It is beautiful to earn pain || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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It is beautiful to earn pain

People make all sorts of efforts to find peace and pleasure, but no one tries to earn the pain.

Says Nanak, listen, mind: whatever pleases God comes to pass. ||39||

~ Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, Salok Mahalla

Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 14128

Question: Acharya Ji, please clarify what is meant here by, ‘earning pain’.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The constitution of the body is such that it is – pleasure-seeking. That’s the guiding principle behind bodily actions. Bodily actions include the impulses of the brain. So that which you call as ‘natural’, in loose language, is nothing but pleasure-seeking behavior.

When you say that something is natural, effectively what you are saying is, that it is pleasure-seeking behavior. So that’s how your system is. It wants to have pleasure. It wants to have, pleasure.

What is the definition of ‘pleasure’?

That which helps Prakriti further its agenda.

‘Food’ pleases you because it gives energy to the body to continue. That’s what Prakriti wants. Getting it? ‘Flattery’ pleases you, because it gives the subtle-body the energy to continue. It will continue. It will stay motivated. It will further its goals.

Do you get the definition of ‘pleasure’?

That which agrees with the agenda of your physical constitution, is called ‘pleasure’.

Now in getting that ‘pleasure’, you get ‘pain’ as well. And that ‘pain’ makes ‘pleasure’ even more necessary. So you earn two units of ‘pleasure’, and along with two units of ‘pleasure’, you also got two units of ‘pain’. What is the inference that your system draws from this? Two units of ‘pleasure’ is not sufficient, because two units of ‘pleasure’ came along with two units of ‘pain’, and it got nullified. The net was zero.

So now your system wants three units of ‘pleasure’. But very soon your system discovers that three units of ‘pleasure’ has come along with three units of ‘pain’. So now you want four units of ‘pleasure’. That’s the cycle of human life – chasing ‘pleasure’, getting ‘pain’. And ‘pain’ spurs you on to chase ‘pleasure’, even more. This is not ‘pain’ that you have earned. This is ‘pain’, that has come as a bonus.

What did you want? Pleasure. But pain came tagged along. Had you had a choice, you would have said, “I want only pleasure. Let’s un-tag the pain. I don’t want the pain, that comes with pleasure. I only want pleasure. Can we just separate the two? No I don’t want the combo. No I don’t want the one plus one offer. I only want the one that I want – pleasure.”

So we get pain without earning it, or wanting it, or choosing it. We get it, as a compulsory attachment. We get it as a compulsory accompaniment of pleasure. Guru Sahib is talking of something different here. He is talking of – earning pain. He is saying,”You already have had enough pain. That pain came to you as a compulsion, as a helplessness. You didn’t want it, but you were subjected to it. Now can you willingly go for pain?”

What does he mean? He means something quite radical.

Your system is designed to go only for ‘pleasure’.

And if you are being told to go deliberately for pain, you are actually being told to go against your system.

In a practical way, he is teaching you a method of detachment – a way to get dis-identified with the body.

‘Deliberately go for pain’ – and this has been a method in India, and elsewhere, since long.

Spiritual practitioners those who have really wanted to know and live life fully, have invited ‘pain’. Knowing fully well that the road they are taking, would hurt them, they have still gone down those roads.

I repeat: to the common man, pain is incidental, uninvited. It comes as a surprise. “Oh pain has come. From where? I didn’t ask for it.” To the spiritual practitioner, pain is, almost a target. Pain is a value. He says, “I want it. Bring it on.”

Not that there is some great virtue in pain. It’s just that when you are going for pain, you are denying the bodily compulsion of seeking pleasure. You are getting dis-identified. And once you are dis-identified, then there is no need to seek pain either.

Getting it?

If you will see a lot of ‘progress’, even in the material sense, it happens only by inviting ‘pain’. That which we call as ‘discipline’ even in the loose sense, is nothing but an invitation to ‘pain’.

Is there discipline without pain? You have to get up at some point in the morning, doesn’t that involve pain? ‘Pleasure’ is to keep sleeping even after the alarm has rung. Is that not pleasurable?

So all ‘discipline’ is nothing but ‘pain’.

It’s very well-directed pain, it’s very discrete pain.

But nevertheless, all ‘discipline’ involves – ‘pain’.

And ‘progress’, be it in the material, or in the spiritual realms, moves on ‘discipline’.

So all ‘progress’ is nothing but the art of inflicting ‘pain’ upon yourself – wisely, not randomly.

You will get no progress by just slashing your wrist, or holding a cigarette to your arm. Random, or mindless pain will not help you. While random, and mindless pain will not help you, at the same time there can be no ‘discipline’ without ‘pain’. And there can be no ‘progress’ without ‘discipline’.

‘Pleasure’ is a pattern. In fact, all patterns become patterns of ‘pleasure’. ‘Discipline’ is the determination to go beyond patterns. So ‘pleasure’ has to be transcended. Which means – your body, your prakriti, your physical tendencies, have to be transcended.

That’s what Guru Sahib is pointing at.

Have ‘discipline’.

And what is it to have ‘discipline’?

Be a disciple. Be a Shishya (disciple).

Be a Sikh.

Who is a ‘Sikh’?

Who can wisely, discreetly, deliberately choose ‘pain’.

You cannot be a student, if you cannot bear ‘pain’.

You cannot be a student, if you say, “You know, I want to be handled in cotton and wool. I want to learn a lot from the teacher, but I don’t want pain from the teacher.” Then you cannot be a Sikh, you cannot be a Shishya, you cannot be a Disciple, because you do not have ‘discipline’.

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

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

Watch the session: It is beautiful to earn pain || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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Which direction to take in life? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

which direction to take in life

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Question: Acharya Ji, which direction to take in life?  

Acharya Prashant: What is it, that matters to you? The direction in which you must go, is determined, by where you will feel the pain. And if you feel no pain, no discomfort, why must you go in any direction?

You move only because your current station, discomforts you. So what is your discomfort? Your discomfort will decide, where to move to and how to move. And if you are already well-settled, and alright, then that’s samaadhi. Why must you contemplate any movement then?

I find it strange to see that why do we keep talking about moving, without caring to examine: what makes us move. Why must there be any movement at all?

You are a human being. Any movement that you make, physical, psychological, involves costs, time, resources. Every movement, is a chunk of your limited life-span. That’s why movement is life. Must you then move irresponsibly? Is life there to be wasted?

Life, as you know it, is just time. Why must you move randomly, hither-thither? Yes, there is a movement, that is aimless, purpose-less. That is just like – the dance of a child. But that movement is only for those, who are not looking to move, who have internally come to the end of all movement. Have you come to the end of all movement? No. You are still eager to move.

And if you are eager to move, then you better move with discretion.

Use your suffering, as the compass.

Your suffering will give you the direction.

Be very very alert and sensitive to your suffering. Just do not surrender at the wrong place. Do not start considering that suffering, and restlessness, and boredom, and loneliness, and fear, are the natural modes of life. They are not. Never, never allow this belief to settle within you.

If life is boredom, and loneliness, and fear, that is unnatural. Just because you see a lot of sorrow and anger, and uprooted-ness, around you, that does not mean that anger and sorrow, are our natural states. They are not.

Don’t give in. Don’t surrender.

Remain a little rebellious. Remain a little compassionate towards yourself.

If the mind remains heavy, don’t just move on with it.

Pause and ask: what’s going on?

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

Watch the session:  Which direction to take in life? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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How to deal with pain and hurt?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

How to deal with pain and hurt.jpg

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Question: How to deal with pain and hurt?

Acharya Prashant:

Dedicate your time to something sublime, and then you will not be available to get hurt.

You are hurt because you are available.

Why are you walking around with free mental space, and spare time?

Be fully dedicated to something worthy, then all these little bruises, and wounds, and rubs, will not bother you.

Life hurts, and wounds, only those who are jobless. Why are you jobless?

To be born, is to be born into one great job.

What is that job?

The life-long mission of liberation.

You have to be fully employed there. It’s a full-time job, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three sixty five days a year. But you do not do justice to real occupation. You steal time, and then your punishment is, that the world will hurt you. Your theft costs you very dearly.

Be fully consumed in the one, great, divine mission.

Otherwise, life will beat you down, very badly.

You have been entrusted with time, not so that you while it away. You have been entrusted with your fifty, or eighty years, so that you make the best use of every second. Your time is not your personal property. It has been entrusted to you. You better use it for the designated, and assigned purpose.

Somebody asked the Satan, “How do you corrupt a being?” He says, “It’s easy. I just whisper into his ears, ‘Your time is your time’.” And that’s the assumption we all have bought into – ‘I have the personal time.’ Not a second of your time is your’s.

Caught in petty politics. Caught in this and that. Whenever you will come to me citing these things, I will have just one quick question to ask, “From where did you get time to be caught in pettiness? You thief.”

It’s like entrusting a kid with his books, and you have told him to be with his books, the mathematics lessons, to be finished-off. And after a while he comes and says, “You know daddy, I got bruised in the football field. Look at my knee, it’s bleeding.” Before I offer him any first aid, I will probably offer him a question, “Why did you steal time in the first place?” You were supposed to be with the book. Why did you violate my trust and run away with your brat friends? Why?” So the band-aid will come later on.

If you are suffering, there is nobody, but you, who is responsible.

Unless you fully accept this responsibility, there is no freedom.

If your suffering is just incidental, then how can there be freedom from it, because incidents can happen any way, any day?

You have to first of all clearly realise that suffering cannot come to you, without your consent. Not only your consent, but your active participation is needed in your process of suffering. Not only your participation, but your active doership is needed, for you to suffer. Otherwise, you cannot suffer.

Any bit of suffering, is a clear indicator that you have been messing up with somebody’s trust.

You know whose trust I am talking of? The one who gave you time.

He gave you time, trusting that you will use time piously. He didn’t give you time to smoke it away.

Listener: Acharya ji, while feeling pain, if we start to look at it from a distance, so who is the who is looking at the pain? Is it the ego? What should we do in such situations? Should we watch it from the distance?

Acharya ji: If you are watching pain, then you are interested in pain. If you are not watching pain, then you are even more interested in pain.

You go to a dispensary, where kids are being vaccinated. When the needle goes in, some of them very keenly watch it. Oh! The needle is going in. Why? Because they are interested in the process. They feel they have a stake in the process. So, they keep watching the process. “Oh! The needle is going in.” Aghast!

And then, there are some, who are so interested in the process, that they get terrified. And when the needle goes in, they start looking elsewhere. “It is such a deadly sight, we do not even want to look at it.”

Whether you are watching the needle go in, or whether you are avoiding the needle go in, you are interested in the needle, in both cases. How come you have so much time to watch pain? Why aren’t you occupied with something else? I assure you, right now, some part of my body is paining. Am I watching it? Not at all. Am I not watching it? Even that is not true.

I am just elsewhere. The body is where it just must be. I am where, I must be. Why are you with pain? What is the body? A storehouse of pain, what else? But if you start associating with the pain, it becomes your personal suffering. Let the pain be. For how long will you avoid pain? After all, you are a product of pain. Ask your mother.

Listener: Is it some kind of escaping from body?

Acharya ji:

You don’t have to do anything, to escape from body.

You do a lot to stick to the body. 

I still ask you: If you are occupied in something really worthwhile, would you really care for something like pain? Even an ordinary sportsperson would tell you that when you are pursuing something even as normal as, victory in a match, pain ceases to be a big botheration, unless it is crippling. Then you have to be carried on a stretcher.

(Pointing at a group of listeners in the audience) It’s noon Sun that is falling directly on them, are they bothered? I don’t think they are even taking cognizance of it. It is not even reporting, because they are where they must be.

The Sun is where it must be, the body is where it must be, why are you not where you must be? Why are you wandering here and there? Why are you so homeless?

There would never be a day when the body would not pain, believe be. And I am not talking of old-age and infirmity. Ask these young people. (Looking at a bunch of youngsters sitting in the audience) Is there never a day when no part of your body pains for a while? There is never a day.

How much do you want to concern yourself with stuff like pain? This body is anyway going to pain a lot one day, and be reduced to ashes.

Listener: Does it mean we should never think of worst moments of our life?

Acharya ji: You have to be busy, absolutely busy, with the Absolute.

Listener: And how to do that?

Acharya ji: He will teach you.

Listener: And what about life’s plans? How do we go about them?

Acharya ji: Junk them.

Your plans are anyway of no avail. Ask Him: what to plan and how to plan. Yes, in asking him, you can plan for little things, little things like reaching on time, so that you may ask Him.

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

Watch the session:How to deal with pain and hurt? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Confidence is a medicine.

Confidence is not your natural state.

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

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

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

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

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Acharya Prashant on Upanishads: Either go completely through the pain, or simply disown the pain

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Acharya Prashant: This is from the Avadhuta Upanishad, ‘When the results of actions set in motion are exhausted, the habitual usage also ends. This will not cease even with repeated meditation unless such actions are exhausted.’

So, the question is, ‘Is there no way out? What is meant by exhausted?’

Exhausted means that all the pent up, suppressed energy comes into motion, takes a release but this is the most painful, mechanical and time-consuming way of getting rid of your burden, the Prarabdha Karma (result of past actions which is ready to come in effect).

It is like saying that your palm is kept over a burning piece of coal and you can get relief only when all the latent energy of the coal is exhausted.

Most painful, unintelligent and time-consuming way of coming to end of suffering. And even in this process, coming to the end of suffering, coming to exhaustion is possible only if no fresh fuel is added to the fire.

It is possible only if one has the patience and the faith to bear all the results of his previous karma without creating new cause-effect cycles; without adding to his inventory of more unspent fuel. If the fellow has so much intelligence and patience and discretion that he can sit through the ordeal of the coal consuming his hand without creating more ripples and fresh karma-phal (result of actions).

And, if the fellow actually has so much patience and intelligence, then why would he sit through the torture?

He would rather get up and walk away!

What does it mean to get up and walk away from the unexhausted fuel, from the unspent residue of your previous karma? What does it mean to do that?

It means that you’re no longer attached to the coal.

Remember, the coal does not come to burn your palm. You’re the one to go to the coal, keep your hand over it, grab it and allow it to burn you, pierce you, torment you.

Walk away from the coal. That’s an easier way.

Why wait for the coal to get exhausted?

It can be a pretty big lump of coal. It can take a pretty long time getting exhausted. Do you want to wait and keep suffering?

Just walk away.

But walking away would mean giving up the coal. Coal is attractive. It looks almost like a burning cherry. It beckons. It tempts, and it has energy, it has power. Something seems happening there. We are attracted towards it. Additionally, the coal is yours. It does not belong to anybody else.

My burning coal!

My glamorous hot little cherry!

Who am I?

The lady with the lump of coal.

Who am I?

The lady with fire in the belly and fire in the palm!

It becomes difficult to walk away, right?

‘A fiery lady, am I. And this is high quality coal. It helps me maintain my standard. See, everybody is burning. So, burning is a given. It is a common denominator. What separates one being from the other is the quality of the burn. I’ve a superior burn. Mine is not low-grade coal coming from an inferior mine. Remember, pieces of coals come from mines. No mine. No coal.’

What all is mine?

Whatever is mine, is the unexhausted piece of coal piercing myself.

To walk away from that burning mass is to walk away from your very being. Your very identity. So, it is upon you, you can either wait with all your patience, with all your intelligence for the coal to get exhausted or you could simply discard the coal. Reject the falseness of its association with you and walk away.

And no method is better than the other. It totally depends on your mood. If you’re in a mood to suffer, welcome! Exhaust the karma. If you’re in a mood to not take the suffering anymore, walk away. Let go. Drop it. Renunciate!

How many lumps of coal in your pocket?


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Upanishad: Either go completely through the pain, or simply disown the pain


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Acharya Prashant: Live through pain, beautifully

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Acharya Prashant: Laxman is asking a question, he is saying that he has undergone two major surgeries and accidents – he says I understand that I’m identified with the body and it is the reason for my suffering. I’ve read many books, scriptures and listened to masters’ teachings that tell me that I am that not the body, yet I do not know how to come out of this pattern. Kindly guide me.

Laxman, you’re bearing physical pain. Keep bearing it. You cannot avoid it. Stop resisting the pain. Bear it gracefully. Live beautifully in pain and then you’ll not suffer. When you shout about, throw your hands about, stamp your feet, complain like a petulant child, that’s when suffering is.

You were born a human being. You’ve come to a certain age. You’ve had accidents, you’ve surgeries and now you’ve pain.

What else do you expect?

You were not born a human being to live painlessly. To be born is to be born in pain.

Do you know how much pain your mother went through when you were born?

What do you mean by complaining against pain?

Bodhidharma was asked, ‘What is greatest fortune?’ And he said, ‘The greatest fortune is not to be born at all.’

The greatest fortune is not to take birth at all because if you were born, then pain is inevitable. Pain is a necessary accompaniment of living a human life.

Don’t grudge! Don’t whimper! Don’t crib!

Your very expectation is misplaced. You will have pain. Go to the great athletes and they’ll tell you, ‘We play through pain’, one fellow is retiring, and he has won multiple grand slams and he says, ‘Now, one thing is certain; I won’t wake up every morning in terrible pain!’

Who gave you the expectation that you were born to rejoice and celebrate and have a gala time?

Maybe the advertisers told you that!

The Buddhas have never told you that you were born to be felicitated or decorated or rewarded. That’s why India has since long said that when you’re punished, then you’re cursed to take birth! This session began with myths. Do you know how the myths go often?

So, there was the great angel and she made a mistake, so she was cursed to take birth! And you’ve dozens of stories like this. The great spirit was cursed to take birth because it made a mistake.

That’s what human birth is all about. You’re here to bear. You aren’t here to have a party.

Even if you’ve party, you will…

Listeners: Suffer

AP: Have a lot of pain.

No, I didn’t say suffer. I’ll come to that. The very concept that life can be painless is false. Pain is due and legitimate. You will have pain. Now, live through like a man.

What is suffering?

Suffering comes only when you start espousing the flawed concept that life must be pain-free. When you start feeding that concept, when you start nourishing and identifying with that concept that life must be painless, then you’ve suffering because now when pain comes, you’re shocked.

You say, ‘Life should’ve been painless and from where has this pain arrived? No, no, you go away, and it is unjust! I was born to dance and now something unfair is happening. See, pain has arrived.’

Now you’ll suffer.

Suffering is non-sensical, ignorant resistance to pain.

Welcome pain! You’ve no option.

So better welcome it.

Just live through it, play through it, as champions do.

Go and ask Roger Federer. He’ll say, ‘I pay through pain!’

Ashish Nehra retired, and he said, ‘It isn’t as if there was pain in my body. Sometimes, I was searching, for my body in the pain! Pain is everywhere, where is the body?’

He used to have one surgery every two days! You get the idea, right?

So many surgeries he had on his body and he kept playing till he was thirty-six or thirty-eight or forty something.

Play through pain.

Play in pain.

Just keep playing!

Pain is life.

Just keep playing and there is such a great delight, you know, in playing through pain. If you don’t have pain, then playing isn’t as beautiful. If you can smile through tears and in tears, oh what a beautiful smile it is!

Only then, is smile really beautiful.

The lyricist might not even know what he has written and he has written maybe for an entirely different context but his lines make a lot of sense: (speaking in Hindi) Jab dard nahi tha seene mein, kya khaak maza tha jeene mein?(When there was no pain in the heart, there was no joy in living at all)

How will you live without pain?

And if you can embrace pain, then pain is your beloved.

In our case, it is the other way around: our beloved is the pain!

If you don’t turn pain into your beloved, then your punishment will be that your beloved will be the pain. Doesn’t matter whether it is, the beloved or pain; don’t resist!

That’s the way life is meant is to be.

You aren’t born a deity or an angel. You’re born a human being. Kindly lower down your expectation. Be a little grounded and if you can’t be grounded, then watch a moth rushing towards its incarceration in a flame. It is designed to go through that pain, isn’t it?

Ever seen a flame and insects jumping into it from all directions? That’s how they are designed, and you too are designed a human being and Buddha said, ‘The first of four noble truths: That life is suffering’. Life is suffering because not only are you designed to have pain, you’re also designed to resist pain. Now, that’s a double whammy!

Now that’s doubly harmful. You’re designed to both, have pain and resist pain, and that is called suffering.

Have pain, and have a lot of depth in your being.

So much depth that it can take in all the pain.

Keep soaking in pain, keep soaking in pain, and if you can keep soaking in pain, you find that something strange is happening; now you can rejoice because now you’re not really human. Had you been human, you’d have resisted pain. When you don’t resist pain, you’re no more human and if you’re not human, then you’ll not suffer as humans do.

Instead, you’re blessed with delight and delight is not available to the so-called normal human. Why?

Because they’re rushing after delight and how do they run after delight? By trying to avoid or resist pain.

If you resist pain, all you get is suffering.

If you embrace pain, then there is delight.

How is the day?

‘Sir, really painful!’

That’s the way it should be.

So, Rajiv Ji, ‘How’s life?’

‘Purely painful, sir! Purely painful.’

That’s something!


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant: Live through pain, beautifully


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To break-up or not to break-up? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Question: How to get rid of a relationship that gives pain in leaving?

Acharya Prashant: A few things must be clear.

One, if it is really a bad relationship, then you can have no pain in leaving it because the pain is already there.

How can there be a pain in leaving it because there is a lot of pain in living it?

You cannot have pain in leaving it; rather you are leaving the pain.

Second thing, dropping a relationship, does not mean dropping the other person. If you think that dropping the other person will lead to a change in the relationship, you are mistaken.

All your relationships are fundamentally a reflection of yourself.

You chose the other person.

If you remain the same, then you will find another person to have the same kind of relationship with.

You are a drunkard; you go to the market to fetch some liquor. If one shop is closed, what will you do? You will go to another shop, establish the same kind of relationship with that shop and get the same kind of intoxication from that shop.

You may keep changing shops, that does not change the relationship.

It is a very fine thing that you must understand. You can keep changing persons in your life, and yet you will find that your relationship is just the same because you haven’t changed. You have kept dropping the persons, you may keep changing shops, but wherever you go, you are just asking for liquor. So your relationship with any shop is just the same. Even if you are going to a shoe shop, you are asking for liquor.

That is one approach, the other approach is, “I chose the other person and if I remain the same, I will keep choosing persons of the same quality.” Why drop the person? Every person is a universe. What do I relate to,  in that person? What does that person become in my presence? Can I let the person ‘be’ and rather change the relationship?

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Truth is not the thought of truth

Who is a sage? A sage is the one who is extremely sensitive, who is able to catch even that which we normally ignore.

The saint is one who has realized that life is not also hell but just hell.

Because in thinking and concluding thus, you’ve missed the happening.

Gratefulness is not the thought of gratefulness. Joy is not the thought of joy. Truth is not the thought of truth.

Gratefulness means not having any sense of like or dislike.

The spiritual man is neck deep into action. He is not an escapist.

Because all your imagination proceeds from the centre of what you currently have made yourself to be, what you currently are.


Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?


 

Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?

Question: Explain ‘bad.’

Acharya Prashant: OK. Let’s take something which you call as ‘bad.’ We will begin with that. Tell me anything which you call as ‘bad.’

Listener: Inadequate idea.

AP: Too abstract. I’ll then have to make it more abstract and Do you call a disease as bad?

L1: Yes.

AP: OK. A disease is bad only when you experience the pain and suffering associated with it. Only when a disease shows up in medical report. Let’s say there is a wound here. The wound has become infected and it is oozing puss. Now, you’ll say this is bad. Won’t you say that? Don’t be so guarded as if you want to block my next step.

L1: I just…one might say it’s bad, yes.

AP: What would you call as bad? Because I have to start from there. What do you see all around that you would call as unacceptable? Is there anything that you dislike?

L1: I’m just grateful.

AP: Then, then everything is alright. You are home.

L1: I’m celebrating.

L2: If I see somebody beating a child, I call it bad.

AP: Yes, yes. I like honest statements. He’s saying he’s grateful when somebody beats up a child.

L1: I’m not saying this, I never said that

AP: Then, why not say that when you find somebody raping somebody you don’t like it. Do you like it?

L1: I don’t like it.

AP: Yes, just say that. See, living in the fact means an honest acknowledgment of what life for you really is like. Do you really like it if you’re beaten up? Then why not simply say that. Why put it in abstractions?

So, you don’t like it when somebody beats a child right, Okay? Now, beating the child is a gross act. It is visible. Let’s say somebody is carrying a cane and spanking the child with it. It is visible. Stay with this…so, it is visible when the child is being beaten and these eyes can look at that visible, material act. Something goes up, something comes down, somebody cries. You can look at that, it’s a gross thing. It’s very difficult to miss it. Now, make it more subtle, bring it down a level. Suppose the violence is not so gross. It’s a more subtle violence. What happens in a more subtle violence? Come on, speak.

L3: Shaming.

AP: Shaming. So, now he’s not beating. He’s just accusing. He’s making the child feel ashamed using words. Now, words are also gross. A little less gross than action but the words are also gross because sensory mechanism can catch them. So you still call it violence. If you’re sensitive enough you still call it violence but somebody might say that no… no… no, beating was violence, this is just counseling. Right? You make it even more subtle. Now, the violent one is neither using a cane nor is he using words. He’s just using..?

L2: Ignoring.

AP: Ignoring. Wonderful. So using nothing or just using a glance. Now, it’s very subtle. Now, only the sensitive mind will say that it is violence. If you’re not sensitive, you’ll not even know that it is violence. But violence is continuing. Violence is continuing. It is just that now you are not calling it violence. Only 1% people are now calling it violence. What have you done? You’ve done nothing. You have just been apathetic to the child. Make it even more subtle.

L4: Thinking.

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To be alive is to be working

To be alive is to be working. You are working all the time, because ‘action’ is happening all the time.

“Work is not outside of me, work is an expression of me.” Work is not outside of me, work is just an expression of who I am.

If the first category is where you belong to, then work is sufficient. The return, the reward, is contained in the work. If the second category is where you belong to, then work is not sufficient. Then work, plus, rewards is what you are looking for.

The salary is not contained in the work. The salary is an output of the work. This is the second way of living.

Man is the only one, who has to support his ambitions as well. Man is the only one, who has to support his psychological self as well. Then obviously, supporting yourself becomes a burden. Then obviously, just carrying on with life, becomes a burden. Because life is demanding so much.

Do not live a life that tries to escape work, and also do not live a life that uses work as a medium for psychological aggrandization.

Work must always be there as an expression of your Heart.

Action is always happening. You cannot avoid action. Even avoiding action is just another action. So, action will happen.

Fight hard and then let what is going to happen, happen. Do not worry about the result. Just say, that I did what I had to, and I have now devoted the result to you(Krishna).



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: How to know the right work for oneself?


 

Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: How to know the right work for oneself?

Question: What does Khalil Gibran mean, when he says, “He who works in marble and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who ploughs the soil.”

Acharya Prashant: What is Work?

All work involves action. 

As human beings, we are beings of action. We have limbs, senses, mind, all configured to act. So, action is inevitable. One cannot avoid action. So, workers we all are. There is nobody who does not work. The one who is professionally working somewhere, works. And so does the one, who is professionally unemployed. Both of us, both of them, are workers, irrespective of whether or not they are formally working somewhere.

To be alive is to be working.

You are working all the time, because ‘action’ is happening all the time.

Then the question is of the quality of work. How does one work? From where does the work arise? Khalil Gibran takes two images and contrasts them.

First image, is of the man who is working with material, but his work is essentially an expression of his being, his center, his Self. He might be working with marble, but actually it is his soul taking shape as marble. Marble is now not only marble. Marble is now not only material. Marble is an expression of what he is. This is work of one kind.

And then he says, there is another one, who looks at soil, just as soil. For him, work is something outside of himself. I go somewhere, and I work with material. I work with material, probably, so that I may get some returns, some reward. He is not directly and organically ‘connected’ to his work. His relationship with work is transactional. I work, I put in some hours, and in return I get paid. Are you getting it? So, there is you, there is work and then there is a business like relationship between ‘you’ and ‘work.’ This is the second way of working.

The first way of working is,

“Work is not outside of me, work is an expression of me.”

Work is not outside of me, work is just an expression of who I am.

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Fight against your lazy self

Laziness means a refusal to do, a refusal to do the right thing, a refusal to change. Laziness means that one wants to remain where one is and as one is.

Because we are not total, so even our stupidities are not total.

The Buddha is alright whether he is sleeping on a bed or on a thorn bed. But this lazy man feels alright only if certain conditions are met.

Choose the right death, please. Give death to your laziness. Give death to your ego and self-preservation. Don’t protect laziness and give death to yourself. Don’t do that. Fight against your lazy self. Don’t side with it. If you don’t fight your laziness, your laziness will give you a death that you can’t even imagine.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: What does the lazy self want?

Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: What does the lazy self want?

“The craving of a sluggard is a death of him because his hands refuse to work.”

BIBLE (PROVERBS 21:25)

Acharya Prashant:

Nimisha has sent something, it is not a question. I’ll read it aloud, that’s my answer.

Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam. I want to thank you deeply for reconnecting me to the Lord. The love and connection I felt for him as an innocent child got diluted along the way. I am rejoicing in that regained love now. Jesus was always very special to me. My first love you could say. Then one grows up and starts questioning things, doubts arise, resistance occurs, and one loses that innocent reasonless love once felt. Jesus showed me the way back home through you.

In gratitude, Nimisha.

When all is alright then there is no need to speak. Yesterday, I said – “don’t fix that which is not broken.”

 

James has sent two questions from Russia. Maybe I’ll read both of them, or one of them.

Jesus says “The craving of a sluggard will be death of him because his hands refuse to work”.

The question is:

Jesus is saying that the desires of a lazy person will be the death of him because he’s saying that his hands refuse to work. He just desires but his hands say we do not want to work. So the enquiry is, what does a lazy person crave for if not work? And also, which work is Jesus referring to?

Jesus has pointed towards the special case of a lazy person. This lazy person has all the desires, great desires. But one thing he’s very clear about, ‘I will not work.’ So, James has wondered that what does he crave for if not work? And what is this work that Jesus is referring to? Is he talking about plumbing? Writing? Carpentry? What work is referring to?

Who is a lazy person? A lazy person is one who has a tremendous ego. Only the ego is lazy, and the ego is bound to be lazy. In what sense is the ego lazy?

Laziness means a refusal to do, a refusal to do the right thing, a refusal to change. Laziness means that one wants to remain where one is and as one is.

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There is only conditional love, there is nothing called unconditional love.

You said that the love of the mother to the newborn baby is unconditional. In no way, in no way. And it should be apparent. Does the mother love the baby of the neighbor? And, is this not the condition that I will love the baby only if she is my baby? This is the biggest condition that there can be.

Unconditional love means, my love is totally free of all kinds of terms and conditions. I am not setting any boundaries. The baby is there and it doesn’t matter whether the baby belongs to me, or to the man next door or to somebody from an adjacent country. The baby is lovable.

And, why must only the baby be lovable, why must not the same quality of love extend to grownups?

Why must only human grownups be lovable, why must not the same love reach out to plants, animals, and birds, and insects?

And, why must only be the sentient beings be lovable, why must not the same warmth of love envelopes trees, and mountains, and rivers, and sands, and the entire universe?

And, why must one stop at one universe then, why must not all universe – real, imaginary, substantial, or conceptual be loveable?

So, never say that the love of a mother to the baby is unconditional. Of course, not. There are huge conditions attached. And you remove those conditions and the love will vanish. Tell the mother, the baby doesn’t belong to her and see what happens to that love. In fact, the love to the baby varies with the gender of the baby. Don’t you know that? Don’t you read that daily? How do you call it unconditional then?

How exactly?

There is only conditional love, there is nothing called unconditional love. And that doesn’t make conditional love despicable. That doesn’t mean we are labeling it as inferior, or aberrant. We are only seeing things as they are, we are only seeing facts as they are. And the fact of our humanness is, everything about us is conditional. Simply, because we too are products are conditions. The one who is a product of conditions, how is he going to know un-conditionality? Are we not products of conditions?

We are products of evolution, we are products of climate, we are products of our economic situations, we are products of religion, our upbringing, our education, our knowledge, the times we live in, our age, our gender. All about us is just conditional. So, there is no surprise in it that our love is conditional. And let love remain conditional. Man falls in love with woman; why only woman? Don’t you see this is such a huge condition?

Woman falls in love with man, and that too man of a certain age bracket. Don’t you see this is a certain condition? And this condition will remain, there is no need to call it foul. Are you seeing this? Till the child is of a certain age, mother loves him or expresses her love in a certain way. The child reaches a certain age or adolescent and a way of relating changes. It must change, let it change. Or, will we say that the love was false, and hence it has changed with time?

Just as everything about us is conditional, our love too is going to be conditional, let us not cultivate a utopian belief in unconditional love. Many spiritualists tend to do that. They say that unless love is unconditional, love is rotten. And we don’t want to have any of that. That will only lead to hypocrisy because you will never be able to come to achieve unconditional love.

Love will always be conditional and at the same time, you are saying conditional love is poor. So, you will be doing two things parallelly – one, engaging in conditional love, and second, calling conditional love as poor, or unconditional. Which will result either in hypocrisy or in loss of self-worth. Hypocrisy would mean I am labeling my conditional love as unconditional. And, loss of self-worth would mean I know that it is conditional and I would fall in my own eyes.

I come to know that my love is conditional and my self-worth drops. None of them is needed, neither of this is needed. Neither do you need to lose self-worth, nor you need to engage in hypocrisy.



Read the complete Article: All love is conditional

All love is conditional

gen 1Acharya Prashant:  How does an inquiry begin? How does man decide that the state in which he exists is not really sufficient for me? What is the need for spirituality at all? Why must we sit here and talk, or meditate, or break our heads together? why?

Listener 1: Stability to our existence?

AP: So, if we need stability, then what is the state in which we are in an unstable state.

Listener: When we are perturbed, disturbed and agitated, then we are in the state of instability. When something is endearing and because we have recognized certain good things and that state continues to exist in us that is stability and we are in for spirituality because we want greater stability in our lives.

AP:  Let’s simply say we experience a lack of stability. Whatever we experience simply doesn’t prove sufficient. It does not provide contentment. Hence, is the need to dive into the deeper realms of the mind.

You say, “I exist somewhere. But, I see that something else in there that I don’t really know of and I have an inkling that that’s where peace lies for me. I don’t know what that is. I probably don’t haven’t ever been there, yet there is a pre-intuitive memory, yet there is a knowledge-less realization, an uninformed realization, that something special lies there.” Read more

One has to be deeply in love with oneself

It is not possible to be living in illusions and yet not suffer. But it is possible, to not to be conscious of the suffering. Or, to not to know that you are suffering.

One has to be deeply in love with oneself, one has to be deeply sensitive towards oneself to experience the suffering. If you don’t love yourself enough, then you will happily take suffering. And not complain.

After all, suffering is resistance towards pain. If you have no resistance then you have no suffering. Then there will be pain and yet you will not suffer.

Suffering is when you start saying, “No” to pain. When pain is welcome, then there is no suffering.



Read the complete article: Is suffering necessary for awakening?

Is suffering necessary for awakening?

SR Generic_ English

Question: When intense suffering is created, that usually wakes up people. But is it possible that one can wake up without suffering, living very comfortable life?

Listener: For example, if I am fed up with my husband, I just wake up. But that situation doesn’t come!

Acharya Prashant: You see, only the sleeping one can wake up. Please understand!

To wake up, there is a precondition. And that is that you must be?

Listeners: Sleeping.

AP: And if you are sleeping, then you would be suffering. So, to wake up, it is necessary, it is obvious that there would be suffering involved in the process of awakening. Otherwise, what are you awakening from? If there is no sleep, where is the question of awakening? Then you are abiding in your Buddha Nature. Fine. There is no question of any further awakening. And if there is slumber, and ignorance, and sleep, then it is always accompanied with?

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THE HUMAN CONDITION

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THE HUMAN CONDITION

Man is born in pain and to live through pain.
Man is born with the tendency to experience pain, resist pain, and create more pain.
Pain is inherent in life. And man is designed to resist pain. This is the basic conflict in life, as also the motive behind all human actions.
Man is not designed to understand pain or life.
Resisting pain, without understanding it, is called suffering.
In suffering, one creates more pain. Life becomes more full of pain. Man resists more; the downward spiral continues.
An understanding of pain rather than an impulsive resistance to it is the solution.
Man is not designed for the solution.
~Acharya Prashant

There is no other real definition of growth than the dissolution of the Ego.

There is no other real definition of growth than the dissolution of the Ego.

Like everything else, like all other definitions, actions, thoughts, this definition too, can come from either of the two centers. One, real and one false. The false center is the center of the Ego. From that center when you define growth, all that growth means, is obviously the growth of the Ego. And that is our prevalent worldly and social definition of growth.

When do you say, that a person is growing? When do you say, that you are growing? Have you noticed?

You say you are growing when your accumulations increase. Only the Ego is interested in accumulations. So, coming from the false center, all that growth means is that the Ego has grown. Also, notice that the way we usually refer to growth or progress is always the way of the crowd. You say that you have grown, only when your growth is acceptable and certified by somebody else and to somebody else. Your growth must be visible to the other, impressible upon the other. The others must see that the growth is happening. Hence, the growth has to be in relation to the other. This is the false definition of growth. In this growth, all that is growing is falseness, illusion, and consequent suffering.

Then there is the real definition of growth. The real definition of growth or maturity is freedom from ‘otherness’. You have grown when the other, which is the world, which is everything and everybody that you see around you, does not have an impact so deep upon you that he is able to define your self-worth. Just as a kid is called to be growing when he is able to walk on his own legs, decide and discriminate using his own intellect. Similarly, a human being is grown when he can start abiding in his own self, in his own soul, in his own heart.

When you are truly centered in yourself, then the other stops and ceases to be a menace. Now you know that because you are not dependent on the other, hence the other cannot harm you. You are no more afraid. And because you are no more afraid, hence you can afford to go close to the thing that appears, as the other. It is a delicious contradiction. When otherness is lost, then the other becomes available to you. When you have started knowing that your being is not dependent, contingent, on the world, then the world, is no more a threat, just as it is no more a temptation. Now you can touch the world, now you can feel the world.



Read the complete article: Why are love and intimacy painful?

Why are love and intimacy painful?

gen 1

Question:  “Intimacy is growth and is painful” – Osho.

Why did Osho say that “intimacy is painful” when there is growth in intimacy?

Acharya Prashant: The ego can never really come close. Not to anything, anybody, not to the Truth and not even to itself. Ego operates in separation. Ego operates in boundaries. Ego operates in duality. To come close is to reduce the separation, dissolve the boundary and that would be the death of Ego. Coming close implies, “knowing really”. Knowing what? Knowing just about anything. Doesn’t matter what that thing is. The ‘thing’ does not matter, the knowing matters. The knowing itself is Godliness.

So, Ego will never really want to know. Know what? Know just about anything. Because if one thing is known, really known, intimately known, then everything is known. So, the Ego would have knowledge at best. It would never have the complete knowing that is called ‘Realisation’. Knowledge is digestible to the Ego, Realization is not. Because ‘knowledge’ is incomplete knowing and ‘realization’ is total knowing. Ego needs separation, Ego needs distance. Only in that distance, does it maintain itself. Only in that distance is the boundary preserved. Read more