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

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

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

Now, is this fear yours?

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

Is that the Truth?

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

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

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

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

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

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is what Vedas are all about.

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

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Acharya Prashant: Ambition and anger

Acharya Prashant: What is your name?

Listener: Kshitij Aggarwal.

AP: The question asked by Kshitij is why do needs often dominate ambition?

And he surely thinks that it is quite unfortunate that needs to start dominating ambitions. The reason is simple, he probably gives a lower priority to needs and higher priority to ambitions because he thinks that the ambitions are his. He has kept ambitions very close to himself. He believes that they are his own.

So, he deeply wants the ambitions to be fulfilled. But finds that instead, something else has to be done, first of all, we will understand this conflict. And we all face this conflict, this conflict is not only in Kshitij’s mind, this conflict in the mind of every single one of us. But we are all confused, we rarely know, what to do. There are always one or more options in front of us, and we are unable to see clearly which one is suitable. Right?

This happens not only once in six months, at the time of admissions or at the time of choosing a job, it keeps happening daily, day in and day out. What is this conflict? you will have to understand.

Kshitij,

Our mind is dominated by ‘external influences’ which we have so far called is the development of ‘Ego.’

Our mind is not our mind, our mind is a collection of all external influences.

Our mind is divided into many many segments and many parts, and there are so many different forces that are controlling these separate parts. So, one part is being controlled by parents, one part is being dominated by media, one part is being dominated by society, one part by peers, one by corporations, one by thoughts of career, one by XYZ, and very very large number of parts.

Now, these different parts are your different masters. It’s like a person is tied to fifty different ropes being pulled by fifty different people in fifty different directions. Will that person be able to move towards any definite direction, any one direction.

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Just grows

Whatever you think you are, is one identity that you are carrying. And that identity can have no possibility of any Love. So, forget it that there can be any ‘self- love’! No self-love is possible. ‘Self -love’ is an oxymoron.

The Great man is not a Great man. That Great man has to be Great, every passing moment inattention.

The Great man, retains his understanding of himself, as somebody who is different from his concepts. He does not get identified with his thoughts.

A cancerous cell is very very ambitious! It multiplies like hell. That’s ambition. A normal healthy cell, does not grow out of ambition. It just grows. Just grows.

Growth is your very nature. It happens spontaneously out of understanding. It does not require ambition. You don’t need to be ambitious in order to grow.

There is no target, no ambitionThis is Self-love.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Self-love, and difference between self and the Self


 

Acharya Prashant: Self-love, and difference between self and the Self

Acharya Prashant: What is self? Me, I.

This thing that you refer to as the self, is not one thing. Understand this.

Let’s for the purpose of understanding, call it, self with a small ‘s’ and Self with a capital ‘S’. Understand this!

This is what you think you are (pointing at the ‘self’). This is what you are (pointing at the ‘Self’). We operate incessantly with this only (‘s’). With our thoughts. And here, there is no possibility of any Love. Just ruled out.

So, when you say self-love, it’s actually a redundant term. If you are dealing with yourself in this (‘s’) domain, Love is anyway not possible and this (in the domain of ‘Self’) is nothing but pure Love. Not the kind of Love that you know of while sitting here. This is an unknown thing to you, a totally unseen beast, of which you have no idea presently.

Here, nothing called self-love can be possible (in the domain of ‘self’). Here, only tension, frustration, attachment, obsessions are there. It’s another thing that you name them Love. You can call your pre-occupations as Love, you can call all your desires as Love, you can call your attachments as Love. You can call all your dependencies as Love, you can call all your possessiveness as Love. This all, what you call love is only going to give you trouble. It would be narrow, it would be jealousy-ridden, it would be insecure. And it would be of no avail at all. Are you understanding this?

But, unfortunately, this is the Love that we know of. And this operates only here (in the domain of ‘self’). What is this self that you know of?

Listeners: With a small ‘s’

AP: This is that self in which if I ask you now, that write ten statements starting with ‘I am’ which all end in some kind of noun, you will easily write them. What would you write?

You would write, “I am a daughter”, “I am a son”, “I am a student”, “I am an Engineer”, “I am an aspiring professional”, “I am an Indian”, “I am a Hindu or a Muslim”. “I am a North Indian”, “I am a male”, “I am a female”. “I am smart”, “I am intelligent”, right?

“I am thin”, “I am long”, “I am fat”, “I am suave”, all such things? Correct?

All these self-concepts, belong to this (indicating at ‘self’). Because this is what you think you are! Are we together till this point?

Whatever you think you are, is one identity that you are carrying.

And that identity can have no possibility of any Love.

So, forget it that there can be any ‘self- love’!

No self-love is possible.

‘Self -love’ is an oxymoron.

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The greatest dependence is psychological dependence

Before you talk of the future, shouldn’t you first understand what you are doing right now?

In your moments of deepest enjoyment, have you ever thought of the future? Tell me?

To look towards future, one would have to take his attention away from the present, right?

Your goals cannot be bigger than your awareness. Goals will just be within the circumference of what you know.

Life is the present moment, there is nothing else. If you are free right now, there is no need to become enslaved the next moment. Why do you want to pretend that we are slaves? You are not! You are free this moment!

And remember, financial dependence is not a great dependence. Even physical dependence may not be a great dependence. The greatest dependence is psychological dependence.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: On plans and goal-setting


 

Acharya Prashant: On plans and goal-setting

Question: Acharya Ji, we should have future plans also. What should set that in our minds that what we are going to be in future!

Acharya Prashant: Alright, that is a very sensible question. What’s your name?

Questioner: Aanchal.

AP: Right. Aanchal, suppose if one day, you give one of your friends a call. And say, tell me, which road goes to Chandigarh? How do I reach Chandigarh? And you are feverishly asking her. How do I reach Chandigarh, tell me, how do I reach Chandigarh? If your friend is sensible enough, what is the question she is going to ask you?

Listeners: Where are you, now?

AP: Where are you right now? To reach anywhere, shouldn’t you firstly know where are you right now? To talk about future, shouldn’t you firstly know what the present moment is? And if the present moment is known, is Chandigarh too far away?

Before you talk of the future, shouldn’t you first understand what you are doing right now?

And right now means exactly right now! Are you aware of how your thoughts are wending? Are you aware, from where are these questions arising? Are you even aware, why there is incessant thirst for the future?

In your moments of deepest enjoyment, have you ever thought of the future?

Tell me?

Have you noticed? Have you been attentive to the fact that when is it that you really start thinking of the future?

When you are? Insecure. When you are insecure, and tense and anxious, that’s when your mind rushes to the future.

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Confidence is a disease

In fear, you feel that it might be lost. In confidence, you feel that there is no threat of it being lost.

Fear is the stage when the root has become a full-grown tree but the root of both ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’ is the same, giving importance to external attainments.

The question of confidence arises only when you are afraid. You see the linkage between ‘fear’ and ‘confidence.’ The one which is confident is surely afraid just that he is not realizing it at that point. If there is no fear, there is no need of confidence.

Confidence is the shadow of fear.

Confidence is a disease.

Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness.

The more the world will mean to you, the more afraid you will be.

Unfortunately, confidence is no treatment for fear.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness


 

Acharya Prashant: Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness

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Question: If a person has stage-fear, how can that person enhance or extract the ‘Inner-confidence?’

Acharya Prashant: Sit. See ‘confidence’ and ‘fearfulness,’ ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’ these two are actually the two names for the same state of mind. Fearfulness says, “I’m at the risk of losing something important that something important can be anything – money, security, respect whatever relationship.” Confidence says, “these things are important but I’m not at the risk of losing them.” What is common in between confidence and fear?

I am repeating, pay attention now! Fear says, “what I have from the world is important and is at a risk of getting lost.” Confidence says, “what I have from the world is of course, important but it is not at the risk of getting lost.” Now, what is common between ‘confidence’ and ‘fear?’

Listener: Acharya Ji, the dependency on the world.

AP: Both says, “what I have from the world is surely important.”

In fear, you feel that it might be lost.

In confidence, you feel that there is no threat of it being lost.

But remember, this feeling of no threat depends on time. What is not threatened right now, will be threatened after five minutes or after five days. Confidence will surely turn into fear because you have already made the basic preparation to be ‘afraid.’ The basic preparation to be afraid is, the thought that what the world has given to me is, ‘important.’

The root is there. Confidence is the point when the root has yet not expressed itself into the tree. The root is there. The tree is invisible. It has yet not come forth.

Fear is the stage when the root has become a full-grown tree but the root of both ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’ is the same, giving importance to external attainments.

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To help the other, you have to be a nobody.

I have often and repeatedly said that to help the other, you have to be a nobody. Now, that sounds quite theoretical and abstract. What is meant by this statement, that to help the other you have to be a nobody?

It means that you have to be a someone, a no one, who has no choices or preferences of his own, except the preference to love. Except the desire to be loving, all other desires are now gone. Or, at least all other desires are now secondary. The primary desire is just love. All other desires are subservient to it now. Which means, that I am not really bothered about what I am doing, as long as it is serving the purpose of loving. I don’t have any choices, preferences left now. I will not say that I will do this work only my way. Then how will I do this work, which way will I do this work? Now, I will do this work, your way. If I am nobody then I get all the freedom to act as per your wishes. Are you getting it?

In trying to help the other, often a big barrier is the helper himself. Because, the helper says, “I will help, but only in this particular way. This particular way which is the right way according to my ideology. I want to help you, by helping you behave as per my wishes.” Now, that’s a barrier.

To help someone, you have to be a no one which means that your own dislikes and likes relegate to the background. Now, you look at the other. Now, you look at the others conditioned mind. Obviously the other is conditioned. Obviously the other is trapped, that is why he needs help.

So, you look closely at the mind on the one you intend to help. And you say, “I have no preferences, openly on a clean slate I will see, how this person can be helped? I have no ideology. I am not approaching this person with a preset agenda. Instead, I am seeing, that if this person is conditioned, what is the contour of the conditioning? What is the whole landscape of the city that he has built inside his mind? What are the patterns of his or her conditioning? And to liberate her, I will use those patterns. Now, in using those patterns the barrier is your own patterns. Because you say that if I use those patterns, then I am doing something wrong, something immoral. Or, at least I am doing something that I don’t stand for. That does not correspond to my ideals.”

The real helper is a man without ideals. The real helper is free to help. That is what is meant by being without ideals.



Read the complete article: One is enslaved with her own consent

Do we need to drop the family?

When you say, “Family,” are you talking really of persons, or a network of relationships? It appears as if we are talking of persons because the moment somebody says, “Family,” he says, “Father, mother, sister, brother.” So, what do you name? Persons. So, we get into an illusion that the family is made up of persons, but if we go a little closer to it, a little deeper, we will find that the family is not really persons. The family is relationships. The view that you have of the person is the person. Is the person anything except the meaning he or she holds for you? And the meaning that that person holds for you is your relationship with him.

There is a girl, there is her father. Is the father the same to the world as he is to his daughter? Had it been about the person, the person would have been an objective entity, same to the entire Universe, right? So, it’s not the father, it’s the relationship between the father and the daughter that defines the father in the daughter’s eyes, and the daughter in the father’s eyes. 

So, what do you mean when you say, “Do we need to drop the family?” Obviously, you do not need to drop the persons. But, don’t you need to drop all the poison that is there in relationships? Must you drop the persons, or must you drop all the harmful aspects of the relationship? In other words, the person remaining the same, can’t the relationship change? And obviously the person has to remain the same, one is not going to fetch a substitute pair of parents. They are not readily available, are they? The persons cannot be changed, not in most cases.

Then what do we mean by family, what do we mean by improving the family environment? Obviously, it means that the relationship has to change. If you are relating in fear, in anger, or in greed, then that aspect of relating needs to be dropped. And, that can be dropped only when the need to have that aspect is first dropped from within yourself.



Read the complete article: One is enslaved with her own consent

Time will not help

Never rely upon the argument that time will heal things, that time will bring the Truth to the trapped one. Time will not bring the Truth to the trapped one, Grace may. And Grace is not dependent upon time. You cannot say that if I spend two years, then Grace befalls. So, avoid spending, even the next minute inside the trap. The more is the time that you spend inside the walls, the more difficult it will be for you to bring down the walls.

The conventional logic that one will ultimately get fed up of slavery, does not work. Nobody ever gets fed up of slavery, never. In fact, the longer you remain a slave, the deeper becomes your adjustment to slavery. Now, you are a well-adjusted and apparently satisfied slave. So, do not think that time can help. Time will not help. Time will only thicken the walls. Time will only raise another layer of dust upon the mind. Time will make your vision, even more blurred. This is not a disease that time can heal, for this is a disease that time itself has given. Kindly do not wait for tomorrow, time will not help.

If all this gives us, even the slightest indication, that we might be trapped, then do not wait. We have already waited long enough. Far longer than we should have.



Read the complete article: One is enslaved with her own consent

One is enslaved with her own consent

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The discourse began with a spontaneous play on the theme of FREEDOM. Enacted by volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation.

Acharya Prashant: Can anyone tell the storyline, please…

Listener: There is this girl and she sees, there was this group of people who were saying “Azaadi, Azaadi (Freedom, Freedom)” inside the walls. So, she was very fascinated that what is Azaadi, what is freedom. So, when she asks them the meaning of freedom, they say, family, religion, jobs and social media are providing us freedom.

So, she also joins them but she doesn’t feel good there. So, she asks questions that I am not feeling free, if the family is freedom then why am I doing what my father says. Then a man comes and he pulls her out of those walls and tells her that the sky, mountains, nature, this is Azaadi.

But later on, he finds that the girl again goes to those chains. And when he again goes after her to free her out of those chains, then she herself kills the man. Read more

When you are sure of yourself, you feel less angry at others

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Listener (L): Sir, there are certain reactions within that I can see but cannot control. For example, whenever my wife speaks anything about business, I just go mad. I’ve tried to look at it also and at times, I see that and I relate that to she feeling that I am incompetent but somehow I am not able to help it. That reaction is so instant that the moment she says something about business and I just shout, I just scream.

Acharya Prashant (AP): When you feel more sure of yourself, then this tendency will reduce. Read more

Happiness or Welfare?

“I know what the right thing is, but if I do this, my wife will feel bad, so I am not doing this.”
“I know that I am not in the right job, but if I leave my job, then my project will suffer, or my boss will feel bad. So I am not leaving it.”
Why don’t you see that if you are really in love, then it is not the other’s happiness that you want; it is the other’s welfare that you want? And these are two extremely different things.
Sometimes — Ah! Most of the times rather — what is really helpful to you, does it make you happy? No, it rather makes you shiver.

And if you can’t be free without passing through that pain, why do you want to insulate your loved ones from that pain, why?

Let them pass through this pain and when they will pass through this pain, if you love them, you too will pass through a pain. This pain will purify both of you.

In trying to avoid disturbance, we create hell for everybody including ourselves.


Further Reading:

The Flying Kiss to the Sky

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

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

Paperback: Advait Publications Page

Had you had no false teachers, you would require no teacher today

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Question: Sir, I have come here for the first time and I want to know you better and that is why I want to ask, why do you teach?

Acharya Prashant: Why do you listen? Read more

How to tell the truth to parents

img_2761Question: When I used to ask questions to my mother and father, we would have conversations, and our conversations often ended on a bad note. My brother and sister would say, “You better not talk to them like this, because if you are right, then they are wrong; and if they are wrong, all these years which they have lived through will be wrong.”

Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, and they have invested a lot in those years, so it proves that all their investment has gone waste, which means all their life has gone waste. Read more

On Khalil Gibran: Hidden tendencies have great power; but power of Truth is greater

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That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you
is the strongest and most determined.

Is it not your breath that has 
erected and hardened the structure of your bones?

-Khalil Gibran The prophet (The farewell)

Acharya Prashant: There are two ways one can look at this; which of these two are more beneficial to us depends on who we are. We will talk about both the meanings.

‘That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most determined. Is it not your breath that has erected and hardened the structure of your bones?

What we call as strong is that which is materially strong. What we call as purposeful is that which has a material purpose, a tangible goal. Truth, Tao or Brahm or Emptiness has no material strength, neither does it have a material goal. Even to say that it does not have a goal is not quite proper. It does not have a goal but it also does not not-have a goal. It would be more appropriate to say that the Truth is beyond purpose and goal. The truth is beyond strength and weakness; beyond strength and beyond goals.   Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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God is in the clatter of the utensils and the wailing of the baby

When you look at the wall do you see emptiness?

No, you see something tangible, you see something important. Usually, this argument is given by those who want to retain their attachments. This is the favourite argument of the householders and so many people find it difficult to refute. You don’t need to find God somewhere. God is in your kitchen and bedroom.

God is in the clatter of the utensils and the wailing of the baby.

God is not in the temple bell. God is the whistle of the pressure cooker.

This is not at all bad but then the baby must not be a baby, then the baby has to be emptiness. Then the husband cannot be a person, the husband has to be infinite, impersonal, existential individuality.

You do not serve morning tea to infinite impersonal existential individuality.