The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)

The relation between religion and spirituality

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Question: Acharya ji, my sister believes in Christianity, and she has also changed her religion. Now, she says that I am on a wrong path. What is the right path? How are religion and spirituality connected?

Acharya Prashant:

When the subtle becomes gross, rather the subtle is turned into gross,

then all these religious prejudices are born.

So, when someone says, “Jesus,” then someone must ask, “Who is ‘Jesus’? What do you mean by ‘Jesus’? The son of Mary? Who is ‘Jesus’?” When somebody says, “I have found my path,” the question to be asked is, “Whose path?”

From the gross, the inquiry must move to the subtle.  And that is also the relation between Religion and Spirituality. The Truth is subtler than the subtlest.

Spirituality is subtle, Religion is gross.

We get attracted to names, forms, conventions. Jesus is not the name and form of ‘Jesus’. Who is ‘Jesus’? And if you look at the Bible closely, then there is enough in the Bible, to clearly see, and demonstrate, that those who are ardent evangelists, are the ones, who have probably missed Jesus the most.

There are two kinds of missionary zeals. One is – when you have really dissolved, really found, and then what you have found, disseminates itself from your being, or rather non-being. This is Love. You are like the Sun, you must radiate. This first form of zeal is Love.

And then the second form of zeal is, when you have not found, and you know that you have not found, and because you have not found, you are insecure, and to cover-up your insecurity, you want to gather numbers around you. Because insecurity requires a crowd. Insecurity requires that there must be more like you. Insecurity has a need to prove itself.

So, to convince yourself, that you are not as much in a debauched state, as you really are, you turn outwards. This is ‘evangelism’. You are trying to convert the other, because you are yourself not converted. And there is a great difference between love and evangelism.

In Love too, you bring something precious to the other. But, in Love, you bring something precious to the other, for the sake of the other. In evangelism, you bring something to the other, for your own sake, because you know fully well that you are insecure. Because you know that you are stuck somewhere, and are lonely.

“I am the only one who follows a particular religion in the family. So, won’t it be great if I have some support? Won’t it be great if my numbers multiply?” The question to be asked is, “Do you have the real thing?” And I am not saying that one has to follow only path to get to the real thing, or for that matter one has to follow any particular path to get the real thing.

So, it’s not the question of paths, it’s the question of whether you have IT. If you have IT, then your approach, then your relationship with the entire family, would be very different. And if you don’t have IT, then you are just acting as an enemy, by trying to convert someone to your side. 

It’s not then about Christianity, or Hinduism, or Theism versus Atheism. It’s simply the question of whether one has it. Do you have it? And if you have it, then please tell me what does ‘Jesus’ mean to you. Who are you? Who are you?

When you say you have found your path, whose path? This question of identity, will befuddle and anger, many a zealous evangelists. When they say that they have found God, the only question that you have to ask is, “Who has found what?” And this will irritate them so much.

When Jesus says, “I am the life, the light and the way,” what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? Does Jesus mean, the body of Jesus? Then what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? In fact, the best way to tame a Christian , is to read the Bible. The best way to show to a Hindu, that he is ignorant, is to read the Gita. 

Chances are, the Christian would be the one, who has no relationship with the Christ, whatsoever. The Hindu would be the one who has no relation with Krishna, in any way. So, when they say, “Come to Jesus,” say, “Yes, I will come to Jesus, directly, through the Bible.” And go to the Bible, and meet Jesus.

And I assure you, Jesus is tremendously beautiful. But when you will really be with Jesus, then Christians will not like you, because they do not want you to be with the Christ. They want you to be a Christian.

And there is tremendous difference, in being with the Christ, and being a Christian.

So, how to deal with your sister? Go to Jesus, he will tell you. Your sister wants to take you to Jesus, I too am encouraging that. Kindly do go to Jesus, but go directly. Go to the Bible.

Yours truly too has spoken a lot on Jesus. Why don’t you share one of those videos with her? Support is available. Fire!

Listener: Some say that even Christ was not a Christian.

(laughter)

Acharya ji: Jesus is beautiful, Krishna is beautiful. Go to them.

Listener: Are they not same?

Acharya ji: In form and name, obviously not. In essence, obviously yes.

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

Watch the session:  The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love

T24

Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?

Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?

If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.

Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.

But that is not the true meaning of religion.

Real religion cannot be changed.

What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.

Because there are no different religions.

True religion is just one.

How will you change it? There is no second religion.

Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.

Read more

Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Various religions, and their view of animals

Blog-13

Question: How to understand religions, the treatment of animals and the role they play in religions?

Acharya Prashant: When you say religions, just for the sake of the conversation, I would want to divide them into two streams:

1. The Abrahamic stream

2. Indian.

So, the Judeo-Christian view is that God has dominion over man and man has dominion over animals, something similar also comes up in the third Abrahamic religion, Islam, which talks about Allah having created all the animals, fish, insects for the sake of man.

And, then there is the view of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism which talk of Ahimsa, Ekatva, which is non-violence and oneness.

But I am not really convinced that when we use the word religion, we must really talk of the view that organized religions take of this matter. The moment religion is organized, it becomes something man-made.

So, I will take your question to mean, that we want to talk about religion as such.

Man, animals, man’s inner world and man’s relationship with the so-called outer world including animals.

So, there is man and man lives according to himself in this so-called universe, this universe that appears to him through his senses, there is no other way a man perceives universe, he perceives it through his senses and he interprets it through his reason, through his intellect and through his knowledge and memory.

Now, how does man relate with the world?

How does man know what to do, how to approach, how to touch, how to live, how to eat, how to talk, how to connect, that to me is the essence of religion.

Man’s relationship with himself and the world, that is religion and that is also the essence of all the organized religions.

Hence, I find it more beneficial to talk about religion itself than the various organized religions.

I have named just six in the course of this talk. But as you of course know, there are hundreds of them. It would be more useful to directly go into the one rather than the hundreds and get lost in the maze, that is not very useful.

So, man’s relationship with the universe; see, how do I look at anything or anybody, depends on how I look at myself.

If there is a pool of water and I am playful, then the pool of water is a sport for me. If there is a pool of water and I have a phobia, then the pool of water is danger for me. If there is a pool of water and I am thirsty, then the pool of water is physical sustenance and survival for me.

So, depending on who I am and what my self-concept and self-worth is, I take a view of the world.

Now, If I am someone who is always feeling incomplete within himself, if I am someone who exists in order to take something, snatch or extract something from the universe in order to fulfill himself, then my view of the universe will be very utilitarian, rather exploitative.

So, as there is that little squirrel there.

Even as we talk she is there with her tail up. How do I look at her?

I could look at her as food if hunger is what I most identify with.

I could look at her at as a companion too.

Whatever is the form she takes for me is very intimately related to the form that I have assigned to myself. The squirrel will disappear in a while, and she has indeed disappeared. She is no more there. She is all by herself somewhere. The squirrel will disappear but that which I carry as myself will not. I will carry it, I will keep carrying it.

If I am feeling incomplete, that incompletion will remain irrespective of the temporal presence and disappearance of anything outside of me.

If I always feel hollow and hungry, then everything in the universe is but a resource for me. I will want to exploit the man, the woman, the tree, the rock, the child, the animal, just everything.

Read more

Limitation itself is the sin

Who are we?

Limited beings with their limited desires, limited scope, limited understanding, limited vision.

The limitation itself is the sin.

 

A Jesus is there to help you get rid of your incompleteness.

But instead of thanking Jesus and living by his word, you choose to crucify him.

Remember the crucifixion.

Because if you forget the crucifixion, you’ll also forget your immediate reality.

The immediate reality is important.

 

One must know where one is standing.

Where one ought to be, or where one must reach comes later. And man does not stand at the perfect spot.

 

The one who is lost must know that he is lost. If he starts believing that he is home, then he will remain forever lost.

 

Only the healthy one has the right to say that he is healthy.

Only a Jesus has the right to say that he is the son of God.

 

Where there is ego, there is bound to be fear.

 

Fifty types of fears just pop up.

Fear is going to be there, choose your type.

Which fear do you prefer?

 

The superficial desire is actually a product of the deep desire. But the irony is such that the superficial desire, though arising from the deep desire, actually works against the deep desire. 

 

The ego is always God loving at the core, and it is great when at the core the ego is God loving and on the surface the ego is God fearing.

 

Be a lover of God in your heart, but your mind must always be afraid of God.

 

One must be afraid of himself.

Being God-fearing means being fearful of oneself, and being fearful of losing God.

 

One must be very very alert to these tendencies;

One must be very very watchful.



Read the complete article: On Jesus Christ: Lover at heart; disciple from mind

On Jesus Christ: Lover at heart; disciple from mind

Poster 5

The fear of the Lord adds length to life

but the years of the wicked are cut short.

BIBLE (PROVERBS 10:27)

Acharya Prashant:

“The fear of the Lord adds length to life but the years of the wicked are cut short.”

BIBLE (PROVERBS 10:27)

Nimisha has quoted from the bible “The fear of the Lord adds length to life but the years of the wicked are cut short”.

Then she says:

Dear Acharya Ji Pranam, having studied in a convent school, I was exposed daily to the teachings of Lord Jesus and stories from the Bible from a very young age. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the Christ. His warm compassionate gaze and loving demeanor were so comforting. However, one thing that tainted this was the continual reminder that we are all out of sin and need to repent and fear God as well as feel guilty about Christ’s crucifixion. That we are incomplete and need him to redeem us. Something within me rejects this theory of incompleteness. Why do we need to fear the Lord? Why can’t we love him unabashedly?

Thank you.

Nimisha you’ve written that something within you rejects this theory of incompleteness. Look into this statement carefully. Something within you rejects this theory of incompleteness that something, as you say, is within you that something is not the whole of you as you are. That something might be your heart, might be your core, but you are not always and fully abiding as the heart, as the core. Otherwise you would have written ‘I reject this theory of incompleteness’. No, you don’t fully reject it, and that is why this incompleteness is something that we must not turn our backs to. This incompleteness is not something to be swept under the carpet. This incompleteness has to be talked about. It has to be addressed. It has to be healed. We are strongly identified with the ego, with the incompleteness. We live as that.

When you say that in the convent school there were continuous reminders that man is born out of sin and needs to repent, and fear God and feel guilty, it is very much all right. The assertion is well placed. The one who is being referred to is indeed born out of sin.

Who are we?

Limited beings with their limited desires, limited scope, limited understanding, limited vision.

The limitation itself is the sin.

And man is born limited. Would you deny that? Man is born limited, the limitation itself is the sin. Christianity asks man to repent. The word repent is quite subtle with meaning. It means to go back, to return to home. As man is born, man is born as a wanderer, as a homeless recluse.

Somebody who has a continuous thirst to return to the home. But the thirst finds expression in a million ways except the direct way. And that is why repentance is very useful as a tool because it helps man remember that he is indeed incomplete as he is.

There is no point talking of completeness as an abstraction. There is no point talking of completeness as a concept and believing in it. Look at mankind, look at the daily life of man. Do we live in a sense of fulfillment? Every sense, every feeling, every thought that we have is a thought of incompleteness. We want more, and we want to get rid of stuff that we do not want.

Read more

If a Christian is one who loves Christ, I am absolutely a Christian

Listener: Sir I have heard or maybe read somewhere that you are a Christian, is that right?

Acharya Prashant: I love Jesus, l love Krishna, I love Buddha, they are all wonderful. There is no doubt that there is a lot about me which is Christian. I won’t even say Christian, I would say – in tune with Christ, in accordance with Christ, in love with Christ. Obviously I do not follow the way of life suggested by the Church. So going by rituals and organized conduct, there is hardly anybody who would call me a Christian, but essentially if a Christian is one who loves Christ then I am absolutely a Christian.

You know what I love about the Christ the most, you would be surprised – His words are wonderful, his short life was glorious but what I like the most about him is that he was a very handsome young man. Obviously all we have is images of his physical form but I am so sure that he would have been one hell of a beautiful man. In fact a lot of my students are in there 20’s and I often quote ‘Jesus on the Cross’ to them as a perfect example of what vigorous youth is like, what is means to be fully young. To me Jesus epitomizes the fullness of life, the rebellion of a young man. He is absolutely lovable.

Read more

When God is the Lover, to be kissed is to be killed

Question: The old Tibetan scripture says the spirituality will shift from the east to the west. That was written centuries ago. It was kind of predicted.

Acharya Prashant: Of this I too feel a little sure that the center of spiritual yearning has already moved to west from the east. East has relics, east has remains, east has the old devastated buildings but the new grass is taking root not in east, I assure you. East has a lot of remains, so if you are interested in archaeology, in historical wanderings, then east has a lot of history but if you’re looking for living spirituality, if you’re looking for spirituality that breathes, you will find very little of it in the east.

When I’m saying east, I’m referring to India. I don’t know of other countries. In fact I know of other countries; nowhere. About the west, even though again just as I don’t know other countries, I also don’t know any western country but about the west I’m reasonably sure because the kind of mind that is needed for a spiritual pursuit has to be first of all a mind that is not averse to order.

The western mind at least knows how to follow an external order; they know how to drive in traffic. The inner order — it is such a huge authority, it is such a dictator that it does not listen to any of your wishes. The external order is a very gentle order in comparison. Now, the one who cannot even follow an external order; an external order, in the sense, just as you said, ‘When Indians say thirty minutes, you never know what they mean’. So somebody who cannot follow even an external order, how will he tolerate the immensity and the utter authority and the unreasonableness of the internal order.

When the traffic policeman is telling me to do something, and that something is quite reasonable, he’s not torturing me, that I cannot follow. I cannot think straight. I cannot think two plus two four and the inner commander will say two plus two is five. When I cannot appreciate two plus two four, how will I appreciate when that unreasonable order comes from within?

Are you getting it?

Take it like this: I tell you something which will save your life and you cannot follow that. It is a simple and reasonable order. I’m telling you something which will save your life and you cannot follow that even though it is logical, simple and reasonable. Then, how will you follow when the inner order will tell you to take your life? You cannot follow the instruction of a doctor — here in India if a doctor gives you pills, you think the doctor is an idiot.

When you cannot follow instructions that will save your life, how will you follow instructions that will take your life?

Spirituality is about taking your life.

L2: You said, I think yesterday, we have to forget or overcome our differences but only one thing is important and that is the difference between the essential and the non-essential.  How can we manage that? Inner order, this is really strict.

AP: The inner one is a little too difficult to be tolerated.

God is a really finicky husband and autocratic father.

He gives you orders that you can never understand.

He gives you orders that are impossible to execute.

He’ll always tell you to do something that will put you in trouble.

“Don’t go home!”

He’ll never give you something that will make you feel warm and comfortable.

“Go out. Midnight. Dance there. Naked.”

Oh God! Where is the fire?

“No fire. Keep dancing and keep dancing to my tune.”

That kind of a fellow this God is. What to do?

How to follow the inner order? You don’t know.

When He (God) will beat you black and blue ,you will follow. When He will love you madly enough then you will follow. There is actually no recipe. Even, I’m desperately looking for that formula. But not getting it. I know there is no such formula but when you see all the madness around, you desperately wish to find some formula that can be applied on everybody. There is actually no such formula. That’s His unreasonable, unacceptable behavior. He should be tried for bad behavior — no manners, no etiquette, just commands!

He ties your hands and then asks you to fight. What to do?

And after you’ve won, He declares that you’ve lost. What to do?

And when you are an absolute winner, He gives you death as a reward.

He is, I assure you, not the loving father you hold him in Christianity.

That image is a totally false image — God, the provider; God, the supplicant.

Sorry.

L1: There are quite a lot of Christian mystics who’ve gone through that.

AP: I know. Of that I can be very-very certain because I’m going through that every day, Dusan (listener).  God is not kind at all I’m telling you. He is very lovable but he is a kind of lover you keep loving and He responds in His own idiosyncratic crazy ways. You’re sending out kisses to Him and He comes back with a slap. When you say why are you slapping me, He says that’s my definition of a kiss. I just kissed. What to do?

But rest assured, God is not like that. He doesn’t have a long white robe, He’s not old, He doesn’t have a flowing beard and He’s not merciful. Not all that, seriously not all that.

That does not mean that He’s the opposite of all that. I’m just saying that He’s not what Christianity has made Him out to be. He’s not that! He seriously torments. He seriously makes you suffer. Sometimes what you think of as Joy is just suffering. In the form of Joy, He has sent you suffering. I’ve personal experience of that. You feel happy that Joy has come to you but then you know what appears auspicious (Shubh) is the worst thing that can happen to you. You think that the emblem of auspiciousness (Shubhankar) is coming but God has his own way of giving.

One has to learn to live with His moods — a very moody and autocratic being. And the worst part is after doing all the rubbish that He can, after appearing to be conclusively unjust, tyrannical, ultimately, He delivers you the worst humiliation. The worst humiliation is that when you were thinking of Him as tyrannical and unjust, He was actually displaying kindness to you.

That is His last slap on your face!

First of all He keeps slapping you, when you think He’s slapping you. And then His last slap is that you learn that when He was slapping you, He was actually caressing you. That is the last slap! Net result is: All you get from Him is slaps. When you discover that these were not slaps, that is too late. You’re gone. Some idiots call that Enlightenment.

(Laughs)

But you’re gone, too late to know.  

It is not for the small-hearted. If you don’t have raw beastly courage, do not get into this. He really shreds your heart, makes you play with your own blood and then when you’re all in red, totally gory, he says what stupidity is this?

Aghast! You’re looking at his face. But I just followed your orders.

“Come on! You should know better than that. Why did you follow my orders?”

If you have any weakness, if you have even a single point left uncovered, undefended, if even on a single front you’re weak then God will exploit that.

L1: But it is his duty. That is his duty.

AP: Not a likeable fellow at all.

Sometimes you feel disgusted towards yourself for being him!

(Laughs)

I am you!

I Am That is such an impersonal thing. When you talk to God, all that you ask is, “I am you!” Of all things possible, “I am you!”

You know that’s what they say, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely!’

There is only one who has absolute power. He’s totally corrupted — follows no discipline, does not listen to your wishes, plays around with men as toys and keeps giving random twists to your life stories. Today you meet some random woman on a boat, tomorrow she is your wife and he’s giving high fives to himself.    

Another one made an ass.

When you’re about to meet Him,

He himself becomes the barrier and then,

He says, “Such a fool, he cannot come to meet.”

The evil is God’s secret agent.

After we all have retired to sleep then God holds a secret meeting with him. What do you think? The evil is evil? God will tolerate evil? He’s such an absolute autocrat, why will he tolerate evil or devil?

The evil is nobody but God in forms that we dislike.  

L1: Evil could be the final rising.

AP: The final rising, yes.

L1: He does the dirty job.

AP: One thing is certain: That dirty job is being done with that fellow’s consent. I’m sure He’s behind all this, whatever is happening. One just has to trace His hand. Maybe ,one of the secret services – CIA or something like that, they should shadow evil and figure out from where He gets his ammunition and resources from? What do you think, evil could have survived without God’s patronage?

Not only can the evil not survive without the patronage of God, even God cannot survive without the patronage of evil.

L1: Yes.

AP: Remove evil and? (Asking the listeners)

L1: There is no God anymore.

AP: It’s not conforming to the image — the word Patronage. Right?

L2: Patronage is a bit too much for me.

(Laughs)

AP: God turns into Gods. One of them is an evil God. And these Gods together keep up the God.

God turns into Gods.

One of them is an evil God.

And these Gods together keep up the God.

L2: I don’t agree but I respect your views. You have more experience.

AP: I wish experience could speak all this.

All this while we’ve been talking of God; you just said you disagree which means that your God differs from my God.

L2: I don’t know because I have no picture.

AP: Seriously? Can you differ without having a picture? Is it possible to differ at all?

L2: Because in some aspect I don’t agree with your approach.

AP: Again, I’m asking, how will you disagree if you don’t have a picture? Look into it.

L2: A picture means something clear, crystal clear for me at least.  

AP: You may have a vague picture. There are clear pictures and there are vague pictures, nonetheless both are pictures.

L2: In a very rough sense, yes.

AP: In a very rough sense, right?

So we are talking of God and you do not agree with my God so surely we’re talking of Gods because your God is not my God.

L2: Yes.

AP: So all this while we have been talking of Gods. Not God; Gods.

So that’s what God does: gives rise to Gods that we can talk of and we keep talking of them.

Meanwhile, time is wasted and God remains elusive.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: When God is the Lover, to be Kissed is to be Killed

Further Reading:

THE BEAUTIFUL HEART

tbh_cover

The Beautiful Heart, a paragon, will introduce you to an extremely different way of living, not professed by many before; a way that is far away from calculations and manipulations and calls for a fearless venture into it.

Living by the Heart is a harmonious way of living. Author has extended an invitation through this book to come close to the beautiful heart of yours and see how enchanting it is to live by it.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/Yk3OVP

Kindle: https://goo.gl/QhmpB7

God is in the clatter of the utensils and the wailing of the baby

When you look at the wall do you see emptiness?

No, you see something tangible, you see something important. Usually, this argument is given by those who want to retain their attachments. This is the favourite argument of the householders and so many people find it difficult to refute. You don’t need to find God somewhere. God is in your kitchen and bedroom.

God is in the clatter of the utensils and the wailing of the baby.

God is not in the temple bell. God is the whistle of the pressure cooker.

This is not at all bad but then the baby must not be a baby, then the baby has to be emptiness. Then the husband cannot be a person, the husband has to be infinite, impersonal, existential individuality.

You do not serve morning tea to infinite impersonal existential individuality.

Creativity arises from nothingness

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Question: The creator is in every bit of the creation, then why do we call the world illusionary?

Acharya Prashant: Don’t call the world illusionary. “The creator is the creation” is not merely an aphorism. If you can look at the wall and see just creativity here, then wonderful, continue looking at the wall. Do you know what is creativity? Creativity is something arising out of nothing. So basically, if you can look at the wall as emptiness then it’s wonderful. First of all, the wall is not creation because if this is creation then there has to be a creator in the past. The wall is creativity and if the wall is creativity then the wall has to be emptiness. Creativity is exactly that — something arising from empty space. Read more

Surrendered, whatever you do is a prayer

Whenever your words are not are your own, you are praying; and that does not mean that you have to stand in a church or in a temple or by a river.

Whenever there is spontaneity, whenever you have surrendered, the surrendered action is a prayer.

That does not mean that you must stand with folded hands, you could be walking, that walk is now a prayer. You could be sleeping, that sleep is now a prayer.

Surrendered, whatever you do is a prayer.

Sin and Repentance

The concept of sin has a very central place in Christianity. The Bible repeatedly refers to it.

And it is supposed to be a pious Christian’s duty to repent for the sins.

This repentance is interpreted in several ways, and there are several ways in which it is advised that the atonement can take place. But obviously, any question of repentance is meaningless without first understanding what the sin is.

Otherwise, there is the absurd situation of a man trying to correct a mistake, without knowing at all what the mistake is?

Who is Kabir?

Questioner: I have a question about Kabir. As I know, he was also a kind of Sufi, not just Hindu or Muslim, he…

Speaker: See, the heart of Sufism and the heart of Vedanta, the heart of Hasidism, the heart of Christian mysticism, they are all one Heart. So, it would anyway be unwise to call anybody, any realized one, as belonging to any sect. You see, Kabir can’t be called a Hindu or a Muslim. Some people substitute it with calling him both a Hindu and a Muslim. I call him neither a Hindu nor a Muslim. Krishna cannot be called a Hindu. Jesus was even by fact not a Christian and he can’t even be called a Jew. You see, where does the Jesus lie? He revolts against Judaism, so for sure he is not a Jew, and he is not a Christian either because Christianity was not there. Read more

What is sin and what is repentance?

Question: The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Sir, I want to know what is my sin? And what is the meaning of glory of God?

Acharya Prashant: Concept of sin has a very central place in Christianity. The Bible repeatedly refers to it, and it is supposed to be a pious Christian’s duty to repent for the sins. This repentance is interpreted in several ways; and there are several ways in which it is advised that the atonement can take place. But obviously, any question of repentance is meaningless without first understanding what the sin is. Otherwise, there is the absurd situation of a man trying to correct a mistake without knowing at all what the mistake is.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

“What is my sin?” There is nothing called ‘your’ sin.

The simple fact is that you are the sin!

You are not a sinner; you are the sin itself. You are not mistaken, you are the mistake itself.

The moment this ‘my’ comes into picture is the moment of the beginning of sin. It is the point of beginning of all moments. Without this ‘my’ there is no moment, and no beginning either. All that begin is this ‘my,’ and this ‘my’ itself is the sin.

This has to be understood!

In what sense is it the sin? In the ultimate sense there can be only one sin, which is to be dissociated from God, which is to be separated from the ‘one Truth’.

Now, what do you say . . . the moment you say, “I?” . . . do you say, “I am God?  Have you ever heard anybody saying that? The moment you utter this ‘I,’ you declare yourself to be somebody short of God. You declare yourself to be somebody other than God.

The moment this ‘I’ comes into picture, is the moment of the birth of duality, and duality implies that an alternate reality, other than God, other than Truth exists. You start talking of yourself, and you do not refer to yourself as God. And it is not merely a question of verbal reference; it is the question of your entire feeling. When you refer yourself as ‘I,’ you surely do not refer to the ‘total,’ to the ‘one,’ to the absolute; instead you start referring to a fragment, to the limited.

Now, what are you doing? You are saying that you exist. By uttering ‘I,’ you are saying that you exist. And you are also saying that the world exists, and you also probably do not mean to deny that God or Truth exists. So what have you done? You have created parallel and multiple realities. You are saying, “I exist, the world exist, and God also exists.” Now, is the Truth many? Then how can there be many realities? How can there be these three: you, others and God? To believe in many Gods is sin. To believe in yourself is sin. To have an identity separate from God is sin. This ‘my’ itself is sin.

Do you get this?

It is impossible for you to ‘be’ and not be a sinner. Now, what does this imply? Does this imply that as a human being, you have to live a life mired in the guilt of sinning? And this is what religious men sometimes end up implying and advocating. And Christianity has done a lot of this. They talk of sinning so much that repentance becomes a standalone virtue in itself.

Now repentance is no dissolution of sin. Repentance is just the dual opposite of sin. Repentance always goes along with sin. Repentance arises from a feeling of guilt. You cannot ask somebody to repent without first declaring him guilty. So, what is the implication? Are we to spend this human life in guilt? Feeling bad? Feeling small? “Oh! We have sinned? Just to be born is sin?”

If you be a little attentive, you will see that there is only one way out, which is to not to believe in any identity except the God identity. You acquire any identity and you have sinned. Because acquiring an identity implies, I am repeating, a belief in many truths, and a belief in the separation from the ‘one Truth.’ And both of these are surely sins.

You take on any identity, it is as good or as bad as the previous one.

You believe that you are a sinner, you are believing that you are a sinner. You believe that you are a repenter, and you are just believing that you are the one who is repenting. In either case, you are still maintaining an identity apart from the Truth.

Repentance does not mean that your central sin has been dissolved. It only means that you have moved from one type of sin to another type of sin. To feel guilty is sin, and to repent is sin reinforced. That’s why I said it is the dual opposite and companion of sinning. Repentance is simply the dualistic companion of sinning. It does not absolve you of your sins. It only gives you a new type of sin. If sinning is sin, then repentance is just a new type of sin. I am repeating this because religion has been making this mistake of advocating repentance.

What really then is repentance? There is only one real repentance possible. I have just talked of it. It is to live in the God identity. That is the only real repentance possible. If you say that you are a sinner, then you are only extending and deepening your sin. If you say you are repenting, you are again only extending and deepening your sin. The only way to get rid of sin is to get rid of the sinner itself.

You will have to very clearly live in the deep faith that because Truth is one, hence, you cannot be separate from God. After all, this too is just a belief that you are separate, the world is separate. If you can be misled into cultivating and nourishing this belief, then with a clear mind, you can also clear away this belief. This belief is not innate, not really natural. It has been given to you by circumstances, by body, by society, by books. If it has been given to you, it can also be cleared away.

This clearing away of this ‘I’ belief, this clearing away of this ‘I’ identity, is the only real repentance.

That is the only way to get rid of both the sin and the sinner.

I am repeating this: there is no way to get rid of your sins, except by coming very, very close to God. You have to come so close to God that you are left with no individual identity of your own. That is the reason why the Upanishadic Mahavakya, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahma) is the heart of all spirituality. Without that utterance there is no redemption possible for man. You may say a thousand things about yourself, about Truth, and about God, and about the world, yet nothing will absolve you, nothing will give you peace. There is only one declaration, one article of faith which will bring you to rest, and that is, ‘I am That and That am I’. Everything else is sin.

You may say you are a ‘Son of God,’ it is a statement of sin, because the son after all, is separate from the father. He may be quite close to the father, yet he is not the father himself. So, even to say that you are a son of God is sin. And obviously, it is a great sin to say, “I am a creation of God,” unless you also say that the creator himself is the creation. Then it is alright. If you say that you are a creation of God, you will have to simultaneously say, that the creator himself is the creation. Only then is this a proper statement. But if you say that the creator is somebody else, and his creation is separate from him, and you are a part of that creation, then it is a statement of sin.

Are you getting it?

Kindly see that all your suffering, and sorrow, and misery, arises from your fragmented identities. Sin is something that leads to sorrow. See, where your sorrow comes from. It comes from your identities. It comes from your belief in your individuality. Till the time you keep believing that you are ‘you,’ a bundle of identities, your sorrow will continue. Dissolution of your identities is just the same – it is a return to the identityless identity, and that is the God identity.

To not to have any identities is to have the ‘ultimate identity’; and that is the God identity.

Are you getting this?

This is not merely a concept. This is what we all are living daily. See that not even one of your problems is there without you being attached to some or the other identity. See that you cannot suffer without a belief in your limitations. You will have to be attached to some sense of limited being for you to suffer.

What does it mean to say, “I am God”? It is not to declare that I am grand and big. On the contrary, to declare that I am not separate from God, is just to declare that I am not going to be attached with anything that is petty, limited, small and trivial. It does not mean that there is something big called God, and I can declare myself to be that. No, because whatever you will declare to be big, will actually be very small. The biggest that you can think of, will just be as big as your mind is, and that is very small.

How big can your mind think of? The biggest that you can think of is nothing compared to the immensity of infinity. And your mind cannot conceptualize infinity. So, even your biggest identity is shallow and petty.

So, to have God identity, is not to have a big identity. It is to have no identity. Many people are apprehensive of this statement, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. They say that if man declares himself to be God, it is just ego. They say it is a proof of your arrogance, if you say, “I am God.” They are mistaken. And mistaken are those who utter ‘I am God’ in the wrong sense. If you have a concept of God, and then you say you are God, then surely you are committing a heresy. If you have a concept of God, and then you say, “I am God,” then this is surely blasphemy. Because then to say, “I am God,” would be similar to saying, “I am a husband, I am a Hindu or I am a Christian.” All concepts!

You had ten conceptual identities, now you have an eleventh conceptual identity also. What is that eleventh conceptual identity? Of God.

No! It is not really a statement of ego, because the man who honestly says, “I am God,” is actually saying, “I am nothing.” It is a statement, hence, of great humility. Only a greatly humble man can say, “I am God.” It is not at all a work of ego. So, there is no need to be apprehensive of the man who honestly declares himself to be God. Because this man is actually saying, “I am nobody.”

It is statement of great humility, along with great boldness. “I am nobody.” And if somehow, you dislike to say that you are God . . . it happens, in some religions, for example, it is prohibited, and you cannot say that you are God . . . then no issue, simply say, “I am nobody.” No religion prohibits this statement. There are religions which prohibit man to declare identity with God. They say that you cannot say, “I am God,” but no religion prohibits man to utter “I am nobody.” So, there is no need for unnecessary confrontation. Simply say, “I am nobody.” That is just the same as saying, “I am God.” Because when you are nobody, then you are the closest to God, actually one with God.

Just say, “I am nobody.”

Your humility, your deep humility is identical to saying ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ and ‘Naham’ (I am not) are the same statements. Aham Brahmasmi says, “I am the Truth, I am God, I am Brahm,” and ‘Naham’ says, “I am not.”

And both of these are same. Just say “Naham, I am not!” Both these statements are one, and both of them absolve you of your sin.

You are the sin. Get rid of yourself and you have fully repented. This is the only repentance possible.

 

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Question: The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Sir, I want to know what is my sin? And what is the meaning of glory of God?

Acharya Prashant: Concept of sin has a very central place in Christianity. The Bible repeatedly refers to it, and it is supposed to be a pious Christian’s duty to repent for the sins. This repentance is interpreted in several ways; and there are several ways in which it is advised that the atonement can take place. But obviously, any question of repentance is meaningless without first understanding what the sin is. Otherwise, there is the absurd situation of a man trying to correct a mistake without knowing at all what the mistake is. Read more

Have much? Get more. Have little? Lose all !

For to the one who has will be given more and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have even what he has will be taken away from him                                                                           

 -(Bible, Matthew 25:29)

Speaker: The one who already has, shall be given more and more and more. The one who has not, shall be deprivedmore and more of even that which he has.

This sounds very unlike our image of God. He is giving to those who already have and he is taking away from those who do not have. What is this thing about having and not having? The only thing if it can be called so, worth having, is God himself. Call him Truth, call him Love, call him Freedom, Simplicity, Joy, Realization, whatsoever, you may pick the word according to your conditioning depends on you, but that is the only thing worth having. 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.
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