What is the real meaning of ‘self-love?’ || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is the real meaning of ‘self-love

Question: What is the meaning of ‘self-love’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When it is said, “Love yourself”, then surely there are two. One – who is receiving the instruction. And another one – who is going to be loved. This has to be understood.

When I say, “Love yourself,” then the two-ness in the instruction, has to be appreciated. Who is the one I am advising to be more loving? And who is the one I am asking to be loved? They are not one, they are two.

When it is said, “Love. Go and Love,” then it is being said, surely to someone, who does not always love. It is being told to someone, who is not a natural lover. And therefore is being advised to love.

Who is not a natural lover? The Ego. The Ego is not a natural lover. The Ego, by it’s very constitution, remains in fear. And the one who remains in fear, cannot naturally or easily love. So, when it is said, “Love,” surely someone is being advised or instructed to love.

Surely you cannot advise the True Self to love, because the True Self is not in any need of any instructions or advise. Nor is the True Self deficient of love. Who is being advised to love? The Ego.

So, when we say, “Love thyself,” the ‘Love’ part stands clear now. The Ego is being told to love. And who is this ‘thyself’? This ‘thyself’ God forbid, is not the Ego itself. The Ego is not being told to love itself. This ‘thyself’ is the ‘Real you’. This ‘thyself’ is the only one, who is worthy of love. And therefore, is being asked to be loved.

Who is this ‘thyself’? The Real Self, the True Self.

So, when it is said, “Love yourself,” it is analogous to – Love the True Self, Love God, Love Atman.

Who is being told to love? The Ego.

And who is going to be loved? The True Self, that you can call as ‘the Heart’, or ‘God’, or ‘the Atman’.

‘Love thyself’ does not mean – love all your stupidities. The Ego is not being advised to love itself. Because the Ego cannot love itself. Why? Because the Ego is already in great attachment with itself.

Have you seen how self-attached Ego is? That is called ‘Narcissism’. The Ego is always greatly in self-love. Obviously, subject to the constraints, of the definition of the love that Ego knows. The Ego knows only little, petty, stinking kind of love. And with that littleness, pettiness, and stink, the Ego does love itself.

The Ego already loves itself. Nobody, therefore, in his right mind, going to advise Ego, to further love itself. But the statement has been greatly misinterpreted. And in the name of self-love, people are only furthering their Ego.

‘Self-love’ only means – do not love yourself. Love the Truth.

‘Self-love’ does not mean – love the little self, love the petty-self.

‘Self- love’ means – love the best part of yourself.

‘Self-love’ means – love the best part of yourself.

‘Self-love’ means that even if you are covered with all non-sense, know that there is something venerable, something admirable within you.

Love That.

Do not love your rubbish, your non-sense, your trivia. Do not love your filth. Love That which is precious about you. Now, instead of loving, and respecting that which is precious inside oneself, ‘self-love’ is often misconstrued as remaining more and more attached to one’s own rubbish. Don’t do that.

‘Self-love’ does not mean – Ego loves Ego. ‘Self-love’ does not mean – Ego is to love the Ego. ‘Self-love’ really means – Ego must love only Truth.

I hope it is clear.

Unless the Ego leans towards the Truth, it will not even know what ‘love’ really means. What the Ego has for itself, is some rotten variety of attraction and attachment. The Ego has to be a student of love. And the education of Ego starts when it somehow leans towards the Truth. And then, for the first time, love strikes the Ego. Otherwise, the Ego is very loveless.

If you ever find, a loving ego, rest assured that it has become fond of the Truth. Otherwise, how it would have learnt love? Truth teaches love to the Ego. Therefore, the truth is the best Teacher. And therefore, if there is a truthful Teacher, he would teach Love.

Truth and Love, therefore go together.

Now you see why all the wise ones have said this, “Truth and Love go together”? Because if there is Truth, for you, then you will definitely fall in love with it. It is impossible to perceive Truth, in whatever way possible, and not fall in love with it.

Truth has such a unique and wordless beauty about itself, that you cannot avoid, falling in love with it. In India they have said, “Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram (Truth is so beautiful).” You will have to fall in love with it.

That is the meaning of ‘Love thyself’, or ‘self-love’.

Love the Truth, it deserves your love.

Only the Truth deserves your love.

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

Watch the session: What is the real meaning of ‘self-love?’ || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is humbleness? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is humbleness

Question: Acharya Ji, what is humbleness?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

‘Humbleness’ is required, or meaningful, only in the context of an inflated ego. Because most of us live in stories about ourselves, and those stories cause us a lot of misery, therefore freedom from those stories is needed.

A mind free of stories about itself, is a humble mind.

The story could say everything. The story does not always say, “I am the king of the world.” Often the story says, “I am the most wretched person on this earth.” Nevertheless, irrespective of it’s content, a story is just a story.

So, what is ‘humility’? To not to live in the stories about oneself.

So, humility is not about having a poor, or humble story about oneself. Humility is not about saying, “O! I am the little one. O! I am the speck of dust in this giant universe.” You could have a big story, about a big monster. And you could have an equally big story, about a little speck of dust, right?

It is not the size of the character that matters.

It is the story around the character, that is the pain.

When we attempt to be humble, then we just reduce the size of the character, and apparently, relatively, new story comes up. But the size of the story remains the same, we said, irrespective of the size of the central character, of the central figure of the story.

Are you getting it?

Therefore, humility, is a certain cleanliness.

Humility, is a certain absence – an absence of ideas, and stories about oneself.

To be humble, is to live in the fact of one’s life, irrespective of how the fact appears.

So can we say that ‘humility’ and ‘honesty’ are two different words? Are they? Really? And then, can we say that ‘humility’ and ‘understanding’ are different words? They are not.

Are you getting it?

If you are not humble, it directly implies that you do not know yourself. Because you do not know yourself, the reaction to the ignorance is, imagination. Why else do you need to imagine? Imagination is a reaction to lack of self-knowledge.

When you do not ‘know’, then you need to weave stories and imagine.

I will repeat this, irrespective of what your story says about you, a story is merely a story. You cannot be humble, as long as you put a lot of trust in your myths, in your stories.

The more assertively you declare – “This is how I am” – the more it is certain that you do not know the – I AM. It is a strange thing you see. Knowing ‘how I am’, is an instant distancing from the one – I think I am.

So, the moment you know this thing called ‘I’, you will no more call it the ‘I’, because now you are distanced from it. And to call something as ‘I’, you have to be completely united with it, identified with it. To know the ‘I’, is to no more be able to call it the ‘I’. It’s a paradox, you see.

What is ‘humility’ then? To know the ‘I’, and therefore be a little cautious, of calling it – the ‘I’. And then that takes you to a totally different center. When you can no longer call, the usual ‘I’, as ‘I’, then how will you operate from that ‘I’? The center itself is gone.

What comes over then?

Well, who knows. Who wants to?

Why bother to know?

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

Watch the session: What is humbleness? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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How to judge rightly? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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How to judge rightly

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the meaning of non-duality? Does it mean that we have to drop our judgments?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Non-duality does not mean that you have to drop judgments. Non-duality means that – the ego is always judging, and that is inevitable.

Ego is always acting as a judge. And as long as ego is there, it would continue to judge. You cannot tell the Ego, “Kindly don’t judge.” That is so idealistic, that it is stupid. You are telling the lion, to not to eat meat. That won’t happen. You are  telling the ego to – not to judge. That won’t happen. The ego would keep judging. That’s it’s prakriti, it’s constitution.

Now that the ego is known to judge, there is only one hope left for the ego. And that is – that the ego judges rightly. Judge rightly. If I tell you, “Don’t judge,” then you will end up either disappointed, or a hypocrite.

If you are honest, you will find, that in spite of your efforts to not to judge, you are anyway, always judging. So, you will be disappointed. And if you are not very honest, then you will falsely declare that – you do not judge. And therefore, you will be a hypocrite. It’s better then, to know, that given how we are, we are continuous judges.

Judge rightly!

What does it mean to judge rightly?

In every situation, see where fear is, see where temptation is, see where limits are.

See where the blind force of habit is.

Don’t go towards that direction.

That is what is – ‘right judgement’.

If habit, time and tradition are taking you somewhere, pause!

If the habitual rush of tendencies is taking you somewhere, pause!

That’s enough.

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

Watch the session: How to judge rightly? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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There is nothing as one’s True Self || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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There is nothing as one's True Self

Question: Acharya Ji, I have often observed that my bodily tendencies always act as a hindrance in my spiritual growth. Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sadhana is not for the sake of the body.

The body does not want any kind of liberation. All that the wants is – food, rest, sleep, sex. Therefore, whenever you would go against the conditioning and the objectives of the body, the body is bound to resist.

Obviously, sadhana requires a fit body. But, this has to be remembered that fitness is for the sake of sadhana. Otherwise, strength and longevity of the body, have no value per se.

The body is like an instrument, or a vehicle. You do not want to have a car that is serviced, fueled, polished, maintained, but never used. You maintain your car, you service it, you fuel it, so that it can take you to your destination. The destination comes first. The car is subservient to the destination. The car is not an end in itself.

However, there are many, who would compromise on the destination, for the sake of he vehicle. That does not sound quite intelligent.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, how do I know that the one who observes all the thoughts, all the temptations, is my ‘High Self’, and not my mind?

Acharya Ji: There is nothing called ‘my high self’. The ‘High Self’, is not ‘yours’. If the ‘High Self’ is really high, how can it be yours? You don’t have two selves – one high self, and one low self.

True Self is really is a misnomer. The True Self is not personal. The True Self does not belong to ‘you’. Not ‘yours’.

You can’t say, “It’s mine.” It is unknowable, unthinkable, untouchable, unimaginable. You can say nothing about it. You are the low self, who can at best simply surrender to the Truth. The Truth is, sometimes called as ‘The True Self’, or ‘the High Self’.

The little self, must not even talk of the Truth. it can just bow it’s head down.

When you say, “I am the True Self, that observes all the little activity,” you are saying something about the True Self. Right? You can say something about anything, only if you can observe that thing. Right?

(Pointing at the camera, placed in front) So, if you say that this camera is observing me(the Speaker), then there has to be a third entity, that is observing the camera, and is therefore able to say that the camera is observing this speaker.Correct?

So, if you say, as is often commonly said that – ‘the True Self is the observer, that observes all the little activities of the mind’ – then you you are making a claim about the activities of the True Self. In other words, you are claiming, that you are observing the True Self.

You can observe something, only if you are behind it.

On one hand, you say, “The ‘True Self’ is the witness of everything.” On the other hand, you say that, “Witness is witnessing, the witness is not witnessing” – and such things about the witness.

Who is a ‘witness’ by definition? Who sees everything, but can itself never be seen. It would be a poor witness, who is witnessed. When you talk about the ‘True Self’, you are actually talking of – witnessing the witness. Don’t you see how absurd that is?

But we want to keep talking about ‘witnessing’ and ‘True Self’. This is nothing but the ego’s attempt, to lay it’s hands, it’s small and dirty hands, even upon the Truth. So much talk about witnessing. Only the ‘witness’ can say about ‘witnessing’. But, the ‘witness’, by it’s very nature, would not be interested in saying anything. Who are we to talk about ‘witnessing’?

But in talking about witnessing that same, fundamental misconception is there, called ‘my High Self’. As far as we are concerned, there is only the small self, the low self, in your words.

‘Witnessing’ is never something, that you would ever – know of.

You can never say, “I was in the witnessing mode, an hour back. And now I am not witnessing.”

If you knew that you were witnessing, then I repeat, you were witnessing the ‘witness’. It must be a very poor witness. So, here is the event, here is the witness of the event, and here are you – witnessing both the event and the witness.

Even the best that you can be is small. Retain this humility. This humility is far more important than concepts like witnessing.

Questioner: You said that it is better to keep up with this humility. But this decision too would be taken by somebody. So, keeping up with this humility would be impossible.

Acharya Ji: It is not impossible, because someone, or somebody, we inexorably, inevitably, are – by dint of birth, by dint of body-identification. The somebodi-ness, is anyway there. No point turning blind to it. That’s the fact of our living. Now, given that we already live as ‘somebody’, why pretend that we are nobody?

Anshu (one of the team members) was telling me that he met a lady, and asked her name. And she was returning from some satsang, and she replied, “I am nobody.”

You are ‘somebody’.

Given that you are ‘somebody’, the somebody would always have an option, a choice, as to what to be.

Make a choice, in favor of humility.

It is not very honest to say, “One is nobody.”

Questioner: But the choice will be made out of some reason.

Acharya Ji: Yeah!

Questioner: So, there must be a reason to choose humility.

Acharya Ji:

You have already made all the other choices.  So, when you say that there has to be a reason, there is only one reason – suffering. All your other choices, all your choices in vanity, arrogance, bigness, smartness, cleverness, have already been tried, and they brought you suffering. So, there is one choice left. And that final choice is – humility. If you still want to try out, the various choices that you like, you may still try them. The result would be – more suffering.

And that suffering would ultimately push you, to humility.

Questioner: So, you mean to say that humility is forced.

Acharya Ji:

Yes.

Humility is a forced choice.

It comes either to the very intelligent ones, or to the very experienced ones.

Either you are so very intelligent, that you quickly realise, that arrogance doesn’t help. Or, you are so experienced in getting beaten up by life, that life beats all the smartness out of you.

So, either intelligence, or experience.

But, ultimately, humility has to come.

The ego has to see it’s small place.


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

Watch the session: There is nothing as one’s True Self || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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If God is nameless, how to continuously recite His name? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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If God is nameless, how to continuously recite His name

Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Nitnem continuously says that the way  to reach god, is to continuously recite his name. But, as God is nameless and formless, isN’T silence, what we need to practice?

Please shed some light on name of the Lord. Can physical recitation of mantras like ‘Ek Onkaar‘, or ‘Om Namah Shivaay‘, or ‘Raam‘, lead us to the real God? If yes, how should it be practiced?

Thank you. Love and Gratitude.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

You need to continuously utter the ‘name’ of God, both in speech and in mind, because you are what you are. You are not the silent one, are you? Had you been already silent, no sage would have advised you any ‘japa’, any recitation, any mantra. Who are you? You are the restless one. You are the loquacious one. You are the talkative one.

Who are you? You are the one who just loves to ‘Yak, yak, yak’. You are the one who is always busy, talking. If there is no other person to talk to, then you indulge yourself in some internal dialogue. You start talking to yourself, don’t you? You are always in a conversation. A conversation in which only you are there, obviously. The other doesn’t exist. That’s the kind of conversation we have.

Our dialogues are all soliloquies. Me talking to myself. The  other is there, just as a prop. Look carefully at how people converse. Are they really listening? This one is talking, and the other one is talking, and there is no relationship between the two talks.

On the surface, it looks as if one is responding to the other. Well, no. One is merely using the words of the other, to further one’s own argument. The ego is so insecure, it keeps asserting itself. In fact, man’s entire life is spent in self-assertion. Man’s entire life is spent convincing himself, that he exists. Man is so insecure.

“I exist, please look at me. If you don’t look at me, I will feel offended.” This is self-assertion.

“I exist. This is my territory. Don’t violate it. If you will violate it, I will feel I don’t exist. We will have a war if you violate it, because my identity is closely linked to that of the territory. I am so insecure. I don’t have any independent identity.”

“Who am I? The owner of the territory. Therefore, don’t violate the territory. Otherwise, I will disappear. It seems so. That’s such a great threat. It’s not the territory that you have stepped on. It’s the identity you have beheaded.”

So, the ego just keeps asserting itself. We can’t even call it ‘self-expression’. It is rabid self-assertion.

The dogs in the family, when they come to know that the family is planning an outing and the doors are being locked, and soon everybody would be out, they become very restless. They start making their presence felt.

They will go to one member, then the other. They would sniff, bark, push, pull. Tug at somebody’s clothes. Keep their paws on somebody’s abdomen. That’s how the ego is continuously feeling – “I am being left behind. Please don’t leave me behind.”

“I am, and I am making my presence felt. Don’t forget me please. Will somebody look this side. Hello, I too am.” And now you know why this ego is so attention-seeking. because it is very, very insecure about itself.

All it’s life it is never really sure, that it exists.

That’s the life of the ego.

It’s entire life, the ego is never really sure that it exists.

And therefore, it makes all kinds of attempts, to assert itself.

“I am. Well, I am. Well, I am. Please, please, don’t deny my existence. Please don’t turn back at me. Please appreciate me. I will feel I am, otherwise I am not. If you don’t validate my being, if you don’t certify my presence, I am Not.”

So, we talk. Now you know how expansive this word is – ‘talking’? ‘Talking’ means – having something in mind, to be concerned with. When you are talking to someone, that fellow is in your mind, is he not? Equally, when you are thinking about something, that too is a kind of ‘talk’. Because we indulge in such a non-sensical talk, so the saints said that you better recite the name of the ‘Lord’. And that is the technique of ‘japa’.

Because you are so stubbornly addicted to talking, because you are so very prone to be infatuated with names, you better take name of the ‘Lord’. Because names you would take anyway. Something would always be there in your mind, and whatever is there in your mind, is a ‘name’, is it not?

Is there ever in your mind, that is nameless? A ‘thing’ always has a name. So, if there is something in your mind, it has a name. There is a ‘name’ in your mind. So the Gurus have said that,

If at all you are obsessed with names, you better be obsessed with the name of the ‘Lord’, because the name of the ‘Lord’ has a special quality.

It dissolves all other names that you are fond of, so fixated with.

And having dissolved all other names, the name of the ‘Lord’ too disappears.

It’s a cleansing agent.

It just sanitizes, and doesn’t stay back.

When you take the name of the Lord, you are insured against taking various harmful names, are you not? In the time and space, that you would have otherwise misused to be bothered with, hundred miscellaneous names, you took the name of the ‘Lord’. That’s the utility of ‘japa‘. And that’s why recitation has been such a powerful spiritual method.

You get the jist of the method, Goudhaman (the questioner)?

If you will not take the name of the ‘Lord’, you would take some foolish name. If you could stop taking the foolish name, without taking the name of the ‘Lord’, nobody would have advised you to recite any ‘japa‘.

But it is your obdurate insistence, that some name you will definitely hang on to, clutch desperately at. So the saints said, “Alright! If it is your tendency to be always occupied with some name, we will give you a special name. This name has no harmful connotations. Use this name.”

Are you getting it?

A kid is fond of candies, and it is impossible to wean him away from candies. So what does the loving father do? He makes special candies. Special, nutritious, vitamin candies – sugar-free, and yet very delicious. He calls them ‘Rama candies’. And says, “If you must have candies, have these candies.”

This is the method.

These candies won’t harm you. In fact, they benefit you. Plus, these are non-addictive. The other candies, you become addicted to. The other candies, they are so specially designed, that you can never be addicted to them. They benefit you, and then they will disappear.

No addiction!


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

Watch the session: If God is nameless, how to continuously recite His name? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Who is God, and why should one strive for Him? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Who is God, and why should one strive for Him

Question: As I read couplets of Kabir Sahib, he talks of God in them. Who is ‘God’, and why should one strive for ‘Him’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why should I answer your question? You don’t strive for God, I will not answer your question?

Next one.

How do you feel, when I do not answer your question? That is exactly how one feels, when he is godless. Because you want God, Abhishek (questioner), that’s why you want the answer to this question.

‘God’ is the answer to all questions.

Why does anybody, ever want anything?

Because he actually wants ‘God’.

‘God’ is the end of all the things that you want.

And therefore, all those, who have gone, a little mad, have said, “God is everything that you want.” As they say, “Love is all you need.” They have said, “God is all you need.”

The thing is, you are a man of need. You need, you need, you need, and you keep needing, you keep needing, you keep needing. So, there must certainly be something, that you are asking for. That is ‘God’.

You don’t ‘have’ to strive for ‘God’.

You ‘are’ striving for ‘God’.

Read more

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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Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Consciousness is just physical

Question: Acharya Ji, what is consciousness? Is it possible to purify consciousness? How to bring about a change in consciousness? Is consciousness an object?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Show me consciousness, devoid of content. So, thought is consciousness. Show me thought devoid of content. Tell me that you are thinking about nothing. When you think, don’t you think about an object? So, is there thought without object? Try thinking object-lessly.

So, consciousness is nothing, but it’s own content. Consciousness is nothing, but it’s own content. (Holding a glass of water) Once I was talking to an audience, so I showed this glass of water. I said, “You see, these are the contents of your consciousness, and these have been poured into the consciousness, from outside.”

So, a wise girl got up from the audience, and said, “If all the content can be poured out, would I have a clean and empty consciousness?” I said, “No. To have a clean and empty consciousness, you have to throw away the glass as well.”

You cannot have the glass, and not have anything in it. So, when the water goes out, the air rushes in.

You cannot have anything called ’empty consciousness’.

‘Empty consciousness’ is – ‘No-consciousness’.

Consciousness, does not like a vacuum.

Because consciousness is objective, therefore like the objective world, it abhors vacuums.

Whenever you have a very low pressure area, you know what happens. It tries to suck in anything, and everything, from everywhere. And it does not differentiate. Whatsoever can be sucked in, would be sucked in. If there is a very low pressure zone, and you go close to it, you too would be sucked in.

That is consciousness.

Consciousness and it’s contents, are inseparable. I know, some teachers ave talked of consciousness, without content. That is a euphemism. That’s a way of addressing ‘zero consciousness’, or ‘no-consciousness’.

There is no point talking so much about consciousness, because consciousness is conditioned. Even if you bathe, teach and decorate a slave, he won’t become the master. Why are you so busy talking about the slave? Why are you so busy attending to, and glorifying, and investigating about, the slave?

If the slave troubles you, the trick lies in going to the Master. And once you are with the Master, the slave will fall in line, on his own. And that’s where, the intellectuals are missing the point, the psychologists are missing the point.

They too talk of consciousness, the psychologists, the intellectuals, even the neurologists, – they all talk of consciousness. And they are busy, looking at nothing, but the consciousness. The slave is behaving erratically. A mean slave, who has come to acquire bad manners. And what are all the intellectuals, and psychologists doing? They are trying to teach the slave, a few good manners.

What does the Mystic do? He ignores the slave. The Mystic has nothing to do with the slave. He goes right to the Master. And once you are with the Master, one look of the Master is enough, to discipline the slave. That’s the trick the intellectuals have been missing.

All psychology keeps talking of mind, and consciousness. What they don’t talk of, is the Lord. They are so afraid. Truth and Mysticism are an anathema to them. They would say, “Let’s limit ourselves to the mind.” So, what happens in the mind? And who would understand that?

If the mind were smart enough, to understand itself, and it’s rubbish, why would it stay engaged in rubbish? But you don’t see this obvious fact. You want the mind to understand the mind, knowing fully well, that that which you want to understand, is stupid, and that is why you want to understand it.

Had it been functioning properly, would you have felt a need to investigate, what is going on? So, you want to test a malfunctioning machine, using, the same malfunctioning machine.

The car is junk, the engine has collapsed. And, you want to drive the car, to the service station in the next city. You want to get the car repaired, using the services of the car itself. It is so non-sensical.

But then, intellectuals, face a very acute dilemma. They are compulsive-avoiders of all mysticism. It harasses their ego, to accept that there is the unknowable. And the unknowable, is at the commanding heights. They would rather self-destruct, than devote the self.

You see, man is more terrified of psychological death, than physical death.

And the psychological life, is the life of the ego.

The ego says, “I can accept anything and everything, except mysticism.” That’s the mark of the stupid man. To him, everything exists, except Him. All else is a possibility. The unknowable one is not a possibility.

He says, “I am very open-minded. I am very liberal. I am a liberal.” But, he is greatly illiberal. Because he does not want to consider the possibility, that, THAT, and THAT alone exists.

In some sense, the open-minded community, is the most narrow-minded one. There minds are so narrow, that nothing broad, nothing immense, can gain entry into it. Only little things find their way, to these little minds.

Are you getting it?

(Addressing the questioner) Even in this question, Dori, where is surrender? Where is devotion? These things that you are asking, cannot be grasped intellectually. Why don’t you see that intellect is such an incapacitated organ? A child’s little finger. And you want to move the mountains.

You are determined. You have been exercising the finger regularly . It’s a very muscular finger now. The Himalayas are shivering.

(laughter)

Question 2: Do you, Acharya Ji, use the concept of ‘consciousness’ as analogous to mind.

Acharya Ji: Yes, broadly. States of consciousness, happenings in consciousness, are the states of mind, and happenings in mind. Right?

Or, as Awareness.

The foundation of consciousness, is awareness.

Pure consciousness, which is ‘zero consciousness’ is – Awareness.

However, that does not mean, that to be aware, you have to give up on consciousness.

No.

Being aware implies – not identifying with consciousness.

So, the stupid consciousness, is busy with it’s own little matters. and where are you? An arm’s length away. That’s awareness. It’s always a choice – to abide in awareness, or to fool around, in the domain of consciousness.

And the domain of consciousness, will keep existing, as long as the body is there. You cannot drain consciousness, of it’s contents. You cannot just, take the vessel, and pour out the contents it has.

Question 3: How far back, the seat of Truth lies?

Acharya Ji: Awareness, and Truth, are one. So, not very far back. Just one step behind. Just one step behind. You are standing on the edge of the cliff, behind you is an abyss. Just one step behind.

Close your eyes, and take a step backwards.

Taking that one step backwards, is therefore, so impossible to most people. Because the every dimension changes. You can take innumerable steps forward, and the dimension remains the same. But behind, is an abyss. That one step, will not allow you, to remain the one you are.

The Earth will change. The very physics will change. Your very station will change. You will change. That’s why, that one step, is the most difficult thing in the world. And the saints, therefore, have gone on wondering, that why is the Lord so inaccessible, when he is always so close-by.

Now, you see why He is so inaccessible?

Where is He?

Just one step behind.

But you are standing, on the edge of the cliff.

And your eyes are always looking at the ground, not at the abyss.

However, you are instinctively aware, that there is no ground behind you.

So taking that one step backwards, is impossibly difficult.

However, you can keep taking a lot of steps forward, because nothing changes there. You are on the terrain, and the terrain does not change, whether you move left, or right, or forward.

But if you move backwards, everything changes.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


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Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape

The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape

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“Love is a state in which there is no ‘me’; 
love is a state in which there is no condemnation, no saying that sex is right or wrong, that this good and something else is bad.

Love is none of these contradictory things.

Contradiction does not exist in love.”

~ J. Krishnamurti

Question: Krishnamurti says that one craves sex, because in that, one finds no ‘me’, ego, and hence no conflict. And one uses it as an escape. Why does one not use, meditation too, as an escape? Is it because that one lacks understanding, energy, or is it because that the outside influences and inherent tendencies, acquired and hence biological, are too strong?

Does this call for an inner strength stronger than the outer influences? How would one describe this inner strength in words, if it exists?

Acharya  Prashant Ji: The basis of the question is, that one probably does not use meditation as an escape. But one does use meditation as an escape. One uses everything, as an escape.

One uses meditation, in precisely the same way, as one uses sex, or any other means of getting away.

Of course, Krishnamurti is spot on, when he says that, in the experience of sex, there is no ‘me’, no ego, and hence no conflict. So, there is a great peace, a silence, a touch of the beyond.

That peace, that silence, that touch of the beyond, is one’s ultimate desire.

But, is one ready to go beyond the touch? The ego is so afraid, and so stupid, that it is terrified of the one, it loves. That it wants to run away, from the same healing touch, it so craves for.

One will have ‘a little’ of it, one does not want ‘the whole’ of it. A little of it, ensures continuity of the ego. A little of it implies that one could have the healing touch, and yet remain what one is, yet continue with one’s ways. That much, is acceptable to the ego. But only that much, not beyond that.

The ego says, “My first priority, is to remain, exist, and after that comes everything else. Even the Truth must be subservient to my first priority.” So, liberation is alright, as long as, it is a second of liberation. Peace is alright, as long as, it is five minutes of peace. But, if silence threatens, to take over the entire life, if peace starts dominating noise, to the extent that noise might be completely annihilated, then the ego rejects.

The ego wants Truth, but only a modicum of Truth.

The ego wants peace, but only a sliver of peace.

The ego is foolish.

It’s first priority is always, it’s own sustenance.

So when, the ego will enter meditation, it will enter false meditation, it will enter limited meditation.

People meditate for five minutes. People set a particular time to meditate. I would ask, professional meditators, people who have been practicing meditation for so long: if you love meditation so much, why do you get up from it? If you love meditation so much, why do you limit it to half an hour of the morning time? Why don’t you let meditation, your entire life? Why can’t you live meditatively?

They would not have an answer. The answer is clear. The answer is: if you start living meditatively, rather than limiting, just isolating, relegating meditation to a corner of your daily schedule, then your daily schedule itself, would be threatened. You do not want to allow that.

The ego does not want to allow that. The ego says, “Meditation is good, as long as it is for half an hour. Then it will serve my my ends. I can become a little peaceful. Mind you, just a little peaceful. I can become a little peaceful, and then go about doing my usual, daily tasks.”

“Even if meditation has to be there, it has to be there as a servant of my daily priorities. I want to go to the same office, and continue with the same humdrum business, and to be effective in the same humdrum business, and to perform more efficiently in the same office, I want to be meditative.”

“I will not let meditation overpower me. I will not let meditation, become a canopy, over the space of my life. I will not let meditation become, a complete solution, that dissolves me away.”

“I will use meditation as a tool. I will use meditation as a tool, to remain more of what I anyway, and already am” – that is how the mind uses meditation, that is how the mind uses sex, that is how the mind uses Truth and God.

Because you are disturbed, dull, restless, after the entire day’s soul-sapping routine, in the night, you use sex as an entertainment, as a relief, as a getaway. Using sex as a relief, enables you, to wake up the next morning, and again continue with your routine, and then again hit the bed in the night, again use sex as a dissipator, again use sex as a temporary healer, and then again go back to the same shop, same work, same office, same society, same people, same routine, that disturb you.

Sex, Meditation, Prayer, God – in that sense, all of them, just are used by the ego, as enablers.

They enable the ego, to continue, as it is.

One returns to his shop, and then goes to the temple. Going to the temple, enables one, to return to his shop.

One does, what one does the entire day, and then in the evening, one wants to atone. One goes and confesses. It might be an evening, or it might be a Sunday in the church. One goes and confesses. Or one would write a letter of guilt, confession, admission, to a teacher. One would say that I wasted the entire day. One would say that I am a lousy man, an evil man. And all that confession in the evening, enables one, to conveniently again embark the next morning, on the same beaten path.

That is how we work.

We exploit even the highest.

If a prophet would come to us, we would use him to serve our petty purposes. Don’t you see, what people do when they go to holy places, to pilgrimage, to a Dargah, to a Guru? They go there, and they ask about their little things. That is all the relationship that they have, with the Guru, or the Pir, or the Granth, or the temple, or the Gurudwara.

Let everything exist, to allow me, to even help me, remain as rotten as I am. That is the world view of the ego. That is how we look at the entire universe. Unfortunately, that is also, how we look at the one, beyond the universe.

The ego is an exploitative being. The ego is a stupid being. It exploits the one, it ought to surrender to. It goes to the ocean, and asks only for two drops. And it thinks it is being quite clever, in asking, just as much as it can hold.

Can you look at the mind, the psychology of the person, who has the entire ocean available of him, and is instead asking for only as much, as his limitations would allow? Can you see that?

Sex is a window. Organised meditation too, is a window. Every moment in life, is a window. But the ego is scared of free, open, unlimited space. It would have only as much of the sky, as the window would allow. That is why one is so agreeable, to the five seconds of peace that orgasm brings, but one is not agreeable to Samadhi, because Samadhi is infinite peace.

One wants customised Samadhi. One wants temporal Samadhi. One wants Samadhi that can be used and exploited. One wants Samadhi, that would not be a total and final dissolution. One wants Samadhi, that one can be on the top of. And that is why, one never gets Samadhi.

And that is why, that which is so easily available, and one’s innate nature, remains elusive.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape


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Gems from Articles, April’19

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1.

The condition you have come to, is not sudden. It has taken millions of years of evolution, for you to come to this state. It’s a very, very old habit.

It is like dust, that has settled over something, since centuries, millennia, aeons.

Time has brought you to your current condition.

And that which time has given you, takes time to go away.

2.

The one whose dissolution you are talking of, is he the Truth? Obviously he cannot be the Truth. Why would one demand the dissolution of the Truth? Why would one think that the Truth can be dissolved at all?

So you are demanding the dissolution of the one, who is not the Truth. Who is he then? He is a product of time. Truth is not a product of time, and therefore Truth does not bother you. And therefore, you are not demanding the dissolution of Truth.

You are demanding the dissolution of that which is, false.

Now see, now see. You are demanding the dissolution of the false. Just as it is silly to demand the dissolution of Truth, isn’t it equally silly to demand the dissolution of the false?

Truth cannot be dissolved, because Truth is timeless. And false cannot be dissolved, because the false does not exist at all. But surely, you are asking for the false to be dissolved, which means you take the false to be…..Truth.

Because you take the false as Truth, therefore you stumble, and get deceived, and get hurt.

3.

If you identify with the false, is a quick movement into the Truth possible? No. It will take time. ‘Sadhana’ is the way. You will have to be constantly embattled against yourself. And you will have to be constantly engaged with the ones, who appear closer to the Truth. These are the only two ways of ‘saadhana‘. There is no third way.

Fight against yourself, and side with the Saints, both are needed. In fact, just proceeding on one leg of the saadhana, without bothering for the other, is more dangerous than not beginning with saadhana at all. You have to both – fight against yourself, and side with the Saints.

If you side with the Saints, without fighting against yourself, then you will use the Saints, to fatten yourself. And if you fight against yourself, without siding with the Saints, then you will go mad, because you will keep destroying who you are, what you are, without finding anything.

4.

You need to have both – a determination to defeat yourself, and devotion to be with the lovers of Truth.

And both these things take time, because you are firmly convinced that you are a product of time.

Not that time is a necessity in the process.

It’s just that you have declared yourself at a position, that makes time a necessity.

5.

Invest that time in two things: in fighting against yourself,  and in being in the company of Saints and lovers of God, Truth.

6.

It is very difficult to break away from the Truth, and habituated as we are to ourselves, it is probably equally difficult, if not more difficult, to overrule ourselves, and leap directly towards the Truth.

So ours is a funny situation.

Can’t go away, can’t directly come close. And at the same time, we want to tell ourselves, that we are busy and occupied, and doing something constructive. So we start with the merry-go-round, maintaining a safe distance from the center, as if that safety is any less discomfiting, than a total separation from the center that invites us.

This is complexity, and this is dishonesty – the in-between-ness, the safe, middle path. The position, the movement, the locus that convinces us that we are not totally dishonest.

7.

You see, without a love for honesty, there can be nothing called ‘dishonesty’. Obviously, we love that which is real, that which will not deceive us, that which we eagerly want. But in spite of our love, in spite of our deep, and true desire, we still deny ourselves, we defy ourselves.

We defy the command of our own hearts.

8.

Dishonesty is – to not to see what you are seeing, to not to get what you want, not to be what you are, not to live by what you know.

If you don’t know, you cannot be dishonest.

If you don’t love, you cannot be disloyal.

9.

It’s absolutely fantastic, that we know, we want, we love.

And it’s equally tragic, that in spite of, knowing, wanting, loving, we somehow still choose to remain deprived.

Complex!

10.

The more certain you are, that you are approaching the person, with the only intention to show him the light, the easier the process will be.

If the intention is pure, then the process is quicker.

And this empowers you a lot, because now you have something to work upon.

If you just say that the other person does not listen to you, then you are helpless, because you anyway have no control over how the other person thinks, and responds, and reacts, and lives.

But once you know, that the other person’s response, is dependent on purity of your intentions, then that enables and empowers you, because now you can work upon yourself.

And by working on yourself, you can cause a quicker change in the other person.

So work on yourself.

11.

in the mind, there is nothing without a purpose, or a reason.

And as that reason or purpose gains purification, the place of that person in your life, that is your mind, changes. And then, working becomes far easier, with respect to that person.

12.

You have to be absolutely certain, that it is only because of love, and only because of kindness, that you want to bring the light to the other.

13.

The world is a habit, but drugs are a worst habit.

At least when you are free of drugs, then you can look at the facts. Under the influence of drugs, you cannot even know the facts. And I have repeatedly said that – the facts are the door to Truth.

If you do not know even the facts, then you are one step further away from the Truth.

The one who is finding refuge in drugs, is fed up of the usual stuff of consciousness. That is certain.

But, he is taking a very wasteful route.

14.

See, what do most people feel?

They feel a particular type of universe, just because they live in a particular type of consciousness.

They feel the universe, in a particular way, all the time. So, they start taking the universe, as Truth.

After all, what is Truth? That which does not change.

15.

Dedicate your time to something sublime, and then you will not be available to get hurt.

You are hurt. because you are available.

Why are you walking around with free mental space, and spare time?

Be fully dedicated to something worthy, then all these little bruises, and wounds, and rubs, will not bother you.

Life hurts, and wounds, only those who are jobless.

Why are you jobless?

16.

To be born, is to be born into one great job.

What is that job?

The life-long mission of liberation.

You have to be fully employed there. It’s a full-time job, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three sixty five days a year.

But you do not do justice to real occupation, you steal time.

And then your punishment is, that the world will hurt you.

Your theft costs you very dearly.

17.

Be fully consumed in the one, great, divine mission.

Otherwise, life will beat you down, very badly.

You have been entrusted with time, not so that you while it away.

You have been entrusted with your fifty, or eighty years, so that you make the best use of every second. Your time is not your personal property. It has been entrusted to you.

You better use it for the designated, and assigned purpose.

18.

If you are suffering, there is nobody, but you, who is responsible.

Unless you fully accept this responsibility, there is no freedom.

If your suffering is just incidental, then how can there be freedom from it, because incidents can happen any way, any day?

You have to first of all clearly realise that suffering cannot come to you, without your consent. Not only your consent, but your active participation is needed in your process of suffering.

Not only your participation, but your active doership is needed, for you to suffer.

Otherwise, you cannot suffer.

19.

Any bit of suffering, is a clear indicator that you have been messing up with somebody’s trust.

You know whose trust I am talking of? The one who gave you time.

He gave you time, trusting that you will use time piously.

He didn’t give you time to smoke it away.

20.

You don’t have to ‘do’ anything, to escape from body.

You ‘do’ a lot to stick to the body.

21.

I say, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the result.”

I am saying, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the results.”

But to those, who are not doing the right things, I say, “Look at the results of your actions.”

22.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’ – is the utmost and final condition.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’- that condition is possible only to someone, who is already liberated of the future.

But those who are not liberated, those who have even an iota of doubt, about the center from where their actions are arising, must use the results of the action, to know the source of the action.

23.

The source of the action, and the result of the action, correspond with each other.

If the action comes from the center of holiness, then the results are bound to be – holy.

If the actions come from the center of nothingness, then the results are bound to be – nothing.

Similarly, if the actions come from the center of vice, or deception, then the results are bound to be distressing.

24.

An action which has led to peacelessness, could not have come from the right source.

An action that leads to lovelessness, has definitely come from a loveless center.

So, do mind the results.

The results will tell you where you are standing right now.

Much later will you come to a point, from where you will not need to bother about the results.

That is liberation!

25.

Man is really not born to go beyond.

Going beyond, is the highest, and the most exquisite pursuit.

If you don’t pursue that path, you are not a sinner.

You are just, normal.

If you not spiritual, you are not a sinner.

You are just normal!

26.

Spirituality, is a most exquisite pursuit.

It is only for those, who are not at all contended with, what the world can maximally offer.

Not only are they not contended with what they already have, they are not contended even with the best, what the world can potentially offer.

Those are the ones, who must take the spiritual path.

Others must satisfy themselves, with the worldly beauties.

27.

Most people are condemned to, almost succeed in the world.

The misfortune of most people is, that they never get beaten up so soundly, that they will see the futility of the world.

So they should remain well-adjusted and compromised. They should continue with the worldly life.

They should not, unnecessarily, invite the spiritual trouble. You know, for the sake of it, just because some great names have talked of spirituality, you too start dabbling.

And then, you burn your fingers.

Spirituality, is for the ones, who are ripe enough.

28.

The first thing that is needed is, viveka (discretion).

The second thing that is needed is, vairagya (dispassion).

The third thing that is needed is, shad sampatti, the six qualities (shama, dama, uprati, titiksha, shraddha, samaadhaan).

And finally, and most importantly, you need, mumuksha(desire for liberation).

When you see that you have all these, only then must you turn, a seeker.

29.

Science is fully contained in spirituality.

Spirituality, that does not contain science, is superstition.

However, science is too small, to overlap with, all of spirituality.

But one thing is certain, when you are scientific, you are spiritual as well.

However, all spirituality, is not science. Spirituality goes, way beyond science.

Spirituality begins, when you have a strong feeling, that things are not the way they must be.

30.

The effect cannot be dimensionally, beyond the cause.

Which is to say – the fruit of the action, cannot be dimensionally superior to the action.

Which is to say – the fruit of the action, is actually just the quality of the actor.

The result is dimensionally the same as the action, and the action is dimensionally the same as the actor.

Therefore, the result is in the same dimension as the actor.

~ Excerpts from ‘Shabd-Yoga’ sessions.

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Quotes, February’19 – March’19

1.

We all are bleeding in the fight

We all are fighting tirelessly.

The pity is:

We are all fighting the wrong battle.

The wounds are there.

The blood is there.

The sweat is there.

The tiredness is there.

The battle is wrong.

2.

Conserve your energy,

Train your thoughts,

Discipline your little self.

Time is precious, attention is precious.

To waste time, it is not necessary that you must do something wasteful.

It is enough to just worry.

3.

Humbly go

to the root of the mistake,

without feeling ashamed,

without a great self-image.

Look at yourself laughing,

as one looks at a joker,

laughing

at his own jokes.

Now you see

the mother mistake.

Seriousness is the mother mistake.

Don’t take yourself so seriously!

4.

This is happening, that is happening…

But whatsoever is happening is not big enough to trouble you.

That is Samadhi.

5.

Beware the man who thinks he understands.

6.

There is nothing called

self-purification

and self-improvement.

There is only one I,

and it cannot be improved upon.

And even if the false I gets improved,

only the false benefits.

How do you get better

by decorating your shadow?

Don’t improve the false,

just disown it.

7.

Was the thing the same before you perceived it?

If yes, why does the thing appear different every time you see it?

Was there a thing at all before you perceived it?

8.

Is spontaneity wonderful?

The spontaneous utterance of a sage is musical,

The spontaneous utterance of a fool is abusive.

Like everything else in life, the value of a thing or action depends squarely on where it is coming from.

9.

If you love, you want to help.

If you want to help, you will have to more clearly know the one who needs to be helped.

When you clearly know the one you want to help, there arises disgust.

That’s the challenge of love: to keep loving the one who provokes revulsion in you.

10.

Isn’t it a spell?

When you are out of it, doesn’t it all look clearly stupid?

Don’t you then curse yourself for being so blindly spellbound?

Obviously stupid it looks, but only after you’re out of it.

Why make basic freedom distant by giving it a fancy name like enlightenment?

11.

When you know

what is going on, then

you are liberated from that which is going on.

12.

It is not given to me to lie still.

The only way to see me still

is to match pace with me.

13.

The Truly spiritual man

is young in action,

and eternally old in realisation.

At the centre,

he is completely still,

like Shiva in mystical stillness.

At the periphery,

he is a lover and a fighter,

like Shiva in existential dance.

14.

What is commitment?

If I am not fit to get what I want,

then it is the ‘I’ that must yield, adjust, disappear.

The want cannot be compromised with. The want must, and will, remain.

It is the want that will shape, discipline and dissolve the I.

Commitment, Devotion, Surrender.

15.

When You are gone,then nothing matters. Body sans Heart.

When You are here, then nothing matters.

We then just casually play.

Will it matter if we win?

Well, not much.

Will it matter if we lose?

Well, not much.

The game is not meant to be won, it is meant to be played. Together.

16.

To touch

without leaving your fingerprints

– That’s the mark of

the shrewd criminal,

or the wisest saint.

17.

When you are one with the object of your consciousness, then there is just one entity, neither you nor the world. Both you and the world disappear.

This disappearance is the end of duality and end of consciousness.

A lightness free of consciousness remains, and this is awareness.

18.

If you find yourself stuck with suffering, ask: Is suffering sticking to me? Or am I sticking to suffering?

One sticks to suffering by sticking to the same breakfast, same friends, same cap, same habits.

When everything in life is being kept the same, how can life itself change?

19.

Just reading the Guru helps little.

You’ve to be near.

Physically as you live, you’ve to be physically near.

Even being within the seeing range of the Guru won’t help.

You’ve to be within smelling range of the Guru.

Actually, you’ve to be within slapping range of the Guru.

20.

We have a tremendous potential to suffer and a tremendous resistance to call our situation as suffering.

We name our situation as ambition, hope, desire, duty, passion, love, but never give it the right name:suffering.

We laugh aloud among others, and suffer quietly in our loneliness

21.

Even when you are totally drenched in melancholy,

You are able to cry only because you are still healthy.

22.

The best gift you can give to others is your own freedom.

~ Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait

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What is disappearance of the self? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

What is disappearance of the self

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Question: Acharya ji, what is the meaning of disappearance of the self?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Your interest in your interests has to disappear. Your interests can remain. Can this brain survive without interests? Your lungs are greatly interested on Oxygen, and they reject Nitrogen. Can lungs survive without interests?

Let the interested one, remain interested.

‘You’ have no business to be interested.

The intellect is curious by design. The intellect will remain interested. Have you not seen kids, three years olds, asking questions that grown-ups cannot answer. They will remain interested. Let the intellect, the design of the brain, remain interested. ‘You’ need not remain interested.

Let this physical system, including the brain apparatus, remain curious, interested, inquisitive, whatever. Even attached. ‘You’ stay wherever you must.

Spirituality does not entail that the lungs must give up oxygen. Renunciation is not for the lungs, Sir. Do not stretch it to absurd limits. That will give you another excuse to stay away from spirituality.

You will say, “Baba was asking me to renounce oxygen. If I have to have no relation with the world, why must I even breathe?” Because breathing is the continuous relationship with the world. And seeing is the continuous relationship with the world. So if spirituality means renunciation, even at the physical level, or at the psychological level, then you have to cease existing as an embodied entity.

Spirituality is not committing suicide, or is it? Then we do not need satsang, we need mass suicide halls. Over! It has happened, you know. There have been cults in Japan and other places, where incidents of mass suicides have been reported. They thought, that is ‘liberation’. So, 300-400 hundred people would get together, and would just breathe in some nice gas. And all are liberated. That is not spirituality, obviously!

Do not deprive the stomach of food. And do not deprive the mind of thoughts and feelings. Just as it is stupid to deprive body of food, it is equally stupid to deprive the mind of thoughts and feelings. Thought is not the enemy. Feelings are not the culprit. Your misplaced presence is the culprit. The needless presence of ‘I’ in the thoughts, is the culprit.

Be fully secure about the ‘I’, and then think as much as you want to. Feel, in whichever dimension you want to. You can laugh, you can sing, you can cry. You can even hate, or fall in love. All that is okay. All that is part of the rainbow.

Spirituality is not about banishing certain things, from your life.

Spirituality is just about seeing, that life is beautiful, and does not get any better, with the intervention of the little self, the ‘I’.

It is one thing to think, it is a totally another thing, to think with the objective of self-preservation. Can you see the difference these two thoughts? There is just thought, as is needed to solve a mathematical problem. And then there is the thought, that feeds on fear. Are these two the same?

Thought is not the problem.

Your insecurities about yourself, your utter loneliness –  that is the problem.

And that is an assumed, imagined problem.

A problem that does not exist, but is taking to be.

Now how smart is that – to be fretting over an imagined problem?

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

Watch the session:  What is disappearance of the self? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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

Why does one have ego

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Probing inside, I came

Seeking the moon within me:

Sifting the chaff from the grain.

I went seeking

The like, Alike,

Thou art Narayan.

Thou art Narayan, then,

Why this will-o-wisp.

~ Saint Lalleshwari

Question: Acharya Ji, why do I  have ego?

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

It exists because, you do.

When was the ego born?

When ‘I’ was born.

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

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

Listener: ‘I’

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

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

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

A thing that is severely limited by time and space.

And therefore suffers.

And is therefore debilitated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, why be born at all?

Listener: But we have taken birth now.

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

Hence, be cautious.


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

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


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The four grades of mind || Acharya Prashant (2019)

The four grades of mind

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Question: Acharya ji, what is the most important lesson in spiritual wisdom? How to understand the mind of a commoner? How to understand a spiritual mind? How to understand a scientific mind? What are the challenges faced in spiritual journey?

Acharya Prashant Ji: One of the key lessons in spiritual wisdom, is to keep imagination apart from facts, is to not take your ‘personal world’, as ‘the’ world. It is already bad enough that we take ‘the factual world’, ‘the world’ to be real. And it would become far worse if we started taking even our ‘personal world’, ‘the imaginary world’ to be real.

The mark of the commoner is, he lives in his personal world, and attributes to it, the finality of Truth. The mark of the scientist, is that he does not live in his world, he does not care about subjective interpretations of the world, he lives fully in facts. So his science is fully objective, and does not contain trace of personal subjecivity. The scientist is obviously, an advancement over the common psyche. And then the mark of the spiritual mind, is that, it does not lend veracity even to the factual world.

The common mind is inclined to say, “Something exists, because I feel it does.” Right? “Something exists, because I feel, or think that it does.” So he says, “Something exists.” So his world is very, very subjective. Then there is the world of the scientist. He says, “Something does not merely exist, because it appears to exist. Appearances can be deceptive. Appearances vary from person to person, even mood to mood. So I have to verify. I have to cross-check.” And that is the scientific method.

Prove it, and any number of proofs do not suffice to ascertain the veracity of something. But one proof against the veracity of something, suffices to prove that it is false. That’s the scientific mind.

And then there is the spiritual mind.

The spiritual mind says, “Not only is the imaginary world unreal, even this objective, factual, scientifically proven world, that you see, expanded all around you and inside you, is not quite real.”

We have talked of three kinds of minds. There is another quality of mind, that is below even the common mind. It is the mind of the madman, the crazy man. The common man cares at least a bit for facts. The crazy man does not care even one bit for facts.

The common mind would atmost say, “Yes, this is the pillar. But I do not like this pillar.” So, to him this is a dis-likable pillar. The crazy mind would may even say that this is an elephant, and he would insist that this is an elephant, and this is his totally personal truth.

The more your truth becomes personal, the more crazy you are. The madman too lives in truths, but all his truths are purely personal. If he says, “This is an elephant,” – this is an elephant for him. He says, “I do not bother about universality. I do not bother about something being verifiable. I do not bother about facts. Obviously I do not bother about the Truth. All I bother about is my subjective perception.”

The more you live in your world of subjective perceptions, the more crazy you are.

Listener: So, in the light of this, this is the good reason for travelling and wanting to explore?

Acharya Ji: Yes, very good.

Travel helps you see that several of the things, opinions customs, mindsets, you were taking as absolutes, or general, universal, are not universal at all. 

There are alternate viewpoints possible.

There are alternate ways of living possible.

That does not mean that alternate ways of living are truer than your ways of living. That merely means, that there do exist alternatives, and Truth has no alternative. So, a thing to which an alternative does exist, is just not the Truth. If it is not the Truth, it must not be given the position of Truth. It must be taken lightly, casually, with a pinch of salt.

Do not be sold out to it. Do not become a fanatic. Do not hold your opinions, as if they are the last thing. But, if you have seen nothing, apart from opinions of your personal kind, then you would be much more inclined to believe that you opinions are not personal, or subjective opinions of a person, or a place, but that they are the final Truth.

It is always helpful to see an alternative. It is probably even more helpful, to watch your point of view challenged, even defeated. All of that helps you, come out of your false truths.

The key challenge in spirituality, is not the attainment of absolute Truth, because there is as such nothing to be attained. What are you going to attain with these little hands? Can you really attain immensity? You cannot. The infinite is not given to be contained in littleness. And we are all very little.

Hence, the key challenge is not the attainment of the infinite. The key challenge is to come out of the finite. And that is far more difficult. We keep talking of the immense, the great, the unknowable, the unreachable, the absolute. But hardly do we bother to challenge all the relatives, all the littlenesses, all the subjectivities, that we so very identify with. And not only do we identify with them, we label them as the – final Truth.

Challenging your personal truths, is most of spirituality. Those are the ninety-none steps. Ninety-nine steps of the personal demolition. And the final step, that just happens. What is incumbent upon you, that for which you are responsible, is personal demolition. You are not responsible for attainment of the absolute Truth.

That is not at all your responsibility, because you are too small to do that. However, you are surely, definitely, responsible to challenge yourself. That responsibility everyone must bear. That is the basis of personal integrity, personal honesty.

Personal integrity is – to not to take the person too seriously.

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

Watch the session:  The four grades of mind || Acharya Prashant (2019) 


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When there are no questions to ask the Teacher || Acharya Prashant (2019)

When there are no questions to ask the Teacher

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Question: Dear Acharya ji, Pranaam! I know that the online sessions are interactive. A question needs to be asked, and the question will be addressed by you. Acharya ji, sometimes I desperately search for a question to ask, may be just so that I may participate, and my presence is acknowledged, but nothing comes to mind.

At other times, I feel the need to say something, but then it is all garbled in the mind. No clear thoughts emerge. It’s like a dumb person, who is trying to speak, but can’t say something. Am I not able to express myself clearly? Is something holding me back?

Sometimes these thoughts come to mind, especially when we are urged to ask questions in the sessions. So I thought I will put it out to you, to bring it to light. Thank you for your love and guidance, and infinite patience with all of us.

In deep gratitude, Nimisha, from Mumbai.

Acharya Prashant ji: Nimisha, there are many aspects to this, you see. First thing, one need not always ask a question. Listening is enough. The ego tendency is one, and therefore, fundamentally the mind of mankind, is just one. Therefore, the question asked by one person, is in some way, the question of entire mankind. Even if you say that your question is different, you still have a question.

If you have a question, this means the fundamental tendency still stands unresolved. The central knot, is still there.

So, the knot exists in one person, the knot exists in another person.

In one person, it manifests itself in the form of one question. In the other person, it manifests itself in the form of another question. 

So it doesn’t matter what the content, or the language, or the direction of the question is, it is actually pointing towards the knot, it is actually coming from the knot.

And that knot is common to all. 

It could be anybody’s question. You may feel that you don’t have this doubt, but still the answer will be greatly beneficial to you, because all doubts are one. It is not proper to say that half your doubts are clear. If your doubts are really clear, no doubt would remain. You cannot say that your doubts belong to another area.

One person’s doubt, is another person’s doubt. One query, is everybody’s query. And if you say that a particular query is not yours, you are actually making a very tall claim. You are saying de-facto, that all your queries have been resolved.

Do you get what I am saying?

Fundamental knot is the same, queries differ on the surface. When the Teacher responds, then even to a superficial query, the answer is deep. So, he might be starting from anywhere, but he will go right to the central knot. And the central knot stands untied, problematic, for all. Therefore all answers are useful, even if one just listens, benefit would follow.

And second thing is, one has to figure out why the questions are not arising. I said that the first thing is, it is not necessary to ask questions. You may just as well listen, benefit would follow. Now I am saying, it is equally important to ask why questions are not arising.

Questions arise, you know, when one’s pre-existing concepts are challenged. Then there is a question.

Questions arise when one’s conceptual and imaginary world, hits against facts.

Then questions arise, then one feels woken up.

A question represents an inconsistency in your life.

Only when there is something inconsistent in your life, then you want to ask a question.

If everything appears resolved, in place, in order, squared, fair enough, explained, then there would be no questions. Now, you see, why, it may portend a danger, if one doesn’t have questions? If you don’t have a question, it may mean, that you are not really striking against your boundaries. It may mean, that you are living for too long, or too comfortably, within your confined world.

And within that confined world, everything is orderly. Within that confined world, everything stands explained, structured, resolved, refined, sorted out. And because everything sands explained, refined, sorted out, therefore there is no query at all. Now, I said, that portends danger. You know very well, why?

Because that means that you are not hitting hard enough against your boundaries. It might mean that it is quite comfortable within the boundaries. So instinctively, you are not feeling like cracking the boundaries open.

One has to arrive at an inconsistency, only then a question will arise.

One has to arrive at something unusual, only then a question will arise.

If the daily life is such that, it is just a repetition of the usual patterns, then obviously no question will arise. 

A question arises, when something strange happens.

The kid says, “Mumma, what is that?” No. But for the kid to raise a question, the kid has to be taken on a tour. If you are not taking the kid out on a tour, it should not surprise you that the kid has no questions to ask.

So, Nimisha, you need to take the kid out. Probably, you are being over-protective of the kid, that is you. Or you are keeping the kid too busy in homework, you know for the sake of progress or something. The kid needs to encounter something abnormal, something beyond it’s concepts. Something that it has not seen or experienced. And the whole world is full of such things.

Outside our little, arranged and ordered world, everything is unusual. Everything is beyond our knowledge and comprehension. It’s just that we are not exposed to it.

New situations are needed. Extra-ordinary events are needed. A breaking out, rather a coming out, is needed. And then, things will happen that you would be curious about. And then things would happen, in a way, that would belie your expectations. If everything happens according to your expectations, why would someone ever ask a question? 

And if everything is happening as per expectation, even expectations are being broken, as per expectations, then it means that life is just too structured, predictable, probably boring as well.

Get into new activities. Challenge your limits. Wear different caps, play different games. Test that which you might have taken for granted.

And then you will flood the session with questions!

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

Watch the session:  When there are no questions to ask the Teacher || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Why falsely satisfied with the personal?

Why falsely satisfied with the personal

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Question: Acharya ji, many times of the day, there may be happiness in the background, but if any sad event happens, then it takes more time to recover to my normal, common state.

Why is it so?

Acharya Prashant ji: Don’t give yourself so much time. The Satan was once asked, “When you want to fool people, what do you tell them?” He replies, “I whisper in their ears, “Your time is, ‘your’ time.” Why do you have so much of personal time? Why do you have free time at all? Free-time, is the most un-free time.

Why is your time not committed, not dedicated to a higher purpose?

If you will have free time, what will you do? You will only use that time to destroy yourself.

Your time must be a something, that you are merely a trustee of.

When you are a trustee of something, then you don’t own it. Then you just look after it. You maintain it, you keep it.

You don’t possess it, you don’t utilize it.

And even if you utilize it, you utilize it for a goal that is not your personal goal. Why do you utilize your time for your personal goals? That’s bad, and that’s why you are punished.

Question: Acharya ji, for e.g. if a death happens in my neighborhood, I come to normalcy sooner or later. But if a death happens in my family, it takes me longer time to recover. Why is it so?

Acharya ji: What if the death happens in your family, and at the same time, an earthquake strikes the entire country. Would you still have time to ponder over that solitary death? Why don’t you have a higher purpose?

Why don’t you see that an earthquake is constantly hitting us? There is a constant upheaval. Nobody is centered, or peacefully situated. All are in turmoil. All living beings are passing through the harrowing cycle of life and death.

How can you then allow yourself to be perturbed by a solitary death? Tell me. Why do you have only personal considerations in mind? What does one death in my neighborhood mean, in the context of the billion animals that are being slaughtered every day? Why don’t you have a perspective? Why don’t you have a bigger picture available to you? Even as you are grieving over the one death, in let’s say your cousin’s family, a billion goats, rabbits, lambs, fish, cows, camels, and off-course chicken, have been slaughtered even as the tear-drop rolls down your eyes, to your chin.

In the time, that it takes the tear-drop to roll down, from your eye, to your chin, millions of living beings have been slaughtered, and you are grieving over the one personal relationship you had. How noble is that? How are you available to grief?

Listener: But, ultimately it is true.

Acharya ji: It is not true, till it is true for you.

Question: Acharya ji, why does it happen, that I worry only about something bad happening to me?

Acharya ji: Your consciousness is too self-centred. It needs expansion, it needs sublimation.

Listener: My daily life rotates around only certain aspects.

Acharya ji: Change the daily life. Give it up. That’s why you have been called here. Why must you preserve this thing called ‘daily life’? I invite you to begin afresh. Why is there such sacredness around your personal life? What is really sacred about this thing called ‘personal life’, ‘personal time’, ‘personal relationships’? I tell you, given a chance, you will want to give all that up.

Given a chance to really re-live your life, you will never want to live the same way you have done. Even the most self-assured person, would want to greatly amend his life, if allowed a chance to begin again. Is it not true?

Publicly you may claim, that you would want to again live the same life, if you get a chance. Inside you know, that is not the case. Nobody is contended.

Why attach some, or great sacredness, to the thing that you are already not satisfied with. Don’t you see a gross contradiction? We live in perpetual flux of desires. What does that mean? We are not contended. Do you see that? Do you see that?

And on the other hand, we attach the great sanctity to our personal life. Now, on one hand, you are not at all contended with your state. On the other hand, you treat it as some divine absolute – unchangeable and perfect.  Isn’t it contradictory? Isn’t it self-destructive?

Please!

I will put it in simpler words. On one hand, you are not at all satisfied with your state of affairs, are you? On the other hand, you do not want to touch a lot of things in your life, as if they are absolutely the Truth – not touchable, not changeable. C’mon, be prepared to discard all that. All ‘this’.

Question: Acharya ji, I am now realising that one should have a larger perspective towards life. Our life should not be limited only to one’s family and locality. Am I right?

Acharya ji: Obviously a larger perspective, obviously. But you have to differentiate between your personal capacity, for action, your personal, physical, limited energy, and the possibility o infinite realization.

One very well knows that hunger is widespread. That must be known. One has  a capacity for global consciousness, or is that capacity not available? But that does not mean that you will simultaneously have the capacity to globally eradicate hunger. These two must go hand-in-hand.

On one hand you must have sympathy, rather close empathy for all the animals being mis-treated, ill-treated, exploited. On the other hand, you very well know that you cannot go to Africa or Canada and prevent all the exploitation that is happening there. But what is it that you can do? You can at least protect animals in your vicinity.

And these two must go hand-in-hand – a universal consciousness, and local action.

You cannot say that because I cat locally, so my consciousness is also local.

No!

Because if your consciousness is local, then your entire person-hood will become very-very local.

You will become, in simple words, very-very narrow-minded.

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

Watch the session:  Why falsely satisfied with the personal? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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Conflict among parents, and effect on child || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Conflict among parents, and effect on child

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Question: Acharya ji, what happens when parents are in conflict? What happens to the child? How can two people, the husband and the wife, love the child very much, but between them there is a lot of conflict?

What is the impact on the child? And how can the parent help the child to be a stable adult?

Acharya Prashant: It’s a double calamity. You see, first of all, there is this basic thing regarding company. Let’s say there is only one child. So, there are three people – the man, the woman, and the child.

The child has the company of the man and the woman. The man and the woman, constitute, let’s say fifty to eighty percent of the child’s company. Except for the neighboring playground, and the school he goes to, who is the one who provides him company? These two, the man and the woman.

So, it is these two, that he principally, got for company. And when you are in the company of people, who are always fighting, what effect will it have on your mind?

Forget that those people are your parents. Any two people. If you are in a railway coach, and that too, in an enclosed cabin, with two fellow passengers, and it’s just a journey let’s say ten hours long, and those two people are constantly squabbling, what would it do to you?

Listener: Irritating, Frustrating.

Acharya ji: If you are very patient, you will try to sleep. If you are little less patient, you will try to calm them down. If you know even lesser patience, you will pull the chain. And if you are totally fed up, you may as well not decide to wait the next station.

(laughter)

If even ten hours are intolerable, with two quarreling people, how does it feel to live with two quarreling fools, for an entire lifetime? Forget that they are your parents, any two persons. I said that even strangers, fellow travelers in a train. It’s a very-very bad thing to happen, to anybody. And worst, if it happens to the impressionable mind of the child.

When you are fighting, you become very-very self-centered. Extremely selfish. When you  are fighting, then ego is aroused to unimaginable levels. You forget all about anybody else. In the moment of aggressive excitement, you are totally yourself, you are totally the little self, you are totally the petty ego. And then the others’s welfare, the other’s concern, cease to matter. 

When the woman is fighting the man, and vice-versa, then it becomes immaterial to both of them, what is happening to the child. The woman has to win, the man has to win. And in the process of winning that petty battle, what is happening to the kid, becomes insignificant.

Listener: What is the solution?

Acharya ji: We have to see what is happening. Next thing, is the issue of identification. First thing was of company. Next is of, identification. Not only is the kid in bad company, he is deeply identified with these two quarreling people.

One is his or her mother. The other is his or her father. And what does identification mean? I am – that. This is what identification says, right? That am I. In the heated moment of the quarrel, what is the mother? The mother is pure aggression. What is the father? The father is pure hatred. And the kid is saying, “That am I,” because the kid is identified with the father and the mother.

So what does the kid become? Aggression and hatred. And the mother and the father will not even realise it. They will say, “We were fighting. We didn’t do anything to the kid as such.” You did do, and you did a lot. You destroyed the kid.

Listener: So, is it better to separate?

Acharya ji: And take the kid along.

Listener: The kid will live with at least one of them.

Acharya ji: Would one of them live and survive loneliness? No. That one of them, will surely, pull into his life, somebody else. It may not necessarily be somebody from the opposite sex. But that fellow is surely not going to live a vacuous, and vacant life. He would find something, to get involved in, because the fundamental, petty ego, remains the same, even after separation.

Separation does not transform the ego. Divorce is not enlightenment. Or is it? So you are still the same. Kid is still with one of these two fools. In fact, it might make it worse for the kid, because now there is nobody else to fight with. So the kid gets all the aggressive attention. You know, you can’t beat up he wife now. And the hand is itching. So, it’s the kid.

Divorce, and separation, are obviously not the solution.

Solution lies in basic, inner transformation.

And that inner transformation will become easier, if the parents see that they have some love for the kid. 

You know, sometimes it is easier to do for others, than for yourself. It is easier to say, “I will accept defeat, not because I feel like getting defeated, but for the sake of the kid.”

“For the sake of the child, I am prepared to accept the defeat.”

The important thing is to realise that it is not for no reason, that most of the world’s population, is already distorted, by the time it reaches adolescence.

This organisation has worked a lot, with teenagers and young people. And let me tell you, by the time a boy or a girl reaches seventeen, there is ninety-five percent chance that he or she is already a very difficult case, almost beyond redemption. Such is the distortion of psyche, that happens due to a bad childhood.

In fact, if there is one unpardonable crime, it is bad parenting. 

You are not even killing someone. You are disfiguring someone, and sentencing him, to live an entire life. How does it sound? It is like chopping off somebody’s limbs, and ensuring that he lives. And lives an entire life, without limbs.

In fact, it is probably possible to live an entire life without these physical limbs. But it is far worse, living an entire life, with a distorted mind. And the parents, and to some extent, the society and the education, they very badly distort the minds of young people.

And it is also something very curious, very regrettable, that often it happens, that the more ignorant a person is, the more desirous he is, of having kids. It is not always the case, but it is found very frequently.

In fact, if a proper scientific survey is done, may be a statistical correlation can be established. The ignorance quotient, will be directly proportional to the number of kids one has.

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

Watch the session:  Conflict among parents, and effect on child || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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What affects you from outside is actually present inside|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

What affects you from outside is actually present inside

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Question: Acharya ji, I am a doctor by profession. When i treat my patients, I too get depressed by looking at their suffering. What should I do?

Acharya Prashant: Keep doing what you are doing, or drop the intention to help people. The very intention to help people, indicates that you know of a state, beyond sorrow. Had sorrow been acceptable to you as a norm, why would you aim to pull other people out of their sorrow? You would say, “Sorrow is the norm.” If sorrow is the norm, why does anybody need to be helped?

The intention to help, itself is proof of your deep inner conviction, that sorrow is transient, that sorrow will go.

And sorrow must go.

But then, there is the heartfelt conviction versus the age-old habits of the mind. The mind is acquisitive. And it loves to acquire all kinds of diseases. So with sorrowlessness in your heart, you go to help others. And as you go to help others, you find that the same sorrow has started affecting you.

That’s bound to happen!

Keep doing what you are doing. If you think that by retreating, or giving up, you would be able to save yourself from sorrow, that is not going to happen. The sorrow that you think is an infection coming from outside, is not really coming from outside.

Coming face-to-face with sorrowed people, it is your own ancient sorrow, that wakes up. Had it not been present in the recesses of your mind, it couldn’t have affected you. Seeing the agony of others, you are reminded of your own.

And it’s great, if hidden angst, hidden sorrow, come to the fore. Now, at least consciously, you know that it exists. Otherwise you can live in the delusion, that you are sorrow-free.

Do you see how the whole thing operates? When you decide to help others, it is yourself you end up helping. So in your own self-interest, continue helping others. Who said that it is going to be easy?

The doctor must know that he himself is the most difficult patient to treat. So difficult, that he can’t treat himself directly. He will have to treat himself, via other patients.

Listener: Acharya ji, sometimes my patients get angry and jealous because I don’t show sympathy towards them, even if I know their suffering.

Acharya ji: Every trait that your patients are displaying, is present within you as well. Had it not been present within you, you wouldn’t have been affected by their behaviour.

If somebody’s anger perturbs you, that is proof of your own anger. If you can identify jealousy in somebody, it is proof that you know what jealousy is. The highest point of sainthood is, when you lose the capacity to even detect disease. That is total freedom from disease.

If you can, still detect disease, it means that disease is still present in you, even if in the most rudimentary way.

You go to one who is totally free, and you talk of anger to him, he won’t really know what you are talking of. That is freedom, absolute.

The totally free one has forgotten, totally forgotten. That’s why he doesn’t experience fear. He has lost a particular faculty. It is as if he cannot see. It is as if he cannot think. Therefore, so many thoughts just don’t come to him. That’s freedom absolute.

Even if you try to introduce, a lot many thoughts to him, you will find that he is just incapable of receiving those thoughts. It is not that he is resistant to those thoughts. Kindly know the distinction.

It’s not that the free one is resistant to thoughts.

He has simply become innocent of thoughts.

He cannot have a lot of those things, that we have, even if he wants to.

It’s not a decision that he makes, to not to be angry. It is now beyond him, to be angry.

He has become incapable!

Now seeing others, he may enact anger. But still, he can never really be angry. It is now, outside of him, to really harm anybody. Funnily enough, even if decides to harm anybody, he will end up doing good.

Even if, with a lot of conscious determination, he one day decides – I have to hurt this one, this one seriously deserves a slap – you would find, that he is only delivering healing, through the slap. And that’s powerlessness. He is now powerless, in a way of saying.

On the other hand, if you find that you have make a decision to be good, if you find that badness is still a real threat to you, then you must know that you are still not totally free of badness.

That which affects you from the outside, is actually present inside.

Otherwise, it couldn’t have affected you.

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

Watch the session:  What affects you from outside is actually present inside || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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What is the ego tendency? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is the ego tendency

Question: What is ego tendency? What is maya? Why does the mind get distracted? How to be attentive?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You see, we often say that suffering is when things start cluttering the mind. Kabir Sahib says, “Maya is that, which occupies your mind.”

We need to ask, “To whom is the occupation?”

Let us say a girl keeps dancing in your mind. To whom is she dancing? Who is watching her? To whom has she come? Has she come to a nobody? Has she come to an empty house? She is dancing in your mind. To whom has she come? Had you not been there, would she have come? That’s the ego tendency.

Whenever you see something, you must see that, that which you are seeing is for you. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been there. Your universe is, for you. Otherwise, it is not there.

That girl has come to your mind, for you. You go away from yourself, the girl too wouldn’t be there.

Questioner: What is this ‘going away from oneself’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: First of all, you are attached to the brain. ‘I tendency’ attached to the brain is called ‘mind’. And therefore she comes to the mind. To merely the brain, she will not be a big trouble. But to the mind, she is a big attraction, or distraction.

A male dog does not keep dreaming of the female dog. That does not happen. But a man can keep dreaming of a woman, for fifty years.

You are so attached to the brain, that now there is all kind of mischief. So, now when things start appearing to you, when things start becoming important to you, when things start occupying you, you must ask, “To whom have they come?”

You must ask, “So many unwelcome guests have arrived. But who is the host?” So many unwelcome guests have arrived to the mind. The mind is the house. So many unwelcome guests have arrived to the house, but who is the host?

And then you will hear a resounding voice, “I am.” That’s what Nisargadatta teaches. The guests are surely all bogus. But who is the host? I am. Had I not been the host, the guests would not have arrived. So don’t blame the guests.

Don’t chase away the guest. Because even if you chase away the guests, you still are. You go away from the house, the guests too will go away. Which is the house to which firstly you came, and then the guests came? The body.

First of all, you are very attached to the body. And then therefore, the girl starts circulating in the mind.

Questioner: When you say, “You leave the mind,” what is this ‘leaving’? How can it happen?

Acharya Prashant Ji: “I don’t need to be here. I don’t need to be here.”

Right now you are in the house, just as a patient is in the hospital. A patient does not visit the hospital on his own, in his bliss. The patient needs to be in the hospital.

Similarly, you need to be in this house.

That’s bad. Very bad.

You have turned yourself into a patient, needlessly.

Had you been a visitor, a casual visitor to the body, an occasional visitor, it was okay. But you are here, as a new visitor to the emergency, as a new enrollment in the trauma centre. Freshly admitted.

Questioner: So is the detachment of a patient with the hospital possible ?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You tried a lot of mischief, and you held yourself very wise. Now ask yourself, “Is the hospital any good? Am I being treated?”

First of all, you needlessly got admitted. And now all kinds of things are being performed upon you. Are you liking it? Somebody is holding you to the stretcher. Two nurses who think that you are a helpless baby, are trying to nurse you in your own personal ways.

One is may be the mother, and the other is the wife. They are trying to nurse you all the time. And one fellow, who considers himself a master surgeon, is rushing towards you with a large saw. And now that you have started yelling at him. Another one is dipping your face in anesthesia. They are trying to make you unconscious.

Do you like this hospital?

Questioner: No, but what is the choice available to me? Where to go?

Acharya Prashant Ji: All places are within the hospital. There is nowhere to go to. That is your ‘go to place’ – nowhere to go to. As long as hope remains, you will get relieved from Fortis (name of a certain hospital), only to get admitted to Apollo (name of another hospital). Your entire journey will be from one hospital to another hospital, from one trauma center to another emergency ward.

You don’t need to be ‘anywhere’.

You don’t need to be ‘anybody’.

There is nobody to hold onto, and there is nothing to defend.

You don’t need to protect anything. 

You don’t need to safeguard anything.

There are no vulnerabilities.

You are not hurt.

————————————————————————————————

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

Watch the session video:What is the ego tendency? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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