cruelly. Because why were you helping the other in the first place? So that you could be benefited, in turn in your liberation. So if you know that helping the other, is of no consequence to you, then your help would freeze.

But it is very different in love.

In love, you continue to help the other, irrespective of the consequence it would have upon you.

Do you see the difference in these two approaches?

Yes it is true that yours and the other’s liberation are one, but that does not mean that you help the other with the intention of gaining your liberation.

Because if you are helping the other, with the intention of gaining personal liberation, it means that you still see a difference between yourself and the other.

The intent is still personal. Is it not? If the intent is still personal, then are you really one with the other? Then this is very selfish help, very self-centered help. And self-centered help would only reinforce the help, not liberate the self. Would it?

So do help the other, but without any desire for result or success.

We do not know how really the other would be helped.

We can atmost do our best.

You do your best, and that is enough for someone up there, to smile and do some magic.

That magic does not occur because you did wonders. That magic occurs because someone has smiled at your childlike labor, like the little squirrel, that was trying to help Sri Ram build the bridge to Lanka.

Could she have ever succeeded? Could she have? But the Lord smiled at her. Do your best, that’s all that He wants from you. You cannot cause the liberation of other. It is the ego that believes in causing things. Liberated ego-lessness lies in just doing in love.

Often times, knowing fully that what you are doing is materially inconsequential. Materially inconsequential, not actually. In material terms, it can cause no difference at all, like the few particles of sand carried by the squirrel. What material difference can they cause to the building of the bridge? But actually, mush difference is caused.

Similarly, being the little, limited self, the little person that you and I are, obviously our help cannot reach to many people. But still, let’s do our best. That’s liberation. To be liberated of hope, to be liberated of a desire of a response of the other. To be liberated of the demand for a positive result. Just do your best.

And also, one more clarification. When I said, “All will be liberated together,” I included Chimpanzees. The Bodhisattva ideal is: “Till the last blade of grass remains in bondage, I will not cross the river.”

So forget about the Chimpanzees, it’s worse. You have to take into consideration every single little blade of grass as well. And you are liberated, if this piece of news does not disappoint you. You just say, “My task is to help. Rest is upon the Lord.”

What more can this little woman do?

She has to help, help and help to the best of her capacity.

And if her capacity is limited, how is she to be blamed?

But what is certain is, that she will be truthful.

Till her last breath, she will stay put.

She will not desert the battle.

Till even the last bit of energy is in her, she will keep dedicating it relentlessly, religiously to the sacred mission of liberation.

And nothing else. And nothing else.

That’s what is to be done.

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

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Why help others be liberated? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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

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