Penetrate fear, a surprise is waiting for you || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Penetrate fear, a surprise is waiting for you

Question: Acharya Ji, you have said in one of the Satsangs that one has to go to the deepest fear, to find the key. I go to that deepest fear, visit there. How do I get the key? Do I get the key, do I not get the key, I don’t know. How to know?

Acharya Prashant Ji: One is never afraid of anything, except this opportunity going waste. If you will look at fear, with fear, then you will never know ‘fear’. You will have to fearlessly penetrate fear.

So, for example when you say that you are afraid of something, you will have to ask, “What am I really afraid of?” Penetrate it.

Questioner 1: There are pains. I can feel it physically. If I visit there and touch them, they go away.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Don’t just touch them, penetrate them.

Questioner 1: There are so many.

Acharya Prashant Ji: There are not so many. There is just one. There is just one, that is showing up in so many ways.

Fear tells you that something wrong is going to happen. Ask fear, “What is it that you are going to threaten me with? What is it that you see as being lost?”

Questioner 1: Acharya Ji, I don’t care much about what the fear says. I just want to go in and get it done, whatever it takes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Get done what?

Questioner 1: Get the sukh (happiness).

Acharya Prashant Ji: That’s what the fear is saying, “You will not get the sukh.”

Questioner 1: But I don’t allow fear to not let me enter that zone.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Then fear is irrelevant. Then you would not have needed to talk about fear. Had you been the master of your fears, you wouldn’t have needed to talk about them.

Questioner 1: It’s there, but…..

Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s there for a purpose. It wants to tell you something. You must listen to all that it says.

Questioner 1: Does the fear has a message?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously.

Questioner 1:

There is nothing in life, that does not have a message.

The more loudly something occurs to you, the more importantly something is related to you, the more significant is the message it has to deliver to you.

Questioner 1: But I have always known that whatever fear says is wrong.

Acharya Prashant Ji: But what does it say? What fear says is wrong, right? So how to discover what is wrong?

Questioner 1: By listening to whatever fear says.

Acharya Prashant Ji: By listening to the fear. So, that’s why you must listen to fear. May be, fear is to tell you that a lot of things about you are wrong.

Questioner 1: Yes.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Fear is never reasonless, or purposeless, or message-less.

It tells you of your insecurities.

It tells you where you are not real, it tells you of your vulnerabilities.

If you do not listen to fear, you will keep assuming that you are all solid and strong. It’s only fear that would drive a little humility into you. Otherwise, you can license yourself to keep feeling like a superman.

It’s only when the superman starts shivering, that you know that the superman is not so ‘super’ after all.

Questioner 1: There are so many fears, should we counter them one-by-one?

Acharya Prashant Ji: If you go deeply even in one of them, you will see that all of them are being engendered from the same source probably.

Questioner 1: I don’t have the intellect to go into that.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Go into just one of them.You don’t need intellect, you just need an honest face-to-face conversation.

Isn’t fear almost like a voice within – trembling, yet threatening?

Questioner 1: Yes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: So have a conversation. The voice says something, you reply to it. Probe it. “What are you threatening me about? And why the hell are you so nervous?” Ultimately the fear will say, “Such and such bad things are about to happen.” And then you must ask, “Who told you that these are bad things? How do you know that these things or events, even if they happen, will have a catastrophic impact on me?”

You don’t have to fight fear.

You just have to talk to it.

Fear says, “You will lose that.” You say, “Fine. First of all, the probability of me losing that is not great. And even if I lose that, would it really be so cataclysmic as you present it to be? Can’t I survive that loss? And if I can survive that loss, why do you behold me to it?”

Questioner 1: So this questioning is not coming out of ego?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Let it come out of genuine curiosity. You want to know. Further the fear baby is shouting so much. If you don’t talk  to it, it will fall ill.

Questioner 2: I have spoken with that fear many a times. I get to that point, that the fear is trying to tell me, “You are going to change, or not exist anymore.” That what I am right now, the attraction what I have, the attachment I have, all is going to cease.

What should I do next?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Am I today what I was ten years back? A lot has changed. In fact, the more has changed than has remained the same. And has all this change been necessarily for the worse? So if all these major changes in the last ten years, were not all reprehensible, then why must I assume that further changes in my life would be necessarily matters of regret?

And if change were really so very abhor-able, and dreadful then all of us should have remained just as we were physically, psychologically, economically at the age of five.

Who over here would want to return to his or her psychological condition at the age of five? Have you not almost entirely changed? Are you not glad that you have almost entirely changed?

You are glad that you are no more what you were at five. Then why do you secure what you are at thirty-five? Please. Let you be a totally different person at forty-five. How is that going to be a thing of dread? How?

But yes, the five year old girl, would have wept just like this, had she been told that her favorite doll is being taken away. Now do you bother for that doll? These are dolls, a doll for each age. You anyway throw away the doll on your own. Don’t you? But when somebody tells you, “A doll is just a doll, why are you so attached?” then you become all emotional and traumatised. “O! Something grievously bad is going to happen. They will take away my doll.”

Okay, nobody is going to take away your doll. Next day, what do you do? You will throw away the doll on your own. And then you don’t remember how you were in tears the previous night, holding the doll to your chest and saying, “My doll! My doll!” If the doll is so dear, never throw it away. Take it to the crematorium, and then beyond.

When Yamaraj (the Hindu god of Death) comes, then tell him that you would be tripling –  Yamaraj, you and the doll in between.

(laughter)

He is wearing a natural helmet, you would be challaned (penalised).

(laughter)

Okay, let’s not change anything in your life, for the rest of your life. Deal? That’s what you want? Daily you tell your kids, “Grow up.” Don’t you? Daily you tell your boss, “I need a raise.” On the other hand, you are so very terrified of change. So go and board the flight, and block it from taking-off.

Don’t you see the contradiction in which we live?

On one hand we are deeply longing for change, on the other hand, how much do we resist change. What if your wish is fulfilled? What if change is permanently blocked? What would you do then? Tell me.

The food will really never cook, no change will really happen. You would not be able to get up and leave from here, no change is possible. Don’t you see that we are beings of change? We require change.

And fear tells you, “Oh! There is going to be change.” So ask fear, “So? Even you were not always there. You too came to me, as a matter of change. And now you are warning me so much against change.” When the five-year old was weeping, then you were laughing at her. How would you look at yourself, when you are fifty-five? Then you will again laugh at yourself.

The problem is – the little bit of laughter that we get, is always in retrospect. We are never able to laugh in the present. Looking back, we may manage to laugh, “O, I was so stupid.” Wouldn’t it be great if you could say that in the moment, not in hindsight? And the fact is, whenever you look at yourself in hindsight, you always find that you have been stupid.

And then you can laugh at yourself. “Ah! Yes, yes. I was stupid. I was just fifteen years old, so I had the license to be stupid.” When you are fifty-five and you look at yourself as you are thirty-five, so you say, “No, no. I was still young. I was thirty-five, so I was stupid.” And then you can laugh at yourself with abandon, “O! I was just thirty-five.”

But at thirty-five, you cannot laugh at the one who is still thirty-five. You leave that to happen twenty  years later. And who will laugh at the one who is fifty-five? There would be nobody left. Don’t worry. None of you is going to live that long. It’s a very polluted earth. Seventy-five is a very far cry.

(laughter)

So, why not laugh at yourself right now?

This kind of conversation, fear cannot stand. Fear would say, “It’s extreme stupidity. I am leaving. I am boycotting this conversation.” So in indignity and humiliation, fear leaves you all red-faced. Stamping it’s feet, it goes away.

“Stupid woman, I don’t want to talk to her. All she does is laugh. All the time she is laughing at herself. I am trying to drill a bit of seriousness in her. But what does she do? She keeps laughing.”

So fear leaves. Too bad for fear, it leaves. Good for you, it leaves.

What is it that won’t leave?

Anything?

What are you afraid of?

And you know, if there is something that won’t leave you, it would become a huge burden on you.

So do keep praying that everything does leave you in due time.

Question 3: How to have the lightness of that laughter that you just talked about? And also how to balance it out with the seriousness of little things that are happening in nature, on planet earth, right now?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

You don’t have to be serious about the Earth, you have to be serious about yourself. It’s a massive delusion that you and the Earth are separate. Not only are you not separate in the physical sense, you are also not separate in the psychological sense. Man, if he colonises another planet, will no more be ‘man’ as we know him. It would be some other specie altogether.

When you are serious about the real thing, it is then that you get levity, lightness about the serious stuff.

No kind of seriousness is important, except that which is unavoidable.

A suffering one cannot say that he is not serious about his suffering, because he is. Had he not been serious about his suffering, he wouldn’t have been suffering. So there is suffering, and we have to be serious about it.

What is ‘seriousness’ then?

‘Seriousness’ is – attention.

Attention.

Attend to it.

For you, it exists. So don’t try to pretend that it is not. This is ‘seriousness’.

Attend to it, go close to it.

Don’t escape the fact of it’s existence.

And when you attend to something honestly, then you don’t let your energy be scattered.

And that is when you become casual about so many other things.

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

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

Watch the session video: Penetrate fear, a surprise is waiting for you || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Kumbh: Churning of mind to escape cyclic hopes and despairs || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Kumbh Churning of mind to escape cyclic hopes and despairs

Question: What does Kumbh Mela stand for?

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, the demigods and the demons, vigorous and adventurous as they were, thought of adding to their bounties. And got together, uncharacteristically, for a joint exploration mission. Together they churned the great sea using the great mountain as the churner and the great python as the rope.

One of the first things to show up was the great fuming poison. Shiva protected the three worlds by consuming the poison. And then emerged the nectar of immortality. The mission had succeeded. The ambrosia had been churned out from the depths of the great ocean, and was now available to be gulped down some ambitious throats. Both parties looked lustfully at their biggest exploit: the pot — Kumbh — of nectar that would put an end to death, and make them invincible.

But death is so overwhelming a threat that the prospect of deathlessness can make anyone do strange things.

One individual, probably a devta, probably a danav, particularly inspired to make it big in life, simply ran away with the pot. Obviously, others gave him a hot pursuit. On the run, he had to pause at four places on planet Earth to catch his breath. Trembling as his hands were, thinking of his infuriated and powerful brethren, a bit of the nectar fell at these four places.

The Kumbh is celebrated at the four places as a mark of immortality reaching mankind. Since millennia, devotees have been taking bath in Ganga, Shipra, Godavari — the Kumbh rivers — hoping to gain freedom from the clutch of death. The Kumbh is acknowledged as not only the biggest pilgrimage event on the planet, but also the biggest congregation of mankind for any purpose.

The story, the myth, is elaborate, multi-layered, and replete with symbolism. However, in the middle of the rich clutter that the Kumbh saga is, there is one word that firmly dictates the narrative: Immortality. The whole celebration revolves around man’s fear of death and his desire to taste the nectar of deathlessness.

What is death?

Why does man fear death so much?

In spite of all their powers and glory, why do even gods run after ambrosia of immortality?

Death is the thought of loss.

Death is the fear of not existing any longer.

Man is in a strange situation. On one hand, everything he identifies with is perishable. His body, his thoughts, his feelings, his world, his relationships, his identities are all ephemeral. The world means change, and time is always threatening to ruthlessly change and destroy everything he bases his life on. On the other hand, this same destructible man, a puppet of time, has an inexorable love for deathlessness, changelessness, timelessness.

What does one make of this dissonance? If one looks at his life truly, what does one see? A series of movements. Acts, hopes, desires that are failing to find a climax, and are therefore continuing ad-infinitum.

Man’s eyes are endlessly searching for something.

He is trying to find that through action, knowledge, possessions, relationships, pleasures, experiences, feelings, through everything at his disposal.

That’s what the human condition is.

To live on, man keeps bearing this condition, even glorifying it.

What does man really want? What did the gods and demons want despite owning the grandeurs of life? Let’s rather see what all ways man tries to satiate his want. We have already done a lot. Have our ways succeeded? If not, then an altogether new kind of exploration is needed in an altogether new dimension. What is that dimension?

The Kumbh legend gives us a clue. The mythical ocean is the mind, the Bhavsagar. Its churning is needed. That’s simple to say, but what one initially gets upon churning is accumulated poison: Old tendencies, suppressed desires, the haunting residues of the past that one has been carrying forward in evolution.

Poison is stuff that is basically worthless and harmful, but is still preserved within, due to ignorance and attachment. This churning of the mind is essentially self-observation through an honest and dispassionate seeing of one’s life, thoughts, fears, desires, actions. But most people do not proceed with self-observation for long. As soon as they counter the poison, they back off.

To go beyond the poison, dedication and love towards truth — Shiva — is needed. One has to trust Shiva to surrender one’s poison to Him. This is faith. And then, upon such cleansing, what is left is deathlessness.

Deathlessness thus demands both:

A burning determination to get rid of the indignations of cyclic hopes and despairs, and a great love for an unknowable, indescribable freedom.

And deathlessness is timelessness. Immortality is to live deep, not necessarily long.

Another Kumbh beckons us.

Can we go beyond the ritualistic dip, and honestly observe life as it is, within and around us?

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

Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading newspaper website on 15th Jan, 2019. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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How to cremate the dead in today’s age? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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How to cremate the dead in today's age

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the importance of rituals that follow after death? How to cremate the dead in today’s age? How to adopt eco-friendly measures while cremating the dead?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously, electric crematoriums are there now. It’s not even a relevant question. It has been recognised since decades now, that the wooden pyre was not meant for an age, where there are eight billion people, and more than a billion Hindus, and Sikhs, and Jains, and Buddhists, and others who want to cremate their dead, by burning their bodies.

The method of burning the dead body on wooden pyre, was not conceived for today’s age. When that practice took shape and form, the world was full of trees. Trees were numerous and men were few, so it was alright to cut down trees and use them as fuel to burn something.

Now trees are few, and men are numerous. And it’s obviously, both stupidity and criminality, to cut down living trees, for the sake of dead people.

And what I am talking of, is not a revolutionary thought either. I suppose many sensible people already choose the electric crematorium. It’s hassle-free, and obviously eco-friendly.

One of the best methods, of disposing-off the dead bodies, is one of the Parsis – they have their towers of silence. The dead body is put there, and vultures and other birds, come over and feast themselves over the dead body. Obviously with changing times, such rituals have to adapt.

Truth is unchangeable, rituals are not.

The mark of a living religion, is that it stoutly defends it’s core, and remains very flexible about everything else.

And dead religions, who have lost their core, become stiff externally.

Do you get this?

The living religion will be very, very flexible. It will have a certain elasticity.  And dead religions, because they are dead, will become outwardly very stiff. They will not allow any changes to come with time, because they are afraid. Being dead, they are afraid. They think that if changes are allowed to come, then religion itself would die. No!

A great religion is very, very dynamic.

It responds to the demands of the time.

And what renders it, it’s dynamism?

The Truth that is at the core of the religion.

Where there is Truth, there is dynamism. Where there is falseness, there is stubbornness, rigidity, orthodoxy, and resistance to change.

Truth gives you a certain confidence.

Being inexorably with the Truth gives you the confidence that you can play around with everything else. You know that you are not going to lose the Truth, so you become very free in playing with this, putting that up, putting that down, changing things, changing arrangements. Changing forms, shapes, colours, names.

“All those things can change, you know, because the unchangeable is with me” – that’s what you say.

It does not require much to comment on various other rituals, that you might have observed in Varanasi or Gaya. They are not the essence of the Sanatan Religion. Do not give too much value to them.

When you go to Varanasi, go for Shiva, not for the men of religion, sitting by the Ganga. The banks of Ganga, are all polluted. Go right to the Source of Ganga.

Varanasi is a great city, provided you know what you are really looking for. Otherwise, you will get lost.


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

Watch the session: How to cremate the dead in today’s age? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?: Acharya Prashant

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What is rebirth What takes rebirth

Question: What is re-birth? What is transmigration of soul? What travels after death? What carries forward?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘You’ do not carry anything. A few things must be clearly understood. ‘You’ as a ‘person’ are not a very important carrier. That which carries, is the total stream of mankind’s consciousness.

(Referring to the people sitting in the audience) Her mind, her mind, his mind, your mind, his mind, her mind, the mind of the kid, the mind of the old man – we all are carrying remnants, carry forwards from our collective past. That is what is carried forward.

See, it is like this. There are waves in the ocean. One particular wave, is carrying, a little sugar, a lump of sugar. Now the wave rises, and falls. What happens to the lump of sugar? It gets distributed throughout the ocean. Now it belongs to everyone. That is how things are carried forward.

What you do in your life-time, has gone to many, many, many.

Through every single action of yours, you are impacting the entire mankind.

In other ways, you are responsible for forming the mind of entire mankind.

In turn, your own mind, is being formed by the entire mankind, because you are an active recipient as well.

The subtle becomes the gross. The more the mind is impacted at some point, many, many years later, that also changes your body. Have you seen that when you are angry, your face changes? When you are in love, your eyes change. So, the subtle has a way of changing the gross.

If you are impacting the mind of the mankind, always you are also impacting, even the form of the mankind. That’s how it happens. Otherwise, all that is ‘personal’ about you, gets burnt down in funeral pyre. There is no way, something can get carried forward from there. All is reduced to smoke and ashes. Nothing remains. But, what you have done in your lifetime, that remains. And that is going to affect all future generations.

Take it this way.

Suppose you are a teacher, and you have taught hundreds and thousands of students. And you are a good teacher, just for the story’s sake. Good teachers are rare. Now the students have really imbibed, what they received from you. You can say, that the rubbish in the minds of the students has been cleared-off, by your teachings. Either way.

You die, and one of your students gives birth. You die, and one of your students becomes a father, or a mother. The kid that is born, would be raised by your student. And, because your student has been a good student, and he has really imbibed your teachings, so those teachings would go to the kid. The kid would have the same, pure quality of mind, as you had.

In a poetic sense, you can say that you are being re-born as that kid. In a poetic sense, as a metaphor, now you can say that the teacher who had died, has been re-born as the son or the daughter of the student. But the re-birth has not taken place, because something arose from the dead-body, and entered the womb of the student. The re-birth has taken place, because of the stuff that has taken place, during your active life-time. Not after your death.

Whatever one person does, impacts the consciousness of entire mankind.

And that is how re-birth takes place.

And, therefore, re-birth is taking place every moment, because I might do something just now, which may cause you to transform. Now, haven’t you been re-born? That’s re-birth. And, you have been re-born, not because my soul entered you. You have been re-born, because the Truth transmitted to you, via me.

The opposite is also possible. You might be otherwise an innocent person. But you acquire bad company. And the bad company overshadows all your innocence. Now, you have been re-born, because the innocent one has died. The innocent one has been died, and someone else has been re-born.

That’s how it happens – through your actions.

You see, subtle truths cannot be conveyed very subtly, to everybody. And therefore they were figuratively, communicated. So that people somehow, at least partially, get a grasp on them. Therefore, you must not be too concerned with the literal meaning. Go deep into the myths of transmigration and such things, and figure out what they really would mean.

You know what, it is also possible, that the kid which is born to the student, has something in his eyes, that resemble the dead teacher. That doesn’t mean, that the dead teacher has physically fathered the kid. It’s just that, all eyes that are peaceful, have something in common.

All eyes, that are peaceful, have something in common. So, when you would look into the eyes of the newly born kid, you would be reminded of the dead teacher. And you would be then justified in saying that the dead teacher has taken re-birth, as this kid.

Questioner: Then why do we have such rituals after death like Tehravin, on 13th day, etc.?

Acharya Ji: No Upanishad says that. No scripture, worth it’s name, says that. The Puranic literature, that talks of such stuff, is stories and fancies. It is not serious metaphysics. It deals with a lot of imagery, a lot of fables, a lot of things that are there, just to involve you, engage you, even entertain you.

One has to understand the difference between the Upanishads and the Puraans. They are not in the same dimension. You cannot take Isavasya Upanishad and Garuda Puraana, and compare them.

The stuff that you are talking of, would be found in Garuda Puraana.

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: It’s alright. Read that. But understand that, in the light of the Upanishads. If you want to read the Puraanic literature, read it in the light of Upanishads. Then you will not be misled.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?

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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay…

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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay….

I will miss you so much,
Pardon me, I will have to die.
We played together for long,
Now I’m going home to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I’m going to where I belong.
It breaks my heart to leave you,
I tried hard to bring you along.

I will miss you so much,
My time has finally come.
As a friend I could not help you,
So a stranger I must become.

I will miss you so much,
But now the Sky is pulling me.
All the glorious stars are here,
I’ll miss my silly games with thee.

I will miss you so much,
Body is cold, faint is breath.
The mission I failed in my life,
Maybe will succeed in my death.

I will miss you so much,
My pain will make the stars cry.
I’ll come down in some other form
To bring you one day to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I am departing to settle my due.
When in doubt, you must remember,
I had to die because I love you.

~ 31st May’19


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Why does one have ego? || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Lalleshwari (2019)

Why does one have ego

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Probing inside, I came

Seeking the moon within me:

Sifting the chaff from the grain.

I went seeking

The like, Alike,

Thou art Narayan.

Thou art Narayan, then,

Why this will-o-wisp.

~ Saint Lalleshwari

Question: Acharya Ji, why do I  have ego?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Do not ask, “Why does the will-o-wisp, or the ego, or your personal center still exist?” If you ask, “Why does it exist?,” the answer is: your birth.

It exists because, you do.

When was the ego born?

When ‘I’ was born.

As long as you keep taking yourself, as the born one, as the one who took birth one day, and who would die one day, the ego is definitely going to remain. 

So, if Parmeshwari (the questioner) asks that why do ‘I’ have ego, do you see what comes before the ‘ego’?

Listener: ‘I’

Acharya Ji: What is the question? Why do ‘I’ have the ego? ‘I’ doesn’t even need to have the ego. The ‘I’, is the ego. Till there is Parmeshwari, there is bound to remain the ego.

Don’t you see what ‘Parmeshwari (the questioner)’ means? A body that is separate from the universe. That is ego – as someone who is localised, temporally, and spatially. Parmeshwari is in this hall at Twelve noon. Had she been the Truth, she would have continued, wherever she was. But at 3 p.m., she would be at the banks of river Ganga, not here.  So she is localized. She is localized. Similarly, spatially. At Twelve noon, because she is here, so cannot be at the banks of Ganga.

This is what is ego – a thing of time and space.

A thing that is severely limited by time and space.

And therefore suffers.

And is therefore debilitated.

Even if you want to, you cannot be at the banks, at this very time. And that you see, is at the center of a lot of your suffering. Were you not limited in time, you would have immediately gone back to the past and corrected it. But you are limited in time.

If you are here, you can neither be in the past, nor in the future. If you were not limited in space, then you would have controlled the entire universe, by being present wherever you wanted to. Or maybe by being present everywhere in the universe, and therefore, being the universe itself. But you cannot do that. And therefore, you suffer.

Do you now see what desire is? All your desires are limited to time and space. You could also say that, all your desires are related to your limitations in time and space. All your desires are related to your limitations in time and space. 

Had you not been limited, what would have you desired? If you are the entire universe, at all times, what is left to desire? Therefore, as long as, there is ‘this(the body)’ there would remain the will-o-wisp.

Now you have to see, what do you want to do, with this necessary limitation. That’s the human condition, you know. This necessary, this inevitable limitation. That is why, those who have known, the saints, they have said, that it was not the great thing that happened to you – the human birth.  But now that it has occurred, you better make the best use of it.

But it would have been far-far better, had you never really been born. Now that you are born, strive to come out of this incessant cycle of birth, and re-birth, and death. In fact,  that’s what is liberation. That’s how the orient has known liberation – liberation from the cycle of birth, re-birth, and death.

Because the moment you are born, that is born, from which you seek liberation.

The moment you are born, you are born along with that, from which you seek liberation.

So, why be born at all?

Listener: But we have taken birth now.

Acharya Ji: Yes, so now you better use it to the fullest. Live in a way, that is directed towards freedom. And it is equally, rather much more possible, to live in a way, that strengthens your bondages.

Hence, be cautious.


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

Watch the session:  Why does one have ego? || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Lalleshwari (2019)


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What is Meditation? || Acharya Prashant, on Vivekachudamani (2018)

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

Meditation

Just as gold, by thorough heating and fire gives-up its impurities and gains its own lustre. So too, the mind through meditation sheds its impurities of sattva, rajas and tamas and attains the nature of Brahma.  

~ Vivekachudamani (Verse No.: 362)

Questioner: Dear Acharya Ji, is meditation the understanding? That’s what the talk is about? What is meant by -purifying the mind through meditation?

At many places, is mentioned the practice of meditation. So Acharya Ji, what is this practice about? Is there any method-less method to attain the unchanged  understanding or meditative state?

Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: I will repeat the verse, ‘Just as gold, by thorough heating and fire gives-up its impurities and gains its own lustre. So too, the mind through meditation sheds its impurities of sat, rajas and tamas and attains the nature of Brahma’.

The question is about meditation: What is meditation? Is there any method less method? Is meditation about understanding.

Let’s begin from, already you know of. You know of thought, right? So, begin with thought.

What is thought?

There is you and there is an object, you are thinking of and then the relation between you and that object. You just don’t think of anything. You define the object, you are thinking of. The object that you think of, depends on you. And the relationship is always of either fear or greed.

That which you are, either ‘wants’ or ‘repels’. That which you are is either greedy  or afraid. He knows no other state. That is thought. You want something. What is meditation then?

Meditation is, when you want the highest alone.

Meditation is, when you are fed-up of looking at the small. Meditation is, when you look at the small and you say, “If this is all that I can look at, then it cannot be small. It has to be very-very large.”

Meditation is, when nothing but the Truth is therefore the object you aim at – “I want the Truth.”

You can say, then that your sole focus is the Truth. But the Truth, as we know, is not something to be thought of, because one is too small to think of the Truth. Therefore, if one stubbornly insists that nothing but the Truth is to be known, then either one fails, or one bursts.

Please understand. There is balloon, it can only hold a limited quantity, limited volume of air. You try to inflate it beyond its permissible limit. Either you will fail in inflating it, and the balloon will not grow beyond a particular size or the balloon would burst. Meditation is the bursting of the balloon. The balloon is saying, ‘I want to hold the infinite. I want to hold the sky. Just holding a little bit of air is no fun. I want to hold the sky.” So, the balloon bursts.

Meditation is a special kind of thought, in which the thinker bursts, because the thinker is trying to achieve that, which cannot be achieved. You are aiming at that, which cannot be aimed at, which is alakh (beyond comprehension). When you are aiming at the deep-deep Truth, then your faculty keeps becoming subtler, and subtler; and finer and finer. And ultimately, it just disappears.

This disappearance is meditation.

You are looking at something, and you are contended with the looks, you are contended with the form, you are contended with the label, then meditation is not for you.

Meditation is, when you look, and you are not contended. You say that you want more. You say, “It is just not, what it appears to be”. You want to be sharper, you want to be finer. You are hungry and you don’t want to suppress your hunger. You express the hunger.

Boldly, you move towards the danger area, the abyss, and  you know that it’s dangerous, mortally dangerous but still there is something that calls you, lures you. You keep moving. And then, you are no more.

That’s meditation.

Therefore, meditation is not for those, who are easily satisfied. And therefore, meditation is not for those, who just want to practice methods.

Meditation is for those, who have taste for the mystical.

Meditation is for those who have the knack for the unknowable.

Unless you are a little crazy, unless you are a little off-center, a little mad by wordily standards, meditation is not for you.

The world looks at something and says, this is how it is. Its definition has already been supplied to me. A woman is a woman, a man is a man. A sunset is a sunset, and sunrise is a sunrise. A lake is a lake. A vehicle is a vehicle, a job is a job. A kid is a kid, a cub is a cub.

Mediation is for the eccentric ones, who say, “No, a kid is just not a kid. There is something within that tells me, that the kid…”

And silence.

That’s meditation.

And therefore, there can be no ‘one’ method of meditation, because the universe is always all around you, so say your senses.

Meditation is the honest way of looking at the universe, and that includes yourself.

When you are honestly looking at anything, you are meditating.

When you are committed to the Truth, you are meditating.

And when you say, “Even the half-truths and lies are acceptable,” then it is beyond you to meditate.

Meditation is for the daring ones, who say, “That we are prepared to die, we are prepared to disappear. But we will not accept the stories. We want to go into the deep, dark caves and figure out for ourselves, what lies within.”

Entering the caves, is sure shot death.

But then, there are some crazy ones, who do meditation.


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: What is Meditation? || Acharya Prashant, on Vivekachudamani (2018)

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Acharya Prashant: How to earn more money?

T4

Acharya Prashant: (Reading a question) One may have good knowledge, but he might not be having a satisfactory job or salary. What to do in such a situation?

You see, as long as knowledge to you is a means of earning a higher salary, you will have to realize the limitations of knowledge. Higher salary does not come merely on the heels of higher or deeper knowledge. This is assuming that you have already set a goal. And the goal is to get a high salary. I am going by your goal. You want to get a high salary.

If you want to get a high salary, you must know what all factors drive salaries. It is just not dependent, merely on your knowledge. It is a function of many many variables. And even those variables are variable.

Today, high salary might be a function of x, y, and z. And tomorrow, high salary might be a function of s, t, and u. So, variable variables are there. You just can’t know.

Yes, you can catch hold of one variable, and put all energy into it. But that may not necessarily help. The car might be in neutral, and you are pushing the accelerator, would that help? You would only burn more and more fuel, and the engine would get heated up. You are trying to push just one variable, and you are not seeing that the other variables are all? Choked. They will not let you progress.

So, you have two options now. Either you go out and determine all the variables that drive salary. And when you determine all the variables, you must remember that the variables themselves are? Variable. So, that which is driving salary today, might not be what would drive salary? Tomorrow. And that which is driving salary in one place, might not be what drives salary in another place, another room, another building, another company.

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Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ and Sage Ashtavakra: The world is a river; use it to cross it

T1

Acharya Prashant: Two excerpts are with us.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

BIBLE

(JOHN 2:15)

“Prosperity, pleasure, pious deeds. Enough! In the dreary forest of the world, the mind finds no rest.”

ASHTAVAKRA GITA

(CHAPTER 10: VERSE 7)

The questioner says that he is astounded at the commonality between Jesus and Ashtavakra and asks why are both saying that engaging in the world will not be a way to peace. What does it mean to engage in the world?

The world is a tricky thing. The world has to be understood.

The world has utility but the world is not the end.

One uses it.

Ever seen a man swimming? What is he doing? Why is he swimming at all? He is crossing a river. Man is swimming. Man is crossing the river. Why is he crossing the waters? Because if he doesn’t cross the waters, he will drown in the waters. If he doesn’t cross the waters or the river, he will drown in the river.

And what is he doing to cross the water? He is using the waters themselves.

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Acharya Prashant: Is liberation possible for a householder?

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Acharya Prashant: Pradeep Ji is asking, “Dear Acharya Ji, I don’t know what kind of wound I am carrying inside me, that I am having a constant feeling of ‘leave me alone’, towards the world. From morning till evening, I am running like crazy, driving to office in mad traffic, followed by corporate pressure to do things unwillingly. Bearing stupidities of people around.

I get out of the office as if I came out of a madhouse, tired and frustrated, and it’s already night. I eat and sleep. And the roller-coaster starts again. But since I need to run this crazy race, I feel that my blood is sucked by parasites, and there is a wound, a cry from inside, that I am carrying.

I cannot get rid of this wound. I want to jump off this train, but I can’t, because of these responsibilities. I feel I am a dead machine, thrown on an assembly line, or the other things inside me, drilling holes, hammering, and finally thrown out.

I can’t leave the family, as they are dependent on me. And I am too in, some or the other way, dependent.

Acharya Ji, in such a situation, what should I do?

—————————–

Pradeep Ji, the way of instantaneous freedom, instantaneous departure, is not for the householder.

The ‘Law of Karma’, and the result of Karma, ‘The fruit of actions’, always holds good. Cannot be violated. One is held to the past, by a thousand actions, memories, and the pending fruits.

Immediate and quick liberation is then possible only through total psychic departure.

A kind of a Spiritual death. That is often unlikely. Keep working, you will have to go step by step.

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk

Blog-11

Question: Acharya Ji, there are people who quote the Vedas and say “A Hindu is a good Hindu only if he drinks milk from the mother cow.” What is your take on that?

Acharya Prashant: See if you have named the Vedas, what is the central teaching of all the Vedic literature?

If you want to really know what the Vedic teaching is, you will have to go to the Upanishads. The Upanishads are called the “Vedanta”, which means the summit or the climax of Veda. And they go into the reality of man. What is the reality of man? The Upanishads are very forthright and unequivocal about it. They say, “Man is the Truth itself (Aham Brahmasmi).” Nothing else except the Truth. You are the ultimate finality. You are the total.

Now, if this is the position that the Vedic literature takes, then one cannot operate from a point of incompleteness, hollowness or desirousness. A lot of what we do, please see we do just in order to gain fulfillment. We say that the purpose of human Life is progress, don’t we? And we asses a human being according to how much he has been able to progress and contribute to progress.

And what is progress for us?
Knowing more; collecting more.

I’m not trying to unnecessarily be simplistic. Please go into it.

When you know more, when you collect more, is it something that happens only on the outside or does it also affects your self-worth? When you know more, your self-worth rises; when you collect more, again your self-worth rises. The Upanishads say, that your self-worth, that which you are, is any way infinite, you are anyway total. Now, go out and play. You are anyway perfect and complete. Now, do whatever you want to do. But do it from a point of perfection. Do it from a point of completion.

Do not do in order to gain something. Do not do in order to rise.

Act as if you are already there as if you are already complete.

That is what Vedas are all about.

Now, around this center, a lot has been said. Just a whole lot.

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Understanding is awareness

You cannot become aware. Awareness is not something that you can achieve or becomes or reach. It is.

Even in the moment of your death, you can be still, composed, calm; that is what is meant by the inviolable certainty of awareness. That stillness is awareness.

Mathematics is knowledge; understanding is awareness.

Awareness is so total. Knowledge is always small, little. That is why those who live in knowledge never find peace. They keep hunting for more and more knowledge.

The illiterate tribal, in his own way, knows Love, that is awareness.

There is no road to awareness and there is nothing in between. All roads are in awareness.

Awareness proceeds very subliminally. Thought will not know awareness. You cannot keep an eye on awareness. You cannot watch awareness. You can only surrender to it. You can let it to do what it does, without making any, stupid attempts to rein it in.

Levels of consciousness are there. Levels of awareness are not there.

You suffer. All spirituality starts from that point. Why am I suffering? Is it necessary to suffer?

And mind you, awareness is not there in every being. Every being is there in awareness. What you call as every being, is a figment of consciousness.

Awareness cannot be there ‘in’ you because what you call as yourself and the world is just consciousness.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti Unbecoming unaware


 

Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti Unbecoming unaware

Question: Acharya Ji, what does J. Krishnamurti mean when he says “Become deeply aware”. 

Acharya Prashant: It is said, become deeply aware.

Now, we already live in problems and challenges. We already live in incompleteness. We already live in the quest to achieve something, to become something. When it is said, become deeply aware, we add one more item, to our list of problems. And that item now is?

Listeners: Awareness.

AP: Awareness. Oh, there is so much to do and achieve and the next item is awareness. The words of a wise man must be read with wisdom, with empathy. One must be alert, whether, one is able to, cross over his personal ways of interpreting. Words might mislead. There is nothing called becoming aware.

Read it as – unbecoming unaware.

We have become unaware. Awareness is, over awareness, there is a shroud of illusionary unawareness. Over the innate awareness, there is a cloud of assumed unawareness. The aware core is shrouded by, assumed unawareness which has no substance. There is no fact in that unawareness. You just have to see that there is no fact, in your assertion, that there exists unawareness. So, you unbecome, unaware.

You cannot become aware. Awareness is not something that you can achieve or becomes or reach.

It is.

Are you getting it? Now, you see, how driven and tense you feel, when the problem of awareness confronts you? The problem of awareness. Awareness means, that in any given situation, even in the worst of situations, even in the most challenging of situations, you still have the capacity, the capability, the right, to understand. That is what is meant by saying that the awareness always is.

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You are born, so that you may totally die

All Karma, all action is for the actor. And if the actor is a desirous actor, then all action just leads to a continuation of the cycle of desire!

When you start from a wrong place, then you cannot reach a right place.

A wrong place is a wrong dimension.

More action will not take you out of action. More effort will not lead to effortlessness. More desires will not lead to desirelessness.

Seeing is effortless. Desiring is an effort.

“Mumukshtva” is realization.

You are born, so that you may totally die.

The purpose of life is total death. That is the only purpose of life.

Immortality is to feel so fulfilled that you are not counting years anymore. You are not asking, am I going to die at 50 or 80? That is ImmortalityWhen you are no more bothered about time, then you are immortal.

When you are looking at the decomposition of compounds, you are actually studying your own decomposition.

Karma is always associated with desire. That is why, to give you pure Karma, Krishna talks of ‘Nishkama Karma’. Karma, without the expectation of Karmaphal. Then you are acting without the actor.

“I” tendency does not differ. “I” tendency is the same. The objects that the “I” tendency gets circumstantially attached to, they differ. And the object that you are currently associated with, guides the next object that you would be associated with. But this craving for association and subsequent association; the tendency to get attached is the same.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: No action can lead to liberation

Acharya Prashant: No action can lead to liberation

Question: Acharya Ji, can you please speak something on Karma (Action) and Karmphal (Fruit of action)?

Acharya Prashant:

All Karma, all action is for the actor.

And if the actor is a desirous actor, then all action just leads to a continuation of the cycle of desire!

You look at your Karma and the Karmphal. Does any Karmphal ever mean a ‘full stop?’ Is any result, ever so very satisfying that it is final? So, Karma and Karmphal are a continuity. They are a cycle and they are a cycle of ignorance. The doer, the actor, behind the Karma keeps feeling that, action will lead to Liberation. Now, action cannot lead to Liberation.

Action emanating from the actor, that is the ego, the “I” tendency, can never lead to Liberation. Because the very beginning is flawed. The beginning itself is ‘loneliness,’ the beginning itself is in ‘incompleteness.’ The results of such beginnings cannot be auspicious.

When you start from a wrong place,

then you cannot reach a right place.

That sounds counterintuitive because we do see this happening in the world, right? You are standing at some undesirable place, and from there, you can reach a desirable place. But in the domain of Truth, there is no interdimensional-ladder.

A wrong place is a wrong dimension.

You will keep moving in that dimension. Starting from a wrong center, a wrong place, you will keep moving in a space that is wrong. In that space, you can travel far and wide. The space of the ‘Ego’ too is an infinite space.

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All suffering is false

That’s what the Aatma does. It keeps relaxing, in its seat.

All suffering is false. So, where is the question of tragedy?

Complain, and you lose even what you already have. Be grateful, and you get more than what you are grateful for.

When you are being the most serious, the Truth pokes fun at you. In fact, your seriousness is the biggest joke.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Katha Upanishad: Why do the wise call the Aatman, ‘the enjoyer’?


 

Acharya Prashant on Katha Upanishad: Why do the wise call the Aatman, ‘the enjoyer’?

Question: Acharya Ji, why do the wise call the Aatman, ‘the enjoyer?’

Acharya Prashant: Enjoyer, in the sense of the watcher. Just as in the cinema hall, you enjoy the show. How do you enjoy the show? By leaping into the screen? In Cinema Hall, how do you enjoy it? By relaxing, in your seat.

That’s what the Aatma does. It keeps relaxing, in its seat.

Listener: That means, enjoying our sufferings.

AP: Yes.

Don’t you enjoy even tragic scenes, on the screen? That’s what the Aatma does. For Aatman, there is no tragedy. We talked of it yesterday, right?

All suffering is false. So, where is the question of tragedy?

Reminds me of my college days. So, you know, young students, how they are? Brash, hard, mocking at everything sentimental. That’s the environment in hostels. Nobody likes sissies there. If you are a mama’s boy, if you display lot of emotions, then you become a butt of lot of jokes.

So, it was an inter-hostel dramatics competition. And one of the hostels was trying to enact a sentimental play, in which one of the characters was particularly sentimental. So, with due respect, the student crowd tolerated that play and that expressive actor for some one-minute twenty seconds. And then, we all as part of the audience came into our own! Now, this sentimental actor, playing an even sentimental character, is wailing, weeping, sobbing his heart out. And the more he is crying on the stage, the more is the audience laughing! Can you visualize? He is screaming with pain, and the public is going mad with laughter. People are rolling down the aisle. And hearing a lot of commotion in the audience, he is thinking he is being applauded. So, he is beating his chest, even more ferociously. And now, the public has started throwing their clothes and stuff. After around three or four minutes of such rioting, the actor finally realized that something is wrong.

That is how the Aatman probably watches us! That is why the Katha Upanishad is saying that the Aatman enjoys! We are such stupid actors. It becomes obvious that the suffering we are displaying on the stage is a false suffering. How can any intelligent watcher empathize with us? The more you cry, weep, shriek, the more the Aatman enjoys!

That is why all the Buddhas of the world, have a great time. That is why the first thing he said was, “the world is suffering.” What you missed seeing, is his faint smile, (chuckles) when he said that. Why else do you think is he smiling all the time? When the world is suffering, why else would he smile? Because even your suffering is so imperfect, fake, superficial. The actor on the screen is beating his chest, and the audience too is beating their chests. That is how the Aatman enjoys.

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Man stabs in the back

And man have such great systems of morality and yet man is a ‘Mass-murderer.’

Man has caused thousands of species to get extinct and they will never come back.

Is that not surprising? Except the child of man, nothing is told right and wrong and yet it is the man who seems to be the worst offender of all.

The dog knows Love. In spite of never have been taught anything about Love

And Man is continuously been taught Love and Man does not know Love.

Man stabs in the back. No, dogs stabs in the back

and man has given ample lessons in Loyalty and Fidelity.

Nothing in existence makes itself up.

Man wants to do a lot and in doing a lot he only degrades himself.

That which is central that which is really important is beyond right and wrong.

To live in your essential nature is only right. And this is a secret that entire existence knows.

The only right is to be aware of ‘your’ nature and live in it.

Live by it and die by it.

If the cost is death, pay the price.

You need not tell somebody that it is right to be free.

That which is really important is already known to us, rest need not be taught.

Remember that, the only right is to be aware of ‘your’ nature and Live in it.

The only wrong is to have an ‘artificial personality.’



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to know what is right and what is wrong?


 

Acharya Prashant: How to know what is right and what is wrong?

Listener: Who discretes ‘what is wrong’ and ‘what is right?’ People have a different perception of what is right and something is better.

Acharya Prashant: Right. Very good. What is your name?

L: Apoorva.

AP: Sit, Apoorva. Apoorva it is very good that you are questioning a deep assumption. The assumption of morality that ‘what is right’ and ‘what is wrong?’ You have gone many steps ahead but still, you stopped, you are not completing the journey. You must not only ask, “Acharya Ji, who decides what is right and what is wrong? You can go a step ahead, a step further and ask, “Whether there anything right and anything wrong?” You still have belief that there is something ‘right’ and there is something ‘wrong,’ right?

You are believing in that, right? I am asking you, “Why must you believe in that?” You have limited your question. You are saying that there is something ‘right’ and something ‘wrong’ but who will decide that? Your question is limited to this part that who will decide that ‘what is right’ and ‘what is wrong.’ I’m saying broaden your question take one more step. Ask, whether there anything called ‘right‘ and ‘wrong?’ Can you ask this question? Do you want me to broaden it?

L: Yes, Acharya Ji.

AP: Alright! What is right, what is wrong? You were born and if these things were not given to you, would there be a problem with the living? Would you not able to breathe? Would the essentials of life be lost to you? How would a man be a lesser being if there is nothing called right and wrong in his vocabulary, tell me?

There is beautiful grass outside. It does not know any right and wrong, and it’s still Beautiful. It is not depressed. It does not have any diabetes or heart attack and it is not sining either the clouds, the animals, the rivers. They have no sense of right and wrong and yet they are very grounded beings. You do not see any animal raping any other animal. You do not see ethnic cleaning in jungles. You do not see that one animal was so violent that it caused any other species to go extinct.

Do you see all this?

You do not see organized wars amongst trees. Now, they don’t have sense of right and wrong and yet they are alright.

And man have such great systems of morality and yet man is a ‘Mass-murderer.’

Man has caused thousands of species to get extinct and they will never come back.

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We marry problems

Troubles, give you so much to fill your self up.  Troubles gives you a nice identity, an identity that you can get so easily use to.

Life without problems is not possible but there can be life, beyond problems.

The moment you withdraw from the problem, the problem will fall. There is no problem that you experience that comes to you, without your consent, participation and active involvement.

We don’t, marry and get problems. We, marry problems.

To drop problems means to drop the ego, drop the troubling self.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Surely there is life beyond troubles