How to bear prolonged Sadhna? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

How to bear prolonged Sadhna

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Question: Acharya ji, how to bear prolonged saadhana?

I have inertia, in moving along the spiritual path. One day I sat down to read Jiddu Krishnamurti for MAG(Month of Awakening) session, and I read him for hours. I really enjoyed, and felt at peace. Yet, I never opened it again, even though I wanted to complete the remaining chapters. Similarly, when I am feeling low, I feel like watching some spiritual videos. But I choose only the ones under fifteen minutes. I can watch five-six videos which are short, but I will never choose to watch a one hour video.

I know that I have not yet reached the state, to understand things, beyond mind. Yet sometimes I question, what exactly I am trying to achieve on this path. Please help. How should I get over the inertia, and the doubt. What should I do? I am confused.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It is not about understanding. It is also not about not knowing what you are trying to achieve. It is simply a thing of the modern, post-modern age, called ‘attention-deficit’. Nothing else.

Had you already known, what is worth achieving in life, there is anyways, no need to watch spiritual videos. So, if you do not know what is worth achieving. It is okay. The spiritual videos will help you know that. So, that’s fine.

The thing is that, technology, and development, and economics have brought us to a point, where we have everything pre-cooked and easy, and ready to be served to us. May be, one day you can be with Krishnamurti, for a long stretch. But that is not ingrained in you.

We live in an age, where the smart-phone offers us very quick gratification. We live in an age, where I suppose there is a limit of one minute on Instagram videos. So if you watch fifteen minute long videos, so it is in itself, some kind of an accomplishment. It does not have to do with your spiritual thirst. It has to do with the times we are living in.

Kids are not being tested at all. They are being promoted to the next class, I suppose, till class Eighth or Sixth. Class Eighth. So everybody has it easy. The board examination results are not as per percentages, are they? I am talking of Class Xth and XIIth examination board examinations. They are according to grades or CGPA. And everybody is a ninety-nine percent holder. If you are a ninety-five per-center, it is a shame.

Everything is easy. But the path of spirituality is one of rigor, and labor, and toil, and self-dissolution, and nothing prepares you for that. Everything is being delivered to you, on a platter. Especially if you come from a developed country.

It has been many times, over-ensured, that you do not suffer, at least materially. Unemployment, you will get benefits. Old age, you will get benefits. Medical situation, you will be covered. Why work hard? Where are austerities? What is the meaning of penance?

‘Saadhana’ has become a very unreasonable word. If everything is available at the drop of a hat, rather at the click of the button, what does one mean by ‘prolonged saadhana‘? That is why you would not want to go back to somebody like Jiddu Krishnamurti. He does not entertain you.

Once in a blue moon, he is palatable. But he cannot be a regular fare. Tell me what do you want, all is available. Amazon is there, next day delivery. What do you call it? Amazon Prime. Roads are improving, and so are cars. When I was a kid, it used to take eight hours, to reach Jim Corbett National Park. I just returned from Jim Corbett National Park, took less than five hours.

Spending time, investing time, on something you consider worthwhile, is not needed anymore.

You want to go Kailash Mansarover, there is a helicopter service available. And it used to be an excruciating pilgrimage. People even used to lay down their lives, in order to reach the Kailash Parvat, the Mansarover lake. And today, the helicopter just drops you there.

If you can reach even Shiva, instantaneously, what is the point of any spiritual journey? Why would you listen to this Acharya ji, who rambles on and on, for an infinite number of hours? You give me something that is under fifteen minutes.

And you know, you have made it up a little. You know that, right? You know that it is not fifteen minutes, it is five minutes. Anything beyond five minutes, is intolerable. It is okay. That’s the characteristic of our modern civilisation. Everything has to be a quickie. Two-minute noodles.

One restaurant, I unfortunately stepped into, was offering seven-course meals in one. I asked that why are you offering seven-course meals in one. He said, “That’s the trend. But if you want seven course meals, in seven courses, then you have to pay X. And if you want seven course meals, in one course, then you have to pay 3X, because we are saving your time.”

Kabir Sahib puts it, as only he can, “Chalo chalo sab koi kahe, mohe andesa aur. Saahab se parichay nahin, jayenge kis thaur.”

( All are rushing, and all are being told to rush, but I have a certain doubt. You do not know him, in which direction would you go?).

Yes, you are increasing your speed madly, but where are you going? Where are you going? What are you saving your time for? There is no doubt that this age offers great conveniences, and you can save a lot of time. But what for?

Often, the time that you save, is utilised to self-destruct.

Saving time would be great, if you knew how to use that time.

But I really wonder, what is going to be a valid use of time, saved from reading Jiddu Krishnamurti? You could have heard Acharya ji for one hour, instead you heard him for only ten minutes. You saved fifty-minutes. Now, what is going to be a superior use of fifty-minutes? Please tell me. Listening to a spiritual video, was obviously to you, and inferior use of these fifty-minutes. Now that you have saved these fifty minutes, aren’t you you obliged towards yourself, to put them to a superior use? What is going to be that superior use?

Time has only one legitimate purpose – to help you move into the timeless.

Invest more and more time, into the service of the timeless.

If you want to save time, then save time from all the miscellaneous non-sense, time gets spent in.

Save time from there.

Do not save time, from the Scriptures and the Teachers.

Save time, and dedicate it to the right cause. Dedicating time to the right cause, is much more important than merely saving time. Otherwise, we said, you could as well be saving time, and using the saved time to self-destruct.

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

Watch the session:  How to bear prolonged Sadhna? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Will living without ego cause one to starve?


Acharya Prashant: The question is how do I fill this stomach if I don’t have an ‘ego’?

Firstly, you must see that you are deeply afraid. You are deeply afraid that if you don’t follow the orders of this ‘other’, that that other could be society, friends, family, corporations, the entire trend of career making. You are deeply afraid that If you don’t follow ‘that’ then you will end up starving. You won’t have enough eat.

Now, is this fear yours?

Even, this fear has been instinct to your mind by ‘that’ other. Don’t you see how cunning that other is? He repeatedly tells you that unless you become my slave, you will starve. But is that the Truth?

Is that the Truth?

Would you really starve if you don’t toe the others line? If you don’t develop an ego, that is If you don’t develop a sense of ‘Self’ dependent upon the other. You won’t.

I Invite you to find out whether you would really starve. The world will always have enough for you to eat. You won’t starve but you may not be able to fulfill these ambitions.

The funny part is even the ambition has been given to you by outside. So there is nothing lost if you can’t fulfill it. You don’t lose anything at all if you don’t meet your ambitions. Remember, there will always be enough to meet your needs. And a free man will always find enough to meet his needs. Because his needs are always so small.

You don’t need too much but yes, your ambitions depend upon your subservience to the society.

Needs don’t make you a slave, ambitions make you a slave.

Read more

Ambition – the burning need to achieve

Acharya Prashant: We want to look at ‘ambition’. So, as I enter, I see that we have been singing Kabir; Kabir talking about achievement, about ambition, about greed and desire and he seems to be taking a clear position, it’s unmistakable. Let us not leave it ambiguous, there is a sense of condemnation in what he is saying. And then there are others who would point to the virtues of ambition, who would say it:,”Ambition is the motivator of human progress that the heights that human civilization seems to be touching today have happened because of the desire to change”.

We have had a lot of this: “Ambition is ‘good’ versus ambition is ‘bad'” kind of a debate. We could approach it a little differently. We could ask ourselves – “What is ambition?”, instead of asking:”Is ambition ‘good’ ,or, is ambition ‘bad’?”, which is all quite childish, we could ask ourselves, “What is ambition?”.  But, as I proceed to take that line it occurs to me a lot has been said in that context as well. Read more

On Ishavasya Upanishad: There is nothing called spiritual knowledge


 Different indeed, they say, is the result of vidya and
different indeed, they say, is the result of avidya.
Thus have we heard from the wise who had explained it to us.
He who knows both vidya and avidya together,
transcends mortality through avidya and reaches immortality through vidya.

~ Ishavasya Upanishad, Verse 10 and 11 ~

Acharya Prashant: One thing, they say, is obtained from vidya. Another, they say, from avidya. Thus, we have heard from the wise who have taught us this. ‛He who is aware that both vidya and avidya should be pursued together overcomes death through ignorance, which is avidya; overcomes death through avidya. And obtains immortality through vidya.’

The text here has used the word ‘avidya’ for ignorance, which is quite not proper. What is this whole business of vidya and avidya? What does that have to do with overcoming death and obtaining immortality

Knowledge is knowledge. Be it any kind of knowledge, it is just knowledge. But the human mind has a tendency to look at everything in a divided way. Anything, any object that exists in the mind is necessarily limited and hence, divided. Divided from the rest of existence. One fundamental distinction that exists in the mind is the distinction between the Universe and the self. That is what is also called as the ego — ‘I am’. ‘I am’ separate from the universe.

So, the mind starts with this: that I am separate from the universe. When you are starting with this proposition, obviously you will say that the knowledge of the universe is different from the knowledge of the self because all the time you are anyway feeling that you are separate from the universe. The universe is one thing and you are another thing.

You say that you came into this universe at time of birth and that you will go away from universe at the time of death. So, the universe and you are distinct. If the universe and you are distinct, then knowledge of the universe and the knowledge of you, which is the self, will also be taken as distinct and separate. This separation is represented by vidya and avidya. When you look ‘outwards’ into the universe, and when I say outwards, that outwards is within quotes; that outwards is only the sensual perception of the mind. The eyes are looking outwards. So when you look outwards into the universe, you gain knowledge and you call that knowledge as avidya. And then you look ‘inwards’, inwards again within quotes. Then you look inwards, and you come to see the Self. And this knowledge, this perception, whatever you have about the Self, you call that as vidya. And you keep treating these two as different.

Please understand.

You keep feeling, you keep maintaining that the universe is different from you. So you say, ‘Alright, well, something is happening in the universe and because the universe is separate and different from me, so, I can change something in the universe without changing anything in me’. Because vidya is one field and avidya is another. So something can be changed “out there” without changing anything “in here”.

And that is how mankind has proceeded — Wanting to change something within, it disregards what is happening outside. And wanting to change something “out there”, it totally forgets that the out there is the same as; is dependent on, is organically linked to, what is “in here”.

The Rishi’s will have none of it. They know better than this distinction. So they gave us a wonderful sutra. They say, ‘only when you know these two together, that you have known something.’ Now, this is easier to hear, in fact, it is deceptively easy to hear because the very definition of knowledge lies in division. To know that hill side and the mind together, is to stand separate from both of them. The study of hill side is the study of all universal material objects — we are calling that as avidya. The study of the mind is the study of the subject, the mind — we are calling that as vidya. And we have been thinking that these two are separate, that the subject and the object, that the world and the mind are separate. But the Rishi is saying, know them together. Know the subject and the object, the world and the mind together. See that what is happening outside is just a representation, an image of what is happening inside. Nothing could have happen outside without it’s parallel, without it’s twin event happening inside. Getting it?

So they are saying, ‘Know both of them together, for they are twins, for they are mirror images.’ And when you know the subject and the object together, then you cannot be the subject and surely you cannot be the object either. That is called witnessing. That is called standing at a distance from the duality of the subject and the object. Do we see what is meant by seeing them together? To see them together is too see them one. To see them together is to see that they are just two sides of the same coin, that they are just mirror images of each other.

Whole of human suffering lies in seeing his conditions as something different from his mind.

Don’t we say that ‘I am a good man, it’s just that the conditions right now are not favorable or that I am brilliant, benign, compassionate but my situations have forced me to act cruelly?’ Don’t we say all that? Don’t we feel that the change in our external situations can be called as progress? And is that progress not the goal of so much of civilization? All that happens out of the same mistake. The mistake is that the outer is different from the inner. That a different universe exists outside my skin. And a different universe exists inside my skull cap. That the body is the dividing line.

There are some who follow the path of material progress. They say, ‘I can change the outer, I remaining the same, I want to change the outer.’ There are some who follow the path of meditation, they say, ‘The inner is everything’ and they pay no attention to the facts of their life, for the facts are outer. They have to be seen with the senses. But they are busy with meditations believing that everything is inside. They do not know that they see inside is not an independent or Real entity at all. It is all coming from the outside. Borrowed, taken in, absorbed, tutored, programmed.

So, in a very simple statement, something very profound is communicated:  Look at them together and see that they are one. When you see that they are one, then you are somebody distinct from both of them.

Now that takes us to the next part which says, ‘You get freedom from death on knowing the world. You get freedom from death through avidya and you gain immortality through vidya.

What is all that?

Let’s understand.

How have humans thought of death? What is our conception of death?

Let’s look at the various myths and representations around death.

So ‘Yamraaj’ (represented as the God of Death in Hinduism) comes from somewhere. Yamraaj comes from somewhere riding his animal. And in various cultures, death is depicted in various forms but that form is never our own. It is some alien form. It is somebody from outside. From where? From somewhere in the universe obviously. So where does the death resides? Where does death resides? Somewhere out there. Don’t we say, ‘Death will come’ or do we ever say that death will arise from within me? Do we ever say that?

Even the phrases that we use, look at our language — ‛Waiting for death’, for us, death exists in the universe. It is an enemy that is lurking around somewhere, not within. We feel we are life and out there somewhere is death. So the universe is a hostile place because the universe is sending death to life. We are always at odds with the universe. We are living beings, we are life and the universe has elements that can kill this life. The universe can fire death at us any moment. Don’t we feel that way? So it is our duty to protect ourselves from the universe. We always, then, have a ring of defense ready.

The Rishi is saying, ‘Once you know the universe, now you have freedom from death.’ Having known the falseness of what you thought to be the universe, you also come to know the falseness of what you think belongs to the universe. Once the universe goes down, once the universe is no more substantial for you, death too can no more be substantial. A false universe can only send a false death to you. It is only when you believe in the veracity of the universe that you also believe that you can die.

With the universe gone, death too goes way.

With the universe gone, by the way, birth too goes away.

No universe, then where were you born?

The universe can go away only when you have studied the universe properly. The universe can go away when you have really-really known the universe, the nature of the universe. Knowing the nature of this universe is called Avidya.

And knowing the universe fully, obviously, involves knowing The Self fully as well. Know the universe fully, know The Self fully and the universe will drop. All the meanings, all the temptations, all the bondages, all the pleasures and pain — they all will drop. And with them, you will find that the great fear of death too has dropped.

Knowing the universe is freedom from the universe, which is in turn,  freedom from death.

To know the mind as the projector of the universe is the field of vidya. The universe does not come To enquire into you. The mind goes to enquire into the universe. So while the mind and the universe are one, if one of them, has to be called the basis of the other, mind will have to be called the basis of the universe. While there are the two ends of duality, please remember that the one you call as “yourself” identifies with only one end of duality and that one end is not the universe. That one end is The Self. Please understand.

The Self and the universe might be two ends of duality. For sure they are. But what do you consider yourself to be? The self or the universe?

Listeners: Self.

AP: So out of these two ends, with which end have you identified yourself? The Self. Right? So as far as you are concerned, The Self is the one that gives rise to the universe because the self comes first. It is the self that goes to enquire into the universe. It is the self that wants to know anything. The universe drops. The self that give rise to the universe, that too, drops along with the universe and that is the field of vidya and with this gone, nothing remains at all — this nothing remaining has been called as immortality.

Firstly, there was fear of death. Then there was no fear of death. And now there is not even no fear.

Firstly, I thought of whatever I saw as true, then I thought of it as false.

Now I am calling it not even as false.

Complete freedom from something comes only when you are free from its opposite as well.

Complete freedom from something comes from being free of the need to negate that thing.

The universe offered death and birth. Knowing the universe offered no death but no death is still one step behind immortality. Because in saying no death, you have given birth to something more. You have given birth to no death. If death was a concept that needed to be dropped, then it has not been fully dropped, it has been substituted with another concept called no death. Immortality is freedom from both death and no death.

Freedom from just death is freedom from birth and death. And it is very easy to say, ‛You know, for me, there is no birth and there is no death.’ So many religious scriptures say that you are the one who can neither be born and nor can you die.’ And the ego can co-opt this statement. It is so easy for one to say that no birth or death for me. But be careful. See what have you done. Earlier, you used to say that you are the one who would die and now you are saying, ‘you are the one who would not die. Another birth has taken place. Another cycle of duality has started.

Immortality goes one step beyond ‘freedom from death’.

It is freedom from ‘freedom from death’.

It is freedom from death and freedom from no death.

It is total freedom. It cannot even be called freedom because freedom too would become another concept. That is what happens when you go to the depths of the mind, that is when you hit that which is beyond all description and who is also not beyond all description. Who is conceivable and inconceivable together. Whatever you say about that would be wrong and yet you cannot say that you cannot say anything about that. That is what happens when you go to the utter depths of the mind.

Going to the utter depths of the mind is the field of vidya. But remember that “That” which you may call as Aatman or Brahm, is not the fruit of vidya. If you have really gone into vidya, vidya and avidya would happen together. And when these two would happen together, as the sage have always advised, then both are dissolved as well.

Vidya does not take you to Brahm — that is another popular misconception. Kindly get rid of it. Vidya has to go away for only Brahm to remain. Brahm is immortality. Are you getting it?

When you believed in the universe then you also believed in the study of the universe. So a belief in the study of universe implies a belief in the universe. When the universe will drop, the study of the universe too, will simultaneously gone. So with the universe gone, avidya too has…

L: Gone

AP: Okay. With the universe gone, the avidya too has gone. So, with the mind gone, vidya too has gone. No vidya can, hence, take you to The Truth. Because though vidya is the study of the mind, but vidya can only revealed to you the falseness of the mind. And if the mind is false, what have you been studying? If the mind ultimately is being shown up as non existent, then are you studying the non existent? So the entire field of vidya too must drop as non existent. This is especially important for those who are seekers of spiritual knowledge. There are people who seeks worldly knowledge and then there are people who seeks inner knowledge. Spiritual knowledge.

The materialist has to drop the material.

The spiritualist had to drop the spiritual.

And these two must happen together.

When these two happen together, then nothing is left to happen.

Is this clear?

These set of verses dealing with vidya and avidya and finally talking of freedom from death and immortality are part of the small Isha Upanishad and these are some of the most befuddling, intriguing verses in the whole Upanishadic literature. These have to be very carefully understood. If it is not clear, we will go more into it. Because the Rishis had a special knack to express the most intricate of the subject in the briefest of words. What looks like just two or three verse actually contains the essence of all wisdom.

Listener 1: Sir, this study of the mind, just knowing how my mind functions and what my tendencies are, is that the only thing we should do?

AP: You see, when we start studying the mind, it is a great temptation to close your eyes, and introspect. And this introspection is severe nonsense. Study of the mind cannot happen without parallelly studying of the universe. How will you know that you are conditioned unless you first see that the outer and the inner are one. Hence, it is quite likely that what I call as the inner has been borrowed from outside. But many people fall into this trap. They say, ‘Let me close my eyes and sit in meditation and that will reveal  divine knowledge to me.

The Rishi’s are warning us. There are those who make the mistakes of only looking outwards and there are those who make the bigger mistake of only looking inwards. But rare is the one who sees the outer and the inner together and then sees that they are the same, one.

You see, this distinction between outer and inner has been so pronounced in our culture, civilization, polity, society, everything. The conqueror of the world is called the King and the conqueror of the mind is called the saint. And the king and the saint are taken as polar opposites. Are they not? You can either be a householder or you can be a spiritual seeker. The market place has to be different from the temple. All of this is The dividing line between the outer and the inner.

There is nothing, that you are seeing around you, that is not a representation of something within you. Will you remember this? This grass something within you. I represent something within you. This hill side represents something within you. The outer and the inner are one and the distinction is false. The body is the distinction. You say, ‘Outside the body lies the external and inside the body lies the internal.’ Inside the body or inside the brain, or whatever. In fact, that is also the mind-brain debate — Whether the mind lies inside the brain or the brain lies inside the mind. This debate is meaningful as long as you believe that the outer and the inner are separate.

‘So, does that mean that I am not walking around upon the ground, I am walking around my mind?’

Yes, you are walking ‘in’ your mind.

‘So, do I exists in the universe or does the universe exists in me?’

Well, the universe exists in you.

‘Such a large universe exists in me?’

Yes, it does. That is why your mind is so heavy.


So, if you can empty yourself of the universe, you will feel light.

‛Yes, yes. Sure. I too am trying for that. I want my mind free of the universe.’

Yes. That would be nice. But let me tell you something additional. When your mind would be free of universe, it would be free of itself as well. The universe gone, mind too would be gone. Now that is dangerous. You, don’t want that. Then you can continue to move around with the universe in your mind. Now you know why it is dangerous to enter the Ganga river?

(Smilingly) Do you know which part of the body sinks?

Mind. Because it is so heavy.

L2: Can we say that there is nothing called a light mind?

AP: Yes. You can say that.

L2: Because lightness appears in the absence of the mind.

AP: Yes. Of course. But that makes you feel so uncomfortable. Doesn’t it? When you have a load in the mind, it also gives you a purpose to live. It gives you a certain tautness. A direction, something to do, something to take care of. You wake up in the morning and you say, ‛Oh my God! I am so occupied, so much to do.’ And now, you are relieved of the burden to respond to this day.

It may rain. It may shine but your schedule is already decided. Come what may, I will, like a programmed robot do, what is upon my mind. Now, if you wake up and you don’t have a readymade schedule with you. Then, it is a big trouble. Now, you have to respond afresh to the day. Now you have to be creative. Now, it is a threat. Lightness is threatening when it comes. That’s why we don’t let it come.

L2: Sir, what does it mean to see the mind and the universe simultaneously? What is this seeing about?

AP: This seeing is simply seeing that your usual patterns of functioning and thinking do not make sense. They are all false. You say, ‛I love you’ to somebody and it is kind of ridiculous to say that because even this expression of love is so preprogrammed, so deterministic, you feel as if the expression is arising from somewhere within, as if it is an inner call. And you do not realize that it is a universal thing. That the elements have come together to make you feel as if you are in love. You do not realize that what you call as the external society has given you a particular definition of love and because what you experience right now as happening is confirming to that definition. So you are calling your feeling as love.

And what’s worse, you do not realize that the experiencer who is experiencing love is himself a product of previous experiences which have all come from the outside. Now, our normal mode of functioning does not make any sense. This is what meant by seeing the outer and the inner together. And when this happens, this breakdown happens, then this breakdown is accompanied by the revelation of The Holy. When these two falsenesses is gone, something else comes about. That something else is neither outer and nor inner. Neither here nor there. Or both here and there.

It defies your language, it defies your mind. It defies your distinction.

Yes that sky that you are watching is within you. Surely, don’t worry.

L3: Sir, when it is said to ask, ‛Who am I?’ Is it the same thing as when ‘I’ thinks, it becomes strong and ‘I’ will come out as external only.

AP: You see, when I am talking to beginners then it is a good tactic to tell them that what you consider as internal is something external. That is easier to understand. That can be the first step. So, I put it that way. That all your mind stuff is socially borrowed or biologically conditioned. I put it that way. To express it the other way around will make it difficult for the audience to understand.

I never say right in the beginning that, ‛Universe is your projection’. Otherwise, it will be almost impossible to understand. They will say, ‘Sir, you are saying, I am made up of influences from outside. This much I can understand because it is easy to gather that T.V is affecting me, parents, society, literature, education, religion, all of them is affecting me.’ This is easy to gather. But it is so very difficult to gather that this whole universe has been projected out by me. I never say that.

So do not say that the “I” is external because again you are talking of the distinction between external and internal. Just say that wherever there is the distinction between internal and external, this false distinction shows up as an “I”. There is nothing and that nothing is fakely divided into two.

This fake division is called the “I”.

There is neither external nor internal, but we create both. This fake creation is called the ‘I’. ‘I’ is not internal. It is to school kids that I am saying that “I” is internal, “I” is internal. So kindly free your “I” from the external. It is to school kids that I keep saying that your individuality is within you. There is nothing called within. Just as there is nothing called without. Similarly, there is nothing called within. Nothing is within you. Your “I” is not within you. When you are nothing, how can there be something inside nothing?

What I am speaking right now to you is a more advanced enunciation of the ‘I’. ‘I’ is that falseness which leads to the simultaneous apparition of the internal and the external. That is the ‘I’. The ego lives within your mind because there is nothing called your mind. The ego is that which creates you and the universe together and as separate entities from nowhere. Will you remember this?

The ego is that which creates you and the universe together and as separate identities and from nowhere.

That is the ego. The ego is not your property. The ego does not live in your mind. But this is a confusing statement, this is difficult to appreciate. So, I hope that you are listening to it with all the meditativeness possible. Otherwise, it will be very difficult.

L4: Sir, the question that I wanted to ask you is that as you explained rationally how the ego gets conditioned from external sources like media, etc., can you also explain this thing that the stars in the sky is inside you?

AP: Of course, logically that can be explained. Do something to your head and the star will disappear. Or can magnify. Or drink a little whisky and you will start seeing starts in daylight. So, of course, if you change the internal, the external changes. Does that not happen?


So some hints can be given, some rational hints. But it cannot be appreciated in its total depth using rational examples. Rational examples can serve as little pointers.Can’t they?

If I give you a little dopamine shot, you will be so full of pleasure. Smiling, hugging everybody, feeling full of gratitude towards existence and that will sound so spiritual. And it is just dopamine! So, the internal has changed the external. Now, the world is full of flowers. And a short of another chemical can be given. And you will pass into depression. So, the external has changed. The world is now a graveyard. A totally gloomy place.

These are rational pointers. By no stretch, am I claiming that these are explanations. That this is the cause and effect narrative. No. I am not saying that. But I am saying that, in case, you are too fond of those kind of examples, here they are.

L5: What is this traditional distinction between “Aatman” and “Paramatman”?

AP: There is no distinction. It is like the distinction between “Prashant” and “Shri Prashant”. When you want to address the Aatman with a little bit of respect, then you call it “Paramatman”. That does not mean that there is a separate Paramatman. It happens, somebody can come at the Bodhsthal (place where Acharya Ji takes session), meet me and then say,‛Now where is Acharya Shri Prashant? You are just a mere mortal. I want to meet Acharya Shri Prashant!’ So I’ll have to retire to some hidden room and then re-emerge with a lot of saffron on me. Now, the Paramatman has come. Aatman is gone. All this thing about Aatman merging into Paramatman is sheer nonsense.

The mind goes into the Aatman and that’s all.

There are only these two and nothing else.

All that which appears is the mind.

All that which is, is Aatman.

And besides these two, if you talk of a third, that is heresy.

If you are really a spiritual one, then there can be no third word in your lexicon. There is the mind and there is the Aatman. That’s all. Finished. What is the mind? All this, all that. All within. All without. All pairs of opposite. All that you can think of. All that which appears and all that which doesn’t appear. All that is the mind.

And what is the Aatman?

All that is. Full stop.

Do not talk of any third entity.

L5: Sir, some saints do the worship of Saguna form of bhakti. So does that mean that God has a form?

AP: See they are just confessing that body-identification is too strong in them. The body has “Gun” (characteristics). “Prakriti” has Gun. The body is Prakriti. So, because you are so severely body identified, whatever you will look at will be as per you and hence bodily. So, they worship a bodily form of Truth. That is what is called as worshipping a Saguna-Brahm. So, they are being honest. Just being honest. ‛I know nothing except material. I know no more than the body. So, how can I just start worshipping the Nirakar (formless), the Nirgun?’

L6: Sir, Raman Maharishi has always pointed that we actually sort of believe that we are the mind and its quality and right now, you also pointed out that when you stop believing in this, then it goes. But, the whole theme does not really strike that- it is that easy. Stop believing and it is done. Either I am not getting it or it is that simple? Or it is just my belief that…?

AP: It is just that even this question that you are asking is not honest enough.

You are asking this question in the same way, with the same mind that is busy asking so many other questions. Are you not the one who keep asking, ‘From where entertainment would come? From where security would come? From where sex would come?’

How is it possible to be honest and parallelly ask both of these question. If I am honest, can I parallelly ask, ‘How do I go left and how do I go right?’ If I am asking both these together, then it means I mean neither of them or I do not know where to go or I am just collecting intellectual knowledge. The one who is not just asking for the sake of knowledge but actually means to know; but actually intends to live what is he going to now learn, will ask only one question. His questions will never change. He will keep asking and asking a million times. Maybe, in different forms. Maybe, on different occasions. Maybe, to different people. But the question’s essence will remain the same.

He will be asking, ‛How do I go right? How do I go right? How do I go right?’. You observe yourself. Right now you are asking, ‘How do I go left?’ Then you will ask, ‘How do I climb upstairs? Then you will ask, ‘How do I dig a tunnel?’

See how the intent of your curiosity keeps fluctuating.

Be a little honest. Be determined that you really-really want to know. Even a child knows this trick. He wants a chocolate and somebody offers him a toffee, He says, ‘No, no, Where is the chocolate? And then somebody offers him a toy, and he is still saying, ‘No, where is the chocolate?’ And then somebody offers him a new pair of shoes. And he is insisting, ‘Chocolate!’ Right? And then some cousin comes and gives him a hug. And the hug is quite warm. And after the hug, he says, ‛This was alright but chocolate?’.

When you will ask this question with that same insistence and sincerity, then you will know. You are the type of kid, who asks a chocolate and is very content with a pair of slippers. You are the kind of mind who goes to search for somebody but is very content on finding her friend.

Have a one-pointed inquiry.


I do not deny that at this moment, most of us are sincere in their own eyes. We are trying to listen. But would you be listening a week later? Would you be listening a couple of hours later?

That is the distinction between an accidental seeker and a true seeker: an accidental seeker can be made to listen through a foreign influence. It is the influence of this beautiful environment, my presence that you might be listening right now. But would you be listening after I am gone?

The true seeker listens under all conditions because his seeking is his own. The accidental seeker listens only when made to listen. Only when the situations are favorable. As long as the situation are favorable, you look towards me, you try to look towards the truth and whenever the situations offer you a little slack, then you run away. Then you do all kinds of things that you cannot do in front of me.

Is that a mark of a real seeker?

L4: Sir, as you told that whatever appears is the projection of mind. So if my mind is not projecting the things which are doubtful or which are causing conflicts that means mind is ill. So that means if mind is healthy, it will only project if mind is healthy, then it will only be present to truth and..

AP: Yes and if you are living in falseness, it will make you uncomfortable.

Living uncomfortably is often a sign of health calling from within. Artists, poems, there are numerous examples of them not been able to live a relaxed life. Many of them commit suicide. Many of them go mad. It is because they are sensing that something is wrong; something is wrong in the way one construe the universe, one accounts for reality — they are sensing that. But at the same time, they do not know whether anything lies beyond this duality. It is too scary you know. Drop the outside. Drop the inside and left with what? So you better commit suicide then.

L5: We can not think, speak, feel, without that. This is a paradox. How to get out of this way?

AP: Silence is the answer. Language cannot help.

L2: Sir you asked in the beginning what does meaning do? So, just as we were going to the Ganges, we look at the notice boards, it says that, It is a dangerous place. So one of the reasons that society display all this because many of us are unintelligent and dumb. So things have to function. Right? Had that thing not be there, then one wouldn’t be alert?

AP: You see the river has been the same and this is the 23rd camp. Probably, the tenth in the Shivpuri. We have managed ten without the aid of such signs. So that assumption that human beings need the aid of such board and that which you said that we are basically dull and unintelligent is not necessarily true. We have survived ten camps. Have we not? And you have been there at least in half of them.

You could have put it in another way as well because the society does all kind of these things. That is why today you could not take a dip in the Ganges. The Ganges is the same but the name today has changed. The name before was nothing. There was no name. This time, a name has come. The name is danger. So the coming of the name spoiled all the fun. Why can’t you look at it that way? Or is it a new river this time which is more dangerous? Is it the monsoon time when the river is swelling? Is it a particularly dangerous time to enter into the river? Have we never been here in winters?

Same place and in the same month. Exactly the same place.

You remember those pics in which kids are coming and jumping into the river. That’s exactly the same place where you were today. But that was today so very dangerous because the name ‘danger’ had come.

L4: Sir, I want to express this that the naming thing struck me. I was running music. So basically there are two kinds of music teachers. So one is, they tell you, this is C  chords and this is D. They will make you memorize the call shake and then there are other kind of teachers. Each time when you listen a song, for instance you listen a song X, the teacher would tell you, song X has A, B, and C chords. And then he would simply play by memory. The other kind of teacher will tell you find out. He will play the sound and will tell you to find out which chord it was.

So naming certainly makes things easy. They give you the excuse to not to be alert.

AP: Easy in what sense? What is made easy?

L4: The work.

AP: What is that work? What kind of work can be made easy by naming? Don’t call it ‘The work’. What kind of work can be made easy by naming?

L4: Sir which requires..

AP: …Repetition. And hence is basically not creative.

L4:  No. Naming makes it repetitive and creative. But the work in the first place…

AP: ‛Work in the first place.’ But once you have named it, then you have named it for somebody else. So It is now not in the first place. It’s a repetition. Second time, fourth time. The name is now a tradition, a flow. Right? So, naming makes it only easier to repeat. Not to really create. Not to be original. When it comes for the first time, does it have a name? If it is fresh, will it have a name?

So, your argument is very right in its place. Naming does make a lot of work so very easy. But don’t forget the quality of work that it makes easy. A lot of things makes a lot of work easy. A lot of very-very sordid things. But a sordid act can only make sordid work easier. Not real work.

You see, look at the way we are listening to all this right now. Most of us, right after this session, will again go back to our same, old universe. Replete with naming, replete with our habits, replete with our old patterns. And here I am sitting on this chair, saying to you that naming is disastrous. And you are coolly listening to this.

Do you know why you are so cool about it?

Because you are not taking anything seriously at all. Because you fully well know that whatever might be said at this moment, you are sure that you will continue in your old ways. Had you had any intention of really knowing and living as per the knowing, then you would have revolted by now. You would have said, ‛If naming is such an evil. Then I want to know how to live?’

But you are coolly listening that the universe is false.

‘Right, right. The universe is false. Get me another bowl of corn!’

‛The universe is false, but I need a little more food.’

‛Yes, yes. Attachments are disastrous. Wife! come over a little earlier today.’

Coolly we are listening. Right? It’s just a Camp. It is just a camp. And this is just a talk.’

And some of us might be a veteran seer who have been through several such talks. So this is  just another talk. ‛Why should I let it disturb me? Why should I let it unsettle my ways?’

Do you know what we have talked now, in the last one hour?

We have said, ‛All this is not! You are not. Your front is not, your behind  is not. Your head is not, your ass is not.’

That’s what we have said. And you are so cool about it.

‛Of course, of course. My head is not. My head is not. Of course, of course.’

L6: In some Zen monasteries, centuries ago, the teacher, the master they beat the student. Or, if you know Gurdjieff, and what he has done with his students just so that they take seriously what he was talking about.

AP: That’s why he had very few students. In fact, he wanted very few students, right? But the thing is that the one’s who would turn away, are also the one’s who are the most in need of his education. I do not know whether I can turn away anybody or be selective about the people I talk to.

‘Of course, of course, you are a very good speaker. You said all the right things. Attachment is quite bad. Daughter, where are you?’

‘Of course, of course, the world is false. Is the talk over? May I now look at all my missed calls?

Ah! the universe is false but the missed calls are real!

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Ishavasya Upanishad: There is nothing called spiritual knowledge

Further Reading:

Book of Myths


Statutory Warning: This book is not for the weak hearted

This is the most challenging book one can ever come across. It will questions all the popular beliefs one harbours. Never imposing itself on the reader. At the same time the book facilities a thorough enquiry of popular knowledge which is blindly accepted as an obvious fact. It demolishes our so called holy concepts.

If you are someone who has read anything on self-help or on spirituality this book is a must for cleaning of spiritual information.



How to ask the right question?


Listener: My question is: what to ask and how to ask? What is the question? My only quest is: what to seek?

Acharya Prashant: It is a beautiful situation. If one sees and admits forthrightly that there is a seeking but no clear image of the object to be sought—it a very honest point to begin with. Mostly, people begin with a pre-conceptualized image of what they want. When you are already so adamant about what you want, then you cannot get anything other than you want. What you want is just your own projections.

So, one stands at a particular place–let’s say this domain, this table is the expanse of the mind. The very question of question arises because one doesn’t like the boundaries, neither does one like much of what is within this expanse. But all that the mind knows is this (indicating the tabular surface). This is the mind—this dimension, this surface. All that the mind knows is this. So it would be arrogant rather preposterous for the mind to talk of anything beyond it.

But the so-called spiritual mind is fond of pointing to something that transcends it; pointing towards the beyond. That is not very wise, that is just a trick of the ego to claim that it knows something beyond the boundary. The fact is – all you know is the surface and the boundary. Beyond the boundary neither this expanse is there nor are you there. You and the expanse are one.

So, one is at the surface and it offers very little tranquillity, very little peace. That separation, that distance from what one really wants – that is the only enquiry; there can be no other enquiry. Where is that which I really want? Apart from that, all enquiries are just enquiries within the surface. Within this, you have very well seen that you are not finding that which can give you peace.

So whenever one talks of enquiry in the spiritual sense, all enquiry is just one question—Peace. No other enquiry is meaningful. One could also say all spiritual enquiries can be reduced to this basic question. Asking, “What is the difference between the two principle types of yoga? What is the difference between karmsanyas and Karmyog?Is Tantra any good? Does the Koham method work?” you could be lost in a maze of curiosities. All of that will just add to your knowledge. And all knowledge belongs to this—the surface. None of that will take you beyond this and you have known, you have seen, known it for a very very long time that within this, whatever is there, that contributes only to an inner chaos.

So what is the right question?

The right question is “I am here and I do not know where That is, so I do not even know what to ask?” And that is one’s honest position that is a predicament of all of the mankind. ‘I am here and I do not even know where to go, which means I can’t even ask the question.’ Suppose you are on the road to Chandigarh. You at least know from Dharamshala you want to go to Chandigarh. If you are lost, you can catch hold of someone and you can ask.

Here you don’t even know where you want to go. So what would you ask? And that is the most innocent question—Where is That? Where to go? Where would I find That? All I know is that I am not getting it here. Where would I get That? If I assume it then I am just being arrogant and stupid for myself because I would not be helping myself by claiming in advance that I know that I must go to Chandigarh.

Where is That? What is That? Who is that?

Is That?

The really inquisitive one would actually ask very little.

He very well knows that all his questions emanate from himself and hence, cannot take him beyond himself.

No answer can be beyond the question that you ask. So, the answer never satisfies the question. The answer only creates the ground for the next question. So the really inquisitive one doesn’t come to seek answers; he comes for solutions. So he doesn’t ask much. Sometimes he may not ask anything not because he is hiding something but because he knows the pointlessness of asking a limited question.

A limited question would only elicit a limited answer.

And a limited answer can never be a solution to the question.

To allow the teacher to offer a solution one has to let go of any limitation. If one has decided in advance that one wants to asks and wants to know only this much (indicating the limited capacity of the palm) then how will life or the teacher will be able to give him beyond this much. The question says this much is my curiosity, the solution to the question is always immense. It’s only in the vast ocean that all question dissolve. But if one says this is what I want to know, then how will one receive anything beyond this much?

Now by that, I, of course, do not mean that one must not talk or not ask. But one must also know that it is not through his questions that his solutions will come. The questions only demand only an answer; never a solution. So then one doesn’t take his questions very seriously. One just puts his situation forward on the table and leaves it there. One just says, ‘This is where I am’ and then the whole thing proceeds from there.

It is actually the same thing from both sides.

A real interaction is not like a press conference or a classroom in which politics or economics or science is being taught. In a real communication, neither the student is very interested in asking questions – though, he would ask a few questions, of course, there would be a few exchange of words – nor is the teacher is greatly interested in giving answers. So if an outsider happens to listen to what is going on, he may find all that very absurd because what the Teacher is saying has very little to do with what the student has asked.

It is never a direct answer.

The question is this much (showing the capacity of the palm), the direct answer will also be this much. What is the point? Has one come here to maintain his limit as this much? So, it’s a strange thing going on—Silence talking to Silence, openness talking to openness? Somebody has just said something and then the other one too says something. What is being said may sound quite incoherent and yet something magical has taken place. Magical only for those who are immersed in it, not for those who may look at the recording later on or read about it or hear about it or are watching from a distance.

It is somewhat like this – Have you seen a mother and a son? Have you seen them talk to each other? The kid, the son, the daughter, the infant maybe 6 months old or one-year-old with a very little introduction to the language and yet they are talking. What are they saying to each other? “Motherese” have you heard this term. It’s a great language, it’s the most ancient language. A very lively conversation is going on and both the parties are very sincere about it but you will watch from a distance and say, “What language exactly is being used? What is this grammar?”

The same happens with lovers—the lips are talking, the eyes are talking and they are uttering all kinds of nonsense and yet very deep communication is there in which they are utterly close. To an outsider, it is all nonsense. Even to those lovers, it would be nonsense later on, if they recall; if they use memory, they will find it nonsensical. But it is the most relevant scripture for them at that moment–those words–the only scripture that matters. So, be it between the mother and the child or between lovers or between teacher and student—it’s the same thing. The teacher is the mother, the Teacher is also the lover.

One just talks, one doesn’t think what to say. And same with the mother – she just talks, she doesn’t think what to say. It is from point of thoughtlessness that the worlds emerge. And it is from the point of thoughtlessness that the questions emerge. Now, it doesn’t matter what the question is and it doesn’t matter what the answer is. What has been established is that there is a point of thoughtlessness and that’s all that matters.

Somebody believes that he can’t walk and something magical happens and he starts running, running absurdly, chaotically, randomly running and stumbling, running and reaching nowhere, running around in circles sometimes. So, if you will try to find out ‘where he has reached’, you will find that he has reached nowhere. If you will try to find out how much distance he has covered; if you will try to find out a reason and an objective, a pattern in his running, you will say that his running it useless.

It is not useless.

This running has established that he can run.

His fundamental assumption was that he can’t walk.

Are you getting it?

That is the nature of this conversation. We live in thought, we live in planning, we live in the organization, we live in questions and answers, we live in protocols, orders. The very fact that you could say something which you could not otherwise say establishes that it is possible to speak, live and act from the heart. And the very fact that the teacher could reply without an apparent order, without an apparent structure establishes that it is possible to live lovingly, meaningfully without using the order established by the mind and that’s all that there was to establish. Done. Proven.

Proven to oneself; the obvious has been proven once again. That is man’s comic tragedy—he has to prove the obvious again and again to himself; he has to prove the obvious again and again to himself that he is. That’s what we do.

People talk of seeing beyond the obvious.

Man’s situation is that he can’t see even the obvious.

These sessions are just about seeing just the obvious.

The beyond can wait.

Don’t you see that right now you are not what you usually are? If your friends, relatives, acquaintance look at you this moment, they won’t be able to identify you. That’s what we are here for— to see that it is possible to be more authentic, more real. That it is possible to spend time in this way and hence, it is possible to live an entire life this way. If you can be what you are right now why can’t you be the same the entire life?

The entire personality changes, the whole countenance changes – the expression on the face, the look in the eyes. I have seen people when they are here sitting with me and then their faces in other in other situations, they are not the same. This establishes and proves to ourselves that we are this, we can be this, this is more authentic than what we usually are. These moments are a great reminder they bring us back to ourselves.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to ask the right question?

Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant


Work and Immersion


Listener 1: Last time we had talked about freedom. I had said that I find it easy to say, “No”, but I don’t know what to say, “Yes” to. It is difficult. You had advised me to do Neti-Neti and proceed. This need to immerse fully was coming from my present job, where the feedback I get is that I am not immersing myself fully. And I relate it to my conditioning, in the past, the bitterness that I hold, due to which I am saying no to a lot of things now. But you had said something later on, “The need to immerse fully is just a commandment of this industrial age, please remain doubtful.” Now when you say this, what emerges is that this in itself comes in the way of immersion, perhaps. That means I have not understood it fully.

Acharya Prashant: You see, immersion is not a cultivated thing. Of course, we all know immersion. It is something so simple, so ordinary; like holding a baby in your arms without any tension, there need not be any separation between you and the kid. That is immersion. The child may even be naked, even physically there is no separation, you too might be a mother, not wearing anything, and you are holding the baby to your chest; it is so simple, extremely obvious. Read more

A life free of incompleteness and inferiority

Question: Sir, we have learned that we should not have ego, as it is conditioning. Ego arises because I feel incomplete within. But to fill this incompleteness is what I want in life. It gives me satisfaction in life. So, shouldn’t we be egoistic?

Speaker: What exactly is the logic? That we should be egoistic so that we continue feeling incomplete? Is that the argument?

Questioner: No sir. If ego is giving us completeness, shouldn’t we have an ego?

Speaker: It’s like saying that disease is giving me health. Is ego giving you completeness? Or is ego itself a continuous feeling of being unwell, of being incomplete and lacking and small and unworthy? How can a feeling of unworthiness give you worthiness? How can a feeling of incompleteness give you completeness?

Read more

Why can’t I leave my comfort zone?

Question: When I look at what I am doing, and why I am doing it, honestly, it gives me fear. I don’t want to take action, because of the fear of the new.

Speaker: There is no fear of the new. There is only the fear of leaving the old. The old is giving you comforts, and it is as basic as that! It is so obvious, direct and ground level, that no explanation can be given or needed. It is the most gross thing that is there. It has to be obvious. Read more

How do I get rid of my restlessness?

Question: Restlessness doesn’t really leave me. Why am I so restless? How can I get rid of my restlessness?

Speaker: Cars these days come with the auto-pilot feature. You can put the car on the cruise mode, especially on long drives, and the driver can relax. There was a research conducted on the vehicles that have this auto-drive feature.  It was found out that people who buy cars having this facility do not really use it. Read more

Why do I get jealous?

Question: Sir, when two people are at a same level, and if one of the two moves ahead, the other is mostly not comfortable of this fact. Whereas had the same person, been a stranger to him, the second fellow would still have been comfortable. Why is it so that knowing someone, leads to problems including jealousy?

Speaker: There is very little left to be answered here. The fact has been rightly stated. It is just that you have known the fellow since a period of time, and now the fellow is changing. Obviously you cannot ignore the fact that you have known him. Obviously there are images from the past, and compared to those images the fact of today is different.

I am not asking you to forget the images of the past, I am not asking you to look at that man in a new light, I am not asking you to look at him as if you are looking at him for the first time today, because that is probably not possible for you. You have been too close, too intimate for too long to look at the man afresh. Yes, you have a past, and yes the changed man is standing right in front of you. Now if you really love the man is not this a cause worth celebrating? Isn’t this a development to be rejoiced!

Do not forget that earlier he was with you. Because you will not be able to forget! But today, if he is unlike you, should you not celebrate this fact? Or would you rather mourn and complain and be jealous. If jealousy is arising in you, it’s a fair opportunity to reflect on the quality of the relationship that has already been there. jealousyI have been with somebody, and I do not like the fact that he is refining. Now has this a relationship been of love? Had it been of love, I would have been happy. I would have said, “Great that you are moving ahead. I love you even more now. I loved you then, and you are far more lovable today!”

Or would you rather regret and rue? Your child gets seventy marks in one examination, and in the next examination he gets eighty, do you feel disappointed? What do you say? It’s great that he is improving. Then why do you feel disappointed when your spouse starts getting ten percent more in the exam of life? He is improving, he is a better man. Celebrate!

But you can celebrate his refinement, only if first of all you value refinement. (Sarcastically) “I loved you for your crudeness, I loved you for your ignorance, I loved you for your violence, I loved you for your servility, and I do not value freedom, refinement or wisdom.

When I do not value refinement or wisdom or freedom, how will I love a wise, refined and free man? How will I love?”

Somebody getting ten more marks is a very gross event. It is obvious and visible that from seventy, there is an increase to eighty, and I wanted that increase. Right? But if you don’t want that increase, then that same increase can be a cause of regret. “Oh, I didn’t want that increase, it has increased.” Marks increase from 70 to 80, you celebrate! But if your weight increases from 70 to 80, you don’t really celebrate that much. It’s a question of value. You value marks but you do not value weight. You start calling yourself ‘overweight’.

Do you value ‘wisdom’? Do you value ‘peace’? Do you value ‘understanding’? Do you? And if you don’t value these things for yourself, obviously you cannot value these for your husband. First of all you have to value these for yourself. A wise woman would thank the heavens that the husband is gaining in wisdom. A free mind would fill up with gratitude that the partner too is gaining freedom. So, remove the spouse from the question, remove the other person from the equation. Look at yourself. “What do I value? What have I labelled as important in life?”

When you would be rightly valuing, not somebody else, first of all yourself, when you would be rightly knowing what is valuable, then you would value all the right things, all the right people, and all the right developments. Then you would not resist them. Then you would not wish that things would have been better, had this not happened. “Oh, you were better off earlier, why don’t you become the same old man? I miss what you were one year back.” Then these things will not come to your mind.

Have your heart at the right place. When somebody is waking up, and you are really friends with him, then wake up along with him. That is the only way to keep company, that is the only way to maintain the friendship. There can be no friendship between the running and the limping.

Listener: What if there are two people, both at the same level. One person who is known to me and if this person rises up, it causes a wrath of jealousy in me. However, the other person is not known to me, and if he rises, there is no jealousy. I even think that probably he deserves it. I might even be happy for him.

Speaker: Factually unfeasible. Movement means ‘comparison’. Movement is always from A to B. If you are saying that this person is showing a movement it means that you have known him in the past. You cannot say somebody is improving without having a standard to compare him against. How do you know somebody is improving? Only by knowing firstly what he has been. Do you understand what I am saying?

Listener: What about the relationship then?

Speaker: Ah, attachment!

It’s alright. Be attached, but to what? What are you attached to? I will not just announce that attachment is bad. I am saying that it is alright, be attached, but what are you attached to? There is something about the man that was there in him two years back that you are attached to. What is it that you feel attached to? His ignorance or his love?

If you are attached to his love then he is becoming all the more worthy of love, kindly be all the more attached. Wonderful! Divine attachment! But you will have problems if you are attached to his darkness. And what gets attached to darkness? Does light get attached to darkness?

It is your own darkness that is fond of darkness. So I’m saying, forget the other person. Look at yourself. Dispel the darkness within and then you will value all that is light. Being dark within, how will you value light?dispel darkness

If there are people in your life who are not happy with the fact that your eyes are opening up, that you are able to look at the world clearly then please know that this resentment is not coming from their light. It is coming from their darkness and hence this resentment cannot be made important. If your friends taunt you, when you turn up for the clarity session, then they are not your friends in the first place. Please understand this.

Friend by definition is a well-wisher. A friend by definition is a man who would celebrate if you are improving. Not a man who would be jealous and irritated seeing you walk the path of liberation. He is not a friend at all. But don’t condemn him, because if he is not a friend to you, firstly he is not even a friend to himself! He is his own enemy, how can he be a friend to you?

We make friends with so many people, without even asking, “Is that fellow a friend to himself first?” He is his own enemy, how can he be my friend? The one who does not know what is good for him, how will he know or like, what is good for you? He is bound to resent it. How can you give importance to their resentment?

– Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at AdvaitSthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Why do I get jealous?

Read more article on this topic:

Article 1: Ego will not understand this world, but will demand a Reality beyond
Article 2: Place of ego either at the Master’s feet or in the Master’s embrace
Article 3: The ego hates light and truth

Your ‘individuality’ is just a deceptive name given by ego to itself

Question: On one hand the HIDP tells us to be individuals, on the other hand we are being asked to read texts. Why are we not allowed to write what we think?

Speaker: What is the difference between an ‘individual’ and a ‘person’? Let us understand this. Let us depict the mind of the individual by one circle, and the mind of the person by another circle. The word ‘individual’ is linked to ‘indivisible’. That which is neither divided nor can be divided. There is no possibility. So there is this circle; the individual’s circle. And it’s an empty circle. Zero cannot be divided. There are only two entities that cannot be divided; zero and infinity. You can represent the individual by any of them. They both are indivisible. Zero and infinity. Read more

Worldly man- Slave of Destiny

Question: Whatever we are doing in this life, whatever is happening in the universe, is this already defined by God, and we being mere players? Or is God nowhere in the picture?

Speaker: These are the two options that your mind has come up with. One- all is predestined, with we being the enactors of God’s pre-scripted will. Two- there is nothing pre-scripted, there is no God. Whatever is happening is happening out of the forces of the universe. Read more

How to help others see the truth?

Question: Sir, is it possible to help those who are deeply blind, even if they do not agree or acknowledge that they are blind? Is it possible to help such people?

Speaker: Alok is asking that is it possible to really help blind people, people who are not prepared to acknowledge the fact, people who are not seeing the reality. Obviously, here he is using ‘blindness’ as a metaphor. Read more

Only a Godless mind will be petty

यदि देहं पृथक् कृत्य चिति विश्राम्य तिष्ठसि।

अधुनैव सुखी शान्तो बन्धमुक्तो भविष्यसि॥

– अष्टावक्र गीता (१.४)

Translation: If you detach yourself from the body and rest in consciousness, you will become content, peaceful and free from bondage immediately.

Question: How to detach oneself from the body? Read more

Is hard work the key to success?

Question: Sir, everyone says that hard work is the key to success. Is this true?

Speaker: Rohit is asking that is hard work the key to success. Rohit, you have picked two entities and asked whether they can be equated.

You have said, ‘hard work’ and you have said, ‘success’. You are asking that are the two synonymous. Does one lead to the other? Is one guarantee to the other? Is the presence of one necessary for the presence of other?
Read more

An individual is one whose desires are his own

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

Listeners (everyone): No, Sir.

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

Listener 1: Eighteen grams of water.

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

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

Ego and attitude

Question: What is the difference between Ego and Attitude?

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

To be something is an identity, and with every identity, there is an attitude.
Read more

Work-Life Integration -1

Question: What is Work-Life Integration?

Speaker: What is work? What do we mean when we say, ‘work’?

Listener 1: Work is any activity, a job, a responsibility or a duty.

Speaker: Someone said, “Anything that we do.” And you want me to speak on Work-Life Integration. So does it mean the integration of anything that we do, with life? When you say, ‘Work-Life Integration’, what is the sense in which you use this word ‘work’ here?

Listener 1: Professional life.

Read more

Why does the mind need role models?

Acharya Prashant: You are talking about role models. Let us see. What do you mean by a role model? Somebody you want to emulate, somebody you want to copy.

Listener: Sir, it can also be like that I like certain quality in that person. Read more

Do you know why you desire?

Question: Sir, a thought keeps circulating in my mind. It tells me that everything will be fine, everything will work out.

Is it a good thing to think about?

Acharya Prashant: Every desire wants its fulfillment. ‘Hope’ is the substance of mind. Whenever there is a desire, of course, you want it to be materialized – that it should work out, something should happen. The question is not whether that thing will happen or not, because that is anyway the nature of desire – to ask for its fulfilment, completion.  Read more