The real Goal dissolves you along the journey to the Goal || Acharya Prashant on Swami Vivekananda (2017)

The real Goal dissolves you along the journey to the Goal

Take up one idea.

Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea.

Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone.

This is the way to success and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.

~ Swami Vivekananda

Acharya Prashant Ji: Wonderful!

It’s just that not every idea will be able to fulfill these conditions. The idea must have some worth, the idea must have some weight, the idea must have some gravity. Otherwise, you will not be able to make the idea your life. Otherwise, you will not be able to live, eat, breathe, sleep, by that idea.

Mark the words, “Take up One idea.”

That one idea has to be about ‘The One’.

It has to be an idea, that is arising from ‘the One’.

Every other idea would fail these conditions. Have you not had ideas, aplenty, already? Have those ideas, really served you well? Have those ideas survived? Have you ever been deficient in ideas?

In fact, you have far too many ideas, for your comfort. So, you must be very clear about the quality of the idea, that Vivekananda is referring to. Don’t be deceived. Vivekanand is not saying, “Take up some random idea, and give your life to it.” Not that it is bad, it is impossible. Because, you will not be able to give your life, to any random idea.

Sooner than later, that idea will wither down. Sooner than later, you will become bored of that idea. Sooner than later, some other idea will come to substitute, that idea. As happens with us.

You have an idea, to go to Nainital. Next day, you have an idea to go to Ooty. What happened to Nainital? Nainital had no immensity. That idea was not arising from your heart. That was just a passing wave. It went away. It disappeared. Now, Ooty has come. Do you think, Ooty is going to survive?

You have an idea – ‘Let me start a business in real estate’. Next day, you receive some other news. The first idea, is gone. Finished! Vivekananda is saying, “Live by that idea. And die by that idea.” That idea therefore, must have some timelessness. That idea, therefore, must be irreplaceable by any other idea. Hence, it cannot be an idea about, the so-called little things of the world.

This idea has to be an idea of the Immense.

And you cannot really have an ‘idea’ of the Immense.

This idea is something arising from the Immense.

You must, of course, give yourself, a goal. But, that goal, has to be so total, that it totally possesses you. It consumes you. If your goal is smaller than yourself, then very soon you will find, that you are on top of your goal, in the sense that you are the master of your goal, even without achieving it. And hence, you substitute your goal.

Don’t we do that often?

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Ji: You set up a goal, and because the goal is ‘your’ goal, you feel that you are the controller of the goal. You have decided the goal. And if you have decided the goal, you have the power to …..

Listeners: Give up the goal.

Acharya Ji:

Let the goal decide you.

Let the goal be on top of you.

Let the goal own you fully.

That is possible, only when the goal is – God.

That is possible, only when, the goal is – Totality itself.

Then, you will not be moving towards the goal, the goal would be drawing you in. Then there is no question of boredom. Then, there is no question of shortage of energy. Because now, the energy would be supplied by the goal itself.

Now, there is also no question of confusion. Because you are now, a slave to the goal. Let the goal, clear the confusion. You are just allowing yourself to be moved. You are not really moving. You are not the ‘doer’. The ‘doer’ is the goal itself.

As long as, the goal is not tremendously big, life has no real purpose.

If your goal are small, they are no goals.

You will be frustrated, if you do not achieve them.

And you will be doubly frustrated, if you achieve them.

Having achieved them, you will find, that the next goal is waiting for you. And that is deep frustration. You will feel, as if all your investment, in reaching up to the first goal, has totally gone down the drain.

Give yourself a goal, that is – ‘the Final One’.

Give yourself a goal, after which, no more goals will be needed.

Give yourself a goal, after which the goal-setter, himself would be no more.

That goal can only be, of your total annihilation.

“Let me disappear. Let me surrender myself to something so worthy, that it deserves my total sacrifice.” Unless your goal is that magnificent, that worthy, that tremendous, you will be just frustrated.

Normally, when you have goals, you go to the goal, to gain something. You go to the goal, to succeed. The mark of the ‘Real Goal’ is – when you reach there, you will not be gaining something, you will just be losing. And you know that, the movement to that Goal is, a movement to a loss. So, you are being made an idiot, and yet you move to the Goal. That goal has to be so enchanting, so enamoring.

Unless you are completely owned, enamored, you will not allow yourself to be looted, and destroyed.

The ‘Real Goal’ dissolves you along the journey.

And you know that you are being dissolved.

You know that you are paying a price, every step you take.

Why will you pay a price? That goal has to be extremely attractive. Know, whether or not your goal is worthy, by this test alone. Do you expect to gain something, on reaching that goal? Then that goal is worthless. Do you know that you are only losing, and losing, and losing, as you are proceeding towards the goal? Then, that goal is worthy.

If your goal, gives you something, dump that goal. Real success then, is your total failure. You have totally failed, in preserving yourself. You wanted to preserve yourself, and you totally failed – that is ‘Real Success’.

Only a ‘real goal’ can give you ‘real success’. False goals, will give you a false failure. And worse still, false successes. False successes, are worse than false failures.

You are not in this world, to beef yourself up, accumulate, fatten, and then die an obese man. You are here, to burn yourself out. And, you must burn yourself, doubly fast. The image that I love is, that of a candle, burning from both ends.

Matter turning into light – sublimation.

That is the purpose of life – burn fast.

Turn into light, and disappear.

Don’t carry a lot of wax, a lot of fat, a lot of material.

Burn it fast! Burn it fast!

You were born with a lot.

Die empty.

You were born with a lot of clothes. Every child, is born from the mother’s womb, wearing just too many clothes. The purpose of life, is to die naked. Keep on peeling-off the clothes, one after one. Layer after layer.

Such a Goal must be there.

A Goal that denudes you.

A lot of it, I know, sounds like plenty of madness!


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant on Swami Vivekananda: The real Goal dissolves you along the journey to the Goal

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Quotes, January’19

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1.

Love is a vast sky, it has no opposite.

It is so vast that it has space enough for hatred.

In Love, one hates as well, and that doesn’t reduce love.

Do not feel guilty. Provided your love is vast enough.

And you can have love so vast, only for Vastness.

A Vastness called Freedom.

2.

By reasoning out

your situation,

you try to remain

what you are.

All reasons are

hidden justifications.

Realise, don’t rationalize.

3.

Having lived rightly for long, one becomes incapable of living wrongly.

Having lived rightly for long, if one even decides to live or act wrongly for a while, he will face failure in his chosen wrong action.

The reward of living rightly: failure in one’s attempts to live wrongly.

4.

Enlightenment is a series of endless enlightenments, each one being complete and final.

5.

Being so enamoured by the Sun,

You keep watching the moon all night!

That’s Love.

6.

What is the way to Liberation?

Suffering.

An honest acknowledgment of suffering,

Without trying to hide or colour or glorify or rationalise it,

Is the way to Liberation.

7.

The great Intelligence that is never touched, spoiled, created or destroyed is not personal.

The person can decide to follow that impersonal Intelligence. And the person can also withdraw from the service of Intelligence.

That choice is always available and that choice is Maya.

8.

The spiritual pursuit faces humongous obstacles. It sometimes appears the entire world is lined against you.

We all are in a big holy war.

We will definitely lose some battles.

The trick is to not to mind the defeats, and quickly get ready for the next win.

9.

Questioner: What is the definition

of ‘Stupid’?

Acharya Ji: Knowing what is right,

doing what is wrong.

10.

Your interests, your welfare, don’t depend on things.

Witnessing means not seeking interest in anything. Not attaching your self-interest, self-worth, to anything. When you are not interested, you are the knower and the master.

Here, kingship comes only to the reluctant king.

11.

She troubled him for being awake at nights, “Your eyes are full of someone beyond.”

Helpless, he kept mum.

One night a mysterious tune woke her up. Since then, she dances all night to music.

And he laughs. He has had his revenge.

Love is so foolish it knows only one revenge: Love

12.

In the mirror, he saw many faces.

One wanted food, air, water, sleep, sex.

The second one wanted prestige, power, money, happiness.

A third one just looked on sorrowfully, sometimes at the two, sometimes at the distant horizon.

13.

If not religion, who will teach you secularism?

Secularism is a new religion; just that it isn’t yet deeply religious enough.

The development of secularism depends on its ability to learn from religion the value of meditativeness, devotion, and surrender of ego to the Beyond.

14.

The new, the happiness that you are looking for,

will not come through experience.

It will not come to you via time,

It is not contained in the future.

It comes when you are a little less

insistent upon cheating yourself.

15.

You had a dream,

you came to me,

and I have not helped you

reach there.

But tell me,

are you not glad

that now you are not

what you were?

~Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait

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Where is your Home? || Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran (2013)

Where is your Home

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Question: In the book, ‘The Prophet’, the protagonist wants to got to his home; his people are calling out for him.

Acharya ji, what is ‘this home’, ‘his people’, and ‘journey back home’?

Acharya ji: ‘Home’ is where you are. ‘Outside’ is where you think you are.

‘Home’ is, where you are.

‘Outside’ is where you think you are.

Do you get the difference?

You are always in Home, but there are some people who open their eyes and see that they are always at Home. And there are some people, who are in the Home, and yet they keep sleeping and dreaming that they are somewhere far away.

And not only are they dreaming that they are somewhere far away, they are actually planning, of course in their dreams, to go further far away. That is the ‘Home’ that Khalil Gibran is talking of – where you really are. And you can never go away from that Home. That Home is ‘you’. You are always homed. You are always at Home. It is impossible to be anywhere else. It is just that you don’t know that.

You think you are away from Home.

Listener: Acharya ji, why do these people, call him?

Acharya ji: We will have to look at this. When you say ‘these people’, it appears that there are many people at Home. It is not as if there are many people at Home.

In your dreams, what you see is ‘many’. All occurrence of many, is a dream. There are no ‘many’, except in dreams. To the extent we perceive many people, sitting in this room, we are dreaming. However, among these people that you see in your dream, some call out. After all, you only dream of, what you know. Dreams do not come from anywhere else.

Some of these people, in your dreams, you know them. They belong so much to your past, that they belong to the beginning of time. They belong to the source of time itself, in that dream. You know them, because they are your very past, your very source.

In that very dream, where there are many people, some of these people call out to you. They call out to you, to wake up. Have you not noticed, and I am saying something new today, that some dreams have the power to wake you up? Have you not noticed that when you fell down a cliff in your dream, you suddenly wake up?

Have you not noticed that?

Now, it’s a very dangerous thing to say, because mind the will misuse it. The mind will say, “Yes I am dreaming, but this is a very useful dream.” I don’t want to say that, but you raised it, so saying this. So, some of these people, they call out in the dream.

Remember, they are not really ‘people’. They are not really ‘people’. To the extent, they are only characters in a dream.

Listener: Isn’t it the source manifesting itself in the dream?

Acharya ji: You are the source. You are source. And that is why, you know those people. And that is the only reason why they can be there in the dreams, because there is intimacy at a deep level. The other people that you know, your relation with them is only very superficial.

But, there are these ‘people’, and your relation with them is very-very deep. They are coming right from that source, from where you come. They are identical to you. They are just the same as you. They call out. And they call out, in a way, in which the dream can be broken.

That’s what he is referring to.

Listener: But in this dream only, he talks about many things, and says most of the times some existential truth, in that dream only.

Acharya ji: When he is talking of many people?

Listener: Yes, when he is talking of many people.

Acharya ji: Yes, of course. When he is talking of ‘many people’, ‘many’ that he is talking of, are ultimately coming from his own experience. These people, who are calling him back to Home, are also coming from his own experience.

These people, who are calling out to him, are nobody else, but Khalil Gibran (the protaganist). If they can call out to him, that means he knows. He can surely talk of existential truths. It’s Khalil (the protaganist), in his own dream.

Are you getting it?

It’s Khalil in his own dream. The real Khalil, in his own dream. And that Khalil will know far more, than the dreaming Khalil can know.

Listener: Can real Khalil dream, go into dream?

Acharya ji: Yes, of course. That’s a part of his freedom. Think of it: where else can dreams come from? Where else can illusions come from? If there is one Reality, one Truth, how can there be space for illusion?

If everything is just Truth, just Reality, how illusion is possible? But illusion is there.

Listener: Illusion is there to the illusive mind.

Acharya ji: How can the illusive mind be possible? If only Truth is there, how can there be any space for, any kind of ignorance? Tell me.

Ignorance is a part of Truth.

Listener: We are validating Truth.

Acharya ji: Of course. Who are you to not to validate it?

Ignorance is the freedom of  Truth.

It is so absolutely free, that it is free even to be ignorant.

You are so absolutely free, that you are free to wake, and you are also free to sleep.

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

Watch the session: Where is your Home? || Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran (2013)


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Acharya Prashant, with students: Brain and Intelligence

T5

Acharya Prashant: We can live in two kinds of worlds. How? Even as I am speaking to you, some of you are listening, and the others might be thinking and wandering and lost in imagination, Right? Do you see that? You have to be together in this. Is that alright?

So that means that it’s possible for man, and each of us is a human being right? So whatever is applicable to us is applicable to mankind in general. We can easily generalize whatever is applicable to us. So, it is possible for man to be simultaneously living two kinds of lives. One is that you are sitting here. The other is that you are thinking about something else. Correct? The very fact that which really is known as reality. Whereas that which is imagined, which is thought of, is called ‘the mind.’ Can you see this that even though you would be sitting here, it is possible for the mind to be at a totally different place? You could be in Disneyland or at your home or at any other place. Now is that for real? Where is a reality? Reality is that which is. Everything else is imagination. This imaginary aspect of us is what is the ‘mind’. Now, what is this thing called the mind? Write down. The mind is ‘brain + intelligence’.

Brain — Matter, Product of Evolution, Just like a computer hard disk, Just like a computer hard disk, Automatic, Prone to Conditioning, Like the Fan.

Brain is like the fan in the sense that it’s totally material. It is a slave to the commands of somebody else. You switch on the fan, you switch off the fan. Does the fan have any intelligence or any will of its own?

Remember it’s very efficient. It keeps working all the time. But does it work according to its own understanding? Does the fan know what is going on in its head? Does the fan understand what electricity is, what electromagnetism is, Faraday’s law, Ampere’s law, anything? Does it understand? Yet it keeps working. It keeps working according to the design provided to it by external forces.

Who has provided the design to it? Man – an external force. Not the fan itself. The Fan is a mechanical device which is a slave of others, albeit very efficient, efficient but dumb. With the result that everybody else can exploit it, can make use of it. It’s mechanical, dumb. You can write all these things for a brain. Everything that applies to the fan also applies to the brain. Alright? Except for one thing that the fan does not have a memory chip, the brain has a memory chip as well. The fan cannot really recall the events of yesterday. And that too can be done. You can have a fan with a memory chip. That’s not difficult at all. That’s not at all difficult.

You can have a fan that can keep registering what is happening day in and day out, and after one year when you will take that chip it will have all the data accumulated on it. That on which particular day how many hours of rotation was there, at what time, at what speed, all that can be done, right? That’s not at all difficult. You can do that as a project. Then it’ll become exactly like the brain. Then it’ll become exactly like the brain. Are you getting it?

Read more

Then why are you doing it? Just for fun.

We say, “If I am already fulfilled, why would I work at all?” No, there is a quality of a free, intense and a passionate dance in this kind of work. I want nothing, there is nothing that I want to get from what I am doing and yet I am doing it with all my energy, devotion and passion. I am almost worshipping what I am doing. What will I get from all these? Nothing. What is there in it for me? Nothing. Then why are you doing it? Just for fun.

Why does the river flow? Why does the wind blow? Am I not allowed to dance? Am I not allowed to love reasonlessly? Must I follow the prevalent dictates of cause and effect, of success and failure, of action, accompanied by the fruit of action? Can’t there be something called desireless action? There can be such a thing, it is not a hypothesis. In fact, if that thing, that quality of mind is not there then life is not worth living.

If we work only to get something, if all our actions, if all our relationships are just for the sake of achievement, if whatever we do is a calculated action, then the mind only knows transactions and business, it knows no love. Such a mind would forever be in a state of loveless desperation, crying for relief.



Read the complete article: To be free, first discover the nature of your bondage

To be free, first discover the nature of your bondage

21762214_1227353527370622_921021697824714700_nQuestion 1: What is success in life?

Acharya Prashant: What is success in life? What-is-success-in-life? Let me say, I am in a dream. In the dream, I am finding myself surrounded by all kinds of enemies and other hostile forces. There are demons, there are enemies and I want to fight them.

So, I ask a question, “What is the best way to fight them?” I ask a question, “When will I know that I have succeeded in defeating them?”

I repeat I am in sleep, I am dreaming, and in my dream, I am seeing the world as a dangerous place, as a competitive place, as a place where achievement is necessary. So, again and again, I ask the question, “What is the meaning of success? What is required to fight my enemies?” Would you answer this question? Read more

Turiya is Atman itself, Truth itself, Shiva himself.

The worldly mind, takes this as real (pointing to the whole atmosphere) without ever wondering where does all this goes, when he goes to bed? In fact, he keeps believing, that when he is on the bed, the universe is still there. He believes that the universe is something, independent of him that it has an objective existence. And he is supported by the observation, that when he wakes up, things are more or less the same, as they were when he went to sleep. He left his pen on the table, and he wakes up and finds his pen still on the table. So, that assures him of the continuity of this perceived reality. Right, that’s how it happens.

The sage is saying, “Please understand that these three states appear to be different, they are one in the sense that these all are just states of mind. They are different states, but nevertheless still states. Just states, not reality.”

‘Fleeting states’. They go away, they disappear.

This so called world dissolves instantly, gone. And when you know that all of this is not to be taken seriously, then instead of these three, you find yourself located in the substratum of these three.

Tuirya, the word turiya literally means the fourth. Fourth, as different from these three. But it is not really a fourth, in the sense it is not the fourth state. It is forth, in the sense it is different from the three. Different from the three, meaning the background of the three, the foundation of the three.

Turiya is Atman itself, Truth itself, Shiva himself.



Read the complete Article: When you know consciousness, you are beyond consciousness

When you know consciousness, you are beyond consciousness

himalaya1

 

Acharya Prashant:

जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तभेदे तुर्याभोग्सम्भवः। (1.7)

Knowing what looks like, as the difference between the three states of consciousness, one finds himself located in the joy of the fourth.

This is a little technical, so we will have to…

This is state of consciousness (pointing towards the whole surroundings). This is Jagrati; the waking state of consciousness. After a while, most of you would be asleep, the others would be singing by the river.

That sleep will be the another state of consciousness. In that sleep, you will have dreams and all. Mental activity would persist, that is called the Swapn state of consciousness.

Then you recede deeper into the sleep, and the dreams too go away. What you are left with, is the blankness. That is called the shushupti state.

Right, Simple.

Now the game starts. Be all ears.

Read more

Why is it easier to believe in the world rather than the Truth?

Presentatio2

 

Listener: Sir, Why the Truth is so rare? Truth is something which is non-fictitious and this world is fictitious. And why the world is not so rare and Truth is rare?

AP: Are you asking, why you believe strongly in the world and not in the Truth? Is that what you are saying? – Because you have been taken in, because you have assumed a lot of things, because you do not inquire, as simple as that.

L: Why in the first place we ignore them? Why not in the first place we inquire them? They are the two sides of the coin, we could have like either.

AP: Had you been of the quality, who would inquire rather than believe then you would not have been ‘you’. The one who appears to be born as ‘Praveen’ had no option but to believe. Praveen was born with ignorance, with seeds of ignorance. Read more

How to deal with emotional outbursts?

Acharya Prashant: Emotional outbursts to settled living.

What do you see in the topic itself? “Emotional outbursts to settled living.” What is happening here?

What is happening here is that the mind is desiring the movement from one place to another place. From place A to place B; emotional outbursts to settled living. What is place A?

“Emotional outbursts to settled living.” There is a journey involved in the topic itself. We are moving from A to B. What is A?

Listener: Disturbance.

AP: Disturbance; right? “Emotional outbursts”- a state of disturbance. A is where we are. B is where we want to be. You see everything about humanness is a journey. Man has been a traveler. That would be a very apt way of defining and summarizing mankind. We are travelers. In everything we do, in all our efforts, there is a sense of movement involved. We are hardly ever contended with where we are. We want to reach somewhere. We want to undertake a journey. There is some other place that we must reach. Read more

Facts and Imaginations

19

Questioner: In the discussion earlier, we said that if we live in facts, there won’t be any paradoxes. And to overcome this sense of lack, we have to keep checking whatever we fear. So in some sense, this becomes a thing which is dependent on time because if I am checking facts, I will be checking them in time. Am I understanding it clearly?

Acharya Prashant: You don’t have to check facts, you have to be in facts.

If you are finding that there are contradictions in your mind, then you are not in facts. It is not a question of checking your facts, they are not facts at all, you are living in imaginations. Get rid of these imaginations. What you have in front of you are facts. You don’t have to go and procure facts. You are — that is a fact.

Imaginations take time. Facts are present, instantaneous, here. You can imagine that you have eight legs, and now you have a contradiction, “How am I able to wear these normal trousers?” Then you will have to go and count your legs. Instead of counting your legs, if you face a contradiction, simply wake up.

A contradiction is a sure-shot proof that you are dreaming. Read more

What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

5
Question: Why human beings have the capacity to question each and everything?
Acharya Prashant: You question only when you do not find something fitting in your patterns. Right? If everything is alright, you don’t question it. You don’t question why I am able to hear what you’re saying. But if I am not able to hear what you’re saying, you question it. Is that not so?
You believe the pattern to be real and when the pattern is falsified you question it. I believe if I throw a ball then it must reach there. And why it must reach there? Because I have always found it reaching there whenever I have thrown it. So this is a pattern. Throw it, find it falling there. This is a pattern.
Now, if I throw a ball and the ball hangs in the mid air then I’ll say what’s this! What’s going on? Now there is a question. So we question because we believe in the pattern. Hence, questioning can come to a mind that has first known the pattern. But this mind has known the pattern but has not seen the pattern to be false. So it starts feeling little uneasy when it finds the pattern broken. It questions.
There can be a mind lower than this—that has not even seen the pattern. This mind will not question. It is such a dumb mind. A mind that is not even  conscious of the pattern will never raise any questions. And you would have met minds like those. They don’t question anything, whatever may keep happening they don’t find any need to question it.
Then there are those who question, those who questions believe in the pattern.
And then there are those who say, “Aah! pattern!” it may continue or it may break, how does it matter; just as a dream may continue or break.
Continuation of a dream makes it no more real than a broken dream.
Then they just sit in silent; they too don’t question. We have all these three categories of people here also. Some are not questioning because they don’t even see what I am talking of is so disruptive. So they don’t question. “Oh, there is no need to question. It’s all okay much the same. Why should I question?” There are some who are questioning, they are questioning because they are seeing that what I am saying is growing against the grain of what they have been believing. So they are questioning, they are asking repeatedly.
And then there might be another category who is so absorbed, so immersed that it finds no need to question. A question is like a dissent, a question says a pattern must be continued why did it break. And if you have no affixation with the pattern then you don’t question, then you’re just silent and immersed.
May there be more people like those here.
But if you can’t be like the one who is not attached to the pattern and hence doesn’t question, then at least question!
Are you getting it?
If you can’t let it directly come to your heart, if you find that the mind is standing in the way then do express the resentment, the dissent of mind; then, question.
By questioning you may probably come to a place where you have no need to question.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: The one answer to every question

Article 2: On Jesus: Faith does not answer questions, it laughs at them

Article 3: Attend to the facts and your imaginations will fall in place


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What is the relationship between unconsciousness and awareness?

“I have no body. I have no distinctive traits. Neither do I have a cause. I have no fourth state. One who is rooted in oneself is called a jivanmukta.”

~ Ashtavakra Gita

Question: What is the relationship between unconscious and awareness? Does unconscious dissolve in awareness?

Speaker: Only thought gives meaning to thought, right? Even when you are thinking, you require somebody to give meaning to that thinking. Have you not wondered after waking up from a dream, what was the dream all about? Read more

Our education fills us up with external knowledge, leaving us ignorant of ourselves

Question: Sir, what made you to leave your corporate job, and start this whole different line of work?  

Speaker: There was a lot that was asking to be changed. Leaving the corporate was not really an objective. I wanted to do something, and if it could have been nicely done from within a corporate, I would rather have done that. In fact Advait is still a private limited company. So, it is not that I opted out of corporate, but as far as the mission is concerned…

You know there are things that people are doing; there are things that I could have done, but a lot of people could have done them as well as me. There were things that I could have done and somebody else could have done them in a better way but there was something that I saw, that I was seeing and that cause was really crying out, it needed to be taken up, but very few people were attending to it. So, (Smilingly) just opportunism. It is something important and somebody needs to take it up, so I said, “Why not me?”

Listener 1: Sir, would you like to elaborate on this topic a bit more?

Speaker: You see, all of you sitting over here, are quite knowledgeable people. Right? Even the reference made to us is, ‘Knowledge workers’. Right? That’s how we are referred to. ‘White-collar jobs’. So we know a lot, or at least a little.

Our knowledge is, in some areas, pretty detailed as well and it’s quite amazing, the extent to which human intelligence has gone and created this knowledge and other human beings have absorbed it and are putting it to use. Now, having known this much, is it not strange, what you read in newspapers? “Man quarreling with man, nation quarreling with nation, husband quarreling with wife, neighbor quarreling with neighbor, man quarreling with himself!”

When we find nobody else to engage, we are busy fighting ourselves. And we know so much.

Anu_KnowWe know so much. Yet basics of life – jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, small happenings in our environment seem to shake us up. Does that happen or not? One piece of news regarding the market, or regarding the changing company policies, or regarding the changing environment within the organization and suddenly we feel as if the ground under our feet is slipping. Is that not so? And we have so much of knowledge! All of us! And there are people who have much more knowledge than us. The thing is, their situation too is just the same.

So, this interested me. I asked, “Why is knowledge, why is all our progress not helping us lead more secure and composed inner lives?” You know, you look at a illiterate man, then you look at somebody who could not go beyond class tenth, then you look at somebody who has done his B.Tech, and then at a post doctorate, and tell me, are they really, internally, any different?

It is equally probable that all of them might be suspicious of their wife, authoritarian towards their kids, aggressive towards their neighbor, jealous of their colleague; is it not equally likely? By doing a PhD, does the probability that you will be worried, does this probability decrease?

Chances are, it increases. So why is our knowledge not helping us be…. Ultimately we have to live with ourselves. Right? Why is our knowledge, not helping us, simply be more centered?

So this brought me to the question of – What kind of knowledge do we have?

The knowledge that we have all pertains to something external. We know about this, we know about that, we know about cooling technologies, all kind of electronics, optics, the world, Mars, other galaxies, we have collected so much knowledge about them but our education, in schools and colleges, and our training, as professionals in corporate, simply does not touch upon ourselves.

Anu_WithinYou know, we have been educated probably from some of the premier institutions and then our training has continued in the places that we have worked in, but somehow, nowhere have we being sensitized towards our own mind. Our education and training is such that, it never asks us to turn within with the result that even the most knowledgeable man, is actually so infantile, and immature. He may be forty years of age, he might be earning a lot, but in his psyche, he is still a baby; somebody who can have a nervous breakdown any time. Somebody who just can’t get along with his wife. Somebody who just can’t stop himself from competing, he competes with everybody. And he says that he is in a leadership position! He says, he is leading X number of people.

The fault does not lie with this man, the fault lies with the way we have been brought up, educated, and continuously trained.

So, full of knowledge about this and that, but largely ignorant of the self. Unfortunately, nobody lives with his knowledge. You live with that feeling in your mind. Don’t we?  We all know that. We know what I am talking about. Right? You know when you are not alright. And I know that nobody wants to feel not alright. Anybody here, who is interested in feeling not alright? Anybody here who likes that feeling when your legs are unnecessary shivering? And we all have experienced that, have we not? You have just appeared for an interview, and you are awaiting that call from HR, and that call comes, you recall that experience? Some of us might be having it pretty frequently. There are professional job hoppers.

You recall that experience? That call comes and how your fingers simply can’t stop their SHM (Simple Harmonic Motion). Now, what is the worth of your knowledge? What is its worth?

Yes, others might think that you are somebody. Given your knowledge, your experience, your professional advancement and probably your bank balance. But is all of that, of use to you, beyond a point? These were the questions that I was struggling with. And I thought these are important questions. And I could see that these are important things that not many people are really prepared to attend to. So I thought, well, let’s go into it.

I have been lucky that I have had many other people who have seen the importance of this over the years, who came to me, who joined me, assisted me in this journey and are still coming. And you would understand that this is not something which is a main-stream career option. So only those who really see the worth of this work, they come and join. Thankfully there are a few such people. You too are welcome. Devesh ji knows the address and the rest of it.

Look at this for an example. Had I been sitting here to talk about some technology, give me the name of a latest technology that people here might be interested in?

Listener 1: Cloud.

Speaker: So let’s say I am an expert in Cloud Computing, and I have come here to talk. A lot of us would have a lot of questions to ask, especially if we had only ten or fifteen minutes. Right? But when it comes to speaking about ourselves, we are simply lost. We don’t know what to say. And I understand our predicament, what I am saying might sound interesting to you, but what do we talk about? Yes, nice, right, alright, but what is in it to talk about?

There is a lot, incidentally, but this is such an unknown territory, our own mind is such an unknown territory to us. And in spite of seeing, getting a hint, at least, that there is something in it.

That’s the story with every walk of life, you know, I am sure many of us are friends here, with each other. Right? We talk about so many things, don’t we? But do we really talk about the Real? Not that we want to hide this. But there has been something in the way we have come up that we have become experts in remaining engrossed in the trivial. But when it comes to the Real, we become a little tongue tied. Don’t we?

It’s not something that is happening only in your relationship with me. Parents and kids, how authentic is their conversation? I need not talk about bosses and subordinates; that is not even supposed to be authentic. But what if, even a husband-wife conversation is rarely genuine? Rarely Real? Yes, we can talk about the furniture, we can talk about what is happening in the neighbor’s house, we can talk about the new restaurant down the road but do we really talk about that which matters? That, which matters. That which really keeps us off-center. Do we ever talk about it? We have been trained to slip it under the carpet. I thought why not bring the few skeleton out of the cupboard, just for fun.

Think of all the people you have been in touch with since years, and think of whether you have had a single genuine conversation with them. It is amusing, and at the same time, horrifying. Even the ability to look at each other directly in the eye! Have you seen people, who just really don’t want to have any eye contact? And it’s not their fault. It’s nobody’s fault. But somebody needs to do something about it. It’s a worthy cause, right? A few people must take it up. Should they not? What do you say?

I invite people. I say, “Let’s look at facts, let’s not talk dream stuff.” I say, “Look at all the mails that you have written in the past six months. Not the strictly professional ones. All the mails that you have written, to your friends, relatives, acquaintances,” I say, “Now, read them again. And read them very directly, very objectively, very honestly, and then tell me, how much of it is Real?”

Of course, I am not talking of mails relating to a sales pitch, or such stuff; they are not suppose to be Real. Are they? But what about the mails written to your friends, to cousins, even to parents? What is happening? We are intelligent people all of us, at least to the extent that intelligence is synonym of knowledge. We are quite intelligent. So, what’s going on?

I still don’t know, what’s going on. I am exploring, I mean, I no wise in that sense.

Ok, try this, a small experiment. A small experiment. Just walk up to somebody, not causally, walk up to somebody as if you really mean it; looking straight in his eyes, take his name or her name, and say, “I want to talk to you.” Not so melodramatically, but with sincerity, just with sincerity and you will only see scare in his eyes. “Oh my God! Is something Real going to come up?” As long as you are casual, and you just walk past people, tapping them on their shoulders, “Hi John, what’s up? How’s the hotdog?” The Yankee thing, as long as that is happening, we are friends.

But if you give the slightest hint to the other person, that you mean to open your heart up, instead of feeling gratified, he will feel terrified. Try this, its fun. Good fun. And after you see him trembling, tell him, “No I don’t mean anything, it’s casual”.

We are afraid of everything that is not really false. For the years, I have been surprised to see how much we are really afraid of intimacy, I am surprised because ostensibly we all says that we want intimacy, we want closeness with somebody. But when intimacy really beckons or knocks on our door, we retract. We don’t have the guts to embrace it. You must have seen such people, they are so insecure they can’t let anybody come close. Because somebody coming close is a threat to their entire mental structure. They’ll have to accommodate him, their structure will need to change. That structure, by the way, is also called as ego.

We are young people here, and I am not talking of physical intimacy. We understand that, right? So that’s what the whole game is about. Complex, challenging, but fun!

~Excerpts from a guest talk. Edited for clarity.

View the session at: Our education fills us up with external knowledge, leaving us ignorant of ourselves

Read more on this topic:

Article 1: How important is education of the self?

Article 2: Why is education not helping the world?

Article 3: Solve your mind, all your problems will be solved

For real action, let the Real act on your behalf

Questioner: Let’s say, you have a couple of friends, they would come, they would stay, you would sit together and you have fun. And then sometime they leave. So, for that moment you think you are right but then the things turn upside down and you start thinking that they were bad people. So, if for a moment it was right, then how can it turn so bad?

Acharya Prashant: That is the nature of our friendships and that is the nature of all our relationships.

Q:  That was just an example. You have said that when we come to know that things are right, we put a full stop and we are happy with it.

AP: No! No. The full stop proves that the thing is right.

Q: But then after sometime when things turn out to be wrong, then where does that full stop come?

AP:Here is my soul mate and this and that”.

The fact of the matter is they are still looking out. The fact of the matter is it is only a question of how big and lucrative the opportunity is. The fact of the matter is the prince charming of dreams is always illusive. And whosoever you are with, the eyes are still looking out for that illusive prince charming. And if he comes, then this current boyfriend will be out. In no time will he be out. So, the search is perpetual. The search never seizes. We know that. We may claim that, “Now that I am married, things have come to a full stop and now I am no more searching”. But we all know we are always searching, like a corporate employee. You may be in a very good job but you are always looking for the next hike. Are you not? And it all depends just on whether you get a good enough offer, a good enough hike. A good enough hike and you will quit the job that you swear your allegiance to.

Read more

Work-Life Integration-2

Speaker: There is no question of failure unless I decide that failures constitute success. Now, for example – if you had come here thinking that spending an hour over here would be fruitful if I say a few kind of things, then you may find this event to be successful or failure against the benchmark that you have already set i.e. “my goal is to go there and gather this kind of information”.

Now you can say that “I have failed because I wanted this and this did not happen. I wanted ‘A’ and ‘A’ did not materialize”. But there may be another kind of individual present over here who did not come here out of expectations, who has just come here and is listening. Now there is no question of success or failure for that person.

Failure is only against the backdrop of a pre-existing desire. And none of your desires is yours. So, how can the failure be yours? Your problem is – your success is not yours; even failure is not yours. So, before you jump into these words- ‘my success’, ‘my failure’, ‘my goals’, ‘my ambition’, find out how much of ‘my’ is there in any of these. Find that out.

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Live fully, die fully, and then come alive, again, and again…

Listener: Can we do music, study and exercise together, successfully?

Speaker: Sagar is asking, can I be into music, studies and exercising simultaneously.

No, never simultaneously! Never simultaneously. I would not really enjoy if you are exercising right now? Or if you are singing right now. Right now there can be only one music and only one exercise. Simultaneity in that sense, is not possible, and not welcome either; should not even be attempted. One thing at one go.

A Zen monk has said that, “When I eat, I eat; when I walk, I walk; when sleep, I sleep.”

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Quotes-2, July,’15

Quotes-2, July,’15

♦ Surrender is the realization that behind all diversity of thought, the tendency to think is the same.

♦ To surrender is to not to move when there is no need to move. To surrender is to not to think when there is no need to think.

♦ You do not surrender by thinking about surrendering. You do not surrender by declaring yourself to have surrendered. You do not surrender because surrender is good. You do not surrender out of some virtue contained in surrender. You do not surrender because you have thought it through. And you do not surrender because surrendering takes you to some divine peaceful point. You surrender because you are really tired of fighting. You surrender because you see the stupidity and the limitation of mental effort, of your calculation, of your analysis, of your entire thinking process. Read more

How does one stay calm?

Question: How does one stay calm?

Speaker: What takes away calmness? When you are sleeping, deeply, then are you calm? You are asking, “How does one stay calm?” Aren’t you calm when you are in deep sleep?

Listeners: Yes.

Speaker: You are calm. And then you wake up, and you become anxious.

Listener 1: It is because of the thoughts.

Speaker: It is because of the world. You can become anxious even while sleeping. In sleep if you are anxious, it is because while sleeping there are dreams. So if the world intrudes even in your sleep, then you become restless even while sleeping. The world itself is the reason for anxiety, for losing your calmness. Read more

Do you know the Heart’s deepest desire?

Question: Sir, what are dreams?

Speaker: All dreams are about something that is not there, or at least does not appear to be there, but the mind has an urge for it to be there.

“It is not there and I want it.”

Or, “I do not see it. I do not know whether it is there or not, but at least I do not see it, and I want it.” That is what I call as a ‘dream’.

We all have that urge, we all miss something. And what we miss, we want to get. So this much is common to every human being – there is something that one misses, there is a hollow, there is a gap, there is a need, a kind of vacancy waiting to be filled. But after this point, the commonality amongst all human beings stops.

After this point there are two possibilities. Read more