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.


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!


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?


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)

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The Great Magic of Scriptures || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

The Great Magic of Scriptures

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Question: Acharya ji, Pranaam! While reading and meditating on Nitnem, something happened within me, which is difficult to explain. And this happening is same, while we were reading Ashtavakra Gita, and Upanishads.

These words do not create any images, but they take away my chains, and cut me down. Whatever we see around, most of the combinations of the alphabets a-z, in this world, all that is just with an agenda – to protect our ego, or fear, or greed. But when these same letters a-z, combine, to produce the Jaap Sahib, or Ashtavakra Gita, why is there a magic?

Acharya Prashant Ji: There is just a magic, Sandeep! The ‘why’ is not necessary. But if you are asking, I will speak on it.

There is a Sacredness, a Trueness, that is at the root of the world. The world keeps changing, coming and going, the Trueness remains. The world is many things. To the Lover of the Truth, the world is an expression of the Truth. To the hater of the Truth, the world is a competitor of the Truth.

Do you see how the meanings of the world can change, according to the mind, that is looking at the world?

If you are the lover of the Truth, the world is a manifestation of the Truth.

If you are a worshiper of the Truth, then the world is an offering, a gift, a prasad from the Truth.

Whereas, if you are a hater of the Truth, somebody who loves to say that, the Truth doesn’t exist, then the world is a substitute to the Truth.

You hate the world. if you hate the Truth, you would say, “There is no Truth. there is only the world, the material world.” So what does the world become? A substitute, a competitor. It depends on who you are.

Those who love the Truth, their world becomes truthful.

Everything in their world, gets arranged to serve the Truth.

It comes from the Truth, it serves the Truth.

It serves the Truth, so more comes from the Truth.

More comes from the Truth, there is more to serve the Truth.

The Truth is served even more, there is even more that comes from Truth. 

And all this expression is material. But that expression is merely a result of the commitment, of the expressing one, to the Truth. It is not merely their words, that are now arranged, configured, in the design of Truth, in the light of Truth, by the virtue of Truth. Everything, even their body.

Just as their words take you beyond their chains, even their body, their eyes, their looks, will take you beyond your chains. It is obvious, is it not? If the words of Ashtavakra have so much power, what power would be there, in sitting next to Ashtavakra? Words are material thing, are they not? And the body too is a material thing. In fact, the words require the body, to emerge.

If the words are so beautiful, there would certainly be great beauty, in sitting next to the ‘person’ of Ashtavakra. The way they wear their clothes, the way they eat, the way they work, everything would be a scripture, provided you know how to read. It is because everything that they have, everything that they are, is first of all, an offering to the Truth.

They have not kept anything for themselves, privately, reserved, personal. All is there to serve, the One. The One. When all is to serve the One, then all gets arranged, aligned, in the music of the One. It depends on what you want to do, with your earthly existence. It depends on your fundamental concept is.

If your concept is – “I am false, because I am incomplete. I am false because my daily inadequacies prove to me, that I cannot be the Final One. My daily existence is the proof, that this little structure cannot be the finality” – if this is your concept, then you will surrender this little, incomplete thing to that which is complete, because the complete is, that which you are anyway craving for. Nobody has to teach you that. It is your basic urge. You are seeking completeness. And if you are seeking completeness, then why not submit the incomplete, in the service of the complete?

Is that not common sensical?

Your brain, your intellect, your decisions, your life, your body, your past, your experiences, your knowledge, everything keeps failing, everything is incomplete. And there are abundant and daily porofs. Are there not?

On one hand you know that, on the other hand you also know that the incomplete one, does not satisfy you. Anything that is limited, and bounded, does not quench your thirst. So you know that you want something big. You want something big, you have something small, what to do with the small thing that you have? Use it to reach the big thing, that you really want. Logical, obvious, common sensical!

You want thousand, you have hundred, what to do with the hundred? Invest it in a way, that it would become a thousand. It is a very gross way of putting it, but may be the only way it would make sense to you.

You have hundred, but you are not happy with hundred. What do you want? A thousand. What to do with the hundred then?

Listeners: Invest.

Acharya ji: Invest it in the service of the thousand. What are the saints doing? They are targeting a billion, a trillion. A billion trillion. A trillion trillion. Using just, hundred. That’s some smartness. Those are the really smart ones. Not these dudes, that are hanging around, wearing the tags of smartness.

Somebody gets fifteen percent return on his investment, and you start calling him ‘smart’. Somebody makes a million dollars, and you say, “Wow! Really smart chap.”

He is dumb.


“Fortune 500. It is really something big!” They have wasted it. Buggers, you have lost it! You know what, you have just lost it.


Change your concept of smartness.

When your concept of smartness changes, then you know who the real dude is. That’s worship.

If you are dumb, then you will just admire a few other dumb people.

If you are intelligent, then you worship. You worship the really smart ones.

They are called ‘saints’.

That requires you to be super-smart.

Dumb people will admire only dumb people!

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

Watch the session:  The Great Magic of Scriptures || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

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How to live as pure consciousness? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Question: Acharya Ji,


I read Ashtavakra and surprisingly, my mind quickly and completely accepted the idea that I am pure consciousness and that I don’t need to do anything to get enlightened. However, someone inside me knows that this is the mind’s game to show acceptance to Ashtavakra’s theory. Ashtavakra Gita is a sacred knowledge. However I am confused, as to how to live like pure consciousness in non-duality, not like a doer?

Acharya Prashant: If you will look at your question, you will realise why what you are asking, is impossible to get. You are saying that you want to live like pure consciousness. Right?

One can want to live like the beetles one day, one can want to live like Ramkrishna Paramhans, the next day and then Pele, the third day. Many of us think that spirituality is the best mask we can put on our face. We have spent all our life, wearing and changing masks and now you want to put on another one, which has been called as the purest, eternal, final, most hallowed one. And obviously, the most respectable one, the mask of the spiritual one, the one who is pure consciousness.

It just doesn’t occurred to you, does it that it is not necessarily to wear masks. It not even strikes us. Even the possibility doesn’t appear to us. Right? The best that we can think for us is a mask. Not that we are trying to do bad to ourselves, we want the good to happen. But that’s our utmost conception of the good. Right? The best mask. We say that’s the best that can happen to us.  I will give up the old masks and put on new ones. We are so, very under-ambitious. We even don’t desire beyond a point. And our self-worth is so compromised, that the best we can hope for ourselves is a better version of rags. It’s sad to see this.

Ashtavakra is not about you starting to live like pure consciousness. Ashtavakra is just a reminder to you, that you have the ability to see, what is impure,  corrupted, and unconscious about you. Pure consciousness is not something that you can put upon yourself. Pure consciousness is your very root. It is your center. It is not the last wheel on your periphery. It is not the loose cloak that will conceal all the other garments that you are wearing. It is your very center, it is your heart beneath all garments.

‘I’ will not live like pure consciousness, ‘I’ has to be seen as unnecessary, not just declared, it has to be seen as unnecessary. There is a difference between just mundanely making a declaration and actually, consciously seeing something as needless.

Read more

Identify with God

When Jesus is acting and he is doing, then it is not arising from a motivation to serve his own personalhood. He has already arrived. He is home. He does not want to go anywhere or reach or become better. He is now merely doing. He is not aspiring. He is the doer, not someone who wants to be transformed through the doing.


When you just do then you have the right to call yourself the doer.


You are not discontented, your tendencies are discontented.


Fear is subjugating you. Fear has dominated you to the extent that it has stolen your identity. So in spite of you not being the doer, fear being the doer, you identify with the doer because you’re identified with the fear. You are not getting mad in lust, it’s your deep latent sleeping tendencies that are so lustful.


But because you in your ignorance, in your childish cleverness fight the truth, so you have no option but to identify with lust. And when you identify with lust, the doing of lust becomes your doing.


Very often you have to pay the price in spite of you not being the culprit.


What does it mean to identify with God? It means to identify with completeness.

Identify with God.


Give yourself up, and if you cannot do that then submit yourself as you are to the truth, that’s what the devotee does.

He says accept me as I am, O Lord! I’ve given myself totally to you. Good or bad I’m yours.

I’ll not even try to improve myself. I’ll not even try to correct myself.

I’ve lost all doership. Even to improve myself I must be left with a modicum of doership. I have no doership left at all.

If I am evil, cunning, ugly, deceptive, I’m giving myself to you. You take care of me. I’m nobody to improve myself.

Read the complete article: On Jesus Christ and Sage Ashtavakra: Don’t accompany the thief!

On Jesus Christ and Sage Ashtavakra: Don’t accompany the thief!


Poster 5

The thought ‘I am the doer’ is the bite of the poisonous snake.

To know ‘I do nothing’ is the wisdom of faith. Be joyful.

Ashtavakra Gita

(Chapter 1, VERSE 8)

Acharya Prashant: Ashtavakra Gita has been quoted.

“The thought ‘I am the doer’ is the bite of the poisonous snake. To know ‘I do nothing’ is the wisdom of faith. Be joyful.”

Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 1, VERSE 8)

The question says “The Ashtavakra here is saying that doership is sin. But Jesus says ‘Let me do it. I’m the doer’. So why is there this contradiction? ”

Obviously there can be no contradiction. If Ashtavakra is saying that doership is sin, and Jesus is saying that He’s the doer, then obviously Ashtavakra and Jesus are not talking about the same entity. When Ashtavakra says doership is sin, he’s saying let not the ego act. Only the ego is interested in claiming doership. Only the ego is interested in creating and maintaining a divide in which one part can do something to the other.

The doership of the ego is always an exercise in fear, incompleteness and exploitation. Therefore, Ashtavakra is saying that doership is sin. When Jesus says in many place, on multiple occasions that He is the doer or the knower, he’s not talking as a limited person. He is not talking because the talking would gratify him, inflate him, magnify him, or help him become something. His doing is no doership at all because the common doership that we see is always the doership of fear and faithlessness.

When Jesus is acting and he is doing, then it is not arising from a motivation to serve his own personalhood. He has already arrived. He is home. He does not want to go anywhere or reach or become better. He is now merely doing. He is not aspiring. He is the doer, not someone who wants to be transformed through the doing.

Read more

Acharya Prashant on Ashtavakra: What is stillness of mind?


सुखे दुःखे नरे नायाॆं संपत्सु विपत्सुच ।

 विशेषो नैव धीरस्य सर्वत्र  समदर्शिनः।।

अष्टावक्र गीता ।।१७-१५।।

For the one of still mind, for the one of equanimous vision, there is no difference between pleasure and pain, Man and woman, good luck and bad luck, circumstantial happiness and circumstantial sadness.

Ashtavakra Gita, Chapter 17 and Verse 15

Acharya Prashant: For the one of still mind (Sthitpragya), for the one of equanimous vision (Samdarshi), there is no difference between pleasure and pain, man and woman,  good luck and bad luck, circumstantial happiness and circumstantial sadness.

What is meant by one of still mind? What is equanimity? The mind is movement. The mind is detected only through change, only in diversity and differences, only in space and time. Hither and thither the mind wanders, object upon object keep appearing in it. There is something that it is searching for in all its wanderings. That which it is searching for, it tries to find it in the entire world around itself and it has numerous options. The world means an infinite variety of objects to be hopeful of, to choose from, to depend upon. Read more

Truth Absolute from ASHTAVAKRA GITA

A grey head does not make an elder,
Not by years, not by grey hair,
not by riches
nor by relations did the seers make the Law,
He who is great to us,
is one who has learning.

~ Ashtavakra in Mahabharata ~


Dialogues between

King Janaka 


 Sage Ashtavakra


A Course in Realization

Reading scriptures on a regular basis is most central to spiritual growthAncient spiritual texts like the Upanishads and Gita are more relevant today than they were ever before. To spend a lifetime without the words of the saints, the avatars and the gurus is to lose a lifetime.

A Course in Realization, a classroombased learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is a humanitarian initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world

To register for the upcoming course titled 
T R U T H   A B S O L U  T E
from Ashtavakra Gita
starting from the 6th April, 
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Course title
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Acharya Prashant


Acharya Prashant, a Sanyasi who was once an IIT-IIM alumnus and an IRS officer, is the founder of PrashantAdvait Foundation — an N.G.O. committed towards ‘Creating a New Humanity through Intelligent Spirituality’. He is the author of more than fifteen books. These books are compilations of the discourses delivered by him over the years.

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How to come back to the Source?

Question: What method is now needed to come to the Source?

Acharya Prashant: We have already used many methods. The methods have already taken us far from the Source. That is why you are asking this question that what method is now needed to come to the Source. Read more

On Ashtavakra Gita and Bhagawad Gita: The man beyond the world


There is no aggression nor compassion, no pride nor humility,
no wonder nor confusion for the man whose days of samsara are over.

Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 17, Shlok 6)

Acharya Prashant (AP): Whose days in Sansara are over.

Must be closer to death, some terminal disease. Must be dying.

It is a good point to begin with. It’s a good word to use. Live in the world, don’t be worldly. When Ashtavakra says that his days in the world are over, all he means is that his worldliness is over.

There is no aggression nor compassion, no pride nor humility, no wonder nor confusion for the man whose days in Samsara are over.      Read more

On Ashtavakra: The self uses the words of the Guru to defend itself from the Guru


Even if Shiva,
Vishnu or Brahma be your instructor yet,
unless you forget everything
you cannot achieve abidance in the Self.

~ Ashtavakra Gita Chapter 16, 11th verse ~

Acharya Prashant: You are spoken to, not so that you can know more. The instructor may be the highest and wisest that you can get, yet he will use words and actions which are all going to be perceived by you through mental activity.

The whole effort of the Guru is to rid you of your unnecessary self.

Your effort is to use the words of the Guru to protect and extend the same self that the Guru is trying to annihilate. 

So in that sense, you are always at the war with the Guru.  Read more

On Ashtavakra: The real man stands innocently naked, free of all virtues


Question: Ashtavakra talks about being desireless, dispassionate, and egoless. A wise man is defined to possess all these virtues. But how?

Acharya Prashant: See, look at the wordings. You are saying Ashtavakra talks about being Desireless, Dispassionate, and Egoless. Mind these three words. The conclusion being drawn by the questioner is – A wise man is defined to POSSESS all these virtues. Now, when is Ashtavakra saying that? Read more

What is Prarabdha?

Question: Sir, Ashtavakra Gita ch. 13 verse 3: “Recognising that in reality no action is ever committed, I live as I please, just doing what presents itself to be done.”

(kṛtaṁ kimapi naiva syād iti saṁcintya tattvataḥ yadā yatkartumāyāti tat kṛtvāse yathāsukham)

Detail: “However , continues Janak whenever he is goaded to act in the world outside due to the pressure of his PRARABDHA, he does it willingly as an agent of the Lord, the Self.”

What is the meaning of ‘Prarabdha’?

Read more

Do not discard particular opinions, discard the opinionated mind

nānā mataṁ maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ tathā
dṛṣṭvā nirvedamāpannaḥ ko na śāmyati mānavaḥ

नाना मतं महर्षीणां साधूनां योगिनां तथा।
दृष्ट्वा निर्वेदमापन्नः को न शाम्यति मानवः॥

~ अष्टावक्र गीता (अध्याय ९, श्लोक ५)

Having seen the difference of opinions 
among the great sages, saints and yogis,
who will not get detached and attain peace.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 9, Verse 5)

Speaker: “नाना मतं महर्षीणां साधूनां योगिनां तथा।
दृष्ट्वा निर्वेदमापन्नः को न शाम्यति मानवः॥

nā mataṁ maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ tathā
dṛṣṭvā nirvedamāpannaḥ ko na śāmyati mānavaḥ

Where is the man who having observed the diversity of opinions among the seers, saints, and yogis, and thus becoming completely indifferent, does not attain tranquility?”

The question is: What is meant by ‘indifference’? The word that Ashtavakra uses is, ‘nirveda’. ‘Nirveda’ here denotes – free of knowledge. ‘Nir-veda’ – free of knowledge.

He is saying that once you see that how there are just opinions, and opinions, nānā mataṁ – nānā mataṁ maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ –there are just opinions and opinions, and if you are observant enough, you come to see that all we have is projections, perceptions, opinions, disguising as Truth. Disguising as Truth!

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What stays is the Truth, what recedes is the false

सत्यमेव जयते नानृतं सत्येन पन्था विततो देवयानः  
येनाऽऽक्रमन्त्यृषयो ह्याप्तकामा यत्र तत् सत्यस्य परमं निधानम् ।।

The True prevails, not the untrue; by the True the path is laid out,
the way of the gods, on which the old sages, satisfied in their desires,
proceed to where there is that highest place of the True One.

Mundaka Upanishad (Third Mundaka, First part, Verse 6)

Question: Why does the Upanishadik seer say “Satyamev Jayate”?

Speaker: Satyam ev Jayate. Only the Truth wins. Or, Truth alone wins.” “Ev” means ‘only’. Satya hee jeet ta hai (Only the Truth wins). So the question is: Why did the Upanishad not say, “Satyam Jayate (Truth wins)”? Why did he not say it in this way? What is the significance of “ev”? Why must it be said, “Truth alone wins”?

It has been said so, because the Upanishadik seer knew that we are prone to image formation. Understand this. We see two parties fight. And when two parties are fighting, we have already labeled them, because we carry images. We say, “One is the side of Truth, and the other side is the side of falseness. One is the side of dharma, the other is the side of evil.” That we have decided even before the battle. But life is bigger than the labels that you give to it. Life is beyond our limited comprehension.

It is quite possible that the side that you have called as ‘evil’ would win. Now this will create a great problem for you, because you have decided in advance that which is the Truth party and which is the false party. Now the false party has won. What to do? Your shallow faith would stand shaken. You would say, “No. Upanishads; the very word of Truth. They said, ‘Truth wins,’ but I am seeing the false win.” Hence it is quite significant that it must be said, “Satyam ev Jayate.”

If it is winning it is the Truth. If it is winning it is the Truth. Only the Truth wins. So whatever is winning, is the Truth.

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Ignorance is to believe that you are someone separate from the One

तवैवाज्ञानतो विश्वं त्वमेकः परमार्थतः।
त्वत्तोऽन्यो नास्ति संसारी नासंसारी च कश्चन॥

It is through your ignorance alone that the universe appears to exist.

In reality you are the One.

Other than you there is no individual self or supreme Self.

Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 15, Verse 16)

Question: What is meant by “your ignorance”, when it has been said, “In reality you are the One”?

Speaker: For the one who is asking this question, “The One” means nothing. For the one who is asking the question or for the one who asks any question; there is the world, there are appearances, there are things, places, knowledge, lack of knowledge. For the one who is asking the question, there is only all this. This, that is called as the world or the mind of the one who is talking, eating, breathing, asking; this is called as ignorance. Read more

Who is really a wise man?

prakṛtyā śūnyacitto yaḥ pramādād bhāvabhāvanaḥ
nidrito bodhita iva kṣīṇasaṁsmaraṇo hi saḥ.

(Ashtavakra Gita 14.1)

Translation: He indeed has his recollections of worldly life extinguished – who becomes void-minded spontaneously, who thinks of sense objects only by chance, and who is, as it were, awake though physically asleep.

Question: Why is it being said that the wise man thinks of sense objects only by chance?

Speaker: Only by chance, not by memory. Only by chance, not by memory. Not by a compulsive tendency to ponder. We do not think by chance, we are slaves to our compulsive tendencies to keep brooding. Read more

The real meaning of Meditation

3 (2)

Nisango nishkriyo asitvam, svaprakasho niranjan.

Ayamev hi te bandhah samadhi manutishthasi.

– Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter-1, Verse-15)

{You are now and forever free, luminous, transparent and still. The practice of meditation keeps one in bondage.}                                                                                  

Question: What is meditation? Why the practice of meditation keeps one in bondage?

Acharya Prashant: Meditativeness is simply our inner nature. To meditate is different from any kind of mental exertion or mental activity. To meditate is to be at a point where parallelly two non-events are happening. First, there is no need for mental activity . . . because there is no need for any activity, so I am calling it a non-event. So there is no need to think or solve problems, or resist challenges or plan. No need is felt. Secondly, and parallelly, even though there is no need to gather knowledge, yet all is known.

Most of the knowledge that we have, comes to us because the insecure one within us needs to have information from the world. That is the reason why we seek knowledge; there is a feeling of incompleteness and the possibility of some loss, if that knowledge is not there. Read more

Remember by Heart, and let the memory forget

आचक्ष्व शृणु वा तात नानाशास्त्राण्यनेकशः।
तथापि न तव स्वास्थ्यं सर्वविस्मरणाद् ऋते॥

          – अष्टावक्र गीता (अध्याय-१६ सूत्र-१)

Translation: Even after hearing from many scholars or reading many scriptures, you will not be established in self, as after forgetting every single thing.

Speaker: The question is: What does ‘forgetting’ imply?

Whatever we have in the mind, is related to the world. Usually we think that ‘forgetting’ means, that what is there in the mind is no more there in the mind. It was an image of the world and the image is just no more there. In a way it has gone back to the world. It came from the world and it is no more there, so it’s gone. Gone where? Gone back to somewhere else. It’s no more in the mind. No more in the memory. It’s gone.

There is another kind of forgetting in which what came to the mind is no more there in the mind, because it has penetrated deeply to some other place. See, understand this.
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Looking attentively at the world, one enters the Truth beyond world

तदा बन्धो यदा चित्तं सक्तं काश्वपि दृष्टिषु।
तदा मोक्षो यदा चित्तम- सक्तं सर्वदृष्टिषु॥

                          – अष्टावक्र गीता (८- ३)

Translation: There is bondage when mind is attracted towards any of the visible things and liberation is when mind is not attached to anything visible.

Question: It is bondage when the mind is attached to any of the sensory perceptions. It is freedom when the mind is detached from all perceptions. Everything is sensory perception. So what is freedom from sensory perception?

Speaker: When the mind is not divided, then there is a quality about it. Then you call that quality ‘one’. Somebody has said that the sum is greater than the total of the parts, or probably that the total is greater than the sum of the parts. What he has said is that two plus two is five. I want to talk about this extra ‘one’. The sum is greater than the total of the parts. Two plus two is actually five.

If you talk about this extra quality when the mind is undivided, when the mind is total, then this extra ‘one’ comes into being. When you are not divided, then two plus two fetches an extra ‘one’, and this extra ‘one’ is the juice of life. You will not get it in two, you will not get it in another two, but you will get it when there are no two’s left; when there is unity, when the fragmentation has seized. This ‘one’ is the gift. This ‘one’ is grace. But for this ‘one’ to descend, you have to ensure that two is meeting two. When two meets two, then one is given as a complimentary gift. When you are total, then mind experiences that extra-ordinary peace, that extra-ordinary sense of realization and relaxation. Words are a very poor way of communicating it or even hinting towards it.
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How to differentiate right thinking from wrong thinking?

śuddhamadvayamātmānaṁ bhāvayanti kubuddhayaḥ
na tu jānanti saṁmohādyāvajjīvamanirvṛtāḥ
-Ashtavakra Gita(18-43)

Translation: The stupid one thinks of himself, and lives in the confusion of concepts.
The wise one knows himself and lives in the joy of clarity.

Speaker: The question is: If one doesn’t meditate upon the aatman and still be redeemed, then what to meditate of. Those of dull intellect meditate upon the aatman as pure and one but they do not realize it. Through delusion they remain unhappy as long as they live. Read more