Without this, all is worthless || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2019)

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Without this, all is worthless

Jo main piyake man nahin bhaaye
To kaa padosin kaie dulraye
Kahaa chudaa paayal jhamkaaye kahaa bhaye bichuaa thankaaye
Kahaa kaajar sindoor kaie diyyaie solaah singaar kahaa bhaye kiyaie
Anjan manjan karaie thagauree ka pachi maraie thagauree bauree
Jo patibrataa hai naree kaisehi raho so pihayee piyaree
Tan man jeevan saunpee sareeraa taahi sohaagan kahai kabeera

If you cannot win the love of the Lord,
What if you can lord over your neighbour?
What is the good of dressing your hair and donning your feet with jingling jewellery?
What is the value of all your make up with kaajar to your eyelids and vermilion to your forehead and all the efforts to deck yourself, if you are not loyal in your love?
It is all a self-deception and does not touch the Lord at all.
Says Kabir: if you can surrender Your body, mind and heart to the Lord and remain loyal in love to Him, sans make up and ornaments
you will win His favour in whatever state you be!

~ Guru Kabir Sahib

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Please elaborate on these lines of Guru Kabir Sahib.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why do you want me to speak on this? Just keep on reciting these lines over and over again.

Alright! Let’s see what Kabir Sahib is saying. What is he saying? He is saying, “How do you manage to give yourself the right to celebrate?” Kabir Sahib is wondering that how does the ordinary man or woman, when I say, “Man,” I mean person. Have clarified this many a times. It’s just a matter of habit.

How does the ordinary man gather the guts, the dishonest audacity to pretend that as if everything is alright? How do we manage to laugh out so loud? How do we manage to have such ravishing parties? How do we manage to sing and yell? How do we manage to say, “Thumbs up. All is well”?

Wow, that has rhymed!

“How do we manage to sing and yell?
How do we manage to say, ‘Thumbs up, all is well’?”

Kabir is astonished at our dishonesty. He is saying, “How do you tolerate yourself smiling?”

You have nothing. The only thing worth having in life is, His companionship, nearness to Him. That you have lost. You didn’t invest your life in earning His nearness. You lost all which was precious, because you were never determined to earn that. And now, loveless, sire-less, see how shamelessly you rejoice.

You have vermilion on your forehead, you have kohl on your eyes, so you are wearing all these things, as if the season is festive, as if some great achievement has happened, as if you are ‘somebody’. Instead of mourning, you are celebrating.

What is this absurdity?

That which is the essence of life, you are separated from.

And still you walk on, carry on, as if nothing has happened.

The sole purpose of life is getting defeated day-by-day.

Every passing day is a new defeat, time lost.

And yet you keep saying, “All is well.”

Not a trace of melancholy.

Not an iota of regret.

And then he says, “Had you not had any of these celebrations and happinesses, and you had Him, then your life could be said to be fulfilled.”

Kabir talks of the ‘I sense’ as the female – the woman searching for her beloved. He too talks of all mankind as female, because the ‘I sense’ is there in both man and woman. So he says that the ‘I sense’ is the woman, and she is looking for her beloved Lord. And she is not finding Him. Therefore she is restless.

At one point he says, “Pativrataa mailee bhalee (The faithful one, the loyal one, is better off as shabby).”

If you are aiming for Him, if you are in the process, your looks, your appearances become dusty and unattractive, that is okay. But if you have lost Him, and still look attractive, and young, and market-ready, then you are just a ‘vyabhichaarinee‘ (adulteress).”

Who is a ‘vyabhichaarinee‘ in Kabir’s jargon?

The ‘I sense’ that has not only not attained the Beloved, but is also not eager to attain the beloved. She is lost in the world, in miscellaneous pursuits.

So Kabir says, “Do not bother about counting your worldly achievements. Assess yourself on just one parameter. Do not assess yourself on how much you have progressed in the worldly sense. Ask yourself just one question: ‘Do I have Him?'”

If you have Him, you have everything.

And if you do not have Him, then what is the point in having everything.

So he is taunting mankind, both men and women. He is saying, “You are flaunting your looks, you are brandishing your wares, you are giving yourself the right to hold festivities. But all that is just self-deception.”

You are so dishonest, that you want to convince yourself that you are alright, when it is very well-certain that things are not alright.

In fact, the more you display your ornaments and makeup, the more it becomes ascertained that your laughter is all made-up.

If you go to Kabir Sahib, you will ask just one question: “Do you have Him?” There is nothing else to discuss. Point-blank, one shot.

What is the question?

Listeners: Do you have Him?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

If ‘Yes’, no more questions.

If ‘No’, no more questions.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

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

Watch the session video: Without this, all is worthless || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2019)

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Why does the wind blow? Why does man live? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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Why does the wind blow Why does man live

Dhhoop Malaaanalo Pavan Chavaro Karae Sagal Banaraae Foolanth Jothee ||1||

The fragrance of sandalwood in the air is the temple incense, and the wind is the fan.

All the plants of the world are the altar flowers in offering to You,

O Luminous Lord. ||1||

~Aarti, Guru Granth Sahib

Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. In the given verse, what is the ‘burning incense and the whisk’ mentioned by Guru Nanak Dev Maharaj Ji. Could you explain the essence of the verse?

With deep gratitude!

Acharya Prashant Ji: Everything that is there in existence, whether prakritik or man-made, is nothing but an oblation to the Lord. That is the essence of this verse, Alok (the questioner).

“The plants are an offering of the flowers to you, my luminous Lord.”

The plants are not man-made. They are the offerings of prakriti to the Source of prakriti. That’s how the devoted saint sees it. And why does he see it this way? You have to understand.

He has come to see his own prakritik body, as nothing but an offering to the Lord.

He has realised that the only purpose of this body, is that it is offered in the service of the Truth.

The body is not to please itself or the ego. The body is not for any miscellaneous purpose.

The body has only one purpose – devote it to the Truth, spend it in the service of the Truth.

Burn it in the fire of Truth.

Reduce it, lose it, bleed it, in the war of Truth.

That is the only purpose of the body.

And what is ‘body’? Prakriti.

Similarly, he see that the entire expanse of prakriti, is nothing but an offering to the Lord. Why does he see the flowers on the plants, as an offering to the Lord? Because he sees his own hands, eyes, the entire physical system, as an offering to the Lord.

As you are, so you see.

And it is not also just a matter of saint’s perception. It is actually so.

Prakriti itself is on a journey of liberation.

Prakriti itself is trying to achieve liberation through time.

What else is Prakriti doing?

It is moving round and round, and on and on. Why?

Because Prakriti itself seems eager to meet Purusha.

And it is trying everything. It is trying creation, it is trying dissolution. It is trying flowers, it is trying animals, it is trying insects, it is trying mammals. It’s trying intellect, it’s trying emotions. It’s also trying, survival of the fittest.

What is Prakriti upto? It surely wants something. Why is there so much movement in Prakriti? It is as if Prakriti too wants to meet the husband, Lord. That’s what the Gurus are clearly seeing.

The Flower does not bloom for nothing, the Sun does not rise for nothing, Man does not live for nothing. A new Child is not born for nothing. There is a purpose. The entire prakritik movement has a purpose. And the purpose is to meet the Lord, to be devoted to the service of Lord.

Now, there is another aspect of existence. And what is that aspect? Stuff that is man-made.

So, what is the saint seeing? What are the Gurus realizing? They are realizing that the prakritik aspects of the body, are for the service of Truth. And also for the service of Truth, is the intellect. So, all the things that man creates through intellect, are actually created just to achieve God.

And that is absolutely so.

Why else does man create this and that, using his intellect? Because he wants Peace. Doesn’t he? When you say, “We want progress and development, and science and technology, and discoveries and inventions, and we want to explore outer space,” what do you want?

What have you wanted all this while when you have created hospitals and schools, and public systems and social institutions? All of them have been a result of the intellect. Why has man created and built so much using the intellect? Because he wants Peace and ‘Peace’ is another name for God.

Man wants progress, and ‘progress’ means – an ascension, an elevation. It is as if, man wants to be elevated to some high sky. That’s what you say, “I am rising up. I am progressing.”

What is the intention to keep progressing? The intention is to progress, and arise and arise, and then just disappear in the sky. Move so further up, move so high up, that you lose almost all connection with gravitation. That you lose the bondages, and the compulsion to be bounded to the earth. That alone is ‘gravitation’.

You want to rise, rise, and rise. You very well know that as you rise, the force of gravitation upon you mitigates. It is proportional to 1\r(sq).

Man wants to rise, up and away from all the bondages.

That’s why he builds.

That’s why he invents.

That’s why he writes and sings.

And that’s why he worships.

(Tweet this quotetwitter)

Are you getting it?

So, on one hand you have the plants offering themselves to the Lord. On the other hand ,you have the incense, and the wind from the hill, and the fragrance of the sandalwood trees. And you have the imagery, that the wind is the Chavaro, the fan.

All that is there in prakriti, whether man-made or purely prakritik, is nothing but an offering to the Lord, a movement towards the Lord.

As if everything exists, just to reach out to the Lord.

Be it a mountain, or a hundred-storey man-made skyscraper, both are longing for the One.

Both were created with the same purpose.

Both exist with the same intention.

Getting it?

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

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

Watch the session video: Why does the wind blow? Why does man live? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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Once there is Love, there must be a roaring declaration || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Once there is Love, there must be a roaring declaration

Question: Acharya Ji, in one your videos you have mentioned that everybody gets to experience Him, in few small moments, sometimes by luck, by chance. One has to maintain that. It is not like that once one has reached there, one will remain there forever. If one breaks attention, and gets back to the world, one loses it.

You have also said that during your Satsangs, we are able to reach there. My question is: if one is actually there, why is one not able to recognize that? Why is that Joy not so big, that we are able to recognize it?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You have to declare that it is ‘big’. It sounds absurd, but that’s what.

We are people of definitions and declarations.

What matters is not really the fact, but the declaration of the fact.

Till yesterday, the man and the woman were strangers. And today, the priest says, “I declare you husband-and-wife,” and everything changes. So you have to declare yourself ‘wife’. Otherwise, things will remain the way they are. You will stand right in front of the man, the declaration won’t come, and you will find yourself receding.

Love requires that you finally give it your respectful consent.

You have to say, “I do.”

Even to God, you have to say, “I do.”

‘Say’ means – actually, literally, physically, mentally. Say.

You have to commit yourself, in whichever way you can.

You have to physically hold the hand.

Otherwise, there would be closeness, and separation.

Questioner 1: In acknowledging,  it is some….

Acharya Ji: Acknowledging and declaring it to yourself. Truth is Freedom, and Freedom does not enforce itself upon anybody. It waits for your free consent. So, in all your freedom, you have to declare your consent.

“Yes, as a free being I declare that I am in love, and committed.” Unless that declaration is there, the inner thoughts and intentions, this-this-this, they will amount to something, but nothing much.

Questioner 1: So, we actually are going through these moments of Truth. But since we are not acknowledging it, we don’t really explain the mind that …..

Acharya Ji: You have to withdraw from yourself, the right to pull back.

As long as you keep vested in yourself the right to pull back, you will keep pulling back. And it is your sovereign right. Nobody can take it away from you. You will have to very freely, very willingly, abjure that right on your own.

Even God waits for you. He won’t impose himself.

It’s a strange thing you know – how we are all creatures of flesh and blood, in all ways of life we live as the body, we talk of ourselves as the body, we very well know how the bodily and material things matter to us, but when it comes to love, we are so quick to say, “O! Love is in the soul.”

What about the body? What are you saying, that your soul loves something or somebody, but your body and mind are committed to something and somebody else? This deception, this inner treachery is so much suffering. Is it not?

And don’t you come across so much of this?

“My soul is in love with God. And I am in love with the devil.”

What is this? Put your body, put your mind, where your so-called soul is, and declare it. because these things are a matter of declaration. The body by it’s material presence at a place, at a physical place, declares something. Does it not?

You are making a declaration by being materially and physically present here. It’s a declaration. And when you will go away, you would be making another declaration.

Are you getting it?

The mind makes a certain declaration, by wearing a certain identity.

Let the mind make the right declaration.

Otherwise, we all have just one identity – the identity of the ashamed lover, the coy lover, who loves but doesn’t have the guts to come out with his love.

And this he covers up by saying, “You know all delicate and true things must be kept secret.” Look at the pretense – “The thing is so delicate and pure, that I cannot expose it socially.” If you cannot expose it socially, then the society will take control of you.

And then why do you wonder, why you regress after every contact with the Truth? Because you are not declaring something socially, because you are not coming out in the open. And that itself is the signal available to the society, that you are yet available to be possessed. Had you really been sold out to the Truth, you would have clearly told the society – ‘Not for sale’.

But that board has yet not come up. That board has yet not come up, so the society knows very well that you are still available. So the buyers come over, and they quickly take you home. Why do you get surprised then?

In India, there is a custom that married women wear some mark of their commitment. That keeps the society at bay. “Hands-off,  she is taken.” But we want to love secretly, and not wear the mark. And then if those goose and hoodlums chase you, why are you surprised?

Your lover(God), happens to be the strongest one in the world, and yet you are being chased by the gully-goons. That’s because you don’t want to display that you are taken.

One wants to remain available. One doesn’t want to close the various options.

Questioner 1: So, even now there appears the pull….

Acharya Ji: That you will never have. That you will never have, till you wear the mark. What do they call it in English?

Questioner 1: Vermilion.

Acharya Ji: Vermilion.

Questioner 1: If I declare, does it mean that I am married to Truth?

Acharya Ji: Not a mere declaration would do. Once there is Love, there must be declaration. A declaration without love, means an arranged marriage. That doesn’t help.

Question 2: How to do this declaration? What do we mean by ‘declaration’?

Acharya Ji: Wo to gali,gali hari gun gaane lagi (She started roaming in the streets, singing in the praise and glory of Lord). Mahlon pe pali, ban ke jogan chali (She was raised in palaces, she left everything for God).

This is what is ‘declaration’.

Meera rani deewani kahani lagi (Meera is known and called as a ‘lover’).

Not like this deception as – listening to the Satsang in the closed room here, and then hide this or shy away  from sharing, and declaring, after moving out of the room.

(laughter)

No camp has ever happened, in which one or two participants have actually hidden it from their family, that they are attending the camp.

Questioner 2: If the declaration is a bad thing, then this ….

Acharya Ji:

Live as His bride.

You don’t merely have to love Him deeply, secretly, internally.

You actually have to live like His bride.

———————————————————————–

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

Watch the session: Once there is Love, there must be a roaring declaration || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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How to go to God’s place? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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How to go to God's place

Question 1: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam! So far I have asked so many questions, and patiently you have answered all. I have made sincere efforts to walk in the direction shown by you, as much as possible. Now, no question bugs me, except the same, old one – what do I do, to go to God’s place?

Whatever I do, seems to increase the restlessness and thirst. I feel, as if I am somewhere hanging between the Earth and the Sky. Sorry to be a laggard student, troubling you always.

With love and Gratitude!

Acharya Prashant Ji: You are asking Parmeshwari (the questioner), “What do I do, to go to God’s place?” God does not have any place. You have a place, God has no place, right?When the saints talk of God’s abode, or God’s country, they don’t literally mean it. Do they?

So, God has no place, specifically.

God has no, particular place.

Which means, that these places that you see around you, are all God’s places, potentially.

Potentially, every place is God’s place, provided the one living in that place, the one at the center of that place, is Godly.

You will have to work in this Earth, upon this Earth, with Godliness in your heart, and then this Earth itself will be God’s place.

With godliness in your heart Parmeshwari (the questioner), work on this Earth, and then you will find, that God’s territory is here. But work you must. Otherwise, the potentiality, will remain just a potentiality. Earth will just remain, potentially God’s place, not actually.

A lot of hard work is needed.

Not so much to change the earth, but first of all, to change yourself.

If you are changing, then parallely, concurrently, you will start seeing a change in earth.

The more your inner self becomes Godly, the more this earth will appear Godly, like God’s place.

Work! You must know what the characteristics of Godliness are. Right? You know of – ‘Sat, Chit, Anand‘. So, you see around you, when I say, “Around you,” I mean in the physical territory around you, whether there is sat, whether there is chit, whether there is anand. And if, it is not – work. Work hard to bring these about.

You know of characteristics of Godliness. You know of Freedom, you know of Truth, you know of Simplicity, you know of Love, you know of Non-violence. Look at the world around you. Do you find these prevailing? If not, the work. Work very hard to bring them to Earth.

This very Earth, I said, can be hell, or potentially God’s place – heaven.

Depends on you.

But then, don’t be confused. When I say, “Change the earth,” I repeat, that the change that you see in the Earth, would always be commensurate with the change that is happening inside you.

Work!

Wherever you see filth, wherever you see darkness, that’s where ‘work’ lies.

Fight it! Dispel it!

There is no other way.

Darkness is, what is shrouding the Light.

Man believes so much in his own places, that he is missing God’s place. You cannot reach God’s place, by avoiding the Earth, or escaping the Earth. There is no vehicle to launch you into the outer space.

God does not live, elsewhere. Either he would he ‘here’, or nowhere.

And you will have to dig Him, out here. You will have to carve him, out here. Work is needed. God, potentially, exists here. It’s like stones potentially exist here. But the deity has to be carved out.

Work is needed.

Cleanliness potentially exists, even in the filthiest of places. Isn’t it? But the filth has to be broomed-out. So, work is needed.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, I was reading Ashtavakra Gita. On the same page, two verses were written. One verse said, “Sadhana needs to be done.” Another verse said, “You have already arrived.” I am confused.

Acharya Ji:

Sadhana needs to be done, to reach a stage, where you can see that you have already arrived. Without sadhana, you will never know that you have already arrived.

Without sadhana, are you ever in rest?

The common man, undertakes no sadhana, how is he? Restless. Does he ever believe that he has finally, ultimately, irrevocably arrived? So, the faith, that one has arrived, is not really common, among human beings.

What is usual and common? That we have – not arrived. This belief. What do you usually find among human beings? The belief that one has, not arrived, and that there is a fair distance to go.

Sadhana is needed, to rid oneself, of this misplaced, and painful belief.

——————————————————————————

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

Watch the session: How to go to God’s place? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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When are you God? When are you not? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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When are you God When are you not

He himself acts, and he himself contemplates.
He Himself is the Master of both worlds. 
He plays and He enjoys; He is the Inner-knower, the Searcher of hearts. 
As He wills, He causes actions to be done. 
Nanak sees no other than Him. ||2|| 

Tell me – what can a mere mortal do? 
Whatever pleases God is what He causes us to do. 
If it were in our hands, we would grab up everything. 
Whatever pleases God – that is what He does. ||3|| 

~Guru Granth Sahib

Page: 277

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! I am reading Guru Granth Sahib, and loving it. Strangely, I agree with what is written there, but disagree with what it implies. In some of the lines, it is stated that He wills, contemplates, acts, and causes actions to be done. It is also said that there is no other than Him.

These are harmless and acceptable assertions. However they imply that there is no suffering, and hence no ‘I’. I resist this implication. Is it His will that ‘I’ exists, ‘I’ resists, and ‘I’ claims to be suffering? Am I, Him?

He cannot be suffering. What I believe is, that I am suffering.

Please resolve this paradox.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

That which makes you suffer, the ‘I sense’, the ‘I sense’ too comes from Him. The ‘I sense’ is the suffering. The ‘I sense’ makes you suffer. In other words, the ‘I sense’ makes itself suffer.

That too is coming from Him.

So, all the actions that are generally attributed to the ‘I’, the saints say, that they actually come from Him.

There is a reason.

Does the ‘I’ really know what it is doing? If the ‘I’ is the originator of action, then it must know what it is doing? Does it really know? If it does not know what it is doing, then surely the action does not originate from the ‘I’. It originates from some where else. That ‘somewhere else’ is ‘God’.

The day the ‘I’ starts really knowing what it is doing, why it is doing, and who it is, then there is no difference between ‘I’ and ‘God’.

‘I’ exists as a separate ‘I’, as a separate doer, only as long as it does not know what it is doing.

It claims that it is doing something, without really being the doer. It says, “I am thinking,” but does it know why it is thinking, what it is thinking? An impulse arises, and the ‘I’ says, “I am feeling in a certain way.” It can say what it is feeling. But can it say where the feeling is coming from?

So, the saints have said that the ‘I’ feels like being the doer, but is actually not the doer. It’s just a  puppet. If there is a puppet, then they say that let’s call the puppeteer as ‘God’.

That’s what is being implied here.

Am I, Him?

You are Him, when you know who ‘you’ are.

You are ‘yourself’ as long as you do not know who you are.

As long as you are acting in your darkness, you are ‘yourself’.

When you start acting in Light, you are Him.

So, you have the option to be either. You can be ‘yourself’ or you can be ‘God’. Who gave this option? You never wanted this option. You cannot do away with this option. Which means that you are not the progenitor of these options.

Where are they coming from then? Wherever they are coming from, let’s call that point as ‘God’.

That’s the philosophy.

——————————————————————————

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

Watch the session: When are you God? When are you not? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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Who do you think will help you? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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Who do you think will help you

In good times, there are many companions around, but in bad times,
there is no one at all.
Says Nanak, vibrate, and meditate on the Lord;
He shall be your only Help and Support in the end. ||32||

~ Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, Salok Mahalla

Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 14128

Question: Acharya Ji, it is my tendency to seek help from those whom I consider to be good and reliable. I want to know the truth of what Guru Teg Bahadur Ji is saying in this verse. Because when I seek help from others, I usually spoil and strain my relationships, and even the help does not come.

How can I see that the only genuine help is the one that comes from the Lord?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It depends on what is the quality of ‘help’, that you call as ‘final’.

There is ‘help’ that comes from the world, and there is ‘help’ that comes from the Lord. Which of these two helps do you more desperately want?

The verse that you are quoting says, “He shall be your only Help and Support in the end.” ‘End’ does not mean a particular moment of death etc. ‘End’ means – the highest. ‘End’ means – the highest.

So, it is being said, that the Lord shall be your only and final support. Now it depends on you, what is it that you consider as your ‘final support’. And what would that depend on? That would depend on, what you perceive yourself as.

Which kind of help will you value more, that depends on, which need do you experience more. Is that not true? You might have a need, for a new Kurta. And you might be needing some water too. A fellow comes to you with Kurta. Another fellow comes to you with water.

Which of the two would you value more?

Depends on which ‘need’ do you value more.

If you value the need for Kurta more, then you would be very forthcoming in thanking the one who is bringing the Kurta to you. If you feel your thirst deeply, then you will profusely thank the one who is bringing, water to you.

So, there is something that the world brings to you.

And there is something that the Lord brings to you.

You find out which one is a greater need to you.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, my need is in understanding what is going on in my life, in terms of understanding myself, and probably what you meant by ‘the highest’. But, here also I do not see the Lord, and I do not know from where the help would come.

Acharya Ji: When say that you are looking at your life, your need is to understand your life, essentially you will understand what is it that you lack. Otherwise, there is no need to understand ‘life’.

Even the need to understand ‘life’ arises from a discomfort with life, experiencing that there is something odd in life. So, there is an internal need. And therefore, one gathers self-knowledge.

What is it that you are needful of? That is to be found out. What is it that you are really needful of? And that which you are really needful of, is it being brought to you by the world, or the Lord?

Self-knowledge is in a way an understanding of ‘self’s’ needs. Some of those needs can surely be fulfilled by the world. But, are they your deepest needs?

Questioner: No.

Acharya Ji: Then what are your deepest needs? And who will meet those needs?

Questioner: That I do not know.

Acharya Ji: That is to be found out, by looking at your life.

“What am I looking for?”

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

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

Watch the session: Who do you think will help you? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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When one is angry at God || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: Acharya Ji, I have been at a stage in life, where I would get angry at God. My understanding of God, at that point was, that there is an external entity out there, overseeing everything, trying to protect the entire world.

Eventually, I could see that there are things that I am doing wrongly, and what I am facing is the result of my own actions. At that time, I could not get where I was wrong, and why God was not guiding me. But, there was still anger in me for God.

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, I said that one has to proceed both totally and sequentially into it. So, you admit that you are making a mistake. The mistake is not coming from nowhere. Where is the mistake coming from? And where is that coming from? And where is that coming from? And where is that coming from?

And all this is so enthralling, that you will forget to suffer. It’s all so very linked to each other, through a cause-effect chain. And you soon reach a point, where you start seeing, the absence of any real self in the whole chain of events. You start seeing that it is all so very dictated by forces, that you cannot even identify with. And then, it becomes difficult to suffer, for a stupid reason.

The more you go into your suffering, the more you will see the falseness of the sufferer.

Okay, let us not even call it the ‘falseness’. Let us call it – the ‘not me’ character of the sufferer. The ‘not me’ character of the sufferer.

Questioner: Now I understand that there is no external entity as such, when it comes to God.

Acharya Ji: There is no ‘I’ as such. You cannot say, “I understand that there is no external entity.” If there is this internal entity, then correspondingly, there would be an external one as well. So, that statement should be reserved for future use.

As long as ‘you’ are there, there are external entities. Don’t just jump into conclusions. Your life is not theoretical, it is experiential. If life is experiential, how can the basis of life be theoretical?

Questioner: So, until I experience it, I will go with……

Acharya Ji: You are already experiencing a lot. When I say, “Life is experiential,” by that I do not mean that you have to experience something more, or something wonderful, or something divine. What I mean is that- all your statements are coming from the suffering that you ‘experience’. Is your suffering theoretical? Is your confusion theoretical?

When these are your experiences, then you must talk only from your experience. And this has to be clearly understood.

‘God’ is not an experience, but suffering is an experience.

Therefore, your suffering is an important judge, not of God, but of your Ego.

But there are those, who do not understand this, and they start talking of experiencing – God. Now, God, or Peace, or Truth, or Anand(Joy), they are not elements of experience. But, still experience is very important. Why? Because, it is your frustration with experience, that brings you to Spirituality. Therefore, the experience that frustrates you, must vanish.

Hence, the aim of Spirituality, is not to provide you with more relish-able experiences., but to give you freedom from bothersome experiences.

We will therefore, continue to take experience, as an important judge, as an important indicator.

As long as you are experiencing suffering, where is ‘Liberation’? So, experience is an important indicator. Of what? Not of God, not of Truth, but of – your Liberation. And that does not mean that you will ‘experience’ liberation. That only means that – you will not experience suffering.

Do not make it mean to you, that you will start experiencing liberation, on top of the suffering that you are experiencing.

Questioner: But, now I am not able to relate to – who or what is meant by God.

Acharya Ji: Is there a need? is there a need to really even talk of God?

Questioner: But, when the Scriptures, and the Saints keep praising God, I am not able to understand.

Acharya Ji: Yours sincerely, is there to explain, when that happens.

The Scriptures, first of all, implore you, to look at yourself.

If you are suffering, then ‘God’ is nothing but freedom from suffering.

If you are longing, then ‘God’ is nothing but the fulfillment of that longing.

If you are lonely, then ‘God’ is nothing but freedom from loneliness.

Therefore, what is ‘God’, that depends on who you are.

‘God’ is that – which fulfills you.

And why do you need fulfillment? Don’t ask me that. You are saying that you are unfulfilled.

And there are several here, who have mentioned that – ‘Acharya Ji, why do we need mukti (liberation)?’ I don’t need any mukti. You need mukti, that’s why you come here. And then you ask – why do we need mukti? Don’t come here. Go away. Nobody needs mukti.

Adhyaatm (Spirituality) does not start with – all is okay, all is well. It starts with – ‘I admit I am unwell’. And if you admit that you are unwell, how do you not know what ‘liberation’ means? What does ‘liberation’ mean to an unwell one? Liberation from – the unwellness. That is ‘God’.

And therefore, God is not absolutely, or universally, lovely or desirable.

You will love or respect ‘God’, only as much as you love, the dissolution of your suffering.

The more you want your suffering to cease, the more you will love ‘God’.

These two are just, two ways of saying the same thing.

When you say, “I want my suffering to cease,” let me put it differently, “I intensely want my suffering to cease,” then you are speaking in the negativa. The statement can be put in an affirmative way as – “I love God intensely.” The statement which is expressed in negative sense as – “I want my suffering to end,” is the same statement as – “I love God.”

And, the more one of these statements would be, the more, the other statement would be. In fact, even among these two, your yearning to be free from suffering, must come first.

The more intense is your self-love, therefore, the more intense would be your love for God.


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

Watch the session: When one is angry at God || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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God is what you want more than anything else || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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God is what you want more than anything else

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! I have a six year old son. Me and my husband, regularly discuss on lot of issues, after watching your videos. My son has observed, that we use words like ‘God’, ‘Truth’, ‘Love’ very often.

Many times, he approaches me and asks, “What is ‘Love’?” and “What is ‘God’?” We really don’t know what reply to give to him.

Please advice.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

If you can explain these things (God, Truth, Love), to a six year old, then you really know.
If you can’t explain them to a six year old, then all you have is, words.

So, the kids to come to Muma.

Questioner: He asks me such questions. And sometimes, to his Dad as well.

Acharya Ji:

“How do you feel when Muma is far away?”

“Not good.”

“How do you feel when you are with Muma?”

“Good.”

This ‘goodness’ is God. ‘God’ is that – which you want.

“So Muma, if I want a chocolate, is God a chocolate?”

“When you want a chocolate, and I show you a toffee, what do you do? You ignore the toffee, and rush towards the chocolate. When you want a lovely toy, and I show a chocolate, what do you do? You ignore the chocolate and rush towards the toy.”

‘God’ is that, which you want, more than all other things.

“You want the chocolate, for sure. But, do you want the chocolate, more than anything else?”

“No Muma.”

“Do you want the chocolate, more than you want Muma?”

“No Muma.”

“So, God is not chocolate.”

“So, Muma, are you God?”

“If you want me more than everything else, then yes. If you seriously want me, more than everything else, then I am God.”

“Muma, if I start wanting something, even more intensely, than I want you, then?”

“Then, ‘that’ is God.”

God is not a concept, or an ideal. God is the root of our daily experiences. So how is it possible, that you will not be able to bring or explain God, to a six-year old? The six-year old, too, is pining and longing for God, in his own way.

Why do you think the new born cries?
Superficially, it is for the mother and the feed.
Deeply, it is for God.
Why do you think you are asking this question?
Superficially, for an answer.
Deeply, for God.
Why do you think we eat, live, breathe?
Superficially, for something.
Deeply, only for God.


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

Watch the session: God is what you want more than anything else || 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

Going with the flow, and being a lazy loser || Acharya Prashant(2016)

Going with the flow, and being a lazy loser

Question: How to differentiate between and recognize, whether one trusts in the universe to unfold one’s destiny, and goes with the flow, and allows the life to unfold, and being the one who is a loser, who is lazy and doing  nothing?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The lazy one, does a lot. The lazy one is lazy and inactive, only externally. Internally, he is very active.

Please appreciate this.

The ones we call as ‘lazy’, are not lazy at all. They may not move their limbs, but their minds are very active. Absolute laziness, is a supreme virtue. Sages like Ashtavakra have sung greatly in praise of ‘Divine laziness’.

‘Divine laziness’ is – a total stopping of all movement.

Coming to that point within, where nothing moves at all.

That’s why is is being called as ‘lazy’.

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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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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The real observer observes nothing || Acharya Prashant, on Osho (2019)

The real observer observes nothing

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Question: Acharya Ji, in one discourse, Osho said that inner strength is a result of inner stillness. What does he mean?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Something that remains untouched, unmoved, only that is something, that can really look at what is trying to move  it.

You have CCTV Cameras. The camera shows a person coming towards the camera, and a camera is able to show that. That camera shows that person, pulling out his gun. Even that the camera can show. Next the camera shows, that the person is taking aim at the camera. Even that the camera can show. Next the camera captures, the gun, shooting a bullet towards the camera. Even that the camera can show. And after this, the camera shows nothing. Why?

Listener: It has moved now.

Acharya Ji: Because the camera itself has moved. The camera itself is no more there. It is gone.

You will be able to see nothing, if that which you are seeing, moves you.

What was the camera looking at? The man with the gun. But the man with the gun, succeeded in displacing the camera itself. So, the camera is now worthless. That which you are seeing, must not be able to move you. Otherwise, your seeing will stop.

You do not merely ‘see’ something.

You allow the thing to influence you. You become the influenced one.

You forget that the seen thing, and the seer of the thing, are both not you.

You become one with the seer.

The seer is bound to get influenced. That cannot be avoided. What can be avoided is, that ‘you’ do not become the seer.

This is the thing in the market, a chocolate cake. This is the seer. It is impossible that the seer looks at the seen thing, and feels no vibrations. It cannot happen. The very act of perception, is bound to change the perceiver. You have to be somewhere else. You are neither of these two.

The mistake that you make is, that you become the seer. And if you become the seer, you are bound to get influenced by the seen.

Listener: Are you saying that I become the perceive of both?

Acharya Ji:

You do not ‘become’ the perceiver of the both. You ‘are’ at a place, where there is no perception.

I understand, many a times, by many a teachers, even in many scriptures, it is mentioned this way. You are the seer of both – the subject and the object. This(the subject), sees this(the object). This(the object), influences this(the subject). You go and be busy in an apple orchard. In that apple orchard, there are no chocolate cakes. I am talking of the orchard of the father(pointing at the sky).

You remain occupied there, even as the senses remain occupied with the objects, you have to be somewhere else. It’s not as if you are looking at these two(subject-object), and yet are influenced by these two.

Yesterday, we said, “The real observer observes nothing.” You should have nothing to do with the business of cakes, and the purchaser of the cakes. This is the cake, this is the consumer of the cake, you stay where you must. All this caky business, is not your business.

The place where you are, is not a place of consciousness. All consciousness is in between these two – the subject and the object. You are where you always were. You are at your one unshakable position. You are, where there is no space. You are where there is no territory to run to. Now where is the question of running? Even if you want to run away, there is no space to run away.

You are at a place where space and time do not exist. All space and time is here, in the dimension of consciousness, in between these two(the subject and the object). You are somewhere else.

Actually the confusion is understandable. When I am saying, “You are somewhere else,” you are imagining that, that ‘somewhere else’, is some other place. This this is happening at the bakery, and you are at the coffee-shop.

No! That’s not what I am saying. That’s not what I am saying.

You ‘are’ where, there is ‘nothing’.


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

Watch the session:  The real observer observes nothing || Acharya Prashant, on Osho (2019)


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Quotes, April’19

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1.

If you want to most definitely reach,

Take the most difficult route.

2.

What is It?

More than everything, in general.

Less than nothing, in particular.

3.

If your lover speaks to you in a language you cannot comprehend,

does your love diminish?

No.

You may not comprehend his words, but still, you do understand.

What do you understand ?

Nothing in particular.

Not everything has to be intellectually comprehended.

Love is enough.

4.

Freedom is the backdrop in which bondage appears as bondage.

Freedom is the Light in which darkness looks like darkness.

If there is only darkness, there is no darkness.

Darkness means anything only in the presence of Light.

To not to feel bondage is to not to be in Freedom.

5.

Grace is available to you unconditionally, but not compulsorily.

She would come to your doorstep,and knock.

She will wait,not break open your door.

Answer the knock quickly,or the knock keeps getting dimmer and infrequent.

She isn’t short of patience,but you’re short of time.

6.

Those who are winning the war, matter.

They need to be saluted.

Those who are losing the war, matter.

They need to be helped.

Those who are absentees from battlefield, do not matter.

They need to be ignored.

7.

What you collect for your security makes you all the more insecure.

8.

Except for Prakriti,

who will tell you

of all the stories of

Parmatma?

And, well,

all his secrets?

9.

What does it mean to say “God is One? Truth is One?”

It simply means: Do not allow the many to lord over your mind. The world is many things. The world is many thoughts, moods, emotions, ideologies, objects, relationships.

Do not let these turn into your gods.

10.

The lover, the mystic, looks at the moon

and knows fullness itself.

Is the material just material?

A thing is the Source behind itself.

It appears as a thing only because you watch as something.

Watch as nothing,

and the thing reveals itself as it’s own genesis.

 

~ Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait


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God, Love and Gratitude

God Love and Gratitude

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Question: Acharya ji, how are Gratitude and Love connected with each other?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Love is the urge to move towards That.

Gratitude is the lightness you keep experiencing, as you move towards That. 

Love is what brings Sudama to Krishna.

Gratitude is what Sudama feels, as he keeps coming closer to Krishna, and as he returns, after meeting Krishna. 

Out of these, obviously, love will come first. You love Him, you move close to Him, He showers his bounties on you, Gratitude arises. But obviously love cannot be in expectation of bounties. 

And that also explains Gratitude. Gratitude says, “I did not even want it, or dream of it, and I am still receiving it. How fascinating! I don’t even deserve it, and yet I am being blessed with it.

Question: Acharya Ji, how to show Gratitude?

Acharya Ji: You distribute it.

Gratitude is the realisation, that you have something beyond your capacity, beyond your eligibility.

Once you are grateful, you stop measuring others, on the eligibility scale. Just as you received something, irrespective of your eligibility, similarly, you start distributing it to others, irrespective of their eligibility.

Question: Acharya ji, why are there so many forms of God as Krishna, Ram, or Shiva?

Acharya Ji: Because you are so many. Even here I have to speak in two languages. You are so many, that different words, different names are needed. And if there are eight hundred crore of you, currently alive, then how many names and how many definitions and forms will be needed?

God is one, but you are many, therefore gods are many.

Listener: So, there is no difference between…

Acharya ji: For you, there is a lot of difference.

Listener: Yes, they were different for me. Now, should I try to understand the commonality and singularity that all of them represent?

Acharya Ji: The singularity is there, whether you understand it or not. I wanted some normal Dal, and my hotel waiter tells me that a normal dal, with a bit of spinach in it, is ‘palakura pappu’.

(laughter)

And I have been so fascinated by this word, ‘palakura pappu’, while driving the car, I was singing of it, – “Palakura pappu..” It is just dal. Dal-palak. Just little bit of distance, and ‘dal-palak’ becomes ‘palakura pappu’.

And God is so very distant from the common egoistic human being. Obviously, there would be a great diversity in names.

Question: Acharya Ji, are there any simpler and direct ways of Remembering?

Acharya Ji: The Zen way is there, but it is very direct. It is as direct, as a stick- straight and forward.

Zen teachers had very great respect for time. They would not even waste time in explaining. So many of them, would simply beat up.

That is the way of instant remembrance, for the forgetful mind.

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

Watch the session:  God, Love and Gratitude || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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coverpage

How to know God’s will? || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

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How to know God’s will

जो किछ कराय सो भला कर माने-ई हिकमत हुक्म हुक्म चुकाइये

~ तिलांग, पहला महला, शब्द हज़ारे (नितनेम)  

Those God-Oriented people will tell that to attain God, we should accept as good whatever He does, and stop our own cleverness and will.

~ Tilang, 1st Mehla, Shabad Hazare (Nitnem)

Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Can you please explain this statement?

In daily life, I take decisions and interfere with things happening around me. How do I know when to stop interfering and accept whatever happens, as done by God, and to be taken as ‘good’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You have to take as ‘good’ whatever He does. Not whatever you do.

“To attain God accept whatever He does, and stop your cleverness and will.” Your own cleverness is to be stopped. Whatever He does, is to be…..bowed down to.

How will you find out whether a particular action is arising from Him? You cannot find that out. But you can at least find out, where your thoughts and actions are coming from.

There is a difference. Please appreciate the subtle difference.

You cannot find out whether a thought or action is coming from God. But does that mean that you cannot just find out where your thoughts and actions are coming from? No. You can find that out, because anyway 99.99% of your thoughts and actions, are not coming from God.

Were they coming from God, there would have been nobody to enquire where they are coming from.

They come from God, only when the enquirer melts into God.

Luckily for you, luckily for the enquirer, neither you nor anybody else operates too frequently from God. We operate from many other places.

We do not operate as God-lovers. We operate from many- many other identities. We operate from multiple brands of falsenesses.

The Truth cannot be detected, but at least falseness can be detected.

So, find out where your life is operating from. Find out the origins of your words, your determinations, of your hopes, plans, actions. 

All that comes from God, is good.

Conversely, all that comes from you, is abhorrent. 

The moment you detect something arising from your various inconsistencies, your weaknesses, incompletenesses, don’t support them.

Is that too much to ask?

It’s not at all too much to ask for. You are just being requested to shun the rotten. You are not being asked to reject the precious.

The verse makes it amply and beautifully clear. “That which comes from Him, is good. That which comes from your cleverness and smartness, is abhorable.” Find really out, where your life is operating from. It is possible to see that. A little effort, a little honesty is needed.

How would you know if something is happening from God? You would not know. The knower would not be there. And when the knower is not there, that is mostly a very good sign, accept in those cases where the knower is not there, because the knower is deeply unconscious.

If you have no ordinary consciousness of the happening, it indicates either of two things.

One: it is happening from the God-center. You have disappeared in the Truth, so there is nobody now to take cognizance of the happening. 

Or, you are so deeply drunk that you do not know what is going on. 

And that is the reason why the spiritual seekers often try various kinds of substances, chemicals, drugs, psychedelic ones, in order to get a faint experience of selflessness. Because selflessness can come to you, in both these conditions.

One: when you have truly dissolved in the Truth. Second: when you are so very unconscious, that even the ego goes for a toss. Even the ego is not there, you are so deeply unconscious.

But while the first kind of selflessness is pure nectar, ambrosia (amrit). The  second kind of selflessness is a poison, worse than the ordinary life. It’s a false medicine that is actually poisonous to the patient.

So, seeing that the questioner here usually resides between the lower most, and the upper most state -he is in the ordinary state of consciousness, in which there is neither substance abuse, nor is there God-drunkenness – the way ahead is to see with honesty and determination -why you were doing, what you were doing.

The moment you see why you were doing, what you were doing, you also come to see, who the doer is.

It is always great fun to catch the doer. 

The doer is a thousand people, all wearing your name. When you catch the doer, and you say, “You look like me, but you are not me. Don’t use my name to create the mischief,” it’s great fun.

Whose name is the doer always wearing? Your name. But is the doer ever you? He is not.

Catch the doer.

Catch the thinker.

Catch the little, false ‘I’.

———————————————————————————————————

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

Watch the session video: How to know God’s will? || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

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The must-know real colours of Holi || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Isa (Questioner is from Netherlands): It’s my first time in India and there are a lot of new things, lot of impressions and now that Holi is coming I really want to know what is it about? What does it mean?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What have you seen so far regarding Holi?

Questioner: It’s just that colours and the powders and everyone is dancing and singing, playing music

Acharya Ji : So, Holi is a festival celebrated over a full day, and the preceding night. It’s a very prominent Indian festival. Obviously with the spread of the Indian diaspora, it is now celebrated almost across the world. Of course in the Indian subcontinent, plus in the US, UK, Canada, Australia. Also, where there are pre-existing communities of Indian origin – places like Fiji, Trinidad, Tobago, Surinam, Mauritius, Maldives, Indonesia. So, that’s what the festival of colors is all about. People smear each other with colors and it could be powder colors or liquid color which is thrown on people.

You will experience all of that. You are here on that day. I don’t think anybody is going to spare you. There is a lot of wild festivity. People go around beating drums with music and nobody is spared – men, women, young, kids, elderly. They say, “Bura na mano holi hai!” and it is the day of colors and everybody has to participate and everybody must look very, very colored. Not only one colour – green, yellow, red, blue…you name it. And you will see all these things going on and you also do not differentiate between friends and foes on these days. Even enemies are supposed to meet and hug each other and smear each others’ faces with a bit of color and forget all the enmity and the bitterness.

As I said, in the preceding evening, pile of woods that is lit up and that happens almost at every crossing in every village, every city in India, especially in north India. And that has its own significance, its own symbolism. You have seen that right? We are in Rishikesh right now, you’ve seen that wood pile? Where did you see it?

Questioner: By the bridge.

Acharya Ji: By the bridge, near the Laxman Jhula, the Ram Murti. Yes, it is there. So, they are going to ignite it.

Questioner:But what’s the meaning of Holi? Are the colors just fun? What is behind it?

Acharya Ji: Well, I’m so glad you are curious about that. It’s a very important thing to ask. And in fact that is something that most Indians too, seem to often forget and therefore they must recall it, remember it once again.

You see there is this old fable, an old myth. It comes from the Vishnu Puran. There was this kind of a demon, his name was Hiranyakashyap and he prayed to Lord Brahma, a prominent God in the Indian trinity, the Hindu trinity. And he really prayed hard and performed austerities and he was very insistent, very determined and his prayers were answered. It is said that God appeared in front of him and asked him what do you want? And he said, “I want immortality.” So, God said, “In what way?” He said, “I should not be killed in day or in the night. I should not be killed indoors or outdoors. Neither hand held weapons nor projectiles should be able to kill me, neither astra nor shastra. Neither man nor an animal should be able to kill me. And I should be killed not on land not in the sea and not in the air. So, practically, please bless me that I’d never be killed.” And because Brahma ji had become satisfied with this King’s tapasya, his penance, so he gave him the boon he wanted.

Now this fellow turned very arrogant, and in his kingdom he declared that God should not be worshiped. Only the King should be worshiped and if somebody dares to defy the king, he would be slaughtered. And everybody fell in line. Everybody did as the King commanded, except for the King’s own little son. And this little chap said, “nothing doing. Truth is Truth, God is God. You are just a mere mortal, I’ll not submit to you. If I have to bow down, I’ll bow down in front of God, not in front of you. You’re just an arrogant King who has attained a bit of power. I do not subscribe to all this.”

The king got really furious. First of all he tempted the little chap, then he threatened him and then he did whatever could be done with a little boy. But he didn’t succeed. The boy was adamant, he had a lot of faith, a lot of stubbornness as well.

So, the King called his sister by the name of Holika. You see how the names are related? Holi and Holika. So this sister comes over and she had an extra ordinary power that she could not be killed by fire. Fire could not burn her. That is the power she had. So, she too tried to tell a few things to this little chap but he didn’t listen. So, she created a huge pile of woods. What does that remind of?

Questioner: The woods in the street.

Acharya Prashant Ji: The woods in the street that you’ve seen. So, very similar pile was made by her and she knew that she can’t be burned. So, she called Prahlad(the kid), made him sit in her lap and she sat on the pile and she ordered that the woods be ignited. And what was the plan?

Questioner: To threaten him.

Acharya Ji: Not merely to threaten him, to actually kill him, burn him down. Such a vicious plan. So, everything seemed to be going as per the plan. The woods were set on fire. But something very unexpected happened. What? The little kid survived. The woman got burnt, reduced to ashes. It was a miracle. Just happened.

In some descriptions it is said that there was a very special cloak that she was wearing that was fireproof, it was supposed to not catch fire. And she was wearing it and the kid was not wearing, but right when the woods were being ignited, there blew a fierce wind and the cloak that the woman was wearing went to the kid. So, the woman got burned and the kid got saved.

But these explanations or justifications are not important. What was important is that the innocent kid survived and the scheming woman got burned down. Now the king got really furious. Not only has he lost his sister, but his ego too has been very badly hurt.

So, he got a really hot and burning column of iron. It had been heated to a really high temperature. And he told the kid, “Embrace it as you would embrace your God. And let me see how your God saves you now. Go and hug that column, that pole as you would hug your dear God, and if there is God he would save you.”

So the kid said, “Fine, daddy! (smiles). I have just passed one test, I am ready for the next one. If fire itself could not hurt me, what would a hot pole do to me.” So, the kid goes to the pole and hugs it and from the pole emerges a very special creature – it was half lion, half man. It is called as Narsingh – ‘nar’ means man, ‘singh’ means lion. A creature that was half lion and half man. And what time was it of the day? Dusk. Neither day not night. Do you see where the plot is leading to?

Questioner: The day and night…

Acharya Ji: Yes, in the beginning of the story, we remember that the boon that the King had attained was that he can be killed neither in the day nor in the night. And what time is it of the day right now? Dusk. And the King can be killed neither by a beast nor by a man and what is the creature that emerges? A beast and a man, so neither a beast nor a man. And he had been blessed that he can be killed neither inside a building, a house or a palace nor outside. So, the beast goes to the King, picks him up and takes him to the threshold of the entrance of the palace. Neither inside nor outside, right at the entrance. And carrying the king in his lap, the beast sits down. It’s not a beast, it’s Narsingh. Narsingh Bhagwan. Narshingh is worshipped.

So, the King is neither on land, nor is he in water or air. He is somewhere in between. He is in the lap of Narsingh. Now he can be killed neither by a hand held weapon, nor a missile, a projectile. So, how does the beast kill him? Using his sharp claws and this way the King got killed. The kid got blessed and this festival celebrates the innocent Faith of Prahlad, the little kid. Faith that saved him from all the sinister plots, and all the power of the mighty King, and people rejoice, celebrate.

Only a few people remember the central idea.

You’re asking me – what’s the symbolism?

You see, people work hard, the King worked really hard. And he kept austerities, he forced even God to come down and bless him. So it would have required a very special effort, it was a mighty project. But then what did he want from God? Nothing but the extension and continuation of his own mortal self. And what is the lesson that we get from there? That even if the ego works hard, all it seeks is its own continuation.

The fellow tells Brahma, “Please ensure that my mortal self is never annihilated. I do not die. I should not die in the day, I should not die in the night, I should not die inside, nor outside.”

Personal gratification, continuation of the body, continuation of the ego.

So even if the ego seems to work very hard, it is always for an unworthy purpose. So the message to all those who work very hard in their lives is – do not merely work hard. Also see why at all are you working so hard.

Second thing – even if the ego does get power, it utilizes it, rather mis-utilizes it for some nefarious end. So the King got power, and that power could have been very well used for something constructive, something creative.

But what did the king use it for?

Questioner: For self.

Acharya Ji: For self. And he became utterly demonic. And he became a tyrant and he declared that no God should be worshiped. Only the King should be worshiped. And that’s what the ego does.

Questioner: It only thinks about itself.

Acharya Ji: Only thinks about itself and gathers power and mis-utilizes it. So, the lesson to all of us is – before we go after power, we should ask, “What do you want to do with that power?” Being powerless is better than…

Questioner: Having it in the wrong hands.

Acharya Ji:  Than having power in the wrong hands.

Then something to learn from Prahlad. You see he had blood relations, very intimate relations with the King. The king was his father. But he kept the Truth and real Godliness above all relations of the body and blood. It’s a great learning in detachment, it’s a great learning in Truth.

No relation of the body, no relation of the blood is higher than the one fundamental relation we have with the Truth.

Look at Prahlad, he says, “I do not care so much for my father, I’d rather care for the Truth.” And it’s such a great and difficult thing to say but Prahlad did that and that’s why you have this timeless festival now. It’s continuing since such a long time…centuries after centuries we see it. We have so many relationships.

No relationship should be kept higher than the one central relationship we have with our real Father.

Earthly relations are no comparison to our fundamental relation with the Heart, with the Truth, with God. 

Yes, Holika. Not to miss out on Holika. Smart woman, hmm? Smart woman with extra ordinary powers and it’s the smartness that brought her to flames. It’s a very important message to be remembered.

Questioner: She misused it.

Acharya Ji: Yes.

The more smart you are, the more clever you are, more are the chances that your own smartness will destroy you. It’s very important to see when cleverness turns into cunningness. And that happens very frequently, very easily, very un-noticeably. You do not even know when you’ve turned cunning. If you’re cunning, your own powers will destroy you.

What turned Holika into ash? Her own plans, her own designs. She thought she was being smart. She thought she would succeed. She thought it’s Prahlad who’d be killed and see what happened.

Questioner: She got killed.

Acharya Ji: She got killed. Smartness got killed. Smartness turned out to be quite dumb. And one last thing about Narsingh.

God is cleverer than the cleverest. You might think that you have nailed it. You might think that you know – neither day nor night. God says, “What about dawn and dusk? They are neither day nor night.”

So, you might be clever, but God is cleverer than you.

Do not use the powers you have from God, against God himself.

Remember that He is the one, He is the Father, He is the boss. You are not. Do not try to act too smart, too clever. Do not be ungrateful. You might be powerful. Remember that your powers are coming from Him.

He is the source, and the source would always be more abundant than the ones who are receiving from the source. So whatever you have, whatsoever the ego has, is nothing in comparison to the source from where the ego comes, from where the entire world comes.

Hmm?

Such a nice thing to see. If we are clever then God is the cleverest. If we are smart, then God is the smartest one. He can take any route. He will come up with any method, but the ego would certainly be defeated. So, that’s the motive, that’s the theme behind Holi.

Of course you will not see this central idea so much in action. Mostly what you would see is a lot of jubilant, even raucous celebration. Hmm? Loudness, garish movements and all that is quite enjoyable, quite fun. That’s the remarkable thing about Holi. That’s what makes Holi so similarly special. But do remember that it’s not just about colors and having fun. The symbolism runs very, very deep and we would do well to remember what the whole thing is really about. So?

Questioner: Thank you!

Acharya Ji: Enjoy your Holi!


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

Watch the session: The must-know real colours of Holi || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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How to be less dependent on others? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Question: Acharya Ji, my mind is fully occupied and surrounded by one person. A problem is there. When I am away from him, I am totally free, but when I will go back to him, how will I be myself? Not sure where the problem is, within me or somewhere else?

Acharya Prashant: Lata, it’s not a thing between you and that person, please. (Referring to one-on-one that happened between the seeker and Acharya Ji, a night before). We talked about it the other night.

First of all it has to be between you, and the impersonal One. If you are with Him then it really doesn’t matter whether you are with one other person, ten more persons, or with nobody at all. Your mind should not be occupied by a person. If your mind is occupied by a person, then the mind is never going to find peace. It doesn’t matter who the person is.

The mind must be the seat of the Absolute. You must belong to the Real One. And then you may be with five persons, ten persons, and we said, or no person at all. It won’t bother you. 

So, have you seen the situation?

The problem is not that the person hurts you, or the person dominates you, or the person creates problems for you.

The flaw is that you are allowing that person to become too central and too important for you.

Who should be central and important?

The Absolute.

You are perceiving things wrongly. You are saying a person sits at the centre of my mind, and the problem is that he hurts and annoys you, which means that in your own estimate, you will cease to have a problem if that same person ceases to hurt or annoy you, right?

So the problem is not that the seat is occupied by the wrong one. In your own admission the problem is that – the one who is occupying the seat, is troubling you. If the same occupant of the seat stops troubling you, you would say, “I have no problem.” No. The problem is deeper than the trouble this person is causing you. The problem is – why is the seat occupied by a person? Any person, doesn’t matter who that person is. 

(Referring to one of the listeners, sitting in front) If I allow him to sit on this seat, would you complain that this chap is talking non-sense? Would you complain? What is the fundamental fault? Why did you allow him to occupy this seat? And having allowed him to occupy this seat, why are you now, so astonished or troubled, if he hurts you? This seat belongs to? This seat belongs to Him.

Why did you allow him(one of the listeners) to occupy it? See, how eager he is. He wants me to get up and move away, and then he wants to sit here. In his enthusiasm he may even do strange things, present silly arguments, strange and strong arguments. He may say, “No, I must sit here. You go away.” But that is his doing. Would you admit all that? Hmm? 

In the expectation of deriving pleasure and security from a person, we allow that person to occupy a place, that no person should have ever occupied.

And then there is trouble. For the wife, the husband becomes all important. For the husband, the wife becomes all important. The same can happen with parents and kids, even in an employee-employer relationship that can happen. Or you can turn somebody into an ideal. And now that ideal is occupying the throne.

The throne has to be left vacant for the Infinite. It belongs to Him and nobody else. 

So, even when you are with that person, live as if, firstly, you are with the Absolute.

Outside, maybe that person or several other persons will surround you.

Inside, you should be all alone with Him.

That’s the key.

Would you remember this?

Outside a crowd may surround you, inside, there should be just you and Him. 


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

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