Acharya Prashant: How to really listen to the Guru?

Question: In one video, you said that to listen to Krishna, you need to be Arjuna. To Listen to Ashtavakra also you need to be Janak.

To listen to you, what should the person be?

Acharya Prashant: The person should not be insistent on being the ‘person.’ That begins with not seeing the speaker as a person and not imagining the listener to be the person. If here a person is speaking sitting on this chair, then surely there is another person sitting on another chair who is listening. Now, listening cannot really happen. Because persons cannot really relate to each other.

A person is a limitation.

Limitations can associate with each other. But limitations cannot relate to become limitless.

You take one limitation and you associate it with another one, you do not get limitlessness. What you get is another limitation.

One person listening to another person will not listen to the Truth. He will come to some opinion, some conclusion, something of the mind or attitude. But he won’t come upon Truth or silence.

To listen to me you need to forget all about yourselves. And you need to forget that what you are listening to is a person’s personal viewpoints.

If you will insist on saying that what is coming to you is somebody’s personal opinion, then no person ever has the obligation to be non-resistant to another person’s opinions. Opinions by definition are meant to be analyzed, judged, dissected, then partially accepted or rejected.

You will have to see that that which speaks from this chair is the same that listens from that chair, or listening simply doesn’t happen.

Till the time there is A speaking to B, listening cannot happen.

Only Truth listens to the Truth.

Only that within you can listen to me which speaks from within me. And they are one. Which means that there has to be a certain unity between the ‘listener’ and the ‘speaker.’ I said,

to listen to Krishna you need to be Arjuna. But it’s not really Arjuna who listens to Krishna. It’s Krishna within Arjuna that listens to Krishna. No Arjuna can ever know Krishna. Even to look at Krishna, Arjuna requires eyes that are bestowed upon him by Krishna.

You’ll have to give your listening a total chance, a total freedom. And that is a very impersonal freedom. You’ll have to simply drop giving importance to all that is personal about the speaker.

Read more

It has to begin with you

When you say that it is possible to challenge the false, then your life has to be a proof of that challenge. And when you come up to people not only with your words but with the backing of your life, then people appreciate it, then you are credible. Otherwise, you are just talking.

So, it has to begin with you. First of all, you have to be that who can be the messenger; who can be the Teacher.

In repeating the knowledge, you are only perpetuating misery because they already have a lot of knowledge.

And do you know what happens if you are not living what you are saying?

Then you produce more and more cynicism in people. people say, “Another one from the fake ones and because I see only the fake ones hence it is proven that Truth does not exist.” So, instead of being a teacher of Truth, you become a messenger or rather a proof of the false.


To read the complete article: Do you know the most dominant religion today?

Before judging others, know yourself

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Listener: Sir, I have often realized that most of the time, I keep on judging things, people and situations. The mind is never calm and always indulge in judging. What to do?

Acharya Prashant: See, the judging that you are talking of is an action.

No action is right or wrong. 

All that matters is the center from where the action is arising. 

Here, specially in the west we have this notion – ‘Don’t judge’. It’s not quite correct. Judging is an action like any other action.

It’s not important to not to judge; it’s important to not to judge from the wrong center.

From the right center, you can say that this person is afraid and that will be harmful for him. You have judged, but this is a very useful and auspicious judgment. But let’s say if you have your own needs for appreciation, then you’ll compare yourself to others and judge them.

Let’s say, one is not rich enough in her own imagination, so she looks at rich people and says, ‘Ah! Murderers, I know how they have collected their wealth’. Now, in fact, she might be factually right. The one she is pointing towards might actually be a murderer and might have actually collected his wealth through loot. But the comparison is coming from the wrong center. She is saying all this only because she wants to feel superior. So this judgment is from the wrong center. Hence, this judgment should not be made even if it is factually correct.

Factually what she has said may be right, but facts don’t matter, what matters is life, and in life what matters is the place you are operating from. If you are operating from the conditioned mind, the ego, then you’ll only get suffering, even if you are speaking the facts. So, judge; but judge from the center of compassion; of love; of integrity. If judging someone is wrong then all the judges in the courts must go to hell. Obviously, it cannot be wrong. But it is surely wrong when you judge just to uphold your own feeble ego.

And don’t we often do that?

We judge others so that we can feel superior in comparison to them. We judge others so that our own evils appear smaller in comparison to them. Then such judgments are indeed evil.

Look at the lives of the Saints and the Prophets. They have often very clearly declared the wrong to be wrong – which is in today’s parlance – a clear case of being judgmental. They were very judgmental, but they were judgmental because they were compassionate. Such judgments are alright.

Was not Christ judgmental?

Look at his utterance, and you will see several of the things that he said, if you say them, people will say that you are judging. Was not Kabir judgmental?

You get the right to judge others only after you have first judged yourself rightly, and that requires honesty.

When you know yourself then you also get the right to know others and also declare what you know; only then.

Before you look at others, before you try to measure them, firstly look at yourself and see who you are.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Before judging others, know yourself

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: How to help others see the truth?

Article 2: Before you understand others, silence your mind

Article 3: How to keep others happy?


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant 

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant
Flipkart:  https://goo.gl/fS0zHf

What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

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Question: Why human beings have the capacity to question each and everything?
Acharya Prashant: You question only when you do not find something fitting in your patterns. Right? If everything is alright, you don’t question it. You don’t question why I am able to hear what you’re saying. But if I am not able to hear what you’re saying, you question it. Is that not so?
You believe the pattern to be real and when the pattern is falsified you question it. I believe if I throw a ball then it must reach there. And why it must reach there? Because I have always found it reaching there whenever I have thrown it. So this is a pattern. Throw it, find it falling there. This is a pattern.
Now, if I throw a ball and the ball hangs in the mid air then I’ll say what’s this! What’s going on? Now there is a question. So we question because we believe in the pattern. Hence, questioning can come to a mind that has first known the pattern. But this mind has known the pattern but has not seen the pattern to be false. So it starts feeling little uneasy when it finds the pattern broken. It questions.
There can be a mind lower than this—that has not even seen the pattern. This mind will not question. It is such a dumb mind. A mind that is not even  conscious of the pattern will never raise any questions. And you would have met minds like those. They don’t question anything, whatever may keep happening they don’t find any need to question it.
Then there are those who question, those who questions believe in the pattern.
And then there are those who say, “Aah! pattern!” it may continue or it may break, how does it matter; just as a dream may continue or break.
Continuation of a dream makes it no more real than a broken dream.
Then they just sit in silent; they too don’t question. We have all these three categories of people here also. Some are not questioning because they don’t even see what I am talking of is so disruptive. So they don’t question. “Oh, there is no need to question. It’s all okay much the same. Why should I question?” There are some who are questioning, they are questioning because they are seeing that what I am saying is growing against the grain of what they have been believing. So they are questioning, they are asking repeatedly.
And then there might be another category who is so absorbed, so immersed that it finds no need to question. A question is like a dissent, a question says a pattern must be continued why did it break. And if you have no affixation with the pattern then you don’t question, then you’re just silent and immersed.
May there be more people like those here.
But if you can’t be like the one who is not attached to the pattern and hence doesn’t question, then at least question!
Are you getting it?
If you can’t let it directly come to your heart, if you find that the mind is standing in the way then do express the resentment, the dissent of mind; then, question.
By questioning you may probably come to a place where you have no need to question.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: The one answer to every question

Article 2: On Jesus: Faith does not answer questions, it laughs at them

Article 3: Attend to the facts and your imaginations will fall in place


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant 

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant
Flipkart:  https://goo.gl/fS0zHf

The right role of parents in the life of child

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Question: Sir, what should be the right role of parents in the life of a child?

Acharya Prashant: The role of the father and mother is to give birth. Really to give birth not just physically. Physically it is very easy—hormonal, chemical, simply biology, really to give birth.

Listener 1: In which many fails.

AP: Hardly anybody succeeds.

To be a father or mother is not something physical, it is not about having sex, getting impregnated, bearing a baby and nursing it. It is about not only giving a body but also taking the kid to That which is beyond the body. That’s the role of parents—to not only give the body but also then unburden the child of the body. Read more

All attitudes are dangerous, whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’

Question: What is the difference between ‘right attitude’ and ‘wrong attitude’? If external forces ask one to change his or her attitude, then how does one know or decide that what is ‘right attitude’ or ‘wrong attitude’?

Speaker: What is the attitude? Attitude means mentality. Attitude is a predetermined, frozen set of beliefs. Attitude means, “I already know.” Attitude says, “I already know.” Attitude says, “I have beliefs about this, and this is it.” Attitude says, “Even before I know the reality, I have made up my mind.”
Read more

Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’

Spontaenity

Question: While reading the various articles on your blog, I feel that they are like medicines for the mind, but despite having gone through several of them, I am still not able to cure the mind from its illness.

Acharya Prashant: You have several diseases, several illnesses, and what do you do? You go to a pharmacist. You go to a large pharmacy shop and thousands of medicines are there. Will you be cured by going to a pharmacy shop? Yes, indeed the blog is full of medicines, just as a pharmacy shop is full of medicines. And you are full of illness. So you go to the pharmacy shop, the shop is wide open to you and you have all the choice to pick anything as per your convenience, as per your likes and dislikes. And the medicines are there. These are complicated medicines. They have come after years of research. And you are standing there, all the medicines are there, and you start popping pills.

“I want that one, the deep pink! Aah! This syrup looks nice, this smells of alcohol! Give it to me!” And what will all these medicines do to you? Which medicines do you like? Do you know how these cough syrups sell? The government actually had to regulate their sales. You know people with drug addiction, they just like to taste things like Iodex, even Fevicol.

How can medicines help you when ‘you’ are choosing the medicines? All the medicines might be available, but which medicines will you choose? The one which has alcohol or the one which has the glossiest cover, or the one which is branded. That’s the one you will choose. (Referring to the questioner) So that is the reason our friend chooses to read what he chooses. That is the reason why Anshu would come here and then go back and send an article, explaining how spirituality is exploitation and how all the gurus have only exploited everybody, that too right on the day when he has been advised on closeness.

When you choose that particular article, you choose the medicine for yourself, and all the medicines are available.

I sometimes do feel that this is one of the worst injustices that can be done to mankind: to give it a free hand in picking up their medicines. When you allow just anybody to pick up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, then you are actually harming that person. He is not eligible to read the Gita, why is he being allowed to lay his dirty hands on Krishna?

You do not know a thing about spirituality, you do not know the Guru, but with great confidence in yourself as a scholar, you are sending those mails. Pitiable, pathetic. Without a prescription, must you pick a medicine from the pharmacy? Then why do you just roam about picking up any book and reading it? You will be greatly harmed. In fact, don’t read at all, that is better. But to read the wrong book is like consuming poison. And I assure you that you will only choose poison for yourself. That’s all that you can choose.

So I will advise you . . . your life is so dry, it has no movement, no liquidity, it is like a rock, a fossil . . . so I will advise you to sing and dance and go to the saints. But you will not go to the saint, you will go to J. Krishnamurti. And there might be a superstitious fellow who is steeped in belief and he is all the time only reading Ramayana by Tulsidas, to him I would say, “Go to J. Krishnamurti.” But he would not go to J. Krishnamurti. He would say, “No. My chowpais (quatrains) are enough..  I only know Ayodhya and Vrindavan.  Radhe radhe. No Krishnamurti for me.”

The one who must not read Krishnamurti is drawn towards Krishnamurti. The one who must read Krishnamurti is drawn towards some other rubbish. Because you are so clever, you want to choose your own medicine. That’s what you do with the blog as well.

I have recently heard a very, very clever statement from one of you: “Sir, we don’t need. After all, blog is there. Whatever you will say in the camp will ultimately be posted on the blog and the blog is available.”

Have you not heard that?

“Sir, all the videos are there. Why do we need to come to the Clarity Session?” There is no need. Why travel all the way from Lucknow, Kanpur or Moradabad? There is no need. After all, whatever will be said, will sooner or later appear on the blog or on YouTube. So there is no need.”

And we will choose. We will decide what is important, what is not important.

And there are others who say, “Alright. Let him prescribe the medicines. I will not take any medicines outside the list that he prescribes. But from within the list, I will choose. So, if he tells me to do three things, I will do one, and I will choose which one to do. After all, I cannot be harmed. Had it been harmful, he wouldn’t have prescribed.”

You see, I take some Methotrexate, which is a poison. But along with that, my doctor has given me something which is a remedy to the side effects of that poison. So he has given me two medicines together, and he has cautioned me to take both of these. One will treat your illness, but will also give you a side illness. The second medicine will treat the side illness. But I am so clever. What do I do? I take only the first one and I avoid the second one. What do I say? “After all this is the real medicine. This cures the illness; why do I need the second one?” So what will I get? I will get a new disease. I am so clever.

And there are some others as well. “My doctor says, Take both these medicines, but do not take alcohol.” So, what do I do? I say, “See, I am not taking anything which he did not allow me to take. I am not going outside this list. Am I taking any medicine outside this list? No. And whatever is there in this list, I am taking. But why should I follow the other rules that he has set for me? I will take alcohol!” So that’s the kind of mind we have.

“Sir has given us certain books to read. We will read them. But why should we write daily reflections? That is not needed.”

What you do not realize is that the entire thing works together. Even if you take all the medicines and yet do not take the precautions that the doctor has advised, it will not work. The entire thing has to work in totality. But you are so clever: “Why should I do it?” And then look at your face, then look at all the sickness that is there. I am so clever. In thirty different ways you apply your cleverness, and in three hundred ways you suffer. Don’t you see?

Don’t you see? You pick up a book. The book might be by a great master, by the so-called enlightened ones. But don’t you see that you are the one who decides which chapter to read? And don’t you see that those answers were given to somebody else? Are you sure that had you asked that same question that is there in the book, you would have received the same answer?

Let’s say that you are reading Krishnamurti . . . and there is a question and an answer . . . that is the format of the book. Is Joydeep asking that question?

Listener: No.

AP: Is the answer for Joydeep then?

L1: No.

AP: Then how can you be so stupid? Is that answer for you? Look at this very venue, look at this occasion. If Manjeet asks me a question versus if Anushka asks me a question versus if Rahul asks me a question, will I give the same answer? But you record the answer that I gave to Anushka and play that answer to Rahul. What will happen? Will he be helped?

That’s what a book does to you. You don’t even realize that what Krishna is saying in Bhagavad Gita, is for Arjun. Are you Arjun? But you love the blog: “Blogs are good. I am a reader. I read so many other things as well. I am a very well-read person.”

What do you get after reading so many other things? Concept is all that you get. You become a walking inventory of medicines. You smell and reek of medicines. When you talk, you only talk of medicines. In fact, the medicines talks, you are nowhere to be seen. And it can be pinpointed that this statement is coming from this Upanishad.

Yes, speak more, “Yes! This is from the bible.” Speak a little more, “Aah! That one was from Nisargadatta.”

So medicines are talking. Where are you?

Have you seen those patients who take many medicines daily? Now, only medicines are there, like a patient on ventilator. Only the ventilator is there, the man is long gone. The ventilator is breathing. The ventilator is pumping blood. Only the medicine is remaining, you are no more there. But books are such a consolation – “I will read.”

I start feeling a little jittery when I see people who are very well-read. It is very difficult to talk to them, very, very difficult. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t read. I don’t know what you will make out from these words. Next time I advise you to read, and you will say, “Yuck! Poison”

(Laughter)

“That day you said that never read. And now you are saying read!”

L1: Sir, isn’t the choice of book related to what is going on inside?

AP: Yes, yes. Obviously. Always.

L2: Sir, I am pursuing a particular course of study. So I have to read. I sometimes feel guilty that the knowledge given in that course, is in a different light as compared to the discussions that we do here. Yesterday I was reading something, but I was not able to concentrate, because I felt guilty, because I thought that this book will only substantiate my ego. What should one do in that case?

AP: See, one does not go to a temple with the same mind that he has while bargaining in the market. You are not pursuing a spiritual course, you are pursuing a marketable course. When you are in a market, you should know that this is the market and this is knowledge. I must know what the rate of potatoes is. That is what your education teaches you. So you must know that these are potatoes, not a Shivalinga – just a potato. You cannot take it seriously. Alright, you are pursuing some academic course. Is that what you are saying? Which course is it?

L2: English literature.

AP: So all these poets that you read in your English literature course, are they Kabir or Jesus? You must know that this is something for livelihood, and there is the poet who is saying this and that. A poet is not a Rishi (Sage). Is he? So read the poet, it is alright.

Bhagavad Gita is about the mind, and so are the Upanishads. One of you is pursuing a psychology course, and that too is supposed to be about the mind. But will you pursue a psychology course assuming it to be spiritual? There is nothing spiritual about it. It is like looking at the mind just as one looks at the shop. There is no self-observation there. It will never take you to the root of the mind. In fact, it will be very difficult for a psychologist to turn spiritual.

And Bhagavad Gita too is just psychology – how the mind functions.  But you cannot take these two, try to compare them, and co-relate them, and what not. These are just toys that man has made for his entertainment –this study, that study. Let them be there. It’s alright. You must have a reason for pursuing that course. It’s alright. Pursue it, pass it, and get that degree. Don’t take the whole thing so seriously. There is no need to feel guilty about it.

There is this bread here and there is jam inside. The jam has a particular color and I am feeling guilty about the color. How can I take it so seriously? It’s alright. I may eat it; I may not eat it. In fact, I don’t want to eat it! So, it’s alright.

You eat it, it’s alright. You do not eat it, it’s alright.

You must know, what is to be taken seriously; that itself is called vivek (discretion). What is vivek?

The art of knowing what to take seriously and what not to take seriously.

L3: Then the question arises: Who is saying it?

AP: Okay, but at least in the moment of your seriousness, if this can arise, “Does it deserve it?” then there is some possibility. “Does it deserve that seriousness?” When you are fighting and quarrelling with your wife, in that moment if this thought can arise, “Does she deserve this seriousness?” Then you will just shrug the whole thing off and maybe get out of the house, take a walk, sip nice tea somewhere and come back. “She doesn’t even deserve this much of seriousness. How can I even fight with her seriously? You want to shout, keep shouting. I don’t take you seriously enough to fight with you.” This is called discretion, vivek. But obviously, it must arise at that moment, at that time.

L3: How can this arise at that moment, because at that time emotions are very high?

AP: Nothing can be done at that moment, because your mind is a product of time. So everything depends on what you have been doing in time.

On Sunday afternoons it will be difficult for you to fight with your wife, assuming that Sunday mornings are being spent here. So, what you have been doing in time, how you have been spending your time, decides the quality of your time. Are you getting it?

Spend your time wisely and then your spontaneous response will shape up. We talk of ‘spontaneous’ response. But remember, that to have spontaneous response in that moment, you must first have gone through an entire process of cleansing – cleansing in time. A time drawn process, a long process. So the response is spontaneous, but to reach that spontaneity, you must first pass through a long period of time in which there has been an effort, a devoted effort, to take care of the mind. And then you become capable of spontaneity.

L3: Sir, my looseness in this moment will welcome the trouble in the future . . .

AP: Yes, obviously. Wonderful.

That is Karma, fruit of the action.

L3: I am regularly reading Kabir. Chances are that I wouldn’t get into a fight. On the other hand, if I am reading a magazine, I would get into fight . . .

AP: Yes. So there is a man who is attending the session right now. His chances of remaining peaceful in the afternoon and in the evening today are more as compared to a man who is reading a magazine right now, or to a man who is spending Sunday morning lazing in the bed. Evening depends on the morning.

L2: Can that be sustained?

AP: Depends on how desperate you are. Depends on how much your wife has beaten you.

There can be no other answer. There can be no other motivation. You must see that you are suffering. You must clearly see, clearly realize that your ways are of blindness. That they are only giving you pain.

L 3: Sir, a few days back, I read a blog article on anxiety and fear because I was feeling anxious and fearful. Would reading that article harm me?

AP: (Sarcastically) You have already taken it. The medicine has gone in and done whatever it had to do. What is the point? It happens in families where there are small kids.

“Doctor, my son has taken in phenyl.”

“When?”

“Two days back.”

Now what had to happen has happened. Maybe it is because of reading that article that this anxiety is there.

You read something on anxiety and now you are anxious. “What will happen to me? I have read that!”

The medicine will show its effects . . .


– Excerpts from a Clarity Session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1 : Whatever you choose will bring sorrow to you

Article 2 : Your own essence is the Guru, the essence of everything

Article 3 : Why do we choose to suffer silently?

How to know what is good for me?

Question: Is it necessary that I need be good in something that I like doing? Sometimes it may happen that I like something, but I can’t be good at it. So, what is best for me?

Speaker: There are two things you are talking of. One- liking something. Second- being good at it.

These are the two things on which your question rests. Right? “I like something”, that is the first one query. “Whether I am good at it”, that is the second. Right? Examine both of these.

What do you like? What does one like? See you are giving importance to both of these. Right? You are taking as ‘important’, something that you like. Right? “I like something and hence it is important for me.” This is the first important thing. Second important thing is- being good at what I like. “It is not sufficient to just like what I like. I must also excel in it. I should prove my performance. I should be able to act on what I like.” Right? It should be considered good, as per the standards of performance, considered acceptable by others and by me.
Read more

Relationships are not ‘give and take’

Question: Sir, my friends, family and relatives condition me. Do I also condition them ?

Speaker: It’s a network. You see, there is no point in blaming anybody. Those who condition you, are conditioned to condition you. Are you getting it? Those who condition you, are not really villains or evil-doers. They themselves do not know what is happening. No one has planned it. All are victims.

Read more

You cannot guess the ways of God

When your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the Earth a successive authority.”

They said, “Will You place upon it one who will cause corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?”

God answered,” Indeed, I know which you do not know.”

– Quran Read more

No ritual is spiritual

Question: Sir, could the people of India be enslaved for long because they were spiritual people?

Speaker: If India was enslaved for so long, if the people here could be conquered and banished, and be made to live against their will, it was not because they were spiritual people, it was because they were not at all spiritual.
I ask you a simple question. What is the most fundamental tenet of spirituality? It is to know what is this game called ‘the world’ and ‘Who am I?’ Right? That is the foundation. ‘What is all this going on?’, and it’s a most obvious question that any intelligent man must ask. Right? Only if you are very stupid, then you will be not spiritual otherwise you have to be spiritual. What else can you be? Spirituality is common sense. Don’t you want to know what all this is? That is spirituality.

Read more

Before you chase goals, become goal-less

Impart not esoteric Truth to fools,
Nor on molasses feed an ass.
Do not sow seeds in sandy beds,
Nor waste your oil on cakes of bran.
-Lal Ded

Speaker: The question is, ‘Why is a compassionate saint speaking such words? They look more like coming from a result oriented mind.’

When you say, ‘Why is a compassionate saint speaking these words?’, who are you referring to? There is a Lal Ded that never took birth and will never die. There is a Lal Ded who is so expansive that space cannot contain her and there is a Lal Ded who surely took birth and who surely die. There is a Lal Ded who is limited in a body, there is a Lal Ded who is living, eating and breathing in achievement and there is nothing left for her to get. And there is a Lal Ded who must move around, go place to place, speak and dance. There is a Lal Ded who is pure silence and there is a Lal Ded who must deal in words. Who are you referring to? Who is the saint? When you say saint, what do you mean? What do you mean? Your query is that why is Lal Ded speaking in a language that looks result oriented?
Read more

Why does man go wrong?

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

– (Bible, Romans 14:17)

Question: Christ says, ‘The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink’, but on every special day, all I see is meat and drink. That is how people celebrate. So where did it all go wrong?

Speaker: If Christ is saying that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, then why do we only see meat and drink? And his words are both figuratively and literally true. Millions of animals would have been slaughtered just for the New Year eve celebration. And you know, statistics are that forty percent of that meat, chicken, ham, beef, bacon, all that goes to go waste. Because in festivals people tend to buy more than they need, then they throw it away. Of the millions of slaughtered animals, millions have been killed, just to be dumped in a waste basket.
Read more

The Real can neither emerge from commandments, nor be confined to patterns

Questioner : Sir, if our ‘shoulds’ are coming in the way of our success and happiness, then what is the solution?

Acharya Prashant: What kind of success, the real one or the fake one?

Listeners : The real one.

AP: The Real one. Good! Read more

Place of ego- either at the Master’s feet or in the Master’s embrace

Question: What should I do if something is clear, but I do not act according to that understanding?

Speaker: We had talked about the limitation of clarity. Clarity alone is not sufficient. You can be very clear that you are diseased, but unless you are also sure that you can be disease-free, that clarity will only give you pain.
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How can I get my ex-girlfriend back?

Speaker: ‘How can I get my ex-girlfriend back?’ The question comes from Shubham. Shubham you will have to die (audience bursts into laughter). There is no other way, you will have to die.

You know, it was Kabir who said:

ये तो घर है प्रेम का, खाला का घर नाहिं ।
सीस उतारे भुँई धरे, तब बैठें घर माहिं ॥

You will have to die. And obviously it is not death of the physical kind. When Kabir says, ‘Cut your head before you can enter the house of love’, what does he mean? What does this denote? Kabir says, ‘Cut your head down’. What does this denote?

Listener 1: Ego.

Speaker: Yes, wonderful. This denotes the sum total of your past. This denotes the absolute sum total of your past, your attitude, your conditioning that you carry forward. You cannot get your ex-girlfriend back if you continue to be the same person who broke up. Are you getting it?

After all there was a context to the breakup. Am I right? If you are the same person who broke up, how will you engage with her again? To engage with her again you will have to be an absolutely new, fresh person, that old fellow must die. Unless the old ‘Shubham’ dies there is no possibility of a new relationship. Is this becoming clear?
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An individual is one whose desires are his own

Speaker: There is this water-bottle over there. Can you estimate the number of water molecules in this?

Listeners (everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: One mole of water has how much grams of water?

Listener 1: Eighteen grams of water.

Speaker: This water-bottle has not less than four grams of water. So, you can estimate the enormous number of molecules present in the bottle. What is happening inside? What is the typical r.m.s. velocity at the room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure?

It is of the order of hundreds of meters per second. Right? So much of the movement is taking place there. Look at any individual molecule. What is it doing? A three-dimensional random movement. Correct. Why cannot that molecule move in one particular direction and keep moving in that direction? Why?
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Ego and attitude

Question: What is the difference between Ego and Attitude?

Speaker: Ego is internalization of an external statement about you. Right? Ego says,”I am something”, and that something comes from outside. Right? The moment you are something, there will be an attitude associated with that identity.

To be something is an identity, and with every identity, there is an attitude.
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In the exam of life, no question is ever repeated

Question: Sir, I would like to ask you a question. What is life and why is it so important to live a worthy life?

Speaker: Life is not some unknown quantity outside of you, mysterious, something to be reached or attained. I am sure none of us sitting here want to say that we are not alive. Anybody here who claims that he or she is not alive? We are alive, all of us. All of us are surely, well and truly alive. Are we not?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Then there is the complication. If we are alive, then this is life. Or is there any doubt in our aliveness? If you are alive then when are you alive, and where are you alive? How many of you are alive right now in the United States? How many of you are alive on Mars or Jupiter? This is where you are alive. Right? If you are alive, then when are you alive? How many of you can take a couple of breaths in the future? How many of you can take a couple of breaths in the future? If you’re alive, then you are breathing…?

Listeners (everyone): Right now.

Speaker: A man was breathing two days back. Would you call him alive?

Listeners (everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: He is qualified to be alive only when he is breathing today. Neither can you breathe in the future nor does breathing in the past qualify or entitle you to be called alive. So what is life? We are alive and this is where and when we are alive. Hence, life is a very straight-forward matter, it’s so simple that we can miss it. And so simple that we feel like complicating it. This is life. You’re sitting over here, this is life.  You’re sitting with your arms folded, this is life. You’re sitting in attention, this is life. You’re sitting and thinking, this is life. Whatever this is, is life. Then you asked, “What makes life worthy?”

The quality of lifeThe quality of this moment decides the quality of life. If this is life, then the worthiness of this moment is the worthiness of life. Is it not so?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Now in this very moment, some of you are deeply absorbed in attention. Your faces clearly tell that you are here, present. And in this moment it is possible that some of us might be thinking of this and that. Someone may already be writing the test that you have to write three days hence. Someone may still be stuck with an incident he or she had in the morning. That is the quality of that person’s life. What is the quality then? If life is this moment and the mind is wandering somewhere else, then what is the quality of life? Poor, bad and not present at all. You have to write a question paper. You have to respond to a challenge. What kind of answer would you be writing if you are not present to write the answer? Imagine this situation. The question paper is lying on your desk. The question paper is a challenge. It is demanding a response from you. Is it not?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: The question paper is there on the deck, but the chair is vacant. Now can there be any response?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: If life is this moment, and this moment has its peculiar, new, fresh, demanding challenges, then you must be there,on the chair to answer the challenge. What does it mean to be on the chair? It does not mean that you have brought your physical body to the chair and kept it there. It means that you are well and truly there. And that is the worthiness of life. To be well and truly in it. “Yes! The moment is there and I too am there. I have not made some kind of proxy arrangement.” What does a proxy arrangement mean? “I am not present. I’m not applying my mind to the question paper. Instead there is the data base of memory from which my responses are coming.” You see, there are two ways to not respond adequately to the question-paper of life. One is to miss the exam altogether. The question paper is there on the desk and the chair is vacant. We talked about that. But if that happens, then it’s a relief because you can see that you are not there. It is a very gross event, you cannot miss it. Usually what happens is that our absence is not so gross. Our absence is subtle. In what ways is it subtle? That physically the body is present but the mind is not there in the paper. How will you respond to the question paper? Let us say that there is a problem in mathematics. Will you say that I have already solved a problem like this earlier and let me just repeat the answers? It is a very poor question-paper then. Life is a far more clever question-setter. It does not give you questions that have been asked in the previous years. It always gives you new questions.

Exam of lifeThose who live by memory, those who live by tradition will not get good marks in the exam of life. But what do we do? The question paper has come and I don’t want to apply myself fully in it. I say, “I already know the answers. Previous year such a question was asked and my seniors wrote those kind of answers. So, this too must be a similar question. And let me just repeat the answers my seniors have been writing.” And those seniors include an entire variety of people. When you feel inferior, then everybody else becomes senior. That’s the definition of senior. So everybody else then becomes a guru, a guide, a prophet because you then lack a real consciousness of your own. So you hear something from the family, you hear something from the neighbours, you hear something from the media and you want to repeat those answers. What will be the quality of those answers? Last year a second order differential equation came and this year the question paper contains a third order equation. And what kind of answer are you writing?

Listeners (everyone): Second order equation.

Speaker: Assuming that this is the same question that has been asked since centuries, do you see that your answer will then not be worthy? Do you see that?

What is life? What decides the worthiness of our life?

Your presence. Your being well and truly into it. That is what decides the worthiness of life.

But that worthiness is not really life’s worthiness. It is your worthiness. So don’t ask, “What makes life worthy?” Ask, “What makes me worthy?” If you are worthy, then life is worthy. And worthiness requires the courage to look at things very, very afresh, to not to depend so much on memory but instead work in attention, instead work in presence. If you’re listening to me right now and still utilizing memory, then it would be very difficult for you to get what I am saying, to really connect, to really be present along with me because memory is still functioning. Memory is substituting for your presence. That’s what is called as proxy-attendance. “I am not here, my memory is here.” Do you understand memory? The entire store-house of the past. So there might be somebody here who is hearing a few words and then comparing it to what he or she has heard earlier before. This means that you are not truly present. Do you know what you are doing? You are looking at the question paper and trying to figure out whether you have looked at such a question earlier. Have you seen such people? The moment they come across a question, they try to remember whether they have seen that kind of a question before. You too might have done it sometimes. Have you done it?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: You see a question and what do you try to do? You try to relate it to a question that you might have previously solved. Have you done that sometimes?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: It is very tempting. Is it not? You feel that this would make things easier. “Oh! I have already solved it.” And you feel kind of confident if you can remember that this is not an entirely new question. “I have seen such a question before.” You feel comfortable. Don’t you?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: But that makes the entire thing dead. Because now what is functional? Memory is functional. And memory is dead. Any instrument can have memory. Computers have memory. And even the most basic computer has far more memory than you can ever have. Forget about a computer even a camera has more memory than you can ever have. So to live by memory makes life unworthy. To live by understanding is what makes life live-able. That is called consciousness. That is called presence. That is called intelligence and understanding. They all point towards the same direction. You are young; the courage that it requires can easily be summoned by you.

To really live a worthy life requires one to be fearless. Only a fearless man will not need unnecessary support of the past. The man who is afraid always relies on the crutches of the past. You do not need to do that. I see healthy bodies in front of me. And your eyes are glowing with the light of intelligence. You/ surely can muster that courage. “I do not need a proxy kind of presence. I can be well and truly present.” And that is the worthiness of life. Is the whole thing somewhat clear? Is it making some sense?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: In the exam of life, no question is ever repeated

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: How do I stay in the present?

Article 2: All displacement from the present is suffering

Article 3: Let life be a spontaneous unplanned flow

 

 

Do influences come to influence you?

Question 1: Sir, how can our mind be free of influence?

Speaker: Influences never come to influence you. The question is: how can the mind be free of influence? Does the influence come and say that I want to influence you? Go into this. There is a hoarding on the road. It is advertising something. Does it come and catch you by your throat and say that you must read it, and not only must you read it, you must also get influenced? Does it say that? It is there standing at its place. Influences don’t come to influence you. Read more