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

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Why doesn't the current education system create a Vivekananda

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

Acharya Prashant Ji:

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

Questioner: No.

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

What has it been designed to do?

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

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

What is the intention of the current education system?

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

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

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

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

Do we understand both our fact, and our possibility?

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

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

Education is what must connect these two.

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

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

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

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

Is that not how our education system proceeds?

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

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

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

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

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

Where is ‘Liberation’ in all this?

Where is ‘Truth’?

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

A good education system will have two components.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How important does that sound?

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

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

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

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

And where knowledge stops, love begins and meditation begins.

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

All you will have is factory-made products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowledge is totally meaningless without an understanding of the knower.

Getting it?

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

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

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

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One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)

One day, we will have such a Temple

 

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Question: What is a ‘Temple’, and what purpose should it serve?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A ‘Temple’ must definitely, have elements, that elevate your consciousness.

Being at a place, being with elements, being with people, being with structures, being with sites, scenes, sounds, that remind you of the beyond, that take the lowly consciousness to a high point, where it becomes receptive to signals from the sky.

That’s a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, a ‘Temple’, first of all, must have those elements. Secondly, wherever those elements are present, that place is a ‘Temple’, even if, you call it by some other name.

So look at the effect, the whole situation, the arrangement, the whole architecture is having on you. Is it taking you beyond, the mundane things that keep circulating in your mind?  If ‘yes’, then it deserves to be called, a ‘Temple’. If ‘no’, then it is just another place – entertaining probably, imposing probably, but not elevating.

The aspect of elevation, is central.

‘Temple’ is a place, where you are elevated.

If you are not being elevated, the place is not a ‘Temple’.

And, if you are being elevated, in some place, that place is most definitely a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, ideally, today’s temples must be great centers of learning. Temples must be spiritual universities. A ‘Temple’ cannot be just a place, where there are some stone carvings, and such things. Real Education must have to be imparted in temples. That’s elevation of consciousness.

Temples have to be centers of, not only scriptures, they must also be centers where education is imparted in arts, and sciences. Because, unless you are scientific, it will be very difficult for you, in today’s age, to be really spiritual.

In fact, I have this vision. Vishranti (Monthly Spiritual retreat) was organised in Udaipur, in the month of February. I was with Anshu (one of the volunteers), on one night, till 2 a.m., and we saw a temple on a hill-top. And I said, that one day, it is possible, that we will raise a Real Temple. Not the one where we go, ring the bell, and get the prasad. Not a temple where all kinds of superstitions breed. But, a temple that would be a center of real scientific research, a place where fine arts find great expression. A place where human consciousness is refined, broadened, elevated, in all possible ways.

I remember, I said to him, “In a temple, there must be a center of contemporary studies, where one is taught about all the current worldly issues.”

A ‘Temple’ must really be a university, in purest sense of the world.

Great creativity, must arise out of a ‘Temple’.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place where great ideas must be discussed.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place of great conversations, and healthy debate.

Great scholars from all directions, and dimensions, must converge in the ‘Temple’.

When people go to a ‘Temple’, they must return enriched.

You are able to listen to a profound lecture, or to an animated debate. You come to know of things, that you anyway do not know. Economics is being discussed, geo-politics is being discussed. The recent, cutting-edge research and advancement, are being discussed. There are physicists, there are medical-researchers, there are geologists, there are cosmologists.

And, they all are present in the ‘Temple’.

That’s what a temple must really be like.

And, obviously, when I say that, the foundation of the temple, has to be mystical.

I am only talking, of those things, that are currently missing in temples. I must correct myself. Actually, mystics too, are currently missing in temples. So I must talk of them as well.

So when consciousness is raised, only then it becomes capable of transcending into the mystical dimension. Consciousness, under the burden, with all its shackles, cannot fly away, cannot gain freedom, from the worldly entanglements.

First of all, it must gain clarity, with respect to the world. When there is clarity and knowledge, with respect to the world, only then there is a possibility, of going beyond the world. So, a temple, must first of all, be a place of knowledge, then a place of learning, and then a place of mysticism. It has to be a composite thing.

One day, God willing, we will come up with such a ‘Temple’.

Let’s see.

How would it be, to find a lab of nuclear physics, in one quarter, and an aggregation of the world’s best dancers on the other side. Both in the same campus. How would it be?

Live long everybody, to see that day!

I hope, I also live long enough, to see that day.

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

Watch the session:  One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Is willpower really needed? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)

Is willpower really needed

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Question: Acharya Ji, how to improve willpower?

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, what has Aditya (the questioner) asked? “What can we do, to improve will power?” Right?

What is ‘willpower’, and why do we need it? What is ‘will power’?

Listener: To have determination.

Acharya Ji: To have determination. Determination, for what?

Listener: For our goal.

Acharya Ji: For our goal. To ‘do’ something. Right? To ‘do’ something. You need willpower in order that, something happens, that something gets done, right? Now, why does something, not get done? We often find that we are unable to act, to ‘do’.

Why are we unable to act, and ‘do’?

Listener 1: Because of fear.

Listener 2: Because of restrictions.

Acharya Ji: Fear. Restrictions.

If fear is there, if restrictions are there, and you give them importance, then obviously you cannot act. And when you cannot act, then you get up and say that you need willpower.

So, willpower is needed, only when you feel fear, only when you feel restrictions.

In order to overcome them, you need willpower. And that is what you are asking – “How can I enhance willpower?” What could be a better question?

Would it not be a better question: How not to be afraid? How not to be restricted?

Are you trying it, with me? We say, “We need willpower.” What if the willpower is actually not needed? What if you are fighting imaginary demons? You say, “You know, I require a lot of willpower, to enter that room, because in that room, there are ghosts, are there are demons?”

And as long as you believe, that there are ghosts, and there are demons, what will you require? Will power.  Willpower, motivation, somebody to give you courage. Somebody to pump you up. What if you come to see that there are no ghosts, and there are no demons? Would you still require willpower? Would you still require willpower?

(Pointing at one of the listeners) You are shaking your head, would you require willpower, to shake your head? You are again shaking your head, do you again require willpower? You are saying, “No, Sir,” do you require any willpower to say, “No, Sir”?

You just know, and out of that clarity, a simple action is happening. There is no willpower needed. But, if you are told that the fellow sitting in front of you, is a maniac, and the moment somebody shakes his head, nods his head, he shoots from the podium itself, then you will need a lot of willpower, to nod in ‘Yes’, or ‘No’. Right? Otherwise the action is simple. If you have to enter a room, you have to just step in. If you have to shake your head, you just shake it. A simple nod.

We need willpower, because we have created obstacles.

When we look into these obstacles, we find that they are only, as long as, we believe in them.

Then, you do not need willpower. Wisdom is enough.

Then, you do not need courage. Clarity is sufficient.

But, instead of asking for clarity, we often ask for courage. Now, courage is not needed, clarity is needed. Instead of asking for wisdom, we ask for will power. Will power is not needed, wisdom is enough.

If you are deeply afraid, and you believe that everybody will laugh at you, when you will ask a question, then you will need a lot of willpower. But if you are wise, and you say, “First of all, not many people are going to laugh. Secondly, even if somebody laughs, how does it matter to me?” then, will you still need will power?

You don’t need willpower. You need willpower, only as an antidote to fear. Where there is no fear, there is no need of willpower. So, don’t ask me, “How to enhance will power?” The more afraid you are, the more will power you need.

Is that not so?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Acharya Ji:

The more restricted you feel, the more willpower you need. Is that not so? Just open your eyes and see, that there is no restriction, except those, that you subscribe to, except those, that you willingly self-impose.

Then you will say, “Well, willpower! Who needs it?” When you are enjoying a particular sport, then you run around a lot. You expend a lot of energy. Do you need willpower? Do you need willpower?

Listeners: No.

Acharya Ji: But you will need a lot of willpower, if you are told to go jogging, and if you don’t enjoy jogging, then jogging even fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, you will say, “O my god, I am just dragging my feet. Give me some willpower.”

When you are really into something, when there is no fear, who asks for will power?

It is not needed.

Are you getting it?

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

Watch the session:  Is willpower really needed? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)


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coverpage

Quotes, April’19

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1.

If you want to most definitely reach,

Take the most difficult route.

2.

What is It?

More than everything, in general.

Less than nothing, in particular.

3.

If your lover speaks to you in a language you cannot comprehend,

does your love diminish?

No.

You may not comprehend his words, but still, you do understand.

What do you understand ?

Nothing in particular.

Not everything has to be intellectually comprehended.

Love is enough.

4.

Freedom is the backdrop in which bondage appears as bondage.

Freedom is the Light in which darkness looks like darkness.

If there is only darkness, there is no darkness.

Darkness means anything only in the presence of Light.

To not to feel bondage is to not to be in Freedom.

5.

Grace is available to you unconditionally, but not compulsorily.

She would come to your doorstep,and knock.

She will wait,not break open your door.

Answer the knock quickly,or the knock keeps getting dimmer and infrequent.

She isn’t short of patience,but you’re short of time.

6.

Those who are winning the war, matter.

They need to be saluted.

Those who are losing the war, matter.

They need to be helped.

Those who are absentees from battlefield, do not matter.

They need to be ignored.

7.

What you collect for your security makes you all the more insecure.

8.

Except for Prakriti,

who will tell you

of all the stories of

Parmatma?

And, well,

all his secrets?

9.

What does it mean to say “God is One? Truth is One?”

It simply means: Do not allow the many to lord over your mind. The world is many things. The world is many thoughts, moods, emotions, ideologies, objects, relationships.

Do not let these turn into your gods.

10.

The lover, the mystic, looks at the moon

and knows fullness itself.

Is the material just material?

A thing is the Source behind itself.

It appears as a thing only because you watch as something.

Watch as nothing,

and the thing reveals itself as it’s own genesis.

 

~ Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait


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Begin from where you are, and what you realise || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Begin from where you are, and what you realise

Question: Acharya Ji, I am only a beginner on spiritual path, and my experience complicates things. Which tool can I adapt for myself to take the right decision?

Acharya Prashant Ji: The response is hardly spiritual in the classical sense. I will not say that for life’s decisions, kneel down in front of the unknowable. I will not say that what you need, lies beyond the grasp of your mental faculties.

I am saying, “Live by what you already know.”

First of all, you have no other option. Secondly, what you already know is very sufficient, to make a beginning. And you said that you are a beginner.

The trouble with most of us is not that we do not know some transcendental, ecclesiastical Truth. The trouble is: we just don’t live by that which is within our mental province.

It is not as if we have come to the boundary of our knowledge, and our limited realisation. We haven’t. If we come to our own boundaries, then the beyond cannot be far enough.

The boundary of the little self, is where the Truth stands to greet  you.

So you don’t have to really search for the Truth.

You just have to come to the boundary of your own province. 

Come to your own boundary, and there you will find something of the Beyond.

But, do we care enough to come to even our own boundaries? I am not telling of leaping out of your self. You don’t need to leap out of your self. But, at least, putting in a very cliched way – do the best you can.

If you cannot go beyond your self, at least do the best you can. And when you have come to the utter limit of your personal resources, there you find something, a bit magical happening.

Our situation is strange!

We do not do what we can, we cannot challenge ourselves enough. We do not make the best, utter, and desperate use of our own, personal, limited resources. But we want some kind of a helping hand to descend from the heavens.

It won’t!

And this is good news.

Because it means that each one of us, as he or she is, is fully capable of helping herself or himself. May be we cannot see beyond the hills. But there is nobody who does not see clearly enough, to take even the next step.

And that is all that you need. 

Inspiration, energy, and clarity- just to take the next step. What after the next? That’s not our business to ask. Sitting where we are, let us not demand the whole blue-print, the road-map of the entire state. Then we are transgressing.

One step is sufficient.

And that one step, each one of us is endowed enough to take.

That one step happens to be so simple and obvious, that it does not appeal to us. We want things – big and glamorous. Just as in the material world, size and shine appeal to us. Similarly, in the spiritual domain, we want things – colossal, magnificent, sensational, to happen.

Instead of those things, if we are advised to take one little, baby step, it appears like a bit of let down.

————————————————————————————————-

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

Watch the session video: Begin from where you are, and what you realise || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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

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


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Be sincere with even your wrong choices || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2019)

 

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Be sincere with even your wrong choices

Question: Acharya Ji, is it a right decision to dedicate one’s whole life to the pursuit of something unknown?

Also, kindly throw light on how should we choose something in life.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Whatever you are doing, there has to be honesty in that. What is important is: you cannot say one thing, and do another thing.

If you look at the great scientific discoveries and inventions, the scientist or the explorer would be busy in his chosen area of pursuit, having disregarded everything else.

Columbus set out for India. And you very well know for how long a period was he on the seas. And he was not reaching anywhere. Certainly, he was not reaching India, because he was not even headed towards India.

Now, in that period if you would have gone to him, and looked at him: the food material, the ration, as well as the motivation, all were in short supply. You would have said that this fellow is a fool, he has left everything. In fact, he has left the entire continent for the sake of nothing. Not only that, he is going in the wrong direction as well. But look at what he got. He got America.

He got America, because, what he was doing was not a pretense. He was doing it sincerely. At times there were rebellions on his little ship, people even thought of killing Columbus. They said that let us get rid of this man, throw him in water, and return.

But he persevered.

It doesn’t matter what you are chasing.

Be very-very sincere.

You must know that you are committed to it.

And you must be very-very assured that you are not blindly chasing something. You understand that, that which you are looking for, is important.

Discovering an entire continent, is important. Finding a new sea-route to India, was important. So, if this fellow feels that there is something very important that he must discover, let him get into it. Let him plunge into it.

The only condition is: if you are doing it, do it fully.

Do it completely, do it honestly.

If you have left behind one kind of life, if you have left behind one kind of job, at least do the other job honestly, diligently.

Work really hard.

You have all the right to make a choice. But if you make a choice, and don’t do justice to it, then that is very bad.

In fact, correction of choices only happen, when first of all, you have fully tried out what you are doing.

Please see.

You choose something. Now, unless you dedicate yourself fully to it, how will you know whether your choice is correct? May be your choice is incorrect. But if you are not trying out your chosen area in a complete sense, you would always be left with the hope that – ‘Something is still left to be tried out. So let me stay put. Let me not opt out’.

Once you make a choice, plunge fully into it.

Commit yourself completely.

And then, only then, if your choice is misplaced, you will come to know that you need to change something.

You know why people continue with even wrong choices for very long in their life? Because they don’t do justice to their right choices, and even to their wrong choices.

If you are choosing a particular way, go down fully. Cover a lot of distance. And that will tell you, whether the way, the path, the road, that road that you have chosen, is right or not. If you choose particular road, and don’t go far on it, how will you know whether the road is right or wrong?

So when you say that you are making a choice, commit yourself to the choice, so that if the choice is wrong you can quickly change it. Otherwise, you might find that you are spending the entire life-time just being in the wrong profession, with the wrong people, with the wrong thoughts, with the wrong ideologies, with the wrong habits.

Test, test and Test!

That scientific rigour must be there. That spirit of inquiry is essential to the youth. Ask, and test. Laziness – you probably have enough time for that, once you are ninety. This is the time for some real hard work. Hard work that involves the muscles, and hard work that involves the brain.

Did you get this?

Even if we have made a wrong choice, like Columbus did, he had chosen a wrong path, had he not? The navigational path that he opted for, would have never brought him to India. Or it would have brought him to India only after covering the entire earth, because he was going in exactly the opposite direction.

From Europe, instead of coming eastwards, he was actually traveling westwards. But even if he was travelling westwards, he at least had confidence, that he was doing something worthy. Have that confidence. And that confidence can only come by serious questioning and examination. It cannot just come from belief. It cannot just come from a kind of superstition.

You must never be afraid of questioning others,

and also never be afraid of questioning oneself.

The second part is tougher.

It is easy to ask questions to others, at least it is relatively easy. Questioning oneself hurts the ego. But that’s one must practice.

Question yourself: ‘What am I doing?’ Initially, there might be confusion. But this confusion will lead to clarity. Is it not better to be initially confused, than to have false clarity? So, afford a little confusion, that will give you a lot of clarity. And a young man, and a young woman, has to make lot of decisions. Some of those decisions have consequences for the entire life. Therefore, you must have clarity.

I have seen very-very bright people, from the best institutions in the country and in the world, just get lost because they made some awful decisions, and persisted with them.

The best of the country, the best of the world, even they need to continue questioning themselves.

That alone leads to continuous correction, and continuous light.

———————————————————————————————————

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

Watch the session video: Be sincere with even your wrong choices || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2019)

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

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What is the process of gaining mental clarity?

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What is the process of gaining mental clarity

Question: What is the process of clarity? Is it just listening with immersion, in no resistance? What is Truth? How do we decide that it is listening without effort? If there is Truth in what you hear, there is change and transformation, and then Truth becomes the Master.

Acharya Prashant Ji: We will take it step by step.

What is the process of clarity?

So, there is a lot that the mind has acquired. There is a lot that the mind has acquired. Whatever has come to the mind, has come with a promise.

What is the promise? The promise is – ‘I will give you peace!’ It can have different names – Love, Joy. But the promise is always there. Nothing has been accepted by the mind without that promise.

The mind’s whole objective in accepting conditioning is that, conditioning is worthwhile. Otherwise the mind won’t accept anything.

Mind feels inadequate.

Mind feels incomplete.

Whosoever promises it completion, the mind latches on to it – it, him, her, whatever.

Wherever, from any direction, there is the faintest possibility of emancipation, of freedom from that incompleteness and inadequacy, the mind says, “Please give it to me. Whatever it is, give it to me.” That is the promise that the mind is holding on to.

So, what is the process of clarity?

The process of clarity is – ‘I accepted something based on a promise! Is the promise being met?’ That’s it.

Ask.

This ideology came to my life with the promise that – ‘It will give me peace!’ Organised religion came into my life with the promise that – ‘It will give me peace.’ A particular person came into my life with the promise that- ‘It will give me peace.’ Is it giving me ‘That’? This is the process. Ask this question. And if it’s not giving you that, clear it away. That is clarity.

Whatsoever comes to you, if it is not giving you ‘That’ which is your deepest longing, and your deepest longing is for peace.

Whatsoever comes into your life, if it is not giving you that, clear it away.

Get rid of it.

That is clarity.

“It is not that! It is not that. I was deceived. I made a mistake. And it is alright. I made a mistake. It can be cleared. It can be corrected.”

It could be a thought, it could be a vision, it could be a target, it could be an identity, it could be your self-image! Whatever it is, is it giving me ‘That’, or is it a source of strife? Is it a source of conflict? Ask – whatever is present in your mind, what is it doing to your life? What is it, that it is bringing to you?

How do you feel when you are with a particular idea? When you are with it, in awareness, how do you feel?

How do you feel when you are really with a particular person? Not just bodily, sitting side by side. When you are really with him in attention, how do you feel? Does it bring peace to you? Or, in fact, looking closely at that person, makes him all the more despicable! He can be tolerated, if you do not look at him closely. But the more attentively you look at that person, the more repugnant it is. So, that’s it!

Similarly with books! Ultimately, is this giving ‘that’  to me? Or when you are with a teacher! “Jaa guru se bhram naa mitey, bhranti naa jeev kaa jaaye, saa guru jhootha jaaniye, tyagat der naa laaye!”

Is it clearing away confusion? Is bhram/bhranti(illusion) dissolving? If it is giving you that, that the clouds are being cleared, the Sun is now shining in my inner sky, then it’s alright. What is that book doing to you? What is that video doing to you? That is the only way of knowing. And that is the process of clarity.

Ask yourself!

“Is it making the mind even more clouded? Is it loading me with more beliefs, more content, more stuff, more load, more baggage? Or is it making me lighter? Featherweight, flying around in the wind.”

And once you have seen it, then please be honest. Please be honest.

So, you are asking – what is the process of clarity? Is it just listening with immersion, and no resistance?

No, you see, it is not only a particular action, which you are calling as ‘listening’. Hearing something out, in a particular period of time, will not be sufficient. Is this what you are calling as ‘listening’, is this something that is a part of entire life, or is it something that is limited to a few hours? If by this, what you mean is, that I listen to ‘life’ with immersion and in a resistance-less way, it is beautiful. But if by this, what you mean is that – I hear a out particular person, or a particular book, then that won’t help much!

‘Listening’ is a quality of life itself.

It’s an all-pervasive thing.

Not limited to just a few hours.

If what you mean, extends to the whole spread of your life, then what you are saying is very nice! Good.

But, immersion cannot be time-bound.

Immersion cannot be time-bound.

Resistance-lessness cannot be time-bound.

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

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is the process of gaining mental clarity?

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Core value is ‘Clarity’

Why can’t my response to a situation arise directly of my out of my intelligence? Why do I need an ideal? Why do I need an ideal to show me the way? Why do you need to give me ideals? Don’t I have the power to understand? And can’t my action come out of my own power? Why do I need the support of an ideal? Why?

Every course of action and its opposite course of action both are alright in a different situation. So, how can there be an ideal response? 

Your very fundamental core value is ‘Clarity’ except that there is no core values.

Ideals obfuscate ‘clarity.’ So, anybody who will have ideals as core values will find that he is missing out on clarity. That clarity has also been given the name of ‘emptiness.’ Emptiness because it is clear, clear of everything. It is empty. That is the only core value. A little ahead that core value takes the shape of a few other core values. They are called Truth, Joy, Love, Freedom.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Your ideals will always limit you

Acharya Prashant: Your ideals will always limit you

L1: Acharya Ji, my question is on the applicability of idealism that is practicality of idealism. Basically, an idealism and practical approach both are separate, It cannot be together. But if some people try to bring idealism in the practical life. It’s always like to creates a problem. Like we all are on and off face the problem which becomes a prison for saying the Truth.

So, what my question is does idealism that applies to the practical world does it create the issue and problem that was meant to solve the issue and the problem?

Acharya Prashant: Good! Pranay?

Pranay has asked the question the gist of which is that following ideals often lands one into trouble. What to do when the situation is like this? What are the Ideals?

L2: Ideals are ethics. Just as my Life is there and there is no conflict in between me and my favorite personalities and I keep on following him and practicing him.

AP: Can you simplify it a little more? I don’t know what the ideals are. You need to educate me. What are the ideals?

L2: Which are right things.

AP: What is the right thing?

L2: Which doesn’t land us into the problem.

AP: How do you know that it is right to express your hands like this? You just did that. How do you know that it is right to look that way? You just did that. How do you know? Can you have an ideal for every situation? And life is moments and remember a moment is not a second. A moment is infinitesimally smaller than a second. And for every moment you need some kind of a response right? Some kind of a right response. Can you have an ideal to guide you?

What is an ideal answer to the question that I am posing? How do I know? How do I know that it is ideal for me to ask you this question? How do you know that it is ideal of you to listen attentively?

Ideals sound like a well-meaning word but what are they? What are the ideals?

Alright! Let me try something and tell me whether it’s okay. I am saying ideals are some kind of predetermined response to a situation. When the situation is like this you respond like this. X comes to you and your output is Y. That is an ideal, right? Input X output Y. Is that an ideal? Is that not what an ideal is?

Read more

You are a man of patterns

You are a man of mind. You are a man of reactions. You are a man of patterns. Who wants to talk to such a man?

An ordinary man in the name of learning from failures, Just tries to react differently. The second time a similar situation arises. And this he labels as learning from failure.

Zen is your essential core that reacts not, that it’s his own master. Has it’s own way of living.

Two or three years are needed so that all the pre-existing answers get clear. Not that the new answer is needed but the old answer need to go.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?


 

Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?

Acharya Prashant: Joshu went to Hermit and asked, “What’s up? What’s up?” The Hermit lifted up his fist and Joshu said, “Water is too shallow to enter here and went away”. Joshu visited the Hermit once again, a few days later and said, “What’s up? What’s up?” The Hermit raised his fist again then Joshu said, “Well given, well taken, well killed, well saved” and he bowed to the Hermit.

A few things Right-living, Wisdom, Spirituality, Zen are all about a non-reactionary way of living. A non-reactionary way of living. So, Joshu asks the hermit, “What’s up?” He isn’t parlance as indicated. It means, “Have you any Zen?” Now, Zen is not an object. Zen is not a part of ‘duality.’ The answer to the question that asks, Have you any Zen, can neither be ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ as such. When Hermit raises his fist. It is inferior to remain in silent. It comes across as a reaction to Joshu’s question.

The situation become such that Joshu’s question becomes actually a provocations, a stimulus to which the Hermit reacts this is not really the way of Zen. The question demanded no answer. The question demanded rather the stillness of Zen or the silence of Zen. The question, “Have you any Zen?” is aching to the questions — “Are you God? Is the universe same as or different from it’s source? Are you in God or God is in you? Have you any Zen? Have you any God? Have you the Truth? Have you Love?” All these are questions in the same dimensions. To such questions ordinary answers don’t suffice.

So, upon seeing the response of the Hermit, upon seeing the raised fist of Hermit. Joshu says, “The water is to shallow to enter here.” Zen is still an intellectual thing for you, ‘shallow.’ It is not yet reached your depth. Zen has not yet reached your depth. It has still not yet penetrated your heart. No point talking to you.

You are a man of mind.

You are a man of reactions.

You are a man of patterns.

Who wants to talk to such a man?

Joshu walks away. Who wants to talk to a monk? For whom, Zen is a matter of questions and answers. Then comes another day, Joshu goes to the same Hermit and asks the same questions.

Now, see what happens. The first time the Hermit has had an experience. The experience say that when somebody asks you about Zen and you respond by raising your fist, you get an insulting answer and the questioner walks away. That is what the experience of Hermit has been, right?

In one situation, the Hermit has given one particular answer and that answer has ostensibly not sufficed. The questioner has walked away dissatisfied. Not only has he walks away dissatisfied. He has blatantly on the face of the Hermit said, “The water is to shallow here.” Now, what would an ordinary man do then when faced with the similar situation again?

Read more

On Jesus Christ: How to be free of envy and jealousy?


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“Heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones.”

BIBLE (PROVERBS 14:30)

Acharya Prashant:

Shilpi is asking:

Namaste Acharya Ji,

The bible says “Heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones”. I see that I’m stricken with jealousy or envy for my fellow co-workers, or people I hear about in the media, sometimes even friends, as I feel like they have something I don’t. It is very draining and disturbing and I do not want to focus on this anymore. Please guide me away from this trait.

Thank you.

Shilpi, when you are alright with yourself then the way your energy flows towards others, your attitude towards others, your relationship with others, is called as Love. When you are not alright with yourself then your attitude towards others, the way your energy flows towards others, is called as envy or desire.

If you are envious that somebody has something, then rest assured, you too desire that something. So, envy and desire go together.

Unless the other has something that you too are desirous of, you won’t feel any envy.

So, the question is not about how you feel towards others. It’s not about your coworkers or the people been talked of in the media. The question fundamentally is about your relationship with yourself. When you are great with yourself, then to others you have only Love to offer, and when you are not alright with yourself, then to others you offer all the vitriol that is consuming your life. How to have envy-free relation with others? By having ignorance free relation with oneself.

The more you look at yourself in erroneous ways, the more you will be compelled to look at the world as the provider of a sucker, or as a threat to your identities and comforts. No feeling of any kind is to be promoted. I am not qualifying my statement by saying that feelings of littleness or envy or loneliness or incompleteness are to be selectively discouraged. I am saying no feeling of any kind is to be fueled.

Are you getting it?

No feeling of any kind.

All feelings are fundamentally feeling of incompleteness, of completeness, there is no feeling.

Completeness is a different entity altogether. It comes to you but not as a feeling. If I switch off all the lights in this room you will stop seeing me. When the light is switched on you’ll start seeing me. Does that mean that I have emerged from the tube light? Think of it. All the lights are switched off and you do not see me, and then you go to the button, you switch something on and I appear. Why can’t you say that I have sprung up from the switchboard, or dropped down from the tube light? Why can’t you say that? That’s the thing with completeness.

Read more

One does not control dreams, one wakes up

Don’t say, “How to control thoughts?” Don’t say, “How to control dreams?” One does not control dreams. One wakes up.

But we’re not interested in waking up. We’re interested in changing the dreams. Now if you have one dream and then you have another dream, has your position changed for better? I am asking you, you’re dreaming of fire and you’re afraid, now you’re dreaming of fountains and waterfalls and you’re happy, has anything really changed?

Don’t say, “How to control thoughts?” Because even the controller is fast asleep. Ask me, “How do I understand thoughts?” That is waking up. When there are so many thoughts going on in the mind, don’t hold onto them. This much you realize that I’m thinking, right? When you’re thinking you know that you’re thinking. If you can know this much that you’re thinking, you can also remember that every thought is just an external influence, not really important.

Alright, it is there. It is the natural tendency of mind to think. Let the mind be involved in its own preoccupations. Can I stand a the little distance from the mind and look at the mind. That will happen only when you don’t take your thoughts too seriously. Don’t become attached or identified with them.



Read the complete article: How to control my thoughts?

How to control my thoughts?

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L: Sir, you always say to live with the thoughts. But at any second there are so many thoughts in mind so how to control it sir? How to control mind?

AP: Who will control them? If one is in a dream and the dream is very confused dream, then who will control the dream.

Don’t say, “How to control thoughts?” Don’t say, “How to control dreams?” One doesn’t control dreams. One wakes up.

But we’re not interested in waking up. We’re interested in changing the dreams. Now if you have one dream and then you have another dream, has your position changed for better? I am asking you, you’re dreaming of fire and you’re afraid, now you’re dreaming of fountains and waterfalls and you’re happy, has anything really changed? Read more

Knowing right and wrong

SR Generic_ English

Acharya Prashant: Can intelligence be wrong sometimes?

Tell me, all of you, “What is right and what is wrong?” How do you know what is right? And how do you know what is wrong? Someone told you what is right and someone told you what is wrong and not only that, someone also told you that there is something called right, and something called Wrong. And you have started believing in it so deeply, you have been made a fool of.

What do you mean by right? What do you mean by wrong? All our sense of right and wrong is a borrowed sense of right and wrong. All this ethics, morality, they are coming from outside, we never found it on our own. You are this old and mamma says, “Don’t hurt others, be respected to elders, speak the truth, be a loving person.” And all this is right. And the opposite of this happens to be wrong. But if you are a smart kid, you turn around and ask “Mamma why should I speak the truth always?” But mamma doesn’t know because her own mamma told that to her, and her mamma got it from her own mamma and nobody really knows. But a mantra is being repeated, “Speak the truth” And the world is now full of liars. Would have all been told in the childhood, “speak the truth”.

All have been told, “Respect others, don’t hurt others, don’t be violent.” But the world is entirely full of rapists. Have you not wondered why that happens? That happens because nothing comes out in our lives from our intelligence, all comes from outside. And when it comes from outside, that’s what we get, a botched up human being, a caricature of a human being, not a really healthy intelligent man.

All these rights and wrongs that you soak it like a sponge, from here, from there, have you ever paid attention, you would have discovered how incomplete and false they are. What is wrong in one country is right in another country, what is wrong in one house is considered right in other house, what is wrong in one age is right at another age, what is wrong in one religion is right in another religion, what is wrong in one’s viewpoint is right in other’s viewpoint.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

What do you mean by right and wrong? The only wrong if you are insistent on asking “What is wrong?” The only wrong is to be stupid. That is the only wrong. Don’t be stupid. This course that you are undergoing is essentially aimed at making you foolproof. You understand this? Not being stupid. Not being foolish, so foolproof.

The only wrong is to be stupid, and what does stupidity mean? Being distracted, not being attentive, not understanding, not exercising one’s own intelligence. And just taking things as they come. And we have only taken things.

We have taken so many beliefs, we have taken religions from outside, we have taken a sense of patriotism from outside. We have taken a sense of purpose from outside. All our life is nothing but the garbage bin and everyone keeps on throwing his rubbish into it. Nothing is our own. That what really is your own, your own intelligence, you are afraid of it. You are insecure about that, that how I dare be intelligent? That’s your right. you are intelligent, you must act intelligently. Don’t be afraid of that. Right? There is nothing wrong.

You know why you are asking this question that Sir, what is right? Because the moment you act intelligently, the first time you are afraid. Because till date what is right has come from others and that makes you feel secure. You know, I am happy and I am feeling safe that I am doing the right thing. Why? Because so and so told me that this is the right thing to do.

And everybody does it, so it must be the right thing to do. When you act on your own, like an individual, like an intelligent being, then you are afraid. Face that fear. Face that fear, don’t run away. The only wrong is to not be your own man. To not to be an individual, that is the only wrong. And the only right is to act intelligently. Nothing else is right.

When you will act in your intelligence, let the society say that you are wrong, let them keep on saying, let them keep declaring you a fool or a criminal, but still you will know, you will know deep within that you are right. You will know it so deeply that nobody will be able to convince you that you are wrong. Are you getting it? But that will require some guts. And that will require a great deal of understanding which I am so sure that you are capable of. You are surely capable of that. Yes. I know, it is a little scary, but don’t you want a life that is totally your life, not a dictated life. Yes, don’t you want that?

“Sir we want that but there is a too heavier price to pay. We have to give up these luxuries and comforts and we have become so attached to them. What to do? Our false sense of security. We have become too attached to it, Sir what to do? This course threatens us.”

If Truth threatens you, then surely you are living in lies. And I repeat, You are capable of understanding. You surely are capable of understanding and you have to a particular age when you must understand. You must act intelligently. You are no more six years old.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Knowing right and wrong



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The more afraid you are, the more willpower you need. 

We need willpower because we have created obstacles. When we look into these obstacles, we find that they are there only as long as we believe in them. Then you do not need willpower, wisdom is enough. Then you do not need courage, clarity is sufficient.

But instead of asking for clarity, we often ask for courage. Now courage is not needed, clarity is needed. Instead of asking for wisdom, we ask for willpower. Willpower is not needed, Wisdom is enough. If you are deeply afraid, you believe that everybody will laugh at you when you ask a question, then you will need a lot of willpower. But if you are wise and you say “First of all not many people are going to laugh, even if somebody laughs, how does it matter to me.” Then will you still need willpower? You don’t need willpower, you need willpower only as an antidote to fear. Where there is no fear, there is no need for willpower. So, don’t ask me “How to enhance willpower?” The more afraid you are, the more willpower you need.

The more restricted you feel, the more willpower you need, is that not so? Just open your eyes and see that there is no restriction except those that you subscribe to, except those that you willingly self-impose. Then you will say ‘Willpower’, who needs it? When you are enjoying a particular sport, then you run around a lot, you spend a lot of energy. Do you need willpower? But you will need a lot of willpower if you are told to go jogging and if you don’t enjoy jogging, then jogging even for 15 minutes, twenty minutes and you will say, “Oh My God, I am just dragging my feet, give me some willpower” When you are really into something, when there is no fear, who asks for willpower? It’s not needed. 



Read the complete article: Is willpower really needed?

Is willpower really needed?

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Question: Sir, how can we improve willpower?

Acharya Prashant: Sit, What’s your name?

Listener1: Aditya Mishra.

AP: Sit Aditya. So, what has Aditya asked? “What can we do to improve willpower?” Right? What is willpower and why do we need it? What is willpower? Yes Aditya, what is willpower?

Listener1: To have determination.

AP: To have determination.

L1: Yes sir.

AP: Determination for what?

L1: For a goal.

AP: For a goal. To do something. Right? To do something. You need will in order that something happens, something gets done. Right? Alright. Now, Why does something not get done? We often find that we are unable to act, to do. Why are we unable to act and do? Read more

How to overcome hesitation?

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Question: How to overcome hesitation?

Acharya Prashant: Anurag (Name of the questionnaire), you see this fan, the moment I switch it ON, it has no hesitation at all in starting, no hesitation at all. Its life is very very hesitation free. Here you press the button, and there it goes. A flash of a second. You take a stone and you throw in whichever direction you want to, and it will just go. You pick up a gun, and with that gun shoot whosoever you want to, the gun will not hesitate, the gun will not come and say that this is right or wrong or improper. That is the lowest level of mind. Read more

How to remain non-violent?

 

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Questioner: Does Spirituality ask us to be non-violent? And Spirituality also asks us to fulfill our duties. So, in today’s world when we are subjected to any kind of violence, it may be physical, emotional, mental, how duties can be fulfilled along with non-violence?

Acharya Prashant: A lot of images are there in your statement. First of all, non-violence is not just a particular code of conduct. Non-violence is just about not seeing oneself as limited. Not unnecessarily building boundaries for oneself.

Allow me to clarify. I said nonviolence is about not seeing oneself as limited and not building boundaries around oneself. How is that non-violence?

What is violence?

Listener: Seeing other as separate from oneself. Read more

Feel grateful when your confusions get exposed

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Question: It has been a long time that I have been listening to you and I have been engaged with a lot of words and everything. And so many words and so many misunderstandings have come and gone but still, the restlessness remains; but still, the will to consume remains. Like I am sitting here right now, it is of great disturbance to me that I am thinking that I want to eat a burger.

Acharya Prashant: Is this the first time that you have wanted to eat a burger? Read more