Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: You know your real face, and your real home?

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“Your life, my friend,

is a residence far away from any other

residence and neighbours.

Your inner soul is a home far away from

other homes named after you.

If this residence is dark,

you cannot light it with your neighbour’s lamp;

If it is empty you cannot fill it

with the riches of your neighbour;

Were it in the middle of a desert, you could not move it to a

garden planted by someone else…

Your inner soul, my friend,

is surrounded with solitude and seclusion.

Were it not for this solitude and this seclusion

you would not be you and I would not be I.

If it were not for that solitude and seclusion,

I would, if I heard your voice, think myself to be speaking;

Yet, if I saw your face, I would imagine that I were looking into a mirror.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Acharya Prashant: Poets have a way, of presenting the Truth. The way helps. The way is beautiful. But as happens with all ways to the Truth, the way itself is a bit of a hindrance to the destination.

What Khalil Gibran is saying here, is essentially very straightforward. The inner seclusion and solitude that he is talking of, is nothing, but your calm, peaceful, silent, immovable, center.

Seated at that center, with the calmness, the immovability, of the center, vested in the mind as well; the mind gains intelligence, the mind gains discretion.

Read more

Don’t imagine solutions

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it. This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

Don’t imagine solutions. Don’t imagine that if I do like this, then that would happen. Do it first.

This is what you need to observe. While walking, roaming, eating, whatever is happening, just observe that and you will understand! Truth is not far. Just that is what you have to see.

As a boss, if I am sucking Life out of my employees’ life, is that not violence all the more.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask


 

Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask

Acharya Prashant: Ask absurd questions. People would say, he has gone mad. But, ask absurd questions.
Why should something like a ‘home’ exist? Have you ever asked this question? You go back home everyday, have you ever asked this? Why should anything like a home exist? I mean, why can’t we just be, wherever we are! Why do we always need to go somewhere in the evening? Why can’t I just be? You are there, I am there. And we are enjoying. We are here the whole night, spend the rest of the day, and we will leave when we feel like, then we will go another place. The whole world belongs to us! What is this concept of a home?

Ever thought? Ask. This is called Inquiry. What is this game about Mummy-Papa? One male, one female, sitting together in a home. What exactly is going on? And these people are supposed to be special. And the whole of religion, and the whole of society, and everything telling me that I must respect, Love them. What exactly is going on? Let me understand it, let me understand it. What is this thing called siblings? What are brothers and sisters? What is this thing called society? What is this thing called religion? What does one mean by religion? What is this thing called a normal life?

What is this thing called progress and growth? That one must progress in life! What is this thing called progress? Have you ever asked yourself, about this thing called progress? Papa, why do you keep chanting, progress, progress? What is meant by progress? A little more money? Why do you need more money? What would you do with it? Are you using all the money that you have? You are using only ten percent of the money you have, rest all is in the banks! So, what will you do with more progress? First, finish the money that is there in the banks! I already have so much, first let me finish it up. What happened to the money in the bank? Is it all finished?

These are absurd questions but ask them. Understand, how the minds of the people function.

When you see the roads in the mornings, full of traffic; Ask, what is this going on? Where are these people going? Why? Look at their faces! People are coming back home in the evening time, in traffic, look at their faces. Ask them, is this what life and work are supposed to be? That they have made faces like that! People who are returning back around 7.30 – 8pm, have you ever focused on their faces, expressions? They are driving a car, there is peak traffic hour, and they are stuck in long traffic jams! Have you ever looked at their faces? Look. Look closely, inattention. And ask yourself, is this what I am preparing myself for? I am paying fees in Lakhs so that my life becomes rubbish like this? I am paying to get assaulted?

Listener: Acharya Ji, asking questions, will we be getting the correct answers?

AP:

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it.

This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

L: But when we will inquire, won’t we be thinking?

Read more

An unnecessary relationship

An addiction is defined as something that is external, very difficult to get rid off; nevertheless.

There are no good or bad addictions. An addiction is just what it is — “An unnecessary relationship.”

Addiction says that you need something. Need is the first addiction. Whatever you claim that you need that is your first addiction.

That which begins as ignorance and dreams, cannot end as understanding.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction


 

Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction

Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction is ‘man’ himself. ‘I am’ is the most fundamental addiction.

An addiction is defined as something that is external, very difficult to get rid off; nevertheless.

One can get rid-off an addiction. This feeling of taking oneself as one takes himself to be is the most fundamental addiction — the “I’’ tendency.

We are so staunchly addicted to it that it seems impossible that there can be oneself life without our conception of the “I.” It seems not only difficult but altogether impossible. It appears so difficult only because we are very deeply addicted. It is the addiction that starts with the first breath. It is the addiction that starts probably even before the first breath.

The tendency to take oneself as a limited being, as a body, as a personality, as a set of principals and concepts, as everything that one thinks himself to be. From that addiction, the hundred other addictions are born. That is why treatment of addiction is such a difficult thing because unless the ‘mother addiction’ is treated, treating the other addictions remains a problem.

It could be addiction of money, material, person, drugs, substance abuse, all kind of mental distortions. Whatever be the specific name of the addiction it invariably arises from the central mother addiction itself. That is why you remove one addiction and man finds himself trapped into another one. In fact, often addiction therapy is just about finding a suitable addiction. Don’t you see how addictions are commonly taken to be treated? A boy seems to be taking to drugs, the well-wishers would say, “well, let him indulge in sports” or if he is a little elder parents will say, “let’s marry him off.”

Do you see how one addiction is used to counter way another? It is because Man fundamentally can’t live without addiction. Because our fundamental definition itself is based on a great ‘attachment.’ Addiction is an ‘unnecessary attachment.’ For that which we are, it is totally unnecessary to be attached to that which we think we are. It is unnecessary but it becomes the foundation of life and that is all quite unfortunate.

There are no good or bad addictions.

An addiction is just what it is — “An unnecessary relationship.”

Whatever you can do without, is unnecessary and if it persists for long and deeply, is an addiction.

There is a lot that one can do without. The more you can do without, the better you do. The more you tie your existence to stuff, the more bulky, heavy, loathsome and tired you live.

Getting it?

Addiction says that you need something. Need is the first addiction.

Whatever you claim that you need that is your first addiction.

A need implies incompleteness. That which you call as ‘ego,’ is another name for an addiction to incompleteness, you may call it addiction to incompleteness or you may just call is incompleteness, they are the same thing.

Listener: Then addiction shows someway. For example, somebody is addicted to camp?

If someone is addicted to camps than he is not coming to camps at all then he is coming to some other place of his dreams.

L1: If somebody is addicted to some particular type of behaviors, can be his behaviors develop some understanding?

AP: Addiction in the beginning itself means that there is no understanding. What you are asking is similar to asking that if one dreams of camps, then will he benefit from a  camp? If one dreams of holy-scripture, then will he benefit from holy- scriptures?

The holy scripture is secondary, what is primary is the dream. Whatever is happening, is happening in the dream state. And in a dream state how can there be any understanding? It doesn’t matter whether you break your head with a brick or with a voluminous book? If you take a thousand page bulky book and bang it against your head, will it hurt less? The beginning of addiction itself is an absence of understanding. One must clearly see that the beginning of something cannot be different from the end of it.

That which begins as ignorance and dreams, cannot end as understanding.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Fall in faith, and you will be given wings


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What is Moksha?

Acharya Prashant: What is Moksha? Moksha means liberation; liberation from root of all that which bothers you, freedom from all that which can ever trouble you. When the mind says it wants freedom- it only wants freedom from the objects that it considers troublesome. Now that will always be partial freedom because the mind lives in parts. The mind will say this is the entire universe and this part of the universe doesn’t bother me and this part of the universe bothers me.

So the mind will always seek only partial freedom from the world. Even as the mind will say that this, this and that need to go away (pointing in one direction). With equal intensity it will say that, that and that too as well need to stay (pointing in other direction). It will want freedom from pain and will continue to remain attached to pleasure. Such is the nature of mind. It sees only one side of the coin ever.

It cannot do anything else, mind knows only duality. Duality is the very substance of mind. Comes then a different dimension of mind- a wise man. He has been able to see through the entire thing. He is not obsessed with only one side of the coin. He says “yes, yes, of course I too want freedom from suffering but I see that if I remove one part then I have actually removed nothing because nobody can remove just one side of the coin. If I want to get rid of pain and want the furtherance of pleasure then I have continued to live in pain”.

Read more

How can I correct my mistakes?

Question: Sir, I see that the mistakes are happening over and over again. What to do?

Acharya Prashant: When the right intent will be there in all its power then these things will not happen, because these things are not natural. These are not your inner order. These things happen only when an external agency is sitting on your head, powers them to happen, otherwise, they cannot happen. Read more

Fact carries no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’

It is easy to intellectualize stuff here. I am talking of Real life. It is very easy to say, “Oh, you know, if you are the Sat-chit-ananda, then anger does not matter”.
Does anger does not matter really when you are fighting and negotiating with the man on the street? Does it matter to you or not?
So, don’t just give hypothetical and ideal answers. Answer from your life. Answer from the way you interact with your boss, your wife, your kid, the man on the street; the stranger, the robber. Look at that. Stare at the facts on the face. Look at the way the world is – violent, chaotic, anarchic. What is the point in talking of great ideals?
Why talk “ifs” and “buts”? The fact carries no “ifs” and “buts”. The fact is just there, not conditional, not “if”.
You cannot be told that, “You know, if you ‘think’ of yourself as pure consciousness then you will feel peace”.
If you ‘think’ of yourself as pure consciousness?
The bugger does not even know that every thought is a disturbance. Peace is when thoughts are not there, not needed.
And the remedy he is suggesting is, “No, if you ‘think’ of yourself as pure consciousness!”
And what exactly is that – ‘pure consciousness’?
Some great pristine image!


Further Reading:

The Flying Kiss to the Sky

cover_fksA Flying Kiss to The Sky, is a collection of excerpts from various discourses of Acharya Prashant, arranged in a special order which makes it the ideal first book, for all who want to come close to the facts of their own lives.

The book is divided into three parts, each part helping the reader to appreciate the working of his own mind and hence, the world in more clear and precise terms. Its unique one-page-one-chapter format, makes it even more simpler. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a book for all: Reader, or non-reader; Professional, or Spiritual.

Paperback: Advait Publications Page

Any concept of God is not God at all. Drop the concept and surrender

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Acharya Prashant: Prasanna (a very young listener) is asking, who is the first-first God in this world? Why am I like this? Why did God make me?

Why did we start today’s session by talking of God? Why are we starting this session by talking of God? It could have been anything else, we could have talked of vegetables or stones or birds or buildings or machines or men. Why have we started this session with God?

We started this session with God because Prasanna asked a question about God. So, who brought God into this session? Prasanna brought God into this session. So who is the first-first God? The God who is even before all Gods because he is the one who is bringing in God. 

There is no God except in the mind that thinks of it.

Read more

Adultery

The words of a Teacher must be listened in great attention and empathy; never take them literally.

You will always, otherwise, misinterpret.

What is the definition of adultery?

Adultery does not mean that you are hanging out with somebody else’s wife.

Adultery means that you are now taking something as a high priority and that something can never be God.

That is the real definition of adultery: To be disloyal to God.


To read the complete article: On Jesus Christ: What is woman? What is Adultery? What is sin?

When it strikes you, it’s a total striking

Insight does not really correspond to any of your mental models.

Grace does not give you something that you can nicely lay down in a structured form.

When it strikes you, it’s a total striking.

You come to know everything, all at once.

The knowing, the dropping, the realization, and the action—they all happen together.

The very movement of ‘I AM’ is ego

Come very close to how you operate daily. Come very close to it.

That is ‘ego’.

‘Ego’ is not a thought, or a concept, or a framework.

What is ‘ego’?
‘Ego’ is how you operate in your daily life; your sense of  I AM.

You wake up, and you say, “I am going to work.”
Then you say, “I am going to earn.”
Then you say, I am going to meet my friends.”
Then you say, “I am going to play.”
The entire day is a succession of the activities that this ‘I AM’ is absorbed in.

The very movement of ‘I AM’ is ego.

That is the point to start.

Knowing ego is freedom from the ego.

The Voice of the Heart

When you look skywards, your eye rests on ‘something’, and you try to find beauty in that ‘thing’. You say, ‘Look at those clouds, what a neat formation.’ You say, ‘See, how full the moon is tonight. Lovely!’ You sometimes even do praise the pristine blue of the sky, but never the sky itself; and remember the sky is not really blue. It is what comes between the sky and your eyes that makes it look blue.

I have never really seen anybody captivated by the sheer nothingness, emptiness, immensity, the total void of the sky. Poets have written lovely poems praising the moon, children have often taken stars as their friends; but I’m yet to come across a composition loving the empty sky.

That is the human tragedy, even the highest to us comes only through the mind and the senses. So when we talk of beautiful sounds, we only talk of that which the ears can hear. All the voices that we can talk of or hear are the voices of the mind.

Even the most beautiful conceptions that we have are still ‘conceptions’.  It may be a voice consisting of words, it may be a voice of nature, or it may be something so esoteric that it really means nothing in the human language, something like Om, yet it is just voice of the mind. It is not beyond that.

The Heart does not speak in a human language, the Heart does not even utter in a way that the ears can comprehend. The voice of the Heart is the silence behind all voices and sounds.

If you hear something that your mind can comprehend, in any way, then you must know that it is not the sound of the Heart. It may sound beautiful, it may totally possess you, but remember, what sounds beautiful to you today will not sound beautiful tomorrow. Hence whatever you call as beautiful is contingent and conditional, it is not the Truth. It will pass away.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘The Language of the Heart

The Mystic has no religion, his religion is Truth

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Question: There is a nice story on a Master, who said that everything has some value, is good for something. Then someone asked him, “What is the good in atheism?” He said, “Everyone must be atheist. If you are in deep prayer and somebody comes to you for help, you forget your prayer, forget the god, and help him.”

Acharya Prashant: In fact, this is not only a smart answer, it is actually the only answer that there must be. What he is saying is that God for you is a concept. Whereas the fellow who is coming to seek help is a fact, and the fact must always be placed higher than the concept. Read more

To just know is to know without thought

 

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Acharya Prashant: ‘Just knowing’ – both the words are important. When I say, “Just know”, the emphasis is equally on just.

Just know means: ‘You know’.

It is so simple! Read more

Treat all inessentials as one, and forget. Treat all Essential as One, and forget

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Acharya Prashant: Repeatedly, in the last two days we have said, that behind all the words, concepts, and diversity, it is alright to see just two: the mind, and the Center (the Aatman). There is the mind, all that which appears; then there is the Self, that which is. Now, Emptiness and Silence? Read more

Seated already on the mountain top, why suffer dreams of climbing

Anatma-rupam cha katham samadhih 

Atma-swarupam cha katham samadhih 

Astiti nastiti katham samadhih 

Moksha-swarupam yadi sarvam ekam. 

~ The Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya (1.23)

Translation: How can a man attain Samadhi as long as he thinks of himself as something other than the Aatman? But on the other hand, Samadhi is not possible for a man who thinks of himself as the Aatman. How can Samadhi be attained as long as a man thinks that the Aatman exists and yet does not exist, and what need is there to attain Samadhi if all are one and by nature free?

Speaker: Rohit has quoted from the Avadhuta Gita: Chapter 1, Verse 23. He has been asking this question since three weeks now, and I had been unable to take it up. But it seems his enquiry is quite insistent.

Dattatreya says that if you think of yourself as anything other than Aatman, where is the question of Samadhi for you? This first sentence is just a first sentence. It introduces the reader into thinking that probably taking oneself, thinking of oneself, as the Aatman is necessary to enter Samadhi. In the very next line, Dattatreya strings a surprise; he says, “When you think of yourself as Aatman, how is Samadhi possible for you?” He starts of by saying, “If you think of yourself as anything other than Aatman, Samadhi will elude you.” He proceeds by saying, “If you think of yourself as the Aatman, Samadhi will elude you.” He now knows, that it is evident that he is out to attack the notions of the mind, so quite brazenly, in the next line he says, “For those who think that there is, and for those who think that there is not, where is the question of Samadhi?” Till this point he has only said what will not lead to Samadhi, but in the last line, he totally destroys even the remnants of mental support. He says, “What is the need for Samadhi? Who needs Samadhi? What is the point in Samadhi if all is but one?”

Opinions and TruthLet’s take it again from the beginning. A man thinks of himself as something other than the Aatman, and another man thinks of himself as (Stressing on the ‘as’) the Aatman. What is common between these two men? They both think of themselves ‘as something’. They both have a self-concept. The mind is active in the case of both of them. The mind is looking at itself and sizing itself up. A man insists that an ultimate Truth does exist, and another man insists that nothing of that sort exists. What is common amongst them? Both are talking of the Truth within the plane of existence that the mind is familiar with. After all the word ‘existence’ whether we say Asti or whether we say Naasti, the word, ‘is’, or the word, ‘exists’, has definite meanings for us. It refers to something in the time-space plane. Somebody says, “It is there in it”, somebody says, “No! It is not there in it”, but both are referring to the same plane. It’s like two ignorant people who come across something that is beyond their knowledge, their experience and their intellect. None has any idea of what he is seeing, there can be no idea of what they are seeing. What they have come across is beyond ideation. But one of them start insisting: I know what it is. And the other one start insisting: Well, I do not think there is anything to be known and what you are insisting as existent, simply does not exist. This second one simply denies the existence of what he is seeing. Is either of them any better than the other? What is common amongst them is their ignorance. One says, “God exists”, and the other says, “God does not exist.” The question is, have you any understanding of what you are saying? What does not exist and what are you claiming as existent? What exactly? What are you affirming and what exactly are you denying? What exactly are you denying? And in confirming or denying you have stirred a mental agitation which has taken the mind away from its fundamental peace. So it doesn’t matter, whether the Truth exists or does not exist, but what is certain is that in the process of asserting your opinions about the Truth, you have entered into opinions. That much is pretty much certain, that right now it is the opinions that are ruling. And where there are opinions, there can be no Truth. Your opinions about the Truth have ironically pulled you away from the Truth, but that is mind, it is more interested in having opinions, knowledge, and experience about something, than being with the thing itself. It is more interested in talking about peace than being peaceful. It is more interested in lecturing about love than being loving. It is more interested in theories about meditation than meditativeness itself. Theories sustain the mind, knowledge inflates the mind, but the Real, about which all theories and knowledge is purportedly there, that punctures the mind. So the mind has great interest in talking about it, but great resistance to approaching it. And you will find that happening at many stages of your life. It might even be a routine experience. News about something might excite you, but closeness to the thing makes you nervous. Take for example a teacher, words from a teacher appear nice, knowledge gathered from a teacher appears valuable, but the teacher himself appears a little bit of a crackpot, a little eccentric, even a little scary. So let me read his books, let me follow his methods, but I won’t go close to him, because that’s dangerous, that threatens me. Now what is this ‘me’ that is threatened? This ‘me’ is probably what Dattatreya is referring to. This ‘me’ is the thinker. This ‘me’ is the one who likes to declare: This exists, that does not exists, I know, I do not know. This ‘me’ is that. Dattatreya is the head of Avadhutas. See how peacefully we have taken his words and are discussing them. See how composed we all look. Everything is alright as long as what we have with us the words of the Avadhuta. Now what if an Avadhuta, a real one, in all his wild, natural and beautiful nakedness, comes right over here, what would happen to your composure? And chances are, he won’t be interested in lecturing. His life is his teaching. His methods are spontaneous.

He has no great regards for etiquette or politeness. Most of us might not be comfortable. That’s actually an understatement. Most of us would actually, actively avoid him. As long as it is a cosy and convenient environment, where his words are being taken up in a setting orchestrated by you, you are alright. But when the real one enters and smashes all settings, obviously not as violence, but a statement, that real one does not appear very likeable. The words in Avadhuta Gita represent some of the purest utterings on Advait. As pure as the verses of Upanishads, if not more, and I am tempted to say, actually purer than that. Most strict and uncompromising in their rejection of duality than Ashtavakra and Krishna. Such is the worth of the Dattatreya’s words. Such is the worth of Avadhuta Gita. But please see that the Avadhuta Gita never became as famous and as popular as the Gita of Krishna or even the Gita of Ashtavakra. Much lesser scriptures have been liked much more by us. The reason is obvious. The Truth is alright for the ego only from a distance. Proximity to the Truth is life threatening for us. So all kinds of miscellaneous scriptures are all right. Those others scriptures too have their worth, some value, but none comes close to matching the naked staunchness of the Avadhuta. Nobody. And that is why we have not been able to really accept and appreciate this one.

And ultimately, Dattatreya dissolves the final concepted ‘Self’. He dissolves the very concept of dissolution. He says, “When the Truth is one, where is the question of reaching the Truth?” That is how Samadhi has been classically defined – Reaching the center, settling down into the Truth. I can actually see him laughing to a fellow Avadhuta and saying, “How will you reach that from which it is impossible to escape?” “How will you reach that which you can never leave, even if you want to?” He is saying, “What rubbish is this, all this talk of Samadhi? As if you are in any other state, at any other point of time. You are already in Samadhi. There is no other Truth. If you think you are in some other state, you are dreaming. So wake up. You do not need to reach Samadhi.” There is a difference between reaching somewhere and simply waking up. You are already there, you are just dreaming that you are somewhere else. Wake up. You are already there, nowhere else to go. You are already at the pinnacle of your life. This is the climax. It can’t get any better than this. And what are you searching for? Had you been so unfamiliar with that which you are searching for, how would you have searched for it? To make matters complicated for yourself, you say, “The Truth is distant, the Truth is unknowable, the Truth is unapproachable, mind cannot think of It, man cannot reach It.” If that is so, then how is it that you are incessantly on the lookout for the Truth?

All you want is peaceIf Truth is such an unknown entity to you, why are you so restless? One doesn’t desire for something one is very unfamiliar with. Does he? And you are desiring for that one, all the time. In your various desires, in your various movements, ultimately all you want is Peace. Whatever you may say that you are chasing, at the end of the chase lies the promise of Peace. The promise is what gives the chase its energy. Right? And you are chasing all the time. You are convinced of the promise. From where does this conviction come? This conviction comes from the fact that you know Peace. You know that the promise is real. You know that Peace is your natural state. And that is why in whatever you do every moment, and whosoever you meet, all you look for is peace.

Seen anybody who wants anything except Peace? Even when you are chasing excitement, you are chasing Peace through excitement. Even when you are being violent, you want Peace through violence. Ultimately you want nothing except Peace. Would it not be then foolish to say that you do not know peace? Had you not known it, how could it have been echoing inside you constantly? Not only do you know it, you remember it without break. It is a continuous music, an incessant resonance within you. You don’t even need reminders. If you are going in some direction, you are going in the direction of Peace. If you are trying out something, you are trying to get Peace. If you are entering something new, the objective is Peace. Even in taking a position against Peace, ultimately you want to feel Peaceful. Dare we say that we do not know Peace? That which is the central attraction of our lives, we want to fane unfamiliarity with it? Seriously? Dattatreya is saying that you are just pretending, you already are there. If you know it so clearly and intimately, it is impossible that anything can stand between you and it. You see, the first thing is to realize and see clearly, that you know it clearly. The first thing is to see that peace, which you may also call as Truth or God, is the center of all mental activity. The mind may be going in miscellaneous directions, but it wants to reach that particular center, even in going hither and thither and randomly flying around.

An Indian sage has given a very apt image for it. He says that it is just like a bird on the ship. A ship sailing in the seas, the bird is on that ship. The bird flies from the ship and goes in various directions, but ultimately it returns to the ship. The ship is where the bird starts from. The ship is where the bird has to return to. Now can the bird fane ignorance of the ship? Without the ship, there is no bird. The bird’s very own existence is a proof of the ship. Otherwise, what are you doing in the middle of the seas? The very fact that you, the bird, is to be seen here – Where? In the middle of these turbulent seas, is the proof of the ship. Had there been no ship, how would you have been here? You hence are the Truth. No need to search for it, you are it. The search assumes a separation and in assuming a separation, the search actually creates a separation. Dattatreya is saying that see that this is it and there is really nowhere to be reached. All talk of Samadhi is just talk. Stop talking and there is just Samadhi. There is just Samadhi either way, but you can either talk about it or straightaway enter it. Even in talking, you are ultimately talking about Samadhi. So it’s Samadhi either way. But it depends upon you.

Talk about it and if you are talking about it, then too, the center is Samadhi, because all talk ultimately is about Samadhi. But you have an option, you can either keep talking about it, and it’s nice to talk about it. It’s so nice to talk about it that Kabir says that he can even reject the invitation of Ram. There is a great pleasure in talking about Ram. In listening to Ram’s story. Such a great pleasure that I can even reject the invitation of Ram.

राम बुलावा भेजिया, दिया कबीरा रोए |
जो सुख साधू संग में, सो बैकुंठ न होए ||

(Ram is calling Kabir. Kabir is weeping. For he says, the Joy that I find in the company of this Truth and in the company of the seekers of the Truth. That joy is greater than the Joy of heaven.)

Do you see what this is? Samadhi runs in your veins. Just talking about it brings joy to you, does it not? That is the attraction of SatsangSamadhi is so close and so dear to you that when somebody talks about it, your heart just opens up. You feel a depth of pleasure that no other occupation can give you.

जो सुख साधू संग में |

And then there are others who say, “Well we have had enough of talking now, let me just enter it.” There is not much difference between these two. Samadhi is complete Freedom. On one hand Samadhi is choiceless-ness, because there is nothing but Samadhi. On the other hand, it is the power of absolute choice. You can decide to talk about it and that’s wonderful. In Samadhi, you can decide to sing, talk, act, run, and work. Or in Samadhi you can dissolve. In either case it is Samadhi.

Listener 1: Sir, how has Satsang become so dear?

Speaker: There is no reason. It’s just that one has unlimited freedom in Samadhi. You have never gone away from it. Your freedom is so absolute that you are free to even forget your freedom, and then start clamoring, “I am not free! I am not free!” Your freedom is so absolute that you even have the freedom to forget your freedom and then like a madman start yelling, “I am in bondage! I am in bondage!” Even in your yelling that, it is a proof of your freedom.

Listener 1: Can this become a barrier itself? The last barrier?

Speaker: A barrier towards what? You have decided something and you are not accountable to anybody for the decision that you made. You have decided something in your absolutely free will, where is the question of a barrier? The moment you will really want, you will change your decision. Where is the question of a barrier? Barriers are external. Here all decisions are internal, there is no barrier. You have made a decision to forget. It’s your decision, it’s your sovereign expression of your absolute power. Remember, you never forget anything. As long as you are, that remembrance is there. Do you ever forget yourself? So there is no question of forgetting, reminders and remembrance. You anyway always remember. You just have to decide to proclaim that you remember. You don’t have to be reminded. You have to make a decision, and that decision will be your decision, a sovereign decision. Nobody else can be a participant in it. You are the ultimate authority. Yes of course depending on the situations you have chosen, somebody might push you a little, prod you a little, nudge you a little, but all of that is of no value. What are you reminding him of? Yes? The student is sitting in front of you, what are you reminding the student of? The student already knows. When I talk to you, there are only two kinds of faces. One that are exclaiming “Yes! We know what you are saying and we’ll go with it.” And the other “Yes! We know what you are saying but we won’t go with it.”

(Laughs)

There is no third face. There is nobody here who doesn’t understand what I am saying. Everybody does. In fact you understand what I am saying even before I say it. You already know everything, it’s just that, ‘your decision’. Nobody here is ignorant. There are only two kinds of faces. How else can you resist me? And you know how deeply you resist. How can you resist me without knowing what I stand for? Your very resistance is the proof that you understand. You very well know what I am saying and that is why you so stubbornly raise your armors and defend yourself. You know from where the arrow is coming and you know it is aimed towards your heart. That’s why you are able to place your armor so accurately. “Place it nowhere else. He aims only the heart. Defend that and you are safe.”

Listener 2: Sir you say that ‘you’ have the absolute power of freedom. Who is this ‘you’ here?

Speaker: This ‘you’ is the same Peace that we are continuously referring to. The Peace that manifests itself sometimes as itself and at other times as the mind. What is mind? Mind is the power of the Self to manifest itself, nothing else. Or do you think that the mind is something separate from the Self, from the Truth? Then mind is the Truth itself, expressed in space-time. They are one.

Listener 3: Sir, suppose there are a number of birds who have floated away from the ship, then why are only a few number of birds able to return back to the ship? Why only some of us are able to remember? To go back to the ship?

Speaker: No bird can float around in the sea for too long. It has to be perched somewhere. It has to go back to the ship. ‘ जैसे उड़े जहाज़ को पंछी, फ़िर जहाज़ पे आवे | ‘

Listener 3: Right, but that duration is too long?

Speaker: Even in the duration of the flight, where is the bird coming from? Where is the bird going to? Who brought the bird here? Are we saying that the bird has forgotten the ship? You are coming from the ship, you will go back to the ship. You have no other resting place. Yes, it is a part of your freedom to fly around a little. Go and fly around. Depends on your mood.

Listener 4: Sir you say that by our every action we are seeking Peace. But I made out that this Peace is very temporary. So do we keep on looking or is there any continuous flow of Peace which exists?

Speaker: See, you can either have Peace or you can have seeking. A child is with the mother and they decide to play hide and seek. In playing hide and seek, what have they done? They have become invisible to each other, they have become hidden from each other; but even in playing hide and seek they know very well that they are with each other. When you are so intimately with each other, you feel like playing hide and seek. That’s Maya. A loving expression of the Truth. We are so close together, we can anyway never be separated, so let’s be separated. (Chuckles) Otherwise what’s the fun in always being together? Now that we know that we are destined to be together, we are one, we may appear like infinite varieties and diversities but we know, we are one, there is only that One, let’s play a little bit of hide and seek. Deliberately we blindfold each other for the sake of some ‘divine’ entertainment. That’s it. So sometimes you have peace and other times you have the seeking. ‘Seeking peace’.

~ Excerpt from a Shabd-Yog session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Seated already on the mountain top,why suffer dreams of climbing

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Asking ‘Who am I’ is honesty in face of falseness

Question: Sir, Ramana Maharshi has talked about the ‘I’. He has always asked the seekers to observe this ‘I’, and this has always been the basis of his teachings. What exactly does Ramana Maharshi mean, when he asks us to constantly observe this ‘I’? How does one witness this ‘I’? In short, what is the basis of his teachings?

Speaker: See, appearances are deceptive; not only sometimes, but always. You look at these faces here (pointing towards a photo of Ramana Maharshi and other Saints hanging on the wall). Shubhankar, why not point the camera there for a while.

Ramana here would be the last one, with whom you would probably want to attach the word ‘rebel’. But, Ramana is – absolute rebellion. Absolute Rebellion. Do you know what ‘absolute’ means? ‘Absolute’ means pure. All his life, Ramana had only one answer, “What is pure, is One.”

Do you get this?

What is Pure, is One. ‘Purity’ means Oneness. All his life, Ramana had only one answer to anything that you would ask him. He might use many words, but if you look closely at the words, he had just one thing to say, “Find out who is asking the question.” He actually never had any other response to give. Never any other response.

There was a certain Oneness in his response to life. He didn’t have a bag of tricks. Krishna has eighteen chapters and talks of eighteen different kinds of yoga. With Ramana, there are no eighteen, or eighteen hundred types. There is just one – ‘Who is it’, that speaks? ‘Who is it’, that acts? ‘Who is it’, that is enquiring? ‘Who is it’, that is restless? ‘Who is it’, that is going to learn? ‘Who is it’, that forgets? Simple!

Even Kabir is sometimes, classified as a poet in the Bhakti (Devotion) tradition. There are others who say, “No, he can’t really be categorized,” and there are others who say that he belongs to the path of knowledge, Gyaana. So there can be a divergence, because Kabir talked of this and that, and everything. He often said things that are seemingly at odds with each other. They are actually not, but it appears.

Ramana was one-pointed, one track, and that is such a huge rebellion against the apparent diversity that enslaves the mind.

What is the mind, a slave to? The mind is a slave to appearances. And when you say, “Appearances,” you mean diversity. When you say, “Appearances”, you mean a thousand colors, a thousand sounds. You mean shapes and forms, and names. And all of them are different and diverse. For Ramana, there is no diversity. He refuses to acknowledge diversity. For him, the diversity is not real at all. Only the Aatma (Self) is real.

So, like him, his method of asking – ‘Who am I?’ – the Koham technique, is also greatly rebellious. It does not entertain the stupidity of mind at all. And it also does not entertain the stupidity of methods that rest on, a validation, a justification, an acknowledgement, of diversity.

For example, when we say that there are a thousand methods of ‘meditation’, what have we done? You see, meditation is about being there where are no numbers, no diversities. And you are saying, “Thousand methods of meditation!” In Ramana’s world, this statement is stupidity. So for him, there is no ‘method’ of meditation. Or at best, at most, one method.

Are you getting it?

He rebels against tradition. Though we call him, ‘Maharshi’ (A great seer), and we aptly call him ‘Maharshi’, he does not belong to any tradition. He simply does not acknowledge any ‘rules’ or ‘formulae’ that tradition and scriptures have handed over to us.

In fact, it often would happen that people would ask him, “This point that you are speaking, contradicts something that is mentioned in the scriptures.” Then he would say, “Scriptures are for those who are still learning, scriptures are hence only for those, who are deluded. Scriptures are not for those who have attained Gyaana (Truth).” That would be his reply.

So what do the scriptures say? The scriptures say, “Here is a particular method.” The Bhakti Maargis say, “Bhakti (Devotion) is the method.” The Karma Yogis would say, “Nishkam Karma (Desire-less action) is the method.” The Gyaana Maargi would say “Heightening of consciousness, is the method.” And they say, “This is the method!”

Ramana says, “Do you know who is asking the question? And if you do not know who is asking the question, how can I suggest a method? There can be no method, because there will have to be an infinite number of methods, because the mind is capable of taking infinite shapes. Hence, I have to first ask, ‘Who is asking the question?’ And the moment I see who is asking the question, the method emerges from there. In fact, the asking of the question itself, is the method.”

Are you getting it?

There is no rigidity in his approach. He will not say, “Devotion is the way.” Of course, he did not reject devotion, but neither did he say that devotion is the way, Bhakti is the way. He did not say that. He rejects nothing, and he stands for nothing.

Please understand this.

So, when you knock on his door, he asks, “Who is it?” That’s his method.

He says, “Who is it? Introduce yourself.”

Is that a not a sane thing to do? Is that not something that must always be done? So the moment you say, “I am troubled,” he would immediately ask you, “Who is troubled?” Bring him in front of me. Make him sit here.” And the moment you want to find out who is it, ‘the troubled one’, it often happens, that instead of trouble, you find only peace.

When somebody knocks on your door, do you just go and open the door? You first want to know. When somebody comes to your door, do you have the same response and reaction to everybody? Your response and reaction depends on, who is it that you are meeting. It depends on who you are meeting, or does it not?

So when you go to Ramana, he says, “Who are you?” That is the path of Self-enquiry. “Ask yourself – Who are you? Blindly, I will not give you any answer. You must first know ‘who you are’. And if you do not know ‘who you are’, go find out! Turn inwards and figure out ‘who’ is asking the question.”

So there is this great world, where the universe is taken as rigid, predictable and finite. Ramana knew better than that. He understood that a mere hundred techniques would not work, even a thousand would not work, and even ten thousand would not work.

You require a million techniques. You require a million-million techniques. You require an infinite number of techniques, because the mind has an infinite capacity, like a chameleon. Oh, the mind ashames the chameleon. We have Kabir here (indicating towards Kabir’s portrait on the wall) and he said,

“मन के बहुतक रंग हैं

छिन-छिन बदले सोए”

(The colours of the mind are infinite.

It changes moment to moment)

The word ‘bahutak’ means many, and it is a very gentle understatement. Kabir said, “Many,” when he meant – infinite, when he meant – beyond count.

In this realization, Ramana is Buddha-like. Ramana doesn’t take you to be a fixed entity. “How can I ask you to follow the path of Karma (Action) when ‘you’ do not exist?” If I say that Joydeep (pointing towards a listener) here, must follow Karmayoga (The discipline of desire-less action), then there must be somebody called ‘Joydeep’ to follow Karmayoga (The discipline of desire-less action).

Just as the Buddha realized that ‘Joydeep’ is nothing, nobody substantial – that ‘Joydeep’ is just a flow, a movement that is continuously happening, there is nothing permanent or stable in that movement.‘Joydeep’ is changing every moment – so how can he be suggested something permanent, stagnant?

When the patient is changing every moment, how can the disease be constant? And hence, how can the medicine be constant? So, at the moment when you say, “I am a patient,” the doctor needs to ask, “Who exactly are you? What exactly is your disease?” And that answer has to be then and there. It is not an answer that you can borrow from the past, or carry forward to the future.

Listener 1: So you don’t have time to ponder upon it?

Speaker: Actually you don’t have time to ponder. It’s something that works instantaneously. And hence the response of the doctor, to your disease, must constantly vary, because you are never the same.

Do you see how great a rebellion this is? When you go to a Saint, you expect a particular ‘saintly’ treatment from him. Ramana does not give you that. But at the same time you would say, “Sir, his responses, as far as we have read and heard, used to appear to be the same. He would be sitting comfortably, and whosoever would come to him, he would respond in a few words, and that’s all!”

Listener 2: And that’s why after reading him for some time, we feel a little bored?

Speaker: Yes, there are many people who do not see much diversity there. So their mind starts feeling bored.

Listener 1:  I personally find Ramana very interesting!

Speaker: Go find out! Go figure out. Go enquire. Go ask, “Koham (Who am I?).” All these questions only mean now face the Truth. And the moment you face the Truth, the shadows are gone.

That’s Ramana’s method.

Listener 3: Are the shadows really gone?

Speaker: (Smilingly) Yes, and no.

If a man is standing next to you and looking in the same direction as you, he will say, “Yes Sir, the shadows are really gone. Just as you do not see shadows, even I do not see shadows. So, I validate your observation, there are no shadows.”

But, if a man is standing next to you and he is facing in the opposite direction, he will say, “You have been fooled. There were shadows before, and there are shadows even now. No shadows have gone away, your life has not changed.” You will smile and say, “It has totally changed. I see no shadows.” He will say, “The shadows are still there,” and he’s right, but totally wrong.

He’s right, the shadows are still there. (Smilingly) Why are the shadows still there? Because he sees the shadows.

Listener 1: So, when it is said, “Face your gaze at the Truth,” – the Truth cannot be captured in mind, it is beyond mind – so saying, “Truth, Truth, Truth,” is also shadows? So ‘facing’ would be, being present to what is going on?

Speaker: Actually he’s saying, “Be honest.” When he says, “Go find out,” all that he is saying is, “Can you be honest towards yourself for a while?”

Listener 2:  Sir, the mind has a lot of concepts about fear, can we actually witness fear? Why do we just get lost in concepts?

Speaker: Because the mind has been told that certain things are ‘good’ and certain things are ‘bad’. When you say, “Fear,” it is not merely a sound. It is an entire world of images. An entire world! It carries so many connotations. Every world is a universe, every world is a total universe. Fear is not just another sound. When it falls on your ears, it changes your being. Or does is it not?

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: You are no more the same person. It is not something objective, outside of you. With the result that you can never really be with it, be with fear or be with anything. Why can’t you be with it? Because you have already been told what to make of it. So you have already been told that fear is something…?

Listener 2: Bad.

Speaker: Bad. When it falls on your ears, immediately an automatic system goes off. “Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.” To some extent it is genetic; to some extent it is social. You see something and immediately it sets off a chain of automatic reactions in your mind – good, bad, this and that. And the moment this automatic process begins, it becomes impossible to really come close to the happening. For example, how can I answer your question if automatically there is a rigid judgment here that his questions do not deserve to be answered, that he always asks ‘bad’ questions.

But that’s the whole danger with naming, with having names. You have the same name today that you had yesterday and day before yesterday. Name conserves the past. You have the same face today, almost the same face today, that you had two months back so the moment his face comes in front of me, entire past comes in front of me.

Do you understand this?

So how can I come close to you? The entire past and the experiences and the knowledge is standing between you and me now. I cannot come to you. That’s the thing with name and form. That is the thing with anything with boundaries. It is rigid. Boundaries mean rigidity, now I cannot approach you.

Similarly, fear has a name and form. In fact, you can try it out. You ask kids to draw fear and you will see how easily they are able to put fear in forms and there would quite predictable forms. The colours used would be mostly black and red. Hardly anybody would paint fear in pink or in blue. Nobody would paint fear in these colours. Fear would be painted in?

Listener 1: Black and Red.

Speaker: Black and Red.

Listener 1: So the sense of constancy keeps you away from actually seeing the happening.  The face is saying that this person is something constant. When I am in fear I feel that this situation is going cause permanent damage. It’s give a sense of constancy and in the world of mind nothing is constant.

Speaker: But we want that, we want that.

Listener 1: Continuity.

Speaker: Continuity, that permanence. We want that, just that we want it within the stretch of time, which by definition is about coming and going. (Smilingly) So within the field of coming and going, we want something that…?

Listener 2: Remains stable.

Speaker: Which does not come and go. And we want it here, in our world, on this earth, relative to this body, relative to thoughts and ideas, expressible in words. We are using all the means and methods that are applicable to the world in which things are changing and ephemeral.

Change and change and change totally scares the mind, “Nothing is stable here, give me something that remains firm, nothing remains firm.”

Listener 3: Sir, we are trying to actually get something from the mind which is against its nature.

Speaker: Against its habit.

Listener 3: Why did you say ‘habit’?

RestlessnessSpeaker: No, the nature of the mind, again, is not restlessness. This restlessness that the mind exhibits, is not really its nature. That’s why it suffers in this restlessness. Going against its nature, it suffers, it is an acquired habit, not nature.

Listener 3: Sir, one thing I would like to ask that when somebody comes in front of me, the whole past too comes. How exactly can this happen that I am talking to somebody, for example, I am talking to you and the past is not hindering in the now, because the past always comes in.

Speaker: Face the Truth all the time. The past will always be there, like that shadow. Let it be here only like that shadow. There, yet not there. Present, but not interfering. The shadow is there, but it is not interfering in my vision. Why? Why it is not interfering in my vision?

Listener 1: Because I am not looking at it.

Speaker: I am not looking at it. It’s there, but I am not looking at it. You have that power, you have that choice, exercise it. You have the choice to look either at the light or at shadows. Keep looking at the light, keep looking at the light. Behind your back there would always be shadows. They are always behind you, remain one step ahead of them. And even if you are one step ahead of them, yet they would be right under your step, right under your feet. But that’s the closest they can get to you.

Listener 3: Is it not also a habit?

Speaker: Facing this way rather than that way?

Listener 3: Yes.

Speaker: It’s an acquired habit.

Listener 1: Sir, this mental churning is nothing but a choice to just to be away from the Truth?

Speaker: Yes, you are fascinated with shadows as sometimes kids are. You cannot really do anything with the light, the light will not cater to your whims. Have you seen how kids play game with shadows?

Listener 1: Yes, yes.

Speaker: They would take their hands and draw something like this and this looks like a deer. There are so many things that you can do with shadows, but you can’t do anything with light.

Listener 3: It’s more like answer of Bhagwan Ramana, he would always be saying the same thing. “Go back to yourself.” So with falsities, you can play around, with the questions you can play around, but the answer remains the same.

Speaker: In front of light you can only surrender. You can just be over-awed and over-joyed. With shadows there are so many possibilities, so many diversities, now, come into the picture. They all are black diversities.

Listener 3: Sir, Maaya has been portrayed in two ways, one of which is that ‘something is there and it makes you see something else’ and the other is ‘something is not there, yet it is seen’. So we have talked of that ‘something is not there, yet it is seen’, but the other one?

Speaker: The other is also fairly simple. There are people who hypnotize themselves into thinking that the Sun is contained somewhere in the shadows. There are people who start thinking that they are looking at the Sun when all they are staring at, is the shadows.

Their life is full of darkness, yet if you approach them, they will put up a fake smile and say “No, no, no, my life is all resplendent with Truth. See how everything is bathed in light”. And you will look at their life and say, “No, I only see darkness, where do you see light?”  They will say, “No, no. no, this is not darkness, this is light”.

So this is about seeing something. That is the thing with shadows, nobody who is looking at shadows would say that he is looking at shadows. That’s the ultimate humiliation to shadows, you know, they can’t even declare themselves to be shadows! When you are looking at shadows, what is your self-defence?  – “They are not shadows, they are Sun, its light!” You cannot say, “These are shadows,” and yet keep looking at them! How will you then answer the question, “Why are you avoiding the Sun?”

So you will never say, “I am looking at shadows.” So, there are some people who are actually looking at the Sun and there are others who claim that they are looking at the Sun. There is nobody who can claim that he is looking at the shadows.

Ramana Maharshi would catch you in the moment of suffering and say, “Find out where the suffering is?” That is the moment when you will have to acknowledge, that you were looking at shadows. He would expose your lies.

And he would not do it through assertion; he would do it through suggestion. He would suggest that you find out. In a very modest way, he may seemingly in a very innocuous way, would totally dismantle your falseness. You won’t even be alerted, you won’t even know that your ego is under severe attack. You won’t even know. That man had such a gentle demeanour, he gave you no hint that he is going to strangulate your ego.

Listener 1: Very playfully.

Speaker: Very playfully. In a sense, very deceptively. Only later on could you go and complain to him, “Father you really killed me”.

Listener 1: Looking at the Truth, you know, there is no chance for shadows. Whatever the mind generates if not 100% then 99.99% are shadows. So fact is that I am conditioned to seek securities within the shadows and the shadows are the reason why there are insecurities in the first place. So, when I look at the Truth, it would need lots of Faith.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 1: So, I don’t have to turn back, I don’t have to rely on myself for my protection.

Speaker: Old habits have a certain momentum.

Listener 1: Yes. So…

Speaker: So, it may take a while.

Listener 1: But the suffering is, it’s right now too.

Speaker: You will have to pass through it.

Listener 1: Sleeping. I don’t want to sleep, I want to listen but it is coming back.

Speaker: It is coming back because, you know, the Sun is a threat. It is coming back because the shadows are smarter than you are. They know that they are under attack so at this very moment they must seize you or they would lose you. You are being seized by your own deluded self. Grasping for breath, it is clutching at your neck.

Listener 1: And I can’t do anything about it?

Speaker: You are already doing something about it. You are sitting in front of me.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Raman Maharshi: Asking ‘Who am I’ is honesty in face of falseness

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Will I ever know who am I?

Article 2: The simple words of the Teacher are not understood by a complex mind

Article 3: The Truth is what you are in spite of your identification with the false

Only the ego wants to correct mistakes. The fundamental mistake is ego itself.

Question: Why is it that if we search for evil or bad things, we find that it is all our fault? What if we don’t go out searching? Then will we have a hard time realizing our mistakes?

Acharya Prashant: This option to ‘not to go out searching’ is not really available. The nature of the ego is to not to search for anything beyond itself. While it does appear that the ego is restless and keeps searching, but its entire preference is to search within its own predetermined domain. It’s a pseudo search; it’s a fake search. The ego is very, very happy in this fake search; it keeps itself occupied and it also gets to say proudly that it is searching. After all, we all do have things to search for, right?

Everybody has goals, targets, something to accomplish. None of us is sitting idle; everyone is chasing something, and we can claim that there is something that we are going after, that you are not stagnant, that life has a meaning, a purpose. But if we look closely at all our meanings, purposes and targets, they are all within the domain of our conditioning.

No target is an unconditioned target. No meaning that we ascribe to life is a para-mental meaning. All of them are coming from within a preset domain. So it’s a nice game; it’s a nice pseudo act. We can console ourselves all the time that we are doing something when actually nothing is happening, when actually whatever is happening is just happening to ensure that the status quo is being maintained. So we display a lot of activity, we move around, we run after this and that; and it’s a good act. Just a pretension, just a display to fool the world and fool ourselves. The more we move, the more we are ensuring that nothing really is changing. The more we run, the more we ensure that no reaching is happening.

So, that is the way the ego functions – a lot of sound and fury, a lot of movement, a lot of asking, searching, seeking, but essentially just the maintenance of its own boundaries: “I will run a lot within the room. I will run a lot within the preset boundary.”

So, had it been left to ourselves, we would have never really sought, we would have been happy just ‘pretending to seek’.

So, when does one start looking for the Truth?

It is not a choice; it is not an indulgence; it is never a pleasure; it is never out of great willingness. It is just that, as a natural consequence of the nature of the ego, there is suffering. Just as it is the nature of the ego to not to know the Truth to pretend a lot, to act as if it is genuinely curious, but never really to know,  just as this is the nature of ego this too is the nature of ego that it will suffer.

Nothing except the ego suffers. Nothing except the ego is deluded. 

When it suffers and suffers again and again, and yet again then it is forced to seek. Why? Again there is a reason there. Suffering might be the natural consequence of ego, suffering might be the habit of ego, but you are not only the ego. It is not your nature to suffer. The ego can get nothing except suffering and that’s when you start feeling uneasy, because it is not your nature to suffer.

You are essentially joyful; and what the ego brings to you goes against your own grain. That is the reason why anybody ever steps out to seek. Nobody steps out to seek in great happiness. Nobody steps out to seek in order to feel better about himself, or because it is a thing of pride never! Whenever seeking would happen because of a pleasure motive, it would always be within the room, and hence, it would be a pseudo search. That is the reason why most seekers never actually learn anything, because theirs is a fake, a pseudo search. They are searching within the room. The room itself is the domain the preserve of the ego. How will you get anything within it? By being within the room, all that you are doing is that you are validating the room you are confusing yourself all the more by convincing yourself that this is where you belong.

You must have heard that little anecdote about Raabiya.

She lost her small pin maybe a weaving needle or something and she started searching for it in another place and she collected the entire village.

“I am an old woman, I can’t see, help me.” Soon the entire village was searching with her. Then one man got a little frustrated and asked, “Old lady, where did you lose it?” She said “There, somewhere else.”

They said, “Why are you searching for it here then?  Have you gone totally senile?”

She said, “I might be senile, but what else are you doing! You too are searching. All your movements are a search. Wherever you go, you are going with a purpose. All of us are after something in life. But are you searching at the right place?  How will you find it where it is not?”

And there is nobody who is not after something. Anybody here who is not after anything? (Pointing towards someone in the audience.) You too must be after something. That is the way our system operates, we are always after something. And don’t delude yourself; whatever you are after is just the veneer, and the proof of that is that whatever you are after never really satisfies you. You are after something else. Whatever you are after is just a pointer you are after something else. That should be a good enough indicator to an intelligent mind, “I am not searching rightly. I am constantly searching, but probably I am searching just to maintain the search and never to find – just to maintain the search so that I can console myself and feel good about myself that I am not really idle, that I am really not good-for-nothing. So I am doing something.”

(Silence)

Lucky are those, whose eyes open up even if to just see their own wounds.

Lucky are those whose sensitivity awakens even if to just realize that they are badly hurt, because it is only then that you are forced to see the fallacy of your ways.

Otherwise nothing would ever change. We would be very happy and continue in the way we have always continued.

See, we keep on saying, “We are totally conditioned,” but that is just to drive home a point. The fact is that we can never be totally conditioned, or let me put it this way: “What is totally conditioned is not really the totality of me. I am vaster than that which gets totally conditioned. Yes, the mind-machine does get totally conditioned, but I am something beyond the mind-machine, and therein lies the possibility of my redemption. The mind is just an apparatus that does get totally conditioned, but I am something else – a little more. So, when the mind gets totally conditioned, that doesn’t match or concur with what I am, because it is not my nature to be conditioned.”

And then, you want to hit at the boundaries, to knock at the doors, to cross the limits. That’s when you challenge your patterns. Because what you are doing and how you are living is not what you are. How long can you go on violating and contradicting yourself? A point comes when you just start feeling suffocated and then things happen on their own. Never say that you have a choice there. All your choices are within the room. You will never choose to go outside it never!

Left to yourself, you will happily keep singing, dancing, eating, sleeping, and breeding inside the room. A part of you exists outside; it is that part which calls you, but you do not know that part.

It is funny, because that is the ‘essential you’ that you do not know.

That face of yourself ‘that you know’ is a very superficial face. You may as well not know it and continue no harm will be done. So, that which you know as yourself, is anyway valueless. It is another matter that you attach a lot of importance to it and you spend a lot of time and energy just trying to maintain, preserve, and burnish it.

It is like you have a diamond, and you have a diamond case, and you are spending all your time preserving and polishing the case, while forgetting the diamond, which is lying somewhere else unattended.

Even if you forget all that you think yourself to be, no great harm will be done; but forgetting that which you really are that which is lying unattended, unsought . . .  that’s a great loss!

Again, for whom is that a great loss? Only for the one who is within the room. For itself, it is never a loss, because it is not something that can be lost; it is not something to which the words gaining or losing can even be applied. It is a strange kind of thing!

Understand this: whatever I am saying right now, I am not really addressing the ‘real you,’ because that doesn’t need to be addressed.

(Smilingly) Who can teach the atman? Is there anything apart from it to teach it? And what does it lack in to be taught? So, I am not really talking to the ‘essential you’. There is no point talking to ‘it’ and there is nobody else except ‘it’ to talk to ‘it’.

I am just addressing the ego, nothing else just addressing the ego. And when you are addressing the ego, all that you can do is draw its attention to its own suffering; all you can point out to it is “Little child, you have been continuously trying and trying, and going around restlessly attempting, seeking, finding, un-finding, picking, dropping – doing all the actions that can be done.

You have been continuously doing all these things; there is nothing that you have left undone. You have seen so many colors of life, you have tried whatever experiments you could try and what have you got?

Except trying, and except an inflated sense of pride “that I have been trying” what did you get?

That is all that can be said to the ego, and then one can just wait for a bit of good luck – that is needed. Without that nothing can happen. People call it grace.

Because the ego is stubborn, you never know how much it can take. Quite resilient it is. It can suffer a lot.

We have great potential for suffering, and then denying that we are suffering.

So, you never know how much stamina is still left in your ego; it might still not be exhausted, it might still be rearing to go: “No, no, I still want to try a little more.” If that be the case then not much can be done. Then your time has not yet come. If you still have a very fit and muscular ego, throbbing, itching, running, eager, determined, then not much can be done. Your time has not come. You need a few more hits. Deep hits, bloody hits and you will get them, for sure you will get them. It’s a matter of time, you may get them in two days or in two hundred years, but you will get them and then you will see how lucky you are that ultimately you got those hits.

(Silence)

Then you really seek. Then you are forced to admit: “I am mistaken.” I am repeating these words – ‘You are forced to admit’. Nobody will admit out of his own sweet will that he is mistaken, never. It’s just that you will be battered so hard that you will be left option-less. You will be made mincemeat of. Have you heard the word kachoomar (to make mincemeat)? You will be beaten so badly that you will have no option but to accept. Out of your own false sense of pride you will have to accept: “Now I can see that there is something wrong.”

If you come across people who very easily admit that they are mistaken, if you come across people who keep smiling sweetly and saying, “You know, I have so many habits, you know I am an idiot, you know I am a slave of the ego,” you must realize that all this is just another tactic of the ego. Pretending to be egoless is such a wonderful tactic of the ego. Those who admit very quickly that we are mistaken are the ones who have co-opted mistakes. It’s a nice fashionable thing to do. Right? (Referring to his immediate disciples.) It happens with some of us here as well. You write your reflections and what do you write there? “Oh my God, I am such an idiot, I again slipped. Oh! Today I again slipped, and I realize that I am an idiot.” And the next day you again slip after realizing yesterday that you are an idiot. Great tactic: ‘own up the mistake so that you can remain mistaken’. Wonderful! Nice!

You will never own up your mistakes, you will be brought to a point where you will have no option but to see that you have been an idiot. You will be left option-less. Till the time you have an option, you will exercise it. Till the time you have an option, you will only choose the ego because only the ego has options, what else will you choose? Willingly, it is never going to happen never, ever! And those for whom it is happening willingly, it is not really happening. If it is happening willingly for you, then it is not really happening. Then it means that it is a part of your internal conspiracy.

(Silence)

Know that it is really happening when the ego, breathing its last breath, bleeding profusely, is still resisting it.

Know that it is really happening when you are deeply attracted to it, while finding simultaneously that you experience an aversion to it.

If it’s good, nice, honey and sweets, then it is not happening. The very phrase, ‘realizing my mistakes,’ is a meaningless phrase.

The ego will never realize its mistakes because the fundamental mistake is the ego itself. 

So how can it ever realize any mistake? But it’s fashionable for us to say, “Oh, I realize my mistake.” The more you say that you are realizing your mistakes, the more you are ensuring that you will not realize anything. In fact, more honest are those who say, “I am not realizing anything, I don’t want to realize anything.” You never ‘make’ a mistake, the mistake emanates from your very structure. The mistake is a representation of what you are.

You never make a mistake, you are just doing what you can do. Being what you are, what else could you have done? But morality has taught us that it’s nice to admit mistakes.

It might be nice to admit mistakes in order to keep the whole system, the social order, running; it might be a generous thing to do; it might appear a gentle and nice thing to do; but it’s a harmful thing to do. By saying, “I committed a mistake,” you want to say that, right now you are not committing a mistake.

You are always mistaken because a mistake is what you are.

What do you mean by realization? It’s like a mad man saying, “You know, I realize I am mad.” How does that help? I mean what has he realized? Being mad, how can he ‘realize’ that he is mad? And the day that he actually realizes that he is mad is the day when he is not mad anymore. So, don’t admit your mistakes too easily. Don’t just go around saying, “I slipped.” You didn’t slip, you have been slipping all along and you are still slipping. It is not an isolated incident it is always happening.

Humbly, go to the root of the happening; if you are lucky enough, if your time has come. Humbly, try to dig deep into it without feeling ashamed, without feeling guilty or bad about yourself. The ego likes to maintain its sense of purity and decency. If it starts admitting that it has been always slipping, then it will find it difficult to look at itself in the mirror. That is another thing with the ego, it must feel good about itself.

(Silence)

So, whenever by chance you get a feeling that you made a mistake, don’t stop there. See how the mistake is just a minor representation of your entire mental structure. Go into that. ‘The mistake is not an isolated incident,’ I am repeating. The mistake is an opportunity to look into your wider self, if you really bother. If you do not bother, then alright, you are still quite muscular, you can still take a lot of beating, you still have a lot of stamina; you are huffing and puffing and saying: “You know, I still want to try a little more.” Keep trying, it’s alright.

Without you how would lila (the cosmic play) continue? Without you how would the show run? Every good show requires a few comedians whose entire role is to keep slipping and keep getting beaten up all the time. You are that comedian! Without you the entire drama will become so tasteless, there would be nothing in it. After all somebody has to slip on the road, somebody has to step on the banana peel, so that everybody else can have a good time. You are that one!

So, don’t think of yourself as worthless. (Smilingly) You are the one who provides spice to the great show that this existence is. Without you there would be nothing to laugh at. Without you what else is left to be written about?

The Core, the Center, the atman is very intelligent, but it is also beyond the grasp of any writer. Nothing can be written about it. All that can be said is, “Nothing can be said.” About Intelligence, nothing can be said. About stupidity, a lot can be said. So, you are the one who provides employment to all the authors and writers. If you are not there then the world would be poorer, nothing would be left, nobody would be slipping on the road, nobody would be falling in the gutters, nobody would be creating a scene so that the neighbors can enjoy.

You are the color of the world, and this is not merely a satire  this is it!

When you see that you have been stupid all along, don’t feel bad about yourself. You didn’t do it, you have been made a fool of, and somebody else did it, right? Who chooses to step on a banana peel? There is no need to feel bad about yourself; there is no need to feel guilty. When by chance you find yourself making mistakes, then without any sense of remorse or self-deprecation go deep into yourself. The deeper you will go, the more mistakes and more sufferings you will come across. So, go in boldly; don’t feel bad, don’t stop, don’t feel shy, and don’t start crying that, “Oh my god! Am I such a fool?” Of course you are! What’s there to feel bad about? Whenever this so-called realization starts coming, “I have been a fool,” tell yourself that, “No, you have been a bigger fool than you can ever imagine, and it’s alright.” It’s alright because you are not responsible for the show. Right?

I didn’t choose to be a fool, I didn’t even choose to be ‘here’ (in this world) in the first place. I am on the stage, I am playing a fool, and I am on a stage I never chose to be on. Who chose to be born? Anybody here who did? So, you have been thrown onto a stage, you are there on the stage unwillingly, and unwillingly everything else is happening – the great game of maya.

There is no need to take ownership of all this; you are not responsible. You do not own your mistakes.

Now, you can clearly look at yourself. Now, witnessing is possible. Now you can observe all that is happening. Don’t feel bad.

That is your problem. You feel so bad about yourself that you observe no more. You feel so bad about yourself that it becomes impossible for you to proceed. Just as the entire world laughs at you, you too laugh at yourself. In fact, when nobody else is laughing then you start laughing at yourself, because you are the first one to know how big an idiot you have been.

It would be nice. Right? You are sitting in a bus and nobody else is laughing at you and you are laughing. People will say, “What is there to laugh at?” You will say, “Don’t you see? I am there to laugh at. I am the joke of jokes!”

Keep laughing at yourself. There is nothing dishonorable about it. You are anyway so dishonorable. (Laughingly) What can be more dishonorable than you? Don’t regret!

Then, you reach the mother mistake. Laughing at yourself you reach the mother mistake. Only when you look at it lightly, is it possible to drop it. That mother mistake thrives in seriousness. That mother mistake is seriousness itself. You take yourself so seriously. It’s like somebody taking a used toilet paper seriouslyThat is the fundamental mistake. Drop it! Flush it!

(Looking at the facial expressions of a listener.) That is better; now you are not serious. Witnessing is simple, natural. All that it requires is a bit of detachment and when you have a point to prove then you cannot be detached. When you have a face to maintain, an image to maintain, then you cannot be detached. Then you will admit mistakes, but never admit that you are the mistaken one. It is a clever ploy. It works against you . . . it does work, but against you. Don’t work against yourself. Whenever you come across mistakes just realize that it is not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

It is more like you are driving upon the highway and there is a bit of a stink and it is arising from the entire sewer system of the city. The stink means nothing – it is nothing, it is a small thing. You will take a few steps ahead and the stink will disappear, but the stink points out to a great accumulation of rubbish in the basement. Just below the surface lies collected heaps and heaps of rubbish. And ‘you’ are not rubbish; so there is no shame in accepting that there is so much rubbish. Be supremely confident that you are not rubbish; feel free to disown it, feel free to laugh at it.

How can you take rubbish seriously? When you don’t take it seriously there is no way you can get identified with it. Do you want to get identified with all the shit? Do you want to do that? Then why don’t you just call shit as shit? That’s our problem. We will never call shit as shit. We will acknowledge the stink but act as if there is no shit. We will acknowledge the mistake but act as if there is no mistaken one.

Yes! There is an entire ocean beneath the compost surface. That’s from where the stink sometimes arises. Disown that ocean. Laugh at it. You are not that. Nothing will be lessened from you; you only lose your heaviness, nothing else will be lost, no harm is going to come your way.

(Silence)

So, I’ve said enough, and that’s all that can be said. The rest depends on your stamina. Maybe you still want to take a few more punches. It’s alright. Somebody has to step on the banana peel. It’s alright.

Listener: If I want to see the mother mistake, then will I have to go again and again into the rubbish?

AP:  You are probably not feeling sure. Think of the man who has to take rubbish seriously and identify with it. Surely he feels very poor; surely he feels that there is not much in his life; surely he feels that life will be so harsh upon him that if he leaves the rubbish then nothing else will be there. “So better than being totally impoverished, let me at least latch on to the rubbish.”

See whether you can feel a little more certain that ‘things cannot be so bad’. See whether you can feel a little more confident that ‘even if I drop this, even if it goes away, it’s alright, I’ll live with it’. See if you can feel a little more emboldened.

Let it go! Anyway all that it is giving me is a lot of foul air. Let it go! Say: “I am prepared to take the consequences.” Feel a little more certain.

We hold on to all the rubbish in our life for the simple assumption that we have very little self-worth. We feel that if this goes away then nothing will be left. You feel, “Alright this might be defective, dead, soiled, but at least I have something. What if even this goes away? What if I am left with nothing?”

You will have to trust a little. You will have to just jump in. You will have to just hope that things will not be so bad, that things cannot be so bad. See whether that is possible.

L2: Sir, towards the beginning you said, “You have a deep belief that you still have a lot of stamina in you, and you want to keep hopping.” Sir, my condition is exactly the same. Within me, there is a strong feeling that I have to do a lot; but at the same time, there is this other side which tells me that all doing is futile.

So, what do should I do?

AP:  See, I also said in the beginning itself that you don’t really have a choice in this matter. So, even if I suggest something and you decide to pick it up, it will be you who will be deciding and hence you would also have the luxury of dropping it at your own sweet will. That is the whole problem with taking somebody’s advice. You are the one who went to take advice, you can also drop the advice.

Have you not seen people taking ‘second opinions’? Going from one doctor to the other? When you are taking a second opinion, ultimately it is your own opinion that prevails. You are the one who decide whether to consider the first opinion or the second opinion. Don’t you see? There is really no choice in this. Don’t ask, “What to do?” You are already doing a lot! Aren’t you? Go into that; if you can!

Don’t ask me, “What to do?” Aren’t you already doing a lot? And even if I suggest you a few more things to do, who will be doing them? The doer will remain the same, right? Now, if the doer is to be investigated, then why take on a new doing? You are already doing a lot, start from there and go deeper boldly, without fear or without any sense of shame. This ‘going deeper’ is not another doing. It is not another action of the same doer. It has a different quality to it.

You do ten things in a day you cannot say that attention is the eleventh thing. There are already ten things that you are doing, be attentive towards them. And that is not an eleventh action; that is like a light falling on all those actions.

Alright?

L3: Sir, if I do ten things, what gives me this stupid power to do another ten things? Succeeding in a few?

AP: The very concept of succeeding, the very hope that success is possible, that’s what keeps us going.

L3: Where does that hope come from? If I fail in all, will that hope still retain?

AP: Chances are the hope will diminish. That is why failure is often such a blessing. But again you see, one has to admit the failure. You may keep failing and keep labeling the failure as success.

Have you not seen people celebrating diamond jubilees of their marriage? Have you not seen that? (Laughter)

So failure and success are just words labels.

That deep realization has to come and that comes only when its time has come. It requires that bit of luck.

Pray, if you can!

L2: Sir, what is meant by saying that the time has not come? There are a few things that I have decided that I must do and only then the time will come, right?

AP: No, you have not done any of those things. What are you doing? What is the fact? The fact is – ‘you are deciding’. That is the doing. You have decided to do a few things, right? Have you done any of those things? What have you really done?

L2: I have decided.

AP: You have decided! Now, go into this decision and go into the decision maker. That is the real doing. Ask: “Where is this decision coming from?” Don’t go into what you have decided to do and when, and all that. You may as well never do all those things. You know the quality of your decisions, right? You decide to go left and you end up going?

L: Right.

AP: (Smilingly) Underground!

So, there is no point thinking about what goes left or right but yes, the ‘decision’ has been done, that is a fact, and that is very much an action a mental action that has been done. Go into that.

L3: Sir, while going into that, in between, one encounters, this entire thing of accepting or not accepting the rubbish. And whether we accept or deny, the ego survives in both the cases: commit a mistake and accept it or commit a mistake and deny it. How to move out of this vicious circle?

AP: The more you believe in what you have believed so far the more you will stay in the same circles. You have believed in your fears, you have believed in your limitations, you carry an entire world inside your head. At the center of that world is your own self-image.

The more you keep believing it, the more you keep feeding it, the more you keep feeling sure about it, the more things will remain the same. So try to take a few baby steps. See whether it’s possible there is no guarantee but see whether that is possible, maybe your time has come! See whether you can proceed without your self-image. See whether any harm really happens to you when you drop the rubbish. See whether you really lose something when you act in contradictions of your own assumptions. We imagine so much; see whether your imaginations actually materialize.

They won’t! See whether your own self-worth or self-image is real at all. I assure you, we know very little of ourselves, very, very little. You are not at all what you think you are. Allow yourself to come across your new face. You will be surprised. It is just like exfoliation. (Addressing one amongst the listeners.) You are a woman, you understand that, right? There is a beautiful face waiting to be discovered. Don’t be ashamed of it.

You have already decided that you are the maximum that you can be; this ‘can be’ has no limits. You can keep trying and keep moving within this so-called maxima. Limitlessly you can keep moving after setting a boundary. And in this nonsensical movement you keep missing that which you really are. Now don’t make images about it, just gather a little courage. Don’t think about it.

“What is it that I really am? What is my real face like?”

There is no need to think more. You already think so much. Just gather a little bit of courage to move into an unknown land; but that sounds scary, so I am saying, “Take a few baby steps.”

One step? At least that much can be done? Test your assumptions!

But when one is testing her assumptions, it is not tested in order to maintain the assumptions. If your assumption is that your assumptions are valid, then you are not really testing your assumptions. When you test your assumptions, then it must be done without bias, then it must be done impartially. “Let me really test.” We are so clever that in the name of testing we create situations that validate the assumptions. Don’t do that. We play so many games with ourselves. Do not do that. First of all you tell yourself that the world is a bad place and then you say, “Okay, let me test this assumption.” And then you go out and you bump into someone and he beats you up and then you say, “See I told you so, the world is actually a bad place.” Are you testing your assumption or are you going out just to reinforce it?

Don’t do that.

L3: Sir, whenever we feel light, we also find reasons that make us heavy. We do this just to ensure that the lightness does not prevail.

AP: Yes. You see we need to feel healthy, and if we can’t feel healthy, we at least need to pretend healthy.

Even if I have to slaughter somebody, it is better to do that via the court so that I can maintain my self-image. “I am a justice-loving person. I follow the due process of law, you see. I am not blindly believing in my assumptions. I tested them. So what I am saying is not an imagination; it is the fact, Sir!”

People will come and say: “I am so experienced and what I am telling you about life is not just my thoughts, it is what I have experienced.” Have you not heard this?

L: Yes.

AP: “This is my experience.” And they are not really lying; it is actually their experience. The only shrewdness there is, is that they are the manufacturers of that experience. Yes, you did experience, but who is the experiencer? When your so-called experienced people come and tell you that the world is a bad and wicked and ugly place and you need to protect yourself, otherwise a lot of harm can happen to you. They are not really lying. For them the world has actually been bad and wicked and ugly. So, they are actually not lying. What they do not admit is that they made it this way. They are the creators of their experiences that is something they will not admit.  They will not admit that.

L1: When somebody says very forcibly, “I have experienced this,” then the implication is that there is something objective there.

AP: Yes! There is nothing objective about it. ‘You’ did that.

We create situations that are conducive to our image of the world.

You hate a person and that will show up in your entire being. Now why are you surprised when the person reciprocates hate? When you look at that man your eyes are radiating hate, you words are full of poison, now is it any surprise that that person too reflects the same hate? Then you will say, “See, I told you so. That fellow is evil.” Is that fellow evil or did you make him act in evil ways? The world is your self-image, nothing more than that. It’s an echo!

L5: Sir, then experience is also a part of ego?

AP: All experience! Let experience never be a criteria. Let nobody claim that experience leads to Truth. Experience can only lead you to your own mind – that much, experience can help you. When you experience something, go into the experience, but not with an intention to know the world. Your experience will tell you nothing about the world because there is no objective world; but your experience will tell you something about yourself, your own structures.

When you hate somebody, that tells nothing about the person you hate, but it tells a lot about you. So do not make images about the person you hate. Go into your hatred; it will tell you something about yourself – it will tell you how afraid you are; it will tell you about your own insecurities; it will take you to your own basement.

L5: It will make me aware about the mechanism of my mind.

AP: And will take you to the mother of hatred.

L1: Let’s say somebody is testing his assumptions, and is doing that quite honestly. In the process, he sees that his assumptions are flawed. But since, he has been powering them for a long time, so they keep coming back again and again.

AP: See, that is why we are saying that there is no point in admitting mistakes or admitting that the assumptions are flawed; because till the time that mother is there, she will keep producing more babies.

Assumptions are not flawed, assumptions are what you are so go deeper.

Whenever you say that these assumptions are wrong, then tell me what is right? Is there another assumption that is right?

When you say, “I committed a mistake,” then tell me what not a mistake is? You must be having some image, right? That image too is a mistake.

So, it’s like a kid comes to you and says, “I have written 5+5 equals 15,” and you really scold him hard. You say, “How can you be such an idiot to write 5+5 as 15! You didn’t even know this much; you are making so many mistakes.” And ultimately you tell him, “Now, write 5+5 is 17.”

When you are declaring something to be a mistake, also ask yourself what is it that I am declaring as ‘not a mistake’? You will be surprised to see that calling something as ‘not a mistake’ is a bigger mistake.

L1: Sir, for example, the assumption is that – ‘somebody doesn’t like x,’ which is based upon x’s own inferiority complex. When x will check this assumption, it will be revealed that the fellow actually likes x.

Are you proposing that both of these aspects are equally wrong?

AP: Well said! Both are equally wrong. Neither does he dislike you nor is there anything to like. What the reality is . . . that you will never know being yourself.

The Truth is not the opposite of the false; the Truth is the absence of all that can be false.  When I say that you have an assumption that the world is a bad place, kindly do not use it to say: “Oh my assumption was invalid! The world is not really a bad, bad place; the world is actually a good, good place.”

The moment you do this, the mother mistake is smiling. Why? Because, this second assumption will be invalidated very soon, and you will have to come back to the first assumption.

So, going to something’s opposite is actually a very clever way of returning to the first thing.

The world is neither good nor bad.

‘Find out’ what the world is; why assume?

Assumption two cannot correct assumption one! So, never say, “I have known that this is a mistake.” When you say that you have known something as a mistake, you are pretending as if you know what is ‘not a mistake’. Because without having some concept, some notion, some idea of what is not a mistake, you can never say that this is a mistake. That idea too is equally wrong. Just say, “This is what I am, and I am suffering.” Now, you cannot go wrong.

Just say, “In my life, ‘5+5 is 15,’ and I am suffering.” Do not claim that you know what ‘5+5’ is. All you know is ‘5+5 is 15’. Just say, “I am holding these ideas as sacred; I am assuming these things to be true; I am living by these concepts; and what I am getting is suffering.”

These two are facts; there is very little positing here. Firstly that ‘I think,’ and secondly that ‘I suffer’. Now proceed downwards; keep going into the depth.

L5: Sir, I am suffering and I know that the mother reason of my suffering is my assumption about life. So when I see that a particular thought is arising from an assumption, I pause . . .

AP: Does that really happen that when you don’t want thoughts to come, they don’t come?

L5: Yes, it does! The other day, I was getting late for office. I stopped at the traffic signal for a minute or two and my mind started getting anxious. So I just paused and said, “Okay. Don’t let these thoughts come, reach the venue and see what happens.”

AP: If it is happening, then there is nothing to worry about. If it does happen that when you ask your thoughts to shut up and they do fall quiet, then, it’s good . . . already good.

L5: So, I don’t need to get into this assumption that certain thoughts are not good for my well-being – nothing like that?

AP: No! Where is the thought left now?

L5: It’s gone!

Sir, there are certain kinds of impulses that have gained so much momentum that it requires immense energy to dislodge them. What should be done?

AP: Take the previous example: when thought refuses to subside in spite of your telling it to shut down, then there is anyway not much that you can do – then let it continue. Don’t resist it.

You feed thoughts in two ways: from the front and from the back. From the front you feed it by asking it to continue: “It’s a pleasure to think sometimes.” You feed it from the back by resisting it: “It’s a bad thought, how can I think this way?” The moment you say this, then the bad thought intensifies. Let it continue. After all, how much can the imagination proceed on its own? How far will it go? You will assume that you will come late, alright, then? The gates will be closed, and then? And then . . . and then? Soon you will be bored.

“Alright, let’s stop.”

What is the worst that can happen? He doesn’t even have a gun license – your boss at the office.

What is the worst that can happen? Let it continue. It’s alright. You want to think? Proceed.

L5:  Yes. Then I start feeling guilty: “Why do I waste time thinking more and more about an unnecessary thing.”

AP: Never be bothered about your actions. By being bothered about your actions, you create a ploy to not to be bothered about the mother of the actions.

You meet a small kid and the kid is behaving in all kinds of stupid ways and he has acquired so many habits at just three or four years of age. He is stealing, he is cursing, he is kicking and crying – he is doing all kinds of things that kids do not usually do if they are healthy. What do you say to the kid? “Who is your mother? What have your parents taught you?” Actions are like kids. They are poor kids. What is the point in beating up the kid? Go to the mother; she is the one who is training the kid. But we bash up the kid: “This action is bad, evil!” What is the point?

You can even the kill the kid, but the mother is very fertile, she will produce more and more.

Actions are kids, go the mother of that action.

L2: Sir, but this requires subtlety of the mind. One who is very thoughtful, has not the depth to locate and scrutinize ‘the mother’.

AP: Then at least stop blaming the kid!

Can you remember this much? We have a great tendency to say, “Oh my god, I did something bad today.” Don’t we have that tendency? And all concepts of correction and repentance are based on this concept: “I did something bad.” So what am I correcting? The mistake. What I am repenting for? My action. At least stop doing this? Remember that the action can never be corrected; it is coming from a particular actor who is the mother. At least stop saying that you did something bad today; at least stop writing in your daily reflections that “Oh my god, I forgot, I slipped!”

You are not forgetting, you are forgetfulness itself personified.

By saying that you forgot, you are pretending as if you otherwise remember. You never remember.

Don’t blame yourself too much; don’t be harsh upon yourself. That’s what I mean when I am saying that don’t feel ashamed. By feeling ashamed you are pretending as if there is something honorable about you.

A speck falls off a lump of coal and the coal is regretting: “Oh my god! It’s so black.” As if there is anything non-black about it. A particle falls off a lump of coal and the coal looks at that particle and says, “Oh my god! It is so dark, so black.” Hello sir! Is there anything except blackness about you? So, what is the point in feeling ashamed? Just laugh it away: “Of course, I am all black. But when I will burn, when I will turn into ash then I will no more be black.”

Have you seen that? How coal becomes almost white when it turns into ash? There is no point regretting at your own little speck, your own baby. “The baby is so black.” The mother is an entire lump of blackness, the baby is bound to be black. Let the mother get burnt down, then things will change. Never regret your actions, never. Never feel ashamed of something you did. That’s a clever ploy against yourself. Don’t repent. Don’t try to correct your mistakes, never. You will be allowing the mistaken one to happily continue. Don’t do that.

L6: Sir, do we give value to assumptions and other things just because we are always trying to analyze situations? Like we do in a math problem – that if we don’t have a value for anything, we assume it to be something, and then derive the whole formula just for the sake of our analysis.

AP: See, there you have no option. You will have to do that because it’s a pattern. Mathematics doesn’t breathe. It doesn’t know by itself. So, if you don’t make that assumption, you will not be able to proceed at all. Life is a little different. Here, if you don’t make assumptions, you reach the solution.

Mathematics – you don’t make the assumption, you can’t even proceed to get the answer. Life – don’t make assumptions, and the solution would be obvious.

That is the difference!

(A long silent pause.)

L7: Sir, how can I call something a mistake if I have no idea of what is not a mistake!

AP: Yes, that’s what is being said. So, don’t call anything a mistake. Just say, “This is what is happening and I am suffering.” Only two things: “This is what is happening, and I am suffering.”

No point calling it a mistake or anything. There is no benefit in naming.

L1: Sir, this shameless, fearless, and guilt-free acceptance, something that is needed to see the ‘mother problem’ . . . Sir, it just does not happen to me. I stop midway. I am unable to go really, really deep. Fear, self-image, etc., stop me.

Sir, there must be something that gives the mind the courage to keep digging despite fear, shame, etc. . . .

AP: Yes. It is something very subtle, very faint. It’s a very subtle sureness. It is not a loud emotional declaration. It is not the reiteration of some conceptual knowledge – that when I feel afraid, I say, “I am the fearless atman.”

No!

It’s a very subtle sureness; not the recitation of some old mantra.

L4: Sir, this discussion reminds me of the activity ‘Mirror Identities’ we conduct with our students, which says that all identities are dependent upon each other: ‘If I am this, I am not that’; ‘if I am goal-oriented, I cannot be an aimless wanderer’.

To me, being constantly aware of the fact that I am none of these co-dependent identities, seems the only right step at any time.

AP:  Yes.

And you know, when you are taking that step . . . you see we live in closed claustrophobic rooms . . . when you just open the gate a little and take half a step outside – you know it’s new. The fresh gust of air hits your face. You know there is something new about it. You realize that it is fresh, it is new. This doesn’t happen within your circles.

L5: Sir, you talked about not resisting the assumptions, but my resistance or non-resistance is through thoughts, and when I don’t resist, thoughts become all the more powerful and shake me up from peace.

So, what is this ‘not resisting the assumption’ which will make me feel light? Kindly guide.

AP: There is Udit sitting next to you. Shake him up!

(Listener shakes Udit’s upper body.)

You could shake him up, right? Now shake up the space here! Shake it up. You can’t!

You can shake something only when it offers resistance. Udit’s weight is offering resistance that is why you can shake him up.

Understand that you feel shaken up only because you offer resistance to thoughts. That resistance itself is the energy that shakes you up. Thought comes and says, “Some great harm is going to happen! And you say, “No. No great harm is going to happen. How can it happen?”

Don’t you see that in the process of resisting the thought, you are supporting the thought?

Thought is saying, “Great harm is going to happen,” and you are saying, “Great harm is not going to happen,” but you too are admitting that great harm is ‘possible’.

Only that can happen or not happen which has a possibility of happening or not happening. When thought comes and says, (and that’s what this terrifying thought says) “Some great harm is possible,” say, “Go ahead. Let’s see what great harm is possible.”

As I said, your boss doesn’t even have a gun license. What great harm can be done?

Now thought is coming and saying, “Something bad is going to happen,” and you are getting all worked up, “No, no! That bad thing cannot be allowed to happen. It cannot happen!”

Thought is coming and saying, “You are dying! You are dying!” and you are saying, “No, no! I am not dying yet!” Don’t you see that you are supporting your thought by admitting that death is possible? When thought comes and says that you are going to die, say, “Fine, if that’s what pleases you, if that’s what makes you feel better, yes, I am going to die. Now, what next?”

Remember? You feed it from the front, you feed it from the back. Don’t feed it from the back.

“Something bad is going to happen!”

“Yeah! Something bad is going to happen.”

L2: Sometimes what happens is, this whole game of thinking gets exposed. How? Say, I am sitting and thinking, I am brooding, and I forget what I was thinking about. Then later on, I try to remember, “What was I thinking about?” And I am unable to recall it.

AP: Thought itself is such a stupid thing; you allow it to continue, it will get tangled within itself and will forget what it was all about. It is a monkey; it jumps from one place to another.

Thought is saying, “You will die! You will die! You will die!” You say, “Fine, proceed”; and next thing it will be thinking about the wood in the funeral pyre and then it will be thinking about the Himalayas and the great weather.

(Laughs)

So, from death it will, like a monkey, hop from one place to other. So, death will bring it to the wood; the wood will take it to the Himalayas; Himalayas means fine weather, so now you are thinking of fine weather. . . It’s alright.

L7: Sir, while doing tasks that ought to be done, like reading scriptures, I experience solid resistance. As per you, this resistance is a thought and need not be resisted further; but this ‘thought’ creates a lot of turbulence in my mind-body. What to do?

AP: When the thought says, “Don’t read!” Let thought say, “Don’t read!” You read.

(Laughter)

What else can the poor thing do!

L2:  Sir, does thinking differ from person to person?

AP: Oh, of course!

L2:  Like, not the thoughts, but the whole process. Sometimes when I try to cut the thoughts . . .

AP: The tendency to think doesn’t differ. That is the mool vritti (fundamental tendency). Thoughts always differ. In fact, thoughts make the person; that is why you are never the same person at two different points in time. But the tendency is the same everywhere. That’s where we are all one. We all have the same latent tendencies . . . same latent tendencies – fear, greed, lust. And at the root of these tendencies, lies the ‘I’ tendency – aham vritti (ego tendency).

L7: Isn’t that aham vritti coming from the tendency to think? As in, if we don’t think, the ‘I’ thought won’t come.

AP: Because of the ‘I’, the thought comes!

At the center of the entire expanse of thought, sits the ‘I’. You cannot think without an ‘I’. Go into your thoughts, there would always be an ‘I’ present.

So, the ‘I’ makes the thought possible.


~ Excerpts from a Clarity Session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Only the ego wants to correct mistakes. The fundamental mistake is ego itself.

Read more articles on this topic: 

  1. The unrealistic expectations of the ego from its self-created world
  2. Even when you are lost, you are already Home
  3. Why do we blame others for our mistakes

Observing the world, one comes to the ego. Observing ego, one comes to the Self

Question: If love is death of ego, then how will we live? Man is made of only these things. So, the only thing left will be ‘soul’. So we can say that we have moksha(liberation).

Speaker: The question is: If love is death of ego, then a loving man will be just soul. So, is love moksha (liberation)?

Everything that you just said, is a concept in your mind. Ego lives on concepts, ego lives on thoughts. Concepts are thoughts. What is the definition of a ‘concept’? Where you define A, in terms of B, A=f (B), and you define B, in terms of C, B=f(C), and you define C, in terms of D, and ultimately, everything is defined in terms of everything else, and nothing has any independent definition of its own. That is the definition of a ‘concept’.

So what is ‘love’? Death of the ego. And what is ‘ego’? Loveless-ness. ‘Love’ is defined in terms of ‘ego’, ‘ego’ is defined in terms of ‘love’. And what are both defined in terms of? – That you have no idea of. Because there is nothing independent in your life, hence there is no independent definition in your life either.

Then you said, “Moksha,” enlightenment, emancipation, whatever that means. Now what does that mean to you? Again, egoless-ness. Whatever you are saying, is just ego. What do you mean by ‘death’? What do you mean by ‘love’? Don’t start with all that. Don’t go into fancy words like ‘enlightenment’.

The only thing, that is close to you, as you are, is your daily self. Just observe it. Sitting on that chair, continuing with your daily life, you will neither know ‘ego’, nor ‘love’, nor ‘enlightenment’. You will have to observe your daily life. You will have to, first of all, come to the fact of the ego, not to the concept of ‘ego’.

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