Quotes, April’19

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If you want to most definitely reach,

Take the most difficult route.


What is It?

More than everything, in general.

Less than nothing, in particular.


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

does your love diminish?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Except for Prakriti,

who will tell you

of all the stories of


And, well,

all his secrets?


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.


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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The Guru is not a person

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Question: Acharya Ji, I would want to know a little bit about the Master’s Grace, the master as a person.

Acharya Prashant: What happens is that, sitting as you are, you take yourself to be a person. When I speak in Hindi, it becomes a little difficult for you because the person that you are does not know Hindi. So even to be a recipient of Grace, the person’s struggles with his personal limitations, matters.

Grace might be falling freely, but you are not in a position to receive it, because you are confined with the limits of the person. And the person does not know Hindi. Hence you require a medium on the outside that tallies with, who is conducive to, who matches with the requirements of your personality.

In such a case, the Master, also needs to be a person.

Because you cannot hear walls speak. The wall is as open a book as the Upanishads. But you cannot hear the walls speak. Because you are a person, you only need a person speak. In such case, you require that Grace appears in front of you like a person. Otherwise, the Master is really not a person.

And the more you advance, the more your person-hood is dissolved, the more you see, you do not need a person in front of you. In fact, the shape of the Master will change according to your shape!

As long as you are one type of a person, you will find that the Teacher is of one type.

The more your constitution, your personality changes, you will find the personality of the Teacher is also changing.

In fact, the Teacher has no definite personality.

His personality is just a veneer that he has put up in order to assist you.

You change, you will find him changing.

When you are moving out of your persona, you will find the Teacher is also moving out of your persona. That is why the Teacher is bound to disappear one day. He appears only in forms that are useful to you. The moment that utility is exhausted, he is done.

But nowhere for a moment must you start believing a person to be a Teacher, or a Teacher to be a person. The personality of the Teacher is just a temporary method. Don’t confuse the personality with the Teacher.

The Teacher really is the Truth absolute, nothing else.

The Truth absolute appears as the teacher, nothing else!

‘Grace of the Master’ does not mean grace of a man or woman. The man or the woman is in front of you – that itself is sufficient Grace.

Now what more do you need?

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: The Guru is not a person.

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Reject them

Now, what is the question of ‘right’ and ‘wrong?’ Can there be a right choice when the whole background, the entire environment itself is ‘wrong’ and ‘false?’ You have only one option, reject everything. Neither A nor B nor C nor D, nothing, reject everything. Then that which is indispensable will come to you. The right choice comes to you on its own, and you don’t have to pursue it. But the right cannot come to you till you are occupied with the ‘wrongs.’

First of all, reject the very center, don’t reject the food item. Reject the servant itself. When you rejected the servant, you rejected all the choices that the servant presents to you.

All the choices that come to you come from the mind. Reject them.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to take important decisions in life?


Acharya Prashant: How to take important decisions in life?

Question: During the journey of life, one comes across many stages where decision making is difficult and is not easy to tell ‘right’ apart from ‘wrong.’ Whom do you depend upon,  at these critical junctions?

Acharya Prashant: I have a ‘mad’ servant. Let’s say; I have a mad servant. I didn’t know; he was mad because  I too am mad, because of keeping his company. If you remain in contact with madness for too long, the madness rubs upon you. You too catch some of that madness. So  I have a mad servant, and his company has made me a little ‘mad.’ Maybe not as mad as him, but yet, not wise either. It never occurred to me that he is mad because I too am ‘a little mad’ so I could never figure out that my servant is ‘mad.’

To figure out someone is mad first of all, you have to be sane. I was not sane because of his company. Do you see what kind of a loop this is? So, I sent my servant to bring food to me, and he is mad. You do not know what he can bring. But, I don’t think he is mad. So I entrust him with the task of fetching food for me. And while he is away, Grace dawns upon me unexpectedly and I at least temporarily recover from my insanity.

So, I am not as mad when the servant returns with the food items. Now, I am sane at least for a while. And the servant keeps these food items in front of me, and he says pick whatever you want to, your choice. The servant is mad, and all the items have been brought by him. The servant is mad, all the choices that are in front of me are the choices that this mad one is presenting to me.

Now, my question is, which of these food items is the right item to eat. Sir, please. Which of these items is the right item to eat? It is a critical juncture as you have said.

So you need to decide between ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Which of these must you pick up? Which of these must you pick up? They all appear different, but they all have something in ‘common.’ What is that? They all have been brought to you by the mad servant.

Now, what is the question of ‘right’ and ‘wrong?’ Can there be a right choice when the whole background, the entire environment itself is ‘wrong’ and ‘false?’

You have only one option, reject everything.

Neither A nor B nor C nor D, nothing, reject everything. Then that which is indispensable will come to you. The right choice comes to you on its own, and you don’t have to pursue it.

But the right cannot come to you till you are occupied with the ‘wrongs.’

All the choices presented to you are coming from the same source, from the same center. What is the center? The same mind. Now, coming from the same center, how can one choice be right and one choice wrong. Coming from the same mad servant how can one item be right and one item wrong? If he is insane, all his choices are going to be mad choices. How can you take one as superior over the other? All are the same, reject everything. And then that which is right will come to you in that space that has now sanctified by rejection.

We don’t want that. We want to keep occupying the chair, and we want TRUTH to come and sit in the chair. You are sitting in the Lord’s chair, and you are praying, “Lord, please come and take your chair.” See how hard am I praying to you. Where are you praying from? You are praying from the wrong place. Your very beginning is wrong, how can the end be right? Sitting in an unauthorized place, sitting where you should not be sitting, you are asking for good things to happen to you. How can good things happen?

First of all, reject the very center, don’t reject the food item. Reject the servant itself. When you rejected the servant, you rejected all the choices that the servant presents to you.

Do you know who the servant is?

Listener: The Mind.

Acharya Ji: Yes, the mind. All the choices that come to you come from the mind. Reject them, and then That will come to you which is choiceless. That is real. There you will have some Joy.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to take important decisions in life?

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Who would believe in poor Jesus?

When you follow even without understanding, that is Surrender.

That is what Surrender is. You do not know what the whole thing is about and yet there is something that tells you, to just go along with it.

AP: You have a beautiful body; how will you use it to make people come to you?

L: Display it.

AP: Now look at Mahavir and Lalla. If you want people to listen to you, they must first of all be present in front of you. Why not attract them this way?

Stories have no use, in fact, those stories must be dropped, after a point. After a point, if you are really wise, you will see the foolishness and the falseness of those stories.

L: Why are Miracles added to all the stories?

AP: We need them.

Otherwise, who would believe in poor Jesus.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on a Sufi story: The obvious falseness of our stories


Acharya Prashant on a Sufi story: The obvious falseness of our stories

Mojud – The man with the inexplicable life

There was once a man named Mojud. He lived in a town where he had obtained a post as a small official, and it seemed likely that he would end his days as inspector of weights and measures.

One day when he was walking through the gardens of an ancient building near his home, Khidr, the mysterious guide of the Sufis, appeared to him, dressed in shimmering green.

Khidr said, “Man of bright prospects! Leave your work and meet me at the riverside in three days’ time. ” Then he disappeared.

Mojud went to his superior in trepidation and said that he had to leave. Everyone in the town soon heard of this and they said, “Poor Mojud! He has gone mad.” But, as there were many candidates for his job, they soon forgot him.

On the appointed day, Mojud met Khidr, who said to him, “Tear your clothes and throw yourself into the stream. Perhaps someone will save you.”

Mojud did so, even though he wondered if he were mad.

Since he could swim, he did not drown, but drifted a long way before a fisherman hauled him into his boat, saying, “Foolish man! The current is strong.

What are you trying to do?”

Mojud said, “I don’t really know.”

“You are mad,” said the fisherman, “But I will take you into my reed-hut by the river yonder, and we shall see what can be done for you.”

When he discovered that Mojud was well-spoken, he learned from him how to read and write. In exchange, Mojud was given food and helped the fisherman with his work.

After a few months, Khidr again appeared, this time at the foot of Mojud’s bed, and said, “Get up now and leave this fisherman. You will be provided for.”

Mojud immediately quit the hut, dressed as a fisherman, and wandered about until he came to a highway.

As dawn was breaking he saw a farmer on a donkey on his way to market. “Do you seek work?” asked the farmer, “because I need a man to help me bring back some purchases.”

Mojud followed him. He worked for the farmer for nearly two years, by which time he had learned a great deal about agriculture but little else.

One afternoon when he was baling wool, Khidr appeared to him and said, “Leave that work, walk to the city of Mosul, and use your savings to become a skin-merchant.”

Mojud obeyed.

In Mosul he became known as a skin-merchant, never seeing Khidr while he plied his trade for three years.

He had saved quite a large sum of money, and was thinking of buying a house, when Khidr appeared and said, “Give me your money, walk out of this town as far as the distant Samarkand, and work for a grocer there.”

Mojud did so.

Presently he began to show undoubted signs of illumination. He healed the sick, served his fellow men in the shop during his spare time, and his knowledge of the mysteries became deeper and deeper.

Clerics, philosophers and others visited him and asked, “under whom did you study?”

“It is difficult to say,” said Mojud.

His disciples asked, “How did you start your career?”

He said, “As a small official.” “And you gave it up to devote yourself to self-mortification?”

“No, I just gave it up.” They did not understand him.

People approached him to write the story of his life.

“What have you been in your life?” they asked.

“I jumped into a river, became a fisherman, then walked out of his reed-hut in the middle of the night. After that, I became a farmhand. While I was baling wool, I changed and went to Mosul, where I became a skin-merchant. I saved some money there, but gave it away. Then I walked to samarkand where I worked for a grocer. And this is where I am now.”

“But this inexplicable behavior throws no light upon your strange gifts and wonderful examples, ” said the biographers.

“That is so,” said Mojud.

So the biographers constructed for Mojud a wonderful and exciting story: because all saints must have their story, and the story must be in accordance with the appetite of the listener, not with the realities of life.

And nobody is allowed to speak of Khidr directly. That is why this story is not true. It is a representation of a life. This is the real life of one of the greatest Sufis.

~ Idries Shah.

Tales of the Dervishes.

Acharya Prashant: When it comes to you, it is never the output, of anything. It is never part of story. No story can ever explain. Why things happened? Why the real happened? You may as well say, “I climbed a tree, I feel down a tree, I chased a dog, I hopped on to a bus, I ate a fruit, I slapped a stranger and it happened.” That’s the most logical, it can get. This is what happened. Now, real is not happening because of any of these, it just happens. And mind you one is not allowed to talk of Khidr directly. How do you, narrate the role that Khidr has been playing in your life.

Khidr is?

Listener: Truth.

AP: Grace. Yes, Truth, Grace whatever.

And how do you tell someone, how and when Khidr comes to you and what he says? Because even you do not understand. How can others understand?

When you follow even without understanding,

that is Surrender.

Read more

Series of great miracles

The subtle can be perceived only by the subtle.

We talk as if miracles happen sometimes. ‘Time’ itself is a miracle.

To believe in miracles is to believe in your personal helplessness. To believe in miracles is to accept that the center of doing is not you, that what is happening is not really your accomplishment.

The miracle tells you that neither have you done it nor do you understand what has been done that is too much for the ego.

You will never be very open to believing in miracles. To believe in miracles is to believe in grace. ‘Grace’ is a miracle. To believe in miracles is to believe in love, truth. You would much rather believe in yourself; Love, truth, grace, they obliterate you. The work of God is miraculous. The work of God is not something that the human mind can make sense of, and that is a miracle. But as we just said, if you cannot make sense of something you feel humiliated. There is another mind that feels delighted when he sees something of the beyond happening. He has faith.

The very existence of Jesus is a miracle. No other miracle is needed.

Life is nothing but a series of great miracles.

The very existence of the Jesus is a miracle. Obviously, everything that happens through him is bound to be a miracle.

Read the complete article:  Acharya Prashant on Jesus – What does it take to believe in miracles

On Jesus: What does it take to believe in miracles?

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Acharya Prashant: The next question says:

Dear Acharya Ji, Pranam

After reading the story of Lazarus, this is what comes to the mind. We all want to see miracles in order to believe in the existence of a God. Something that is magical or out of the ordinary. Most of us have witnessed those moments at some point in our lives. Yet those moments pass and we go on with our normal lives as if nothing has happened. So what does it then take to believe fully and completely? And why do we find it so difficult?

‘Miracles’ are continuously happening Nimisha. But to whom are the miracles happening? Who would perceive the miracles as happening? The one who is to perceive is lost in the gross material. He can perceive nothing but that which is loud, sensory, material.

The subtle can be perceived only by the subtle.

That is the reason why blunt demonstrations like the one in the case of Lazarus are talked of. That Lazarus loved Jesus was in itself the highest miracle. But that miracle would not be appreciated. It would not even be called a miracle because we are gross people. We have lost the sensitivity, the receptivity to perceive, record, register the little, the faint, the delicate and that is the reason why we talk only of some miracles. We do not talk of a continuity of miracles.

We talk as if miracles happen sometimes.

‘Time’ itself is a miracle.

Read more

The wall is as open a book as the Upanishads

Grace might be falling freely, but you are not in a position to receive it because you are confined with the limits of the person; and the person does not know Hindi. Hence you require a medium on the outside that tally’s with; who is conducive to, who matches with the requirements of your personality.

In such a case, the master, also needs to be a person. Because you cannot hear walls speak. The wall is as open a book as the Upanishads. But you cannot hear the walls speak. Because you are a person, you only need a person speak. In such case, you require that grace appears in front of you like a person.

Otherwise, the master is really not a person. And the more you advance, the more your person-hood is dissolved, the more you see, you do not need a person in front of you. In fact, the shape of the master will change according to your shape! As long as you are one type of a person, you will find that the teacher is of one type. The more your constitution, your personality changes; you will find the personality of the teacher is also changing. In fact, the teacher has no definite personality. His personality is just a veneer that he has put up in order to assist you.

You change; you will find him changing. When you are moving out of your persona, you will find the teacher is also moving out of your persona. That is why the teacher is bound to disappear one day. He appears only in forms that are useful to you. The moment that utility is exhausted, he is done.

Read complete article: The Guru is not a person

The Guru is not a person

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Acharya Prashant: You concern yourself only with the Truth. The Truth will take care of the material world. You remain with the Truth, the Heart, the Self, whatever you like to call it.

When the ego remains with the Truth, then the mind, which is nothing but the environment of the ego, remains alright.

Then all the calculations are just perfect.

These things you must understand. Read more

Why did Osho say that he is the rich man’s Guru?


AP: So, you are asking, “Why did Osho say that he is the rich man’s Guru?” Two important words here will have to be understood. The first is ‘rich’, what is richness? The second is ‘Guru’, what is Guru? When you usually say richness, what do you mean? It’s a very frequently used word, what do we mean? We usually mean a feeling of having a lot with us. And equally frequently we also use the word ‘poor’. What does poor refer to?

Listener 1: Lacking something.

AP: A feeling of lacking something. Normally we would take richness and poorness to be opposites of each other. And that gives us a hint, wherever opposites are to be found, the matter is just dualistic. And in any dualistic issue, both sides of duality are not really true. So what is the poor man saying? The poor man is saying “I have sized up myself, I have taken my measurement and I find this measurement to be small”. And what is the rich man saying? “I have sized up myself, I have taken my measurement and I find this measurement to be large, big!” Now small and big both are very subjective terms and hence, rich and poor too are subjective. Read more

Who am I? The honesty with which I admit ‘I am my identities’

Acharya Prashant: (Speaking to the listeners)We are writing down in a free flowing way as many statements, beginning with ‛I am’, as we can write. The statements need to come directly from our daily life and daily experiences. They need to come from the way we live, we operate, we are, as human beings.

We are writing down and we are also taking a count. We will remember that in this, there are no right or wrong responses, we are just trying to take a look at the facts. All right! So what do we have with us now? We have a fair number of statements that begin with ‛I am’. How many could we gather? How many? Yes? Let’s just talk of it.

Listeners: (Listeners answering the total number of statements that they could write starting with ‛I am.’)

Twenty seven, thirty-four, fifty-two, twenty-four, Fifty Two, Forty Nine…..

Acharya Prashant: A good number for almost everybody. Now this is how we live our lives as identities, as a restless sense of ‛I am’, that is waiting to, that is eager to get associated with some object, any object. Since no particular object gives us total fulfillment, so this sense of ‘I am’ keeps travelling between different identities. “I am ‛A’, I am ‛B’, I am ‛C’, I am ‛D’”- and this is how we live. This is the direct and present fact of our life.

(Addressing the  audience) Now in front of this, just write, ‛As we are,’ as the ego is; just write it down please-‛As we are.’

Now I ask you, how many could you write down? Is the number final? Does it end here? Somebody said twenty-four, is a twenty-fifth not going to come? Is a twenty-fifth not already there? Yes?

Listener: It’s there.

Speaker: Is the seventieth one, not already there? Is it there or not? Is a two thousand and first one not already there? It just depends on the attention and time you give to this activity, and you will be able to fill a very large number of sheets. What does that show? That shows that this sense of I am, this inner vacancy, this restlessness is very eager to find a permanent partner. It wants to get wedded to the right entity, it wants to come to an association where it can ultimately rest.

The sense of I am says, I am ‛A’, but finds that ‛A’ cannot give that fulfillment to it which it is looking for. So after a while, it has to move to ‛B’. “I am B. Then I am C, then D.” And that is why the count will keep on increasing, will keep on growing. So the very reason that the count is a large number is that no particular number suffices. Since no particular number suffices, so we keep doing that which we can do, which is to try for an even bigger number, try for one more association, try knocking at one more door, try one more relationship, try one more venue.

Could we come to rest at some statement of perfect identity? The story, would have ended there. The very continuation and extension of this list suggests that we are not at peace. The search for that perfect partner remains on.

However, this search that is basically emanating from a restlessness, from an inner hollow, from an inner suffering, is usually decorated with very fine names. So you want to belong to an example, to a community, you want to belong to a family, you want to be called as associated with a person, you want to be identified with certain qualities. You would not call any of this as restlessness.

We give very nice, fancy, ornamented names to our situation. I will not say that I am moving from place to place because I am not all right at any particular place. I will say I am moving from place to place in order to gather experiences. And the force of conditioning is such that many of the identities that you have written down, they have been made respectable or admirable by religion, by convention, by society. So when you dawn those identities, it hardly ever crosses your mind that this is another act in restlessness, with the result that the fact of daily living gets obscured behind imported beliefs. Are you getting it?

At this point, if due to an act of grace, if due to an inner honesty, one wakes up to his own suffering, one becomes sensitive to his own predicament, if one gathers the guts to be honest, then one says that I will not sugarcoat something that is so bitter. I will not say that I am ambitious,  I will just say that I am craving to get fulfilment. I will not say that I am an achiever, I will say that I have been taught that I am incomplete, so I have gone on continuously to somehow feel complete.

For most people, this second stage never comes. It doesn’t come because we are contented with names rather than facts. We say that if I have been told that such and such situation is a good situation, then it must be a good situation. If I have been told such and such event is supposed to be a happy event, then it must be a happy event. Few are those who say that it doesn’t matter what the world think of these identities, what matter is how I am really living, really feeling, what matters is whether I am really peaceful.

Now for the small number of such people, the second stage is then a state of negation, a stage of rejection. Classically, it has been called as the process of ‛Neti-Neti’. ‛Neti’ means- ‘not this’ – ‛Na-iti’, ‘not this’. “No! I do not want this. No! Not this. Because this is not really that which I want. I cannot keep deceiving myself anymore. This is not that.”

The whole world might be feeling alright with it, but I am not feeling alright. The whole world might be congratulating me that I have landed an awesome job, but I am not quite okay with it. The whole world might be saying that such and such technique is wonderful thing but it’s not beneficial for me. I do not feel at rest.Not this. No! Not this.

And remember that this ‛Not-this’ is not an action. It is just an acknowledgment. Because a simple repulsion, ‛against-world’ state, is anyway already present and it is that repulsion which leads to the widening of this ever enlarging circle of identities. It is that which gives us craving for experience. May be the next experience would offer me that fulfillment which I am searching for,“Oh! It didn’t happen this time. Let me try something new, something fancy. Maybe from there, I will get it.”

There comes a point in the lives of a few people where they honestly admit that it is not working. It is not that. And that is the stage of rejection, negation. In this stage, one empties the total set of his accumulations, psychic accumulations, not material ones. One empties them not as a technique, but as a helplessness, but as an honest admission. I am not liking the flavour, how do I continue to drink it? The world might be saying that this is most nutritious, and most tasty and delicious, but to tell you the truth, I am not quite liking it. One empties it. When one empties these identities one after the another, one finds that there is progressively less and less to relate with.

Previously, one could very easily and very proudly say that ‘I am this’, ‘I am that’, now it becomes difficult. Now the moment you say, “‘I am this’, and ‘I am that'”, it reminds you of what does it really mean in your daily life; the set is vacant; the cup is empty. And then one notices something wonderful. That wonderful thing is that even after it is emptied, even after all the contents of the mind, of the cup has been poured out, yet one is able to live freely.

Associations looked indispensable, so necessary, absolutely central to existence. One would think that without this relationship, or that relationship, or that identification or that attachment, how will I survive? But having dropped that association, that attachment, that identity, one is not only surviving, but actually flourishing. At this stage, and only at this stage, must come the question: ‛Who am I?’

This we have called as ‛Myth demolition tour’. Daily we take up something and try to clear the myths that surrounds it. Today, we have taken up the ‘Who am I?’ method. So far we have gone through an outline of what this so called method, which is actually a non-method, what this so called method is really like? Now we go back having come to the third stage, having just touched it, not fully explored it, now we  go back to the first stage, and you will guide the discussion. Help me.

If somebody is in stage one, as most of us always are, what will be the answer to the question, ‛Who am I?’ Look at your sheets! You have written a lot. What will be the answer to the question ‛Who am I?’. You are in stage 1, as you are, because you have written so much. (Asking a listener) So if you are asked, ‛Who are you?’ What will your immediate answer will be?

L: Characteristics or identity.

AP: Characteristics or identity. Right? In fact when you are sure and certain of ‘who you are?’ as you are sure because you have written so much, when you are sure and certain of who you are, would you ever ask the question-‘Who am I?’ I am asking you again, forget about the answer to the question, would even the question ever come to you? You already have so many answers to the question-‛Who am I?’; then is the question relevant or meaningful or honest at all?

There is actually no question. One asks a question only when one feels that one does not know the answer. Am I right? If the answer is already known, would one ever ask ‛Who am I?’ So there is no point asking the question ‛Who am I?’; not at all because the answers is already known to us. I asked in the morning, “A cheque comes in your name. It’s bearing your name – Robert. Do you say, “Who is Robert?” You very well know you are Robert and you will encash the cheque. Do you not? Then why must we divorce daily life from a spiritual setting?

Why must we in a satsang or in a spiritual discourse start pretending as if we do not know the answer of this profound question? We already know the answer.

‛Who am I?’ I am a mother.

‛Who am I?’ I am a German.

‛Who am I?’ I am a Hindu.

‛Who am I?’ I am a doctor.

‛Who am I?’ I am a millionaire.

Don’t we already have so many answers. Please stay with me. We have to move together in this. Don’t we already have so many answers, sir? Anybody here who does not have answers? Nobody left his sheet blank. Did anybody leave his sheet blank? So we know the answer. When we know the answer, there is no possibility of any question. Infact asking the question would be very hypocritical. It’s like ‘I am ‛Julie’. Who am I? I am a mother of two. ‘Who am I?’

We have a Hindi film Sholay. You have heard of Amitabh Bacchan-the Superstar? He asks the actress, the actress is a very loquacious one. He asks her-“Basanti(actress’s name), what is your name?” Such is the irony when we ask, ‛Who am I? “Basanti, what is your name?”  When you already know the name, why you are asking the name?When you already have so many answers to ‛Who am I?’, how can you ever asks honestly ‘Who am I?’ Don’t you see the obvious absurdity contained in it?

In the second stage, comes grace. If we want we can call that a Guru or whatever we want to call- it could be life, it could be a scripture, it could be absolutely nothing at all. One fine morning you wake and you say, “enough.”

The first stage is of apparent comfort. You are settled in your identities. Within of course, there is movement, there is vibration, there is turbulence-but on the surface, everything is allright. You are a well adjusted social man. In the second stage, lies a lot of turbulence. The second stage, as we have said, is of rejection, negation, ‘Neti-Neti’. You could add another word to it; the second stage is of Sadhna and Tapasya.

The word ‛Tap’ is a beautiful word. Tap means to purify. It is related to heating something to cleanse it. It has the image of passing through fire.  Which means you are burnt down, you are turned to ashes, you are annihilated. The identities are burning down one after the other-Tapasya.  And this is the only real Sadhna – to see the suffering contained in the ways one is living and hence be sensitive enough to drop those ways. Loving oneself so much that one is not prepare to continue with the self inflicted torture anymore. Having faith that life is not meant to be suffering and hence if I am suffering, it must be surely because of something that I have accumulated. And if that be the case then I am prepared to give up the accumulation.

It is not a pleasant process, the second one I am talking of, it is not at all comfortable. You almost feel like dying. For us, life is a particular way – relationships, attachments, associations. When that goes, it appears as nothing is left as if one is passing away. The role of Grace, the role of the Guru, is to help you pass through that stage and before that, to push you to move into this stage. Left to oneself, one would never leave stage one.

Left to oneself, one would continue to suffer silently, weep quietly. In front of others, you would smile; and in your loneliness, in your dark corners, you would shed tears. And because you have presented a nice face to everybody, there is nobody who is going to come to you to say, that why must you continue to be like this.

The role of the Guru is to not to maintain the status quo of stage one. The role of the Guru is to firstly push you to stage two and then when you are in stage two, he offers you support so that you do not feel totally devastated. The role is two prompt. First of all, he wouldn’t let you feel comfortable.

The real guru is not at all interested in making you feel pleasant and nice and comfortable. He is not aiming to make you smile. He wants to bring the Truth to you and nothing short of that. He loves you so much that He wouldn’t settle for anything less than The Absolute. He says that you are worthy of the Total, how can you have anything less than That? He keeps on pushing you so that you move out of your comfort zone.

And when you are out of your comfort zone, you repeatedly wants to slip back. He will be there to both warn you and to support you. He will not present false consolations to you. He will not say, “Oh! It’s all nice, very nice, everything is lovable, life is all right as it is.” He knows you, He loves you, He reads your face. He can see the grief in the mind. He can see the hidden sadness in the eyes. He will help you despite your resistance. He will guide you in spite of your ingratitude. Because that is His role. That is grace.

You will only have ingratitude and abuses for the Real one because He will hurt you and that hurt is inevitable. That hurt is not coming from the Guru. That hurt is coming from ‛How’ and ‛What you have been’ in your past. It is your karmic load. But you attribute that hurt to the Guru. You say,“You hurt me.” He will bear that. He will keep pushing you and then you are enabled to have the courage to move out of the false, then you are enable to drop the masks and look at your own beautiful face.

We have lived so long with masks that we have start believing that the mask itself is the real face. We have become so accustomed to ugliness that when we look at our own beauty, we find it repugnant. The Guru is there to tell you that you are indeed beautiful and that you need no plastic, you need no make up. Exactly as you are, you are all right. And then comes a point when you are free. Then arises from within a cry of gratitude, called ‛Who am I?’

It is very important to dispel some myths regarding ‛Who am I?’

‛Who am I?’ is not a question. ‛Who am I?’ is a celebration.

‛Who am I?’ is a statement belonging to the same category as ‛Aham Brahmasmi’. It is a statement belonging to the same category as ‛Soham’. The Upanishads talk of  ‛Koham’ and ‘Soham‘ together. ‘Koham‘ is ‛Who am I?’ ‘Soham‘ is ‛That am I!’

When you want to express your bewilderment by saying that you are not all that which you thought yourself to be then you say-‛Naham’- I am not all that.When you to express a sense of ‛Aww!’, a sense of affirmation in saying that you still are something even if all the material identities are lost, then you say,“Who am I?- ‘Koham’.” And when you feel really settled, peaceful, and  find no words to express that which you are, then you just say, “That am I.” All these are just the same. And remember, none of these are utterances. None of these are words.

The Upanishads relate to the word ‛Aham’ in a number of ways. ‛Paurno-Aham’,‛Shunyo-Aham’, ‛Amrito-aham’, ‛Niradharo-Aham’, ‛Arthhino-Aham’. ‘Koham‘ is a statement belonging to that wide set. Every statement in that set means the same thing. It means, “I am not what I thought myself to be and yet it is such good fun.” It is not a question to be asked. It has no answer. It is so subtle that you cannot capture it in thought. You cannot think that you are going to ask ‛Who am I?’ It cannot be recommended to somebody that you ask ‛Who am I?’

Even if it is recommended to ask ‛Who am I?’, if you are the asker, if you are the questioner, then the answer is obvious; I am the questioner. “‘Who am I?’ I am the Questioner.”

‛Who am I?’ arises. You do not ask it. It arises without your permission. It is a blossoming.

The method therefore cannot be to ask ‛Who am I?’ The method has to be to begin with-‛I am’. Not ‘Who am I? ‛I am’- because that is the direct fact of our life. I begin with ‛I am’. I begin with that which I believe myself to be. I begin with that as which I am leading moment after moment. I begin with honesty. I do not begin with a hypothesis. I begin with the practical fact. I do not begin with a theory contained in some book.

So one begins with asking-‛I am’. And one doesn’t even have to ask because that which you are acting as, is unraveling itself in every single action that we undertake.

“I am a listener.”

‛‛I am a walker.”

“I am a shopkeeper.”

“I am a buyer or customer.”

So what is the point in even asking? It is already there.

You know, the more clearly and directly you see that you are acting as an identity and the identity is preset, the identity is so mechanical, so mechanical that if you are acting as an employee, it becomes certain that what kind of conduct you will undertake. When you are acting as a husband, then you can no longer act as the employee. Every identity is a prewritten script.

You very well know that how you are supposed to behave when you are ‛X’ v/s when you are ‛Y’. When you start seeing this thing, then a distaste arises in you. You do not quite like it. You say,“What is the fun in living a predetermined life? A fellow must be himself.” It is so certain that when I belong to a particular country, then I do not like it when my country loses a war or even loses a hockey match.

When  I act as a father, then it becomes certain that two particular kids matter more to me then all the kids in the world and it is so boring, so repetitive. It is happening with every father since ages. It is so certain and so pre-scripted that I may not be a father yet but I already know that when I will become a father I’ll have to behave in such ways because that is the way ‛The father’ must behave and every father does behave in that way. Then, you rebel against this. The rebellion is not something of your own.

Of your own, is only the accumulation. The cleansing, the purification, the catharsis is not one’s own. We have already said that it is an act of Grace. Grace, which shows up in the form of anything. That anything need not to be a person. Let’s just call that anything as the ‛Guru’. And the role of the ‛Guru’, we repeat, is to not to let stage one linger on. Guru has also been called as death in the scriptures. For this reason only.

And it is simple; if Guru literally means the agency that takes one from darkness to light, then what does Guru means to darkness? Death. So that is the reason Guru has been described as an annihilator and if we are in the stage of darkness, then to us, Guru would indeed appear like death and that is one mark of a true Guru. He is not pleasant. He is very difficult to be liked.

And that is one mark of the fake one. He would be very pleasant. He would help you maintain your world. He will lubricate your wheels, and gears and nuts and bolts. He will want that same old machinery to continue functioning. The real one comes with a hammer. He dismantles the old machinery. He has no interest, no stake in letting the conditioned machine continue to function because that conditioned machine means suffering to you and He operates from Love.

You may call Him death but the fact is He is love, personified. Because He is love personified so He is prepared to run the risk of your anger. He very well knows that his acts and words will be taken as harshness, arrogance, even cruelty. In spite of that he does what must be done. His religion is Truth. He is not out there to please.

Are you getting it?

The words of the great Seers must be taken with utmost caution. They come from a very deep silence and can be understood in a silence equally deep. When the Upanishads say, “Soham-That am I” If you are not careful , you will interpret it to mean that ‛I am That, and ‛That’ is something.” Had ‛That’ been something, why would the Seer say ‛That’? They would have said ‛That something’, given it a name.

When the Upanishads say, “Brahmasmi Aham”, it does not mean that the seer is calling us as Brahm. Remember that the speaker, the ‘I’, the aham, from where these words are coming, is in a very deep state of meditation. It is from there that these words are arising. If we take this sentence to mean that “I am Brahm”, then it is a tragedy and it is easy to do that.

The Upanishads are saying, “I am Brahm”. So you say, “Oh! See it is been certified that I am Brahm”. No! The Upanishads are not saying that ‘You are Brahm’. That ‛I’ to which the seer is referring to is a totally different ‘I’. It is an unidentified ‘I’. It is a pure ‘I’. But it is easy to co-opt this statement and start feeling good about it. Now you say, “See ! I always believed that I am the most wonderful one and now even the Rishi of the Upanishads has validated that. See what he is saying? He is saying, “You are Brahm“. So I am Brahm.”

Those words can be understood only in the same absence of consciousness in which they were first uttered. Remember, ‛absence of consciousness’ which means absence of thought, which means you could not be thinking about these things; which means you cannot be consciously trying to use these things as a method. Consciously, you can do only that which consciousness allows you to do. Consciousness is composed of daily experiences. So using consciousness, using thought, at most you can see where you are standing and that is all. That is all. “I am X.” And full stop. No need to go any further than that. Why? Because after that is the act of grace. “I am X.”

I like to say that it is like a relay race, in which one runner passes the baton to the other and then the other one starts running. As you are, your job is only to run first hundred metres and then stop. You are not to continue running. You stop answering “I am This.” and thereafter grace takes over. You stop! And that is the method. Full Stop. So simple that it appears incredible.

The method is to just say, “I am.” I am right now acting like a doctor. I am right now acting like a lover. And what is the difference between a lover and a acting like a lover? In acting like a lover, you do what all the lovers of the world do. You repeat that same ancient story. There is no newness, no freshness, no scope for unpredictability. In fact unpredictability becomes undesirable. You do not like it.

 ‘I am’.

“I am acting like a spiritual seeker.” and what does that mean? That means I will wear clothes of a particular kind,  I will go to particular kind of classes, I will recite particular kind of mantras, I will wear a particular expression on my face, I will visit such Ashrams, I will go to such satsangs. And that is called acting as a spiritual seeker. Now that is very different from being a spiritual seeker because the spiritual seeker does not really play the same old record. He does not in advance know that such are the places to go. He does not in advance know

Let me make it a little more vivid.

If a fellow is coming to you from the front down the road and just by looking at him, you are able to say that he is a spiritual seeker, then rest assured he cannot be a spiritual seeker. Because how did you come to know that he is a spiritual seeker? Through his attire, through his personality, through his way of walking and the rest of that. You know that in advance, he too knows that in advance, and it is a mutual contract.

It’s like relaying of a signal. A signal accord whose meaning is determined already in advance. Just like red means danger when it comes to railways; similarly saffron means spiritual when it comes to spirituality. So what appears certain, strange are the ways of Truth; what appears certain, is the first one to be rejected as dubious. If someone ticks all the right boxes, then it is certain that he is not the right one. Had he been the right one, why would he have taken care to tick all the right boxes?

The right one, by definition is free, unpredictable, fresh, new. So, do not give yourself this doubt that I may not be acting, I might actually be this. The actuality is the action of the core. It is not a roleplay. It is tragic, the degree of roleplay we do.

Let’s do a small mental exercise that will make it clearer. I say, “lovers”. Visualise. Were you able to visualize? Come on! Speak up! Were you able to visualize?

Listeners: Yes.

Speaker: How it is possible that we are able to visualize in advance, what lovers look like? It means that we already know that this is how you act when you are in love; so which means when we have to prove that we are on love, it is very easy. What would we do? Act like that. Sitting over here, we already know that they are lovers if they are walking hand in hand, they are lovers if they are spending time together, they are lovers if they are sleeping together. So if I have to prove myself that I am a lover it’s simple. “Tick all those boxes.” tick all those boxes and it is proven that you are a lover.

Next one! “Guru,” visualize. Could you visualize? Yes?

Listeners: Yes.

Speaker: So you already know in advance what a guru looks like. Even the guru knows in advance what he has to do to look like a guru. Even the guru knows in advance, exactly what he has to do to look like a guru. Don’t you see the inherent trap in all this?

“Happy”, visualize.

“Relaxing”, visualize. Could you visualize?

L: Yes.

AP: Which means you already know what it would look like when you are relaxing. So it is very easy for them to convince you that you are relaxing by? By? By being in that place and acting in that way. So the moment I said, “relaxing”, the image that came to the mind was, a very comfortable chair on the beach and lying down with a towel on the face and some beverages kept by the side; which means that now you do not need real relaxation.

What do you need now? Come on! What do you need now? You need to just materialize that image. You need to go to a beach of that kind, you need to lay down like that, you need to order those beverages, you need to cover your face with that towel and now you can convince yourself, cheat yourself into saying that I am having a good time, I am relaxing.

Is there anything that is not an image for us? I can continue the whole night asking you to visualize something and you will always have a visual; and that is so horrifying. We have visual for everything. I say, “enlightenment”, visualize.

And even for that you have something. You want to take it to the extreme? “God,” visualize. Now someone may come up and say, “No! I couldn’t visualize.” then I’ll say,“If I show the picture of horse and say God, will you agree?” No! You wouldn’t agree. Which means this much you atleast know that God is not a horse; which means you have some image of some kind. Had you had absolutely no image, then you could have agreed. You could have said, “Yes! God could be the horse also.” Had you had absolutely no image, then you could have said,“That! Yes. God could be a horse. I do not know.” but some idea of even God you have. Which means if somebody has to act like God, it is so easy for him.

That “Advait”, the small organisation that I run, with students of various ages and it is quite fun. Sometimes we ask them to role play. We say role play like God and nobody have ever refused. Everybody is able to roleplay like God; and what does it mean? Go into that. What does that mean? If kids are able to role play like God, what does that mean? That they already have an image of what God is like; and if you already have an image what God is like, the entire world has an image. Which means it is very easy to play God and cheat you.

The only method is to look honestly, brutally honestly at the facts of one’s life. When I am purchasing vegetables at a grocery store, is it not easy to see that I am acting in a particular way. When I am driving a car, and the car is stopped by a police man, isn’t it easy to see that I am afraid, a slight chill rises; some nervousness. When my concepts are challenged, isn’t it easy to see that I become a little alert, a little protective of myself. Isn’t it easy to see that I become insecure?

When I look at that big-big car, it means something to me. That car does not means to make the same things as any other two-wheeler. That car means something more to me, something special to me. Is it not easy to see that I am somebody who calls that car; I may not admit it. But had that car meant nothing to me, then the car and the two-wheeler, have been just the same. I couldn’t have accorded more respect to someone who is coming out of that car compared to someone who is riding down from the two-wheeler. And do we do that or not? A large car stops in front of you and somebody descends from that, and compared to that, somebody comes riding an old bicycle. Have we not noticed?

Spirituality is not about abstract mumbo-jumbo. Spirituality is simple and direct common sense; coming in touch with simple facts of one’s life. Spirituality is not meant to take you anywhere else – some heaven, some Paramatman, some enlightenment. Spirituality is meant to show you where you are exactly.When you see where you are, then you reach where you must.

It’s parallel, concurrent. There is nobody who does not know where he or she is. We do not need to ask ourselves, “How am I feeling? What is going on? Who am I?” No! Because we are the experiencer, who else will know? We already know.

We already know the facts our daily living. There is nobody who does not know. The gap lies in just the acknowledgement. We do not acknowledge it. We do not acknowledge it because society has told us that a few things are bad and ugly and impermissible and they should not be acknowledged. For example: I cannot acknowledge to myself that I cohabit the neighbors wife because if I acknowledge to myself then it would be very difficult for me to show my face to the priest. And forget about the priests; it would be very difficult for me to face myself. My own self worth will take a beating.

So even the fact presents itself to me in various ways, I will suppress that fact.

Spirituality is about getting rid of morality. Nothing is good or bad. Just acknowledge. Just acknowledge that this is the way it is. Acknowledge with all the confidence that even if you are stained, fallen, and ugly in your own eyes, yet existentially, you are absolutely beautiful. So acknowledgement will not bring any harm to you. You can freely accept that this is what is going on in my life day-by-day, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and yet you will meet no punishment. In fact, you are already meeting punishment for not acknowledging.

Spirituality is an honest acknowledgement. It begins with that and it also ends at that – I am this. I am distracted. I am afraid. I am seeking to escape. But if you admit that you are seeking to escape, then you will have to admit that there is something to hide. You will have to admit that there is something wrong somewhere. So we wouldn’t admit that we are shivering. Instead we pretend that all is hunky-dory and you know well, nothing is happening. Yeah! It’s time to get up and walk away. Nice evening! We spent some good moments here. Now let’s go and occupy on some other things.

The fact is, that the sound of Truth unsettled you so much that you are compelled to walk away; and you know that. Had you not known that, why would you have walked away in the first place? Yours walking away needs no questioning. It is the fact and the proof of the fact.

Spirituality is faith. Faithfully, without fear, one simply presents his nakedness to the Truth. One simply says, “This is what has become of me. This is what I am. I have nothing else to offer. I wouldn’t conceived a facts. I wouldn’t hide my wounds. I am prepared to open up and in any case even if I decide not to open up, the Truth within me already knows what is going on. So what am I getting by hiding? What am I getting by putting on a smiling face? I deserve Joy, absolute joy. Nothing less than that. These faint and fake smiles are such a cheap substitute for Joy.” Yes?

I do not know whether you still want to call it a method because a method involves doing something in time; a method involves a process. What I have just said is instantaneous. It does not require time to fructify. As soon as it is happening, parallely, it is clear what is happening. It’s not really a method. It is just a way of living. A simple, innocent, way of living.

Yes! Your queries?

L1:  So you ask us to empty ourselves..

AP:  No, emptying cannot happen till you first see that the stuff that there is deserve to be empty. So emptying, you can easily forget. You just be attentive to what fills you up. Emptying just happens on its own.

L2: We are essentially born emptied, but then the things that we acquire..

AP: To an extent. But we are actually not born empty. Even if you look at the newly borns, they have their peculiar characteristics. So you are born with biological conditioning. It is not that you are born empty, clean, a clean slate or such things; no. You are born at least with your genome, with your biological characteristics. Later on, all the social stuff gets overlaid and the interactions of these two, shows up in various events of our life.

So if you just look directly at what is happening in life, moment after moment. If you see not everybody here, right now is sitting in the same way. You look at some people and they are still, pictures of concentration, absolutely lovely. And there are others, fidgeting. And this simple fact is the story of entire life. If one can go to it, be close to it, everything is revealed.

But one can also sweep it under the carpet. “Oh! It’s nothing, you know! It’s one of those regular things.” Every single action that one does contains the total story of our evolution. The whole ancient story is contained in even the smallest of actions. But one need not be such a prolific reader. It’s very difficult to read the entire story in that one thing. But there is opportunity for us because we are continuously acting. Life is continuously unfolding. There are experiences one after the other. So if you miss the story in one experience, then you can gather it in the next one. You only need to have the intention of honesty. If the intention is of subterfuge, then obviously! All you will get is some..

L2:  When it comes down to, I think I am a little confused, relations,or thinking in terms of Nouns opposed to verbs about how our identity works with that about the shoulds of the two.

AP: It does not matter whether it is a noun or a verb. If it is a noun, it will still lead to an action. If it is a Verb, it means that the action is already happening. If you say, I am a father; and that’s a noun. You would know the father through his actions; through fatherly actions, and now you have the verb in picture. So it doesn’t matter whether it is a verb or a noun. These are small things. What matters is, that I am acting in ‘that’ way. I am carrying ‘this’. And it has become so important to me. The moment I am this(identity), it is so important for me. It is so important for me, that even The Truth takes a back seat.

It’s actually so easy that we find it impossible. That which is the easiest is often the one that is missed the most. It is so easy that it is impossible to believe in it.

L3: What do you ultimately want for the people listening to you or taking your advice?


Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid because you conceal your facts from yourself only because you are afraid. You do not admit your situation to yourself only because you are afraid. Have faith! Have faith that you are being taken care of. There is no need to try smartness. There is no need to act clever. There is no need to hide. Just open up. Just be naked. Don’t be afraid.

L4: Sir in doing that, being true to yourself, sometimes it is difficult because it reveals things that I do not know about myself and I go for social acceptance

AP:  Yes! But when you see that the cost of seeking that social acceptance is a very high cost, then you don’t want to pay the price. And when you see parallely that your peace is paramount and so valuable, then you want to pay every price for that peace. So pay that price. Even if socially you are ostracized, even if you face some losses. Go for it. Be a man and face it.

L3: Sir, is there any certain method that you can do to be honest with yourself all the time?

AP:  Avoid situations which are patently situations of dishonesty, at least for a while. Avoid places where you know that for certain, dishonesty would be at play; even if I repeat, there is a price to be paid, pay the price. You very well know that if you go to that social gathering, you will have to act like a jovial employee; it’s an office party and when it is a office party, you must play a role. You know it’s just a role, you know, you would be compelled to play it. Pay the price. Avoid that party.

If there is a particular person who keeps demanding that you behave in a certain way; avoid that person. He will not allow you to be yourself. He will make sure that you are acting as per a script. He will make sure that you are acting as per his expectations. And, promote and value and respect those people, places, situations more where you get a chance to be authentic. Be there and offer your gratitude there.

L: How is a Guru different than these people? Guru encourages you to be in a certain kind of way. He mould oneself in one direction or another.

AP: Yes! That’s what the minds want the Guru to do – suggest a particular direction. Show me the way. A real Guru never shows you a way, He just shows you the futility of your own ways. He shows you that your own ways have only brought you ruin and He tells you that you are capable of now finding a different way. I need not suggest you a way. You have all the capability and all the potential. You will find your way.

So the Guru, the real Guru will never suggest a way to you. He is not in that business. He relieves you of your diseases, and leaves you free in your health. And in your health, you can play around, do whatever you want to do, he wouldn’t interfere. That’s not His business. He quickly excuses himself. He fades away. He retires. You wouldn’t find Him anymore in your life after His task is done. He goes away.

L: How can one incorporate meditation in trying to be honest?

S: This is meditation.

Wherever you can be silent, wherever you don’t feel the need to be turbulent, that is meditation. Meditation is not about following certain practices. Yesterday I asked, if meditation is about following few practices in a limited time of the day, then how will you meditate when you are swimming, or driving your car, or cooking your meals, or in love making. How will you meditate? Meditation is your own inner honesty. Meditation is your own deep commitment to peace. And it’s a continuous commitment. You are never an infidel. You are forever surrender to The Truth. That is meditation. I repeat, meditation is not at all about following a particular schedule, or sitting in a particular way, and acting in a particular pattern. That is not meditation.

Yes, please?

L: Do you think that associating with particular identities can help us to be a better person. For example: I am kind, I am generous, and thinking about these things will make me better?

AP: It will only help you be more of the person that you are. Pay attention to this. We like to say, for example: I am generous. Who decided that being generous is good? So I am somebody. Now I also wants to be generous! Why do I want to be generous? Who decided that being generous is good? Come on! If you want to be generous, who is deciding that being generous is good? You. So being generous, is then, just an extention of yourself. It is not something new. Do you see this? It is just an extention of yourself because you are the one who is choosing to be generous.

So, ‘no identity’ is a better identity than any other identity. It’s an easy trap to fall in. One says, “Certain identities are more preferable compared to others.” No! An identity is an identity and freedom is freedom. A prison is a prison, doesn’t matter what the name of the prison is. A prison is a prison, no matter how well decorated a prison is.

L3: Whatever I have heard just now, it’s like we should not have any identity at all.

AP: No. The moment you say that we should not have any identity at all, you already have a conclusion which will block you from watching your identities. Who says identities are bad? At least we are in no position to say that identities are bad. Had we known that identities are bad, why would we have maintained them? It behoves us more to simply say that identities are wonderful because we are cling to identities. So do not ever start from a hypothetical position. Never! Never!

Spirituality is not about assumptions. Spirituality is hard facts. We live in identities; and that is a fact. Now figure out that fact. Now see that fact in action. Now see how it plays out in every aspect of one’s life. That’s spirituality!

If you have been continuously told that greed or sexuality is bad, wouldn’t it become difficult for you to accept and acknowledge your lust? Wouldn’t it become difficult? Never start with value statements. Start with the present fact and end there as well.

L4: Do you think that evolution of human ego and creating identities is some kind of mistake?

AP: No! Not some kind of mistake. Just a fact. Because the moment you call it a mistake, you are condemning it, and when you are condemning it, you are again blocking it.

L5: That  seems like it’s not so useful for us.

AP: See, the only thing why we are having this discussion and why any identity might be dropped. We do not know whether it will be dropped, we are open. The only reason why it might be dropped is if it leads to suffering. I am even prepared to say that if the identity is not leading to suffering, kindly carry on with it. So, the purpose is not to live by an ideal, not having identities. Please pay attention to this-‛not having identities’ is not a question of maintaining an ideal. It is just a question of not needlessly suffering. If identity leads to suffering, then obviously identity needs to be dropped. If identity, you figure out, is not leading to suffering, then by all means, maintain it.

L6: If my identity is leading to some kind of self suffering, but ultimately leading to good of others, that is perhaps a positive in itself.

AP: It’s a contradictory statement. If I am saying that that everybody is benefiting from a certain identity that I carry, but I am suffering then surely I am not happy that the others are benefitting. Go closely to what you said. You said, everybody is happy because of something that I am doing, but I myself am miserable. How can you be miserable if everybody is happy? That means you are not happy in others happiness and if you are not happy in others happiness, how will you practicality carry on with an identity that makes others happy but keeps you miserable? Do you see the paradox inherent in your question?

L6: Ideally, yes!

AP: No! I have not talked any ideal. I have brought it out very very practicality. It is impossible to be of help to others, without being first, of help to yourself. It is a very practical thing. A man who is himself traumatised cannot bring joy to others.

L6: Ambition is to prove yourself to others………

AP: Or to yourself.

L6: Okay! And ambition, if its lead to suffering as you explained, and if you are successful in your ambition. Now you are enjoying that your suffering is making others happy.

AP:  I am asking you, if I am suffering, do I really know what is good for me? Had I really known what is good for me, would I have suffered? If I do not know what is good for me, how do I know what is good for others? But it is very easy to believe in this. I do not know what is good for me, but I very well know what is good for the world. Don’t you see so many people trying to help others when it is obvious that they have never been able to help themselves. And what is the result?

L6: But is it not impossible to..

AP: No! It is totally impossible. Look at parents who try to help their kids without having first helped themselves. Look at the state of the world around you. Everybody is a helper. Everybody wants to do good and yet the world is coming close to destruction everyday.

L6: I disagree because the world is better now and..

AP:  Do you know that February was the hottest month ever in the history of the mankind? Do you know that the path that we are walking down, in our own lifetime, your and mine, we may not see this river anymore.(referring to the river Ganga flowing at some distance from the session hall)

L6: In the last four years, we have seen greatest increase in world peace.

AP: In the last forty years, we have seen the greatest increase in the global temperature, and greatest increase in the nuclear arsenal. What are you talking? Where is global peace?

L6: There have been no major conflicts between..

AP: There have been no major open, and explicit conflicts. But we have been coming closer to the trigger all the time. The trigger is pulled, the bullet has not been fired. Do you call it peace? Such a peace is another name for destruction sir. This river that you are seeing is coming from a continuously sinking glacier sir. This river that you are seeing, if you go just a little downstream, in the other cities, it is one of the filthiest rivers in the world. This is what the last forty years have done.

We stand at more than eight billion now. This is what the last forty years have done. The disparity in income is highest today than it ever was. We are absolutely closer to destruction than we ever were. What are we talking? In fact, it is just a matter of grace that we have not been totally annihilated.

L5: If we go back to identity, If I perfectly answer myself that there are some qualities that I want to change.

AP:  You are somebody who is living with those qualities. Now that which you are also wants to change those qualities. These qualities came to you as a result of your choice. By admitting that you want to change them, you are admitting that the chooser is misled because he made a dubious decision. Now how are you saying that the same chooser will make a better decision? With the maker of the choice remaining the same, how will the quality of the choice improve? But that’s what we keep believing in!

L7: Does the experience count for learning from the result of our actions?

AP: No! You can keep sleeping for a thousands years and yet you would know nothing. What we call as an experience, is just a repetition of pattern. You are walking down the same road everyday, same road and you are gathering a lot of experience in terms of number of years. What will those experiences give you?

Realization counts; not experience. Experience only give you age.

Even at this moment, if you notice, many of us are not saying anything because we are not sure whether it is proper to say those things. It is impossible to be so silent inwardly that we have nothing to say. We all have something to say, but like shy school kids, we are apprehensive that somebody may laugh at us. Open! It doesn’t matter what the others think, what the others say.

L8: Would you continue to what you just said a while back that the qualities that you feel brings suffering to your life?


Whatever you choose for yourselves will only be the extension, continuation of the same suffering. The Real comes to you, not by your own choice but by grace. So what can one do? One can at most see the futility of one’s own choices. Not try to make the right choice, the right choice ‛you’ cannot make. The right choice will be made for you by some other agency. You can only see that the choices that you have made, have all fallen flat; and hence one’s confidence in one’s own choices is misplaced. One choice after the other is not bringing peace to me, then how can I continue to choose in the same way. Let me pause, let me stop. Then maybe, the choice will happen on it’s own. It happens. It does happen.

L8: I want to know what exactly is suffering?

AP: That which you do not like. Anything that keeps the mind in excitement, in a state of movement.

L8: So the goal is not to Like.

AP: The goal is not to be in a state that one does not like.

L3: The goal is just to be in the present?

AP: The goal is to know that which we are. The goal is not to top big stuff. The goal is to look at our petty facts.

L7: You have talked about the two stages but very less on the third.(Have made question by listening to the answer.)

AP: I only talked about two because the third one is not in the province of man. The third one happens on it’s own. The first one is our own. The second one is Guru and Grace. The third one is just a flowering of silence. So what can one say about it?

L9: Why do we think that we need a Guru to have peace?

AP: The peace is the Guru. You are trying to find peace. Right? Which means that there is something missing; otherwise there is no question of trying and finding. You are trying to find peace which means you don’t have peace and yet you are trying for peace which means you are trying to get something of which you have very little idea.

Peace itself calls you to peace. That is the Guru. Guru is not something or somebody who lives in a Ashram.Your own peace which continuously beckons you, is the Guru.

This beckoning, can come to you in the shape of physical beings as well. It may, it may not. Even the physical beings keep changing. But essentially the Guru is not a physical being, it is your own peace.

L8: When it comes down to the use of language, like in my own relationship to all these concepts and my images of them, my method has been- “Okay! I am just going to collect all these images of all this spectrum, of the semantical ways, that something can be understood and then I end up going to another end, where it is like- “I don’t know what it means?” So, I don’t know? It is difficult to choose.

AP: Don’t choose anything. What is the point in choosing? What is real, is obvious and present. There is nothing else. So where is the question of choice? Will you choose something that is not there? Choice is possible only if there is an alternative. To reality, what is the alternative? So what do you want to choose? “I am afraid.” Now where is the question of choice in it? “I am afraid.” Where is choice in this? You are afraid and that’s it. Full stop! Now what do you want to choose?

L9: You can choose to overcome.

AP: What you call as an overcoming of fear is just a suppression of fear; a very-very dangerous thing. Never try that. When fears comes, let it pass through you fully. Never try to fight it. Never try to overcome it. Acknowledge it fully. Tremble, shake and tell yourself, “Oh! I am so afraid.” Never try to fight it or overcome it. I don’t know from where these teachings are coming?

L5: How about chasing down fear and facing it?

AP: Yes! Facing them. Not only facing them, because facing is sometimes synonymous with blocking. Facing in the sense of seeing. That’s a better one. Face them.

L7: To me, it seems like if I want to go from that first stage to the second stage(referring to the stages the speaker mentioned earlier in the article), there will be a lot of fear involved in it because you necessarily do not know the outcome where you will go.

AP: So don’t imagine. That’s why I said that the process starts and stop at stage 1. Full stop! Second and third, you leave to other agencies. It’s a relay race, you leave it to them. You concern yourself only with your immediate reality, stage one. Don’t try to pre-think because if you will imagine, you will only imagine horror and that will block the stage one itself. The more you imagine  stage two, the less you will be affected in stage one. So, cut down those thoughts. Don’t give them energy.

Never ask yourself-“Who am I?” It’s a disrespect to the question. Never! Just see that you are “this” and “this”.

L5: What is the subject for tomorrow that you will be speaking on?

AP: I didn’t even know what is the subject for today. How can I tell the subject for tomorrow? No! Actually. But it would be some myth.

L3: You say, don’t ask the question ‛Who am I?’. But whenever a person went to Ramana Maharshi and ask a question, he always put a question back to him-‛Who is asking the question? Who am I?’.

AP: The words of saints must be taken with utmost care. To comprehend what Ramana Maharishi was saying, you need that same awareness. Never take the words of the saint literally. If you do that, you will be mistaken. You will totally misinterpret. Go to the saint, sit in his presence and that’s all. The Upanishads offer a range, a whole plethora of words that associates with ‛Aham’. Ramana Maharishi had a fondness for one particular expression-‛Koham’. That’s it!

The inquiry ‛Koham’ manifests not as ‛Who am I?’ See it is very obvious that if you are asking ‛Who am I?’ it is as if you do not know; and by repeatedly asking ‛Who am I?’ you will establish to yourself that you do not know. Do you ask a question when you already know the answer? Do you ask for the keys when you already have then in your pocket? And not only you have them in your pocket, you also know that you have them in your pocket. Start from the right point. Start from honesty.

‛Who am I?’ is a dishonest beginning because ‛Who am I?’ is saying-I do not know who I am? So I am asking who I am? You know. And if you know, then why you are asking the question; quickly tell the answer. What did we begin today’s session with? All the answers. Don’t we already know the answers. If you know the answers, why you are asking-“Who am I?” And don’t even say that all those are fake answers.

For us, only those answers are real. Are they or are they not? Or, would you rather say that, “You are Sacchidanand, and you are Aatman.” You forget all those answers when real life situations come. You forget all  those answers when you have a quarrel with the neighbor; or when a bank issues a notice, then you forget all those answers. Then you are no more sacchidanand. So forget all ideals and theories. Live in the practical reality.

Who does not know who he is? I am waiting for that man. Even when we are talking to each other, do you see that we are facing each other. If I have to talk to you by looking at you that itself proves who we are. If I talk to you like this (pointing to someone else while speaking to the listener), would you like it? If I have to talk to you by looking at you, is that not already answering who we are? We are the body. That’s why I have to look at the body. Had you been anything, then I could have looked anywhere and talk to you. But I have to speak to you only by looking at your body. So even in looking at you, I am already answering ‛Who I am?’ What is the point in asking the question ‛Who I am?’

L8: Besides avoiding situations, where one would be encourage to dishonest, are there any particular cases which helps to encourage a breakdown of moral root honesty?

AP: Even that simple precaution is enough and very difficult for most people because it is not one or two situations that are situations of dishonesty. As we are, most situations that we find ourselves in, are situations of dishonesty. So this means if you want to avoid dishonesty, you have to practicality avoid everything; which means your entire world will come crashing down. Do you want more? What more do you want?

L8: What is honesty?

AP: Honesty is that, which you will not like it, if I give a fake answer to this question. Honesty is the vigour in your question-‛What is honesty? Honesty means you really want to know the Truth. That is honesty! Did you see how you acted? (Repeating the listener’s response) ‛What is honesty?’ You really want to know. That is honesty.

L4: Did you recommend twenty-four hours satsang?

AP: Yes. Ofcourse! Twenty-four seven satsang. A satsang that ends is no satsang at all. Satsang means continuous surrender to The Truth; and in that continuous surrender, sometimes you come to me, sometimes you walk on the road, sometimes you are in your room, sometimes you are eating.

Sang’ is the company; ‛Sat’ is the Truth. I like being only with The Truth. Truth is my partner, my friend, my love. That is Satsang. It has to be twenty-four seven. Otherwise, it is nothing.

The ‛Tapasya’, the heat for the ‛tap’ comes only from the Truth. You will not get the energy for ‛Tapasya’ without being in touch with The Truth. You know ‛Tapasya’ requires tremendous amount of energy. That energy cannot be of the mind. That energy comes only from Truth. But you forget about stage two. Remain in stage one. Stage one- ‛I am.’ And you have written a lot about stage one. Thirty, fourty, fifty; I am ‛this’, I am ‛this’. Continuously catch yourself acting like this or that; continuously. Soon you will be so tired of all this, that you will throw it away.

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

Watch the sessionAcharya Prashant: Who am I? The honesty with which I admit ‘I am my identities’

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: What is the ‘Who am I’ method?

Article 2: Asking ‘Who am I’ is honesty in face of falseness

Article 3Constant remembrance “I am” takes me beyond what I think I am


Books by the speaker:

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Immortality is not a stretch in time; immortality is a depth in the moment



Question: Is it real that human beings can live forever?

Acharya Prashant: It depends on what you think of human beings. If you think that they are born, then they will die.

L1: I mean the human body.

AP: The body never dies!

L1: The body never dies?

AP: Never dies. What do you mean by the death of something? What do you think? This(pointing towards his hand) was ever not there?  This is stardust. This was always there and will continue to be, long after you and me are gone. Read more

Let body and mind operate freely without you


Listener 1: Pleasure for the human condition is just an absence of pain.

Acharya Prashant: Never talk of pleasure and pain separately. Never think that one exists in the absence of other. Never say that pleasure is the absence of pain. In fact, language has played a nasty trick here, by having two separate words for pleasure and pain. There must be one single word which is pleasure-pain, so that you know that these two are inexorably tied together, so that you know that one is the other, so that you know that what appears like a duality is just a mirage.

Freedom from pain is not an absence of pain; freedom of pain is letting pleasure-pain do their stuff and not being involved with that. By hopping to the other end of duality you do not get freedom from duality.

Moving to pleasure does not mean an end of pain or an absence of pain. 

It only means that you are still on the same pleasure-pain axis. 

Read more

How to get success in whatever you do?

Question: I want to do a few things, but I find myself enslaved in my habits and patterns, I fail again and again in doing what I want to do.

Acharya Prashant: So I say that I am failing again and again and hence I want success.

Who is it that is failing? You are saying that it is due to habits and patterns that the failure is happening. I am asking, “Who is it that is failing?”

“Is it not the patterns themselves that are producing both the cause and the effect?”

“Is the so called failure not entrenched in the mental pattern itself?”

The pattern is working, the pattern is producing a certain output and then the pattern itself is not satisfied with the output. Tell me, is dissatisfaction going to lead to any kind of progress?

It is a commonly held belief with so many of us that if you are dissatisfied with the status quo, then some change happens. We think that, don’t we? But I am asking, name the entity that is dissatisfied? The dissatisfied entity, is it not the same as the entity that works and fails and works and fails and is repeatedly dissatisfied? Is dissatisfaction emerging from looking at the failure or is it just the continuation of the same pattern of failure?

Please understand this, most of us thinks that it is because we failed that we are dissatisfied. Failure is followed by dissatisfaction, right? Is it not so? And when you have a target and you don’t achieve that target, you fail; you feel that it is because you failed that you are now dissatisfied.

I am asking you to consider whether is it really so? Are you dissatisfied because you fail or are failure and dissatisfaction necessary accompaniments of each other? Like fruits of the same tree, is one fruit giving the birth to another fruit or do they have common root? When you have two fruits of a tree, is one fruit responsible for the other fruit? Or do they have a common root? Now when you fail, there is an urge to improve, right? Is that not just a third fruit of the same tree? Or is it a result?

Things happening within a particular system will not radically transform that system. Things happening within a mental pattern, are not going to dissolve that pattern. And it is a nice pattern- desire, work, fail, dissatisfaction, desire to change, work again, fail again, feel dissatisfied again, have another desire to change things, work again – and it is within this pattern that our entire life is spent. It is within this pattern that most human activity takes place.

You do not realize that the entity that wants to improve is the same entity that failed in the first place. The urge towards progress is coming from the same root from where the reasons of failure came. In other words, the same factor that caused you to fail, is now asking you to improve.

This is quite funny – there is something within you that first brings failure to you and then brings in a hope of improvement to you. And it’s the same fellow, it’s the same entity sitting in your mind that first brings you failure and then brings you the hope that you can change and improve and succeed. And because you do not know this entity, so you listen to this fellow and the cycle continues.

 I am saying that, “Whatever be your chosen field of work, whatever be your location in life, whatever be your status in society, whatever be the direction of your endeavor, there can be no real progress if you just keep working in that field.”

A student has 65% marks and is not satisfied; a scientist is getting particular results in his laboratories and is not satisfied; a politician is getting some amount of support in the electorate and is not satisfied; an athlete is performing to a particular standard and is not satisfied and all of them want to put in more effort, all of them think that they can change through their effort and hence improvement and success can come. And remember, that in all these fields, area of work, the life activities are very different. Or it could be a relationship – two people are in relationship and they are not satisfied with the quality of the relationship so they too want to bring in some change so that there can be some progress. Nothing can happen whatever be the field, till first of all, the mental pattern is thoroughly changed.

The fellow who is getting 65% marks is not getting 65% marks for no reason. There is something within him that binds him to 65%. This 65% cannot radically change till the fellow radically changes.

Being what you are you cannot get anything very different from the figure you are already getting. Yes, 65 can become 68 or 70 or it can probably drop to 60 but if you think that you can become a 90% scorer that cannot happen. This 65% is a reflection of your being and your personality because you are preserving your being, your personality, so this 65% will also be preserved.

And that is why you would see that in overwhelming, large proportions of cases, your academic percentage in first semester will be almost the same throughout your academic career. What you get in the first semester will be maintained in the coming semesters as well with a little bit of change. Because, you are the same, your effort is not going to help.

If you put in more effort that would be like a dog trying to chase its tail or a man trying to lift himself up using the power of his hands. He is saying, “I will lift myself up from the earth using my own power.”

It is not possible because you yourself are the fellow who will cause resistance to improvement.It’s like having one foot on the accelerator and the other foot on the brake. You have two footy for no reason! The reason is duality. (Smiles)

So, you can console yourself and feel good about yourself by saying, “See, I am trying to improve.” And you conveniently hide the fact that right next to the accelerator, you are the one who is also not allowing the improvement. You will not allow.

Before you go in any kind of progress in any field of life, remember, only a little bit, marginal improvements can come through your efforts.

Your efforts will not bring about real change;  

real change in work, real change in activity comes,

when the mind really changes.


You are an athlete, you belong to particular category of performers, if you want to improve within that category then work hard. But if you want to rise above your category and rise to another dimension all together, then work on your mind.

You are a businessman, you are doing 10 crores, you want to rise to 12, then work on your marketing, finances and distribution, but if you want to rise from 10 to 500 then forget marketing and finance and HR, work on yourself. Because being what you are, you will not take the quantum jump from to 10 to 500. 10 to 12, you will manage and you feel very happy “20% improvement has resulted due to my hard work”. You will feel very happy and you will celebrate, “20% improvement!” but 10 to 500 cannot come due to your hard work, it can come only in a wake of utter dissolution of your personality.

A new self has to be born.

Only a new self will produce totally new results.

Does that explain why most of us struggle within our narrow brackets? But that’s a good comfort also, because the bracket, while ensuring that you cannot rise above the bracket, will also ensure that you cannot fall below the bracket. So from 65 you will not be able to rise above 70 but you will be also not fall below 60 and that’s a great comfort.

“Being what I am I will at least get 60.”

Yes, of course you would, because you would not allow yourself to not to study less than a particular limit. Being what you are, you will be so terrified, that you will go and study and you will end up getting 60. Even if you try not to get any marks, you will get 60. It is very very difficult for you to get 80 but it is impossible for you to get 40. Try!

Anybody here who says he can manage a 40? You cannot, it is beyond you. It is as much beyond you as getting 85.

Do you see where you are trapped?

In that small narrow bracket and that small narrow bracket is you. That’s what you are – the four walls of your house. That’s not where you live; that’s what you are. Your brackets are your boundaries.

And please remember, those wall have not come due to some accidents they are not there out of sheer chance. Those walls are just a reflection of your mind.  If you are just entertaining yourself with the thought that, “One day, I will be able to break away and fly free” then you are just deceiving yourself.

The world is like a mirror – it reflects what your mind is projecting.

If you see walls around you that only mean that your mind is full of walls. Your mind is projecting walls. And if the mind has walls, then even if it is forcibly made to fly away, it will carry the walls with itself and soon you will find that in the external world also new walls are surrounding you.

It is a peculiar situation. Even if your old walls are forcibly brought down you are the one who will raise new walls for yourself. So kindly do not come up with the excuse that, “You know, right now what can I do? My flight is hindered by these walls.”

Your flight! What do you mean by that? It’s just a good idea- your flight!

There is nothing called your flight; there is only something called your walls.

You are the walls;

unless there is complete demolition of who you are,

you will remain where you are.

But you are hopeful, you are carrying a dream. You think remaining what I am, the rest of the stuff of my life can change and there can be joy, there can be progress there can be freedom.

Even small kids know something very basic- good things don’t happen to a bad man. That’s a very primitive, almost crude way of putting it, but that’s it. Good things don’t happen to a bad man. And if bad things are all the time happening to you, should you feel good that “I am a nice man and the world is a bad place and the world does not know how to value and honor its variant knights like Don Qiote — the real people — the world does not value them. Or should you simply admit that if so many bad things are happening then may be the bad rests within me.

Before you forget, I am repeating one central thing — that the voice that leads you to failure and the voice that urges you to improve are one and the same voice.Both are fake; both are your enemies.

They are not different voices. Forget about them being opposite voices they are not even different. The voice that indulges you in desire and then the voice that ask you to repent are one and the same voice. But you feel that they are opposite voices, right? There is one voice that pushes you in indulgence and after you have had your way and your desire is satiated for a while then you hear another voice which says, “Bad man! You indulged, you went for self-gratification and that is not right, now you must repent.” These two are the same voices.

One of these voices is never going to cancel out the other. One of these voices is not at all standing in real opposition to the other.

There is one voice within you which says “Oh my God, I am so helpless” and there is another voice within you that says, “I want to improve, I want to change my current situation.” Both of these are the same voice. Do not think that the voice that urges you to become free is any different from the voice that tells you how helpless your situation is – they are the same voice.

But you have a wonderful notion about yourself. You think you are two selves. You think on one hand there are the external situations that are responsible for your bondage and on the other hand there is something else about you which is pushing you towards freedom. No! What keeps you in bondage is not at all your external situation, it is your own pattern and the same pattern urges you to become free. This urge is false and fake urge. This urge is just a consolation; this urge is just a method so that you continue being bonded.

Hope promises change, but is the agent of continuity.

By hoping you allow the rubbish to continue.

By hoping that one day I will be able to clear the rubbish, you are allowing the rubbish to continue. So, hope is a very deceptive thing. We all hope for change. But in hoping for change, we only allow the rubbish to continue; not change; to continue, persist.

I find it funny when you come up to me and say that, “This is wrong with me and I want to change it.”

Or, when you come up to me and say that, “I made all these mistakes, now what can I do?”

Or when you come up to me and say that, “This is the problem I am facing, how I can get rid of it?”

Because, you are the same fellow who is raising those problems, who is creating those problems and asking for a solution to those problems is a part of creation of those problems.

There is a complete algorithm of problem creation and maintenance and you are trying to co-opt me within that algorithm. You know what the algorithm is?

Create a situation.

Name it a problem.

Try to find a solution.

Go to that fellow to get a solution.

Thank him.

Do not let the solution work.

Land into another problem,

Go back to that fellow,

Get another solution,

Do not let that solution work,

Create another problem,

Go back to that fellow.

And this pattern allows your mental activity to continue. This is all that the mind wants – having something to continue; having something that extends in time.

You could say the mind is always looking for a time pass. So, this whole pattern, gives you a very convenient time pass. And you are able to spend your life with some kind of purposefulness.

“What did I do my entire life?

“I was fighting problems and I was genuinely fighting problems. See, how sincere I was. I took all the steps to improve, to make progress. I was genuinely fighting. So I am a respectable fellow. When I die, then you should offer me some tributes – he fought problems all his life; all his life he was trying to bring down the walls around him. He was a valiant soldier who kept failing.”

When you come to me, are you not the same fellow who did not listen to me the last time or have you radically transformed in the meanwhile? Last time when you came to me I said something to you, right?  You didn’t listen or you pretended to listen. You ignored it; you didn’t take the opportunity that I gave. That is what happened last time. And now you have again come to me asking the question. Are these two fellows not same? One who ignored my advice or failed to live up to it and this fellow who is again coming to me for advice are they not the same?

I am asking, “Has there been a radical transformation in the meanwhile?”

There has been no radical transformation. Then what you did to my advice last time, you will do to it this time as well. But you come up with such a genuine face, you look so innocent.

“Sir, please sir, I am again in trouble and this has happened.”

Are you in trouble or is trouble in you?

So, that is why last week I asked, “You keep asking all these questions, first of all, you tell me what happened to the answer that I gave the last time. First of all, you explain that to me. What did you do with the answer that I gave last time? And will you not do the same to the answer that I give today?”

Being what you are, you will do what you have been doing. But today your face is different. It’s just the face that is different. When you are not listening to me, you have a particular face and when you say that, “We are sorry, we are attentive; we want to listen.” then you have a different face.

These are two faces of the same bad coin. Can the coin give itself up? It probably can. But it cannot give up one particular face. Both faces will have to go.

Those who do not want to face failure again and again must give up the quest for progress.

And when you do not want to improve,

then genuine transformation occurs,

not just marginal improvement.

Please understand the enormity of what I am saying right now. When you do not want your little bit of improvement and given what you are, can you want much? Can you want the immense? You will only want a little bit, right? You will want a movement from 65 to 68. The day you stop wanting to move from 65 to 68 a radical change from 65 to 95 become possible. But you will have to stop wanting. You do not stop wanting, thinking that if you stop wanting then no progress will happen.What you do not realize is that your desire itself is preventing you from fulfillment.

The desire for improvement is an obstacle to real improvement.

It is because you want to improve and I am repeating, when you will want to improve, you will want only a little improvement. Because you are little and a little mind cannot want much.

The day you will stop desiring to improve you will not see improvement within the brackets, you will see an explosive, disruptive improvement. It will be beyond your expectation, actually beyond your expectations, because your expectation cannot be bigger than you. Are you getting it?

Your efforts will not bring about real change in you.

Your desire will not bring about real change in you.

The real change comes when you see the futility of your desire and your efforts.

When you see that the agent that is desiring and working is the same agent that is bringing you the repeated failures and suffering again, again and again.

But you are smart people. You say that, “If change has to come then it must come through my efforts, so that I can stake my claim over it. You see I improved due to my mechanisms and my efforts.”

You want to take the credit – that will not happen. As far as you are concerned, you are already getting the best that you can get. You will not be getting more than this from Existence. Existence is a very fair operator. It is already giving you what you deserve. You will not get anything more than this from existence. If right now, you are getting misery, suffering, failure you will keep getting misery, suffering and failures because that’s what you deserve.

The world is not an unjust place. There is nothing here that is oppressive or unjust.  There is nothing here that is kept pending. You have very quick transactions.

A better future is not possible for you.

The future, if at all it comes, will be just the same as your present.

You are not rising up a hill.

There is no peak that you are climbing towards.

You are already at the peak.

You cannot get any higher or any better than this. You are not going to improve. The rest of your life is going to be spent at the same level. It’s less of a mountain and more of a plateau. You can keep running on the top of the plateau, you a are not rising any higher. Are you getting it? There is no hope for you. And you better realize this – there is no hope. And it’s a fabulous thing to realize that. Because when there is no hope there is also no need for useless efforts.

 When you know you are on plateau, you know you cannot fall down. You may as well relax. The fellow on the plateau running around thinking that he can ascend the mountain; there is no mountain – so, sleep! You cannot ascend but you cannot also descend, so sleep! Your 65 will remain 65 even if you sleep. You know that, right?

The moment you realize that your effort is useless, the very agency from where your system operates changes. Now you have lost your trust in your self made system. When you loose trust in your self made system then another system takes over. It’s a miraculous mad system. And when it takes over, strange things happen. But for that system to take control of you, you must completely loose trust and hope in the system that you have made for yourself.  You must totally disown, disregard it and disrespect it. You must be able to clearly see how inadequate it is, how much of suffering it has given you and how it is deviously leading you towards more and more suffering.

You should not only be able to disregard it, you should actually find it abominable, condemn-able, a fair deal of repulsion and wonderment at how you could trust it in the first place. When you come to that point where you are wondering that, “How could I trust this system so much and for so long?”, then there is complete dissociation from your own system. Now something else takes possession of you. The man returns to his house, the tenants are out.

Let that something else take possession of you. You do not know yourself. You simply do not know your real face.

See what you are capable of, see what heights you can scale but first of all vacate the house, and first of all get rid of your self belief.

Get rid of your confidence in self.

If self respect means respecting your hollowness and ego, I am teaching you to disrespect yourself totally.

Disrespect yourself; go to the extent of humiliating yourself that even small remnant of old system does not remain with you.

It terrifies, right?

You don’t want to feel small in your own eyes, you want to feel good about yourself but this urge to feel good about yourself is the urge to feel good about the system and it comes from the system itself. You will have to see the inadequacy of your entire life; you will have to admit that you have been an unexceptional failure. You cannot even say that some part is good and the rest is bad. You will have to accept that you have been a total, complete, absolute failure because if you console yourself by saying that somewhere I succeeded then you will feel that using the same means may be you can succeed more. If success was possible once, then it can be possible again by using my same methods and mechanism.

You will have to see that whatever you call as success,

whatever you call as the shining jewels of your life, are either just deception

or stuff that Grace has given you in spite of you not deserving it.

And what has come to the system through grace is not an output of the system so kindly don’t take the credit. If by chance something nice has happened to you, it is not because you are clever and smart and effort-ful, it has just happened in spite of you. Had it been in your power, you would have done everything to prevent it. Just as we do everything to prevent ourselves from coming here but still if you land here it is not to your credit, somebody else is pulling you here. What is happening in this room is not within your system.

L2: Sir, once we know this thing that to make a real change, mind needs to be changed, how can we work upon this mind and how can we create that new self?

AP: I am asking you the same question I started off with, “Who will work upon the mind?”

And have I said that mind needs to change?

Change is such a gentle, peaceful and small word. I have not said that mind needs to change; I am saying that the mind needs to be dynamited away.

There is difference between the changing facade of a building, changing the porch or the portico and bringing the building down. I am not asking you to change the building; I am asking you to blow up the damn thing.

L3: How can the mind blow itself?

AP: For that you have to ask yourself, “How the whole thing came up in the first place? Who raised the building?”

Once you realize how the building is raised, then there is a chance of it not being raised again. Form where did the building come? Have you had it since eternity? Were you even born with it? From where does this entire system come?

Yes, I can blow it up here right now and it is being brought down brick by brick; but you repair it. If you can see who are the people and the forces, who are hell bent upon protecting your system then you will not allow them to repair the thing.

From where did it come in the first place?

It came from the surroundings and it will come again come from the surroundings, but once it has been brought down then you have greater power to defend yourself from surroundings. Use that power.

Do not just remain a nice and gentleman. Do not let your morality tie you down. You come here and coming here is like taking a complete bath. Not only the clothes, not only the body, the entire mind is being cleansed and you go out and somebody again spoils your clothes and your mind, why should you forgive him? Why should you allow him to touch you? And actually you do not.

You are wearing a white shirt and somebody puts his greased hands upon your shirt, do you take kindly to this? You do not allow him, right? You make faces, you push him away. You object to this action, don’t you?

But you go out and somebody completely spoils your mind, you do not object to this. You are receiving that phone call and that phone call is nothing short of a poison. The fellow is injecting poison directly in your ears. But because you are a gentleman enslaved by his own sense of morality, you will allow the phone call to continue. You will allow your so called friends to sit in front of you and corrupt your mind. Why must you act nice towards them? Why can’t you just get up and walk away, why can’t you walk away? That’s the question.

Bad enough, that you allowed them to sit in front of you in the first place, but worse is the fact that you don’t have the guts to walk away. But rest assure, the more your building is demolished, the more fearlessness you will have. If you just keep sitting here, if you keep being with me for sufficient time, you will find that the fears that make you kneel down in front of those who corrupt you, those fears will no longer be there.

The fear itself is the part of the system. As we will bring this system down, you and me together, when we will bring the whole thing down, then you will find it has become easier for you to not to allow the system to be raised again. Are you getting it?

It is only because just a little dent is made. It is only because just a little demolition takes place, that you are able to repair it within a week but if we can bulldoze the whole thing, raise it to the ground, then you will not be able to bring it up within a week. It is almost mathematical – Is the pace of destruction greater than pace of repair?

Destruction happens twice a week, repairing happens every moment. If you can allow the pace of destruction to be higher than the pace of repair then soon you will find that the destruction is complete. But remember, that repairing is happening every moment and destruction is happening only once or twice a week and if, even that is skipped, then there is no chance.  Repairing will be complete. You will be back to your old ways. We have people here, who are coming after 20 – 25 days, they are fully repaired. They are completely social models now.

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

Watch the session: How to get success in whatever you do?

Further Reading:

Milestones To Success


While innumerable books have been penned down by contemporary motivational speakers and writers on success, ambition, motivation, positive thinking and accomplishments; very few books, if any at all, have talked of what success actually is and how it is different from a socially-defined set of parameters.

Author’s genius lies in the fact that he has very simply answered the most intricate and complex questions that arise in the mind of every student and working professional, giving clarity on success, a topic that haunts them perpetually.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/hE8Hrg

Kindle: https://goo.gl/94a09z

The ways of Grace are impossible to know


Question: Sir, I have to do daily practice to bring myself back to the centre but for some people, it seems that it happens immediately. Why is it so?

Acharya Prashant: Lady, what is your name?

L1: Noorie.

AP: If you want something with all your heart, would you want it right now or would you want it tomorrow?

L1: I would want it right now.

AP: If you want it right now, would you adopt a path? Is not sadhana a path? If I want something right now, would I adopt a method or would I just stand up and with all the energy in every single cell of my body cry out, ‘I want it right now’? Read more

Stretch your arms and feel the earth

You must also learn to feel safe.

You must feel assured of your security.

Don’t give energy to thoughts that make you feel small, petty, vulnerable, exposed, and insecure.

Things are good. Alright.

You are not in an alien land. This is your home, don’t tremble so much.

Stretch your arms and feel the earth.
See it is not really shaking, it is holding you in her lap.

Nobody is conspiring against you.
There is no need to fear.
There is no need to run helter-skelter for security.

There is no need to hate yourself so much.

You are still standing within the room

It does not matter whether you are standing in the middle of the room, or at the edge of the room.

You are still standing within the room.

All your efforts, all your movements, are limited to the boundary of the room.

You cannot breach that boundary on your own.

So, bow down in prayer.

You will have to give yourself up.

The Teacher does not speak to confuse you

The Teacher does not speak to confuse you.

He has no interest in throwing riddles around.

He wants to help you. So he has said something.

His words are like the Truth – direct, obvious and simple.

But to a complicated mind, the obvious and the simple makes no sense.

To a complicated mind, the obvious and the simple becomes a great puzzle.

When it strikes you, it’s a total striking

Insight does not really correspond to any of your mental models.

Grace does not give you something that you can nicely lay down in a structured form.

When it strikes you, it’s a total striking.

You come to know everything, all at once.

The knowing, the dropping, the realization, and the action—they all happen together.