Acharya Prashant: Neither exact nor perfect; just life, simple and direct

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Question: What is the exact way to live the life?

Acharya Prashant: Are we right now living inexactly? Is there something wrong right now? You want to correct it?

What do you mean by exact? What is missing that you want to achieve? What exactness are you running after? When you are asking a question, I am listening, I am responding, then you are listening, this is life, what else is life!

What do you mean by the exact way?

Whatever there is, is there right now, there is nothing apart from it, where will you search for exactness?

But I understand why you are asking such a question. You are asking such a question because role-models, ideas of perfection, ideals, they have been inserted in your mind. You have been constantly made to think that there is something missing with this and that can be achieved from somewhere else, that a right way, a correct way, an exact way lies somewhere.

The exact way is this and this is all that there is. If you are listening attentively right now, are you? This is exact. This is exactly the way. This is perfection. Absolute perfection. Nothing missing in it. Don’t search for anything else. Life is what is.

Sitting over here what else can be life for you? On Mars? In Canada? Under the ocean? Where else can be life and when can be life? When Mehak will be 45 years old? Or in her memories when she was 8 year old?

Right now. This. Here. This is exact. This is life. There is no alternate life. Do not carry imaginations of perfection or any ideal in your mind. The only perfection is this. The only ideal is right now. You did the ideal thing.

What did she do?

She raised a question. This is the ideal thing. This is the exact thing. Those of us who keep thinking that there is something missing, they will not find that missing-something, somewhere else. You will find it here itself, nowhere else. And here does not refer for this room, it refers to where you are, it refers to your being, it refers to who you are, it refers to your essence.

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Core value is ‘Clarity’

Why can’t my response to a situation arise directly of my out of my intelligence? Why do I need an ideal? Why do I need an ideal to show me the way? Why do you need to give me ideals? Don’t I have the power to understand? And can’t my action come out of my own power? Why do I need the support of an ideal? Why?

Every course of action and its opposite course of action both are alright in a different situation. So, how can there be an ideal response? 

Your very fundamental core value is ‘Clarity’ except that there is no core values.

Ideals obfuscate ‘clarity.’ So, anybody who will have ideals as core values will find that he is missing out on clarity. That clarity has also been given the name of ‘emptiness.’ Emptiness because it is clear, clear of everything. It is empty. That is the only core value. A little ahead that core value takes the shape of a few other core values. They are called Truth, Joy, Love, Freedom.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Your ideals will always limit you

Acharya Prashant: Your ideals will always limit you

L1: Acharya Ji, my question is on the applicability of idealism that is practicality of idealism. Basically, an idealism and practical approach both are separate, It cannot be together. But if some people try to bring idealism in the practical life. It’s always like to creates a problem. Like we all are on and off face the problem which becomes a prison for saying the Truth.

So, what my question is does idealism that applies to the practical world does it create the issue and problem that was meant to solve the issue and the problem?

Acharya Prashant: Good! Pranay?

Pranay has asked the question the gist of which is that following ideals often lands one into trouble. What to do when the situation is like this? What are the Ideals?

L2: Ideals are ethics. Just as my Life is there and there is no conflict in between me and my favorite personalities and I keep on following him and practicing him.

AP: Can you simplify it a little more? I don’t know what the ideals are. You need to educate me. What are the ideals?

L2: Which are right things.

AP: What is the right thing?

L2: Which doesn’t land us into the problem.

AP: How do you know that it is right to express your hands like this? You just did that. How do you know that it is right to look that way? You just did that. How do you know? Can you have an ideal for every situation? And life is moments and remember a moment is not a second. A moment is infinitesimally smaller than a second. And for every moment you need some kind of a response right? Some kind of a right response. Can you have an ideal to guide you?

What is an ideal answer to the question that I am posing? How do I know? How do I know that it is ideal for me to ask you this question? How do you know that it is ideal of you to listen attentively?

Ideals sound like a well-meaning word but what are they? What are the ideals?

Alright! Let me try something and tell me whether it’s okay. I am saying ideals are some kind of predetermined response to a situation. When the situation is like this you respond like this. X comes to you and your output is Y. That is an ideal, right? Input X output Y. Is that an ideal? Is that not what an ideal is?

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An inner disorder is bound to be false

You don’t identify the false by matching it with your conception of the false. The false is identified by what it does to you.

How do you know it is false? If it unsettles you, if it leads to disquiet, it is false. If it needs protection, if it demands security, it is ‘False.’

Falseness has to be understood in the context of your nature.

Your nature is peace and hence whatever, leads to an inner derangement, an inner disorder is bound to be false.

L: Where is the mind located? AP: Nowhere, you are located in the mind.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: How to know the false as false?

Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti – How to know the false as false

Question: Acharya Ji, what does J. Krishnamurti mean when he says, “To understand what is, is more important than to create and follow ideals.”

Acharya Prashant: Actually, the first part of that sentence, is the absolute, the second part is the actionable. Understanding what is, is not really a task. It is not even needed. What is needed is the second part.

Just stop taking your ideals seriously. Just stop having, fanciful pictures of existence. And understanding what is, the present, will then no more be needed because a need is meaningful only when something is absent and we are talking of the present. So there is no need really then. So the useful part of that sentence is just the later part. The first part you can even ignore. That’s the thing about Truth,  you can ignore it.  You can totally ignore it because you can depend on it that it will never go away. It is utterly reliable, hence, you can forget it. The first part of that sentence is the absolute so you can totally forget and ignore it. The second part is useful.

L: Related to the same, I want to ask a question, “To perceive the Truth requires the understanding of the false.”

~ J. Krishnamurti. 

I have two questions based upon it. How is one to identify the false? And if we are able to identify the false, and if you have a doubt in its falsehood, that’s the question?

AP: No. See,

You don’t identify the false by matching it with your conception of the false. The false is identified by what it does to you.

I am glad you raised this question.

How do you know it is false?

If it unsettles you, if it leads to disquiet, it is false. If it needs protection, if it demands security, it is ‘False.’

You see,

falseness has to be understood in the context of your nature.

Your nature is to be careful and whatever demands care from you, is bound to be false.

Your nature is relaxation and hence whatever demands a lot of doing from you, is bound to be false. Your nature is faith and hence whatever will demand a lot of testing and verification is bound to be false. Your nature is trust that arises from that faith and hence whatever puts you in the situation of doubt, is bound to be false.

Are you getting it?

Your nature is peace and hence whatever, leads to an inner derangement, an inner disorder is bound to be false.

In short, anything that leads to mental excitation is bound to be false. That’s how you know the false. And that is why the truth cannot be known because the apparatus that you use for knowing is the mind and if it excites the mind, it is false.  Hence, the Truth cannot be know, because the Truth will?

L: Never create ripples.

AP: If it creates ripples here, please know, that it is false. And when I say it is false, glad that, when I say, ‘it is false’ that does not mean the object outside of you is false. When I say, ‘It’ is false, I mean that, this ( points to self) and the relationship. So do not start labelling objects outside of you as false, false, false, false, false, false ( points in different directions).

You pick up a J. Krishnamurthi book and it troubles you and you say false.

L: Laughs.

AP: It’s not about that book. It’s about the book, the reader of the book and the way of reading. In fact, the way of reading can be dispensed with. Just say ‘the book’ and ‘the reader of the book.’ And even among these two, what is more relevant?

L: The reader of the book.

AP: The reader of the book. That is where the falseness lies. So, will we be specific about the application of this word now, false? Yes?

L: Acharya Ji, Psychology, and Psychiatry,  these days, try to treat the mind by giving medicines, psychiatry or by suggesting some methods or therapy. Acharya Ji, to what extent are they useful? Because they do not treat the basic.

AP: The brain can be treated. The brain is just like any other organ of the body. The brain can be treated. So if you have a tumor here or some other malfunction, and if there is, a drug available. Kindly do not say that normally, treatment of the mind is surrender so I will not take that drug.

Those who are prescribing the drugs, are not treating the mind really, they are treating the brain, and the brain is the mass of flesh, so allow them to treat the brain.

L: Where is the mind located?

AP: Nowhere, you are located in the mind.

AP: As a person, that perceives only through senses. This is the organ, that is related to the senses. The mind and the brain, really have no particular connection. It is just that because you are identified with the senses, hence, even to talk of the mind, you use the brain. Otherwise, brain and mind, have no great, in-depth relationship. If they have a relationship, that is only in context of the person. Remove the person, and you have removed the brain.

Are you getting it?

L: Yes. Krishnamurthi talks about mutation.

AP: But does he says that the mutations happen only in the brain cells? I have not looked at the brain cells of people around me but I have looked at their facial cells. That fellow, over there, does not look the way he used to look two years back. Neither does that girl here or that boy there.

Does Krishnamurthi say that the mutations happen only within the skull? I don’t know of that, maybe a doctor is more qualified to speak. But I have seen mutations happening, in the faces. And flesh is flesh. If the brain cells change, that is no more significant, than the change in the cells of the face.  And the face cannot really change without the brain changing. So that is the same thing. So don’t be particularly interested in the mutation of the brain.

The whole body, of the wise one, bears wisdom.  It is for more, abstract reasons that saints are depicted as having an aura. It is just that, we show that aura, only around the head. I tell you that that aura is there on also, on the fingers, the eyes. Your eyes are no more the same, once you have been touched.  The eye cells have undergone mutation and of course, there would be an accompanying mutation, an underlying mutation, in the brain cells also, of course, that has to be there. But why think only of the brain, it’s evident and obvious even in the face, in the eyes.

Are you getting it?

When you are relaxed, you do not sit in the same way as when you are agitated. Don’t you see that there is a mutation? Your entire, body chemistry changes, when you are, relaxed. Don’t you see there is a mutation?



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti – How to know the false as false


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An idiot, even if he gets God, remains an idiot, with God.

An idiot, even if he gets God, remains an idiot with God. Because the idiot was anyway never prepared to change himself. Remaining himself he wanted God. He got what he wanted. He remained an idiot and he got God. So, now he is an idiot with God.

And we have lots of idiots with God. You will find it mesmerizing how you can obtain almost everything that is obtainable, and yet remain yourself. You can even obtain a lot of peace and yet remain an idiot. You will then be a peaceful idiot. All the qualities and virtues that are associated with God, can possibly be obtained without affecting your artificial core. You can start talking wisdom. Now you are a very wise idiot.

By practicing a lot of yoga you can have a glow on your face, now you are a glowing idiot. Or, you can have a well-sculpted body, now you are a well-sculpted idiot. Have you not seen people who are doing all these godly things since years, so their face is radiating, a divine bliss, locks, and hair are bouncing, there is spring in the feet, tummy is nicely tucked in, not even a trace of fat in the body. Divine idiots.

You can remain an idiot irrespective of what all you have obtained, and you can really obtain a lot. Obtaining anything, and obtaining everything, will have no effect upon what you are determined to remain. Determined to remain an idiot, you can still obtain everything. You can obtain all the knowledge of the world, knowledgeable idiot. You can even start acting in the most loving of ways, a very loving idiot.

When the removal of idiocy is a process of removal, then how can addition lead to removal? There is this tumbler kept on this table. I may add five more things to this table, will that lead to the removal of this tumbler? Removal is simply removal. Addition of thousand things will not lead to the removal of this one thing. So you can keep adding things to the mind that will not lead to the removal of idiocy.

The idiot remains an idiot irrespective of what all he has gathered, be it supreme bliss, be it all the divine knowledge, or anything else. So, never judge a man by what he has, see what he has not. As Chuang Tzu says “Whether or not his boat is empty?”



Read the complete Article: What is Shame?

What is Shame?

gen 1Question: What is shame?

Acharya Prashant: What is shame? Can shame exist without ideals and comparison? Does shame cure and heal? Is there shame in love? Does shame lead to betterment? These and more are the questions we want to talk over.

Man is the only creature that experiences shame. It is a simple and direct fact that reveals so much about the nature of shame. Man is the only creature that experiences shame. Which means that there can be no shame inherent in the biological scheme of things. The child is not born with shame. Shame is a taught phenomenon. And like everything else that is taught, shame too is taught with the purpose, with the hope that it will lead to betterment. Read more

Why do I feel lost? Why does nothing appeal?

himalaya1Question: Why do I feel lost?

Acharya Prashant: Because, you are asking this question.

We ‘think’ that we are lost, equally, we ‘think’ that we are not lost. The same place from where the thought, the perception of being lost, or not lost arises, that place is the same place from where this question arises.

There sits someone who firstly, thinks himself to be so knowledgeable that he can pass a judgement upon his situation. He thinks that he knows who he is and what is his situation is, and his location. He declares, announces, sometimes he says, “I am fine”, sometimes he says, “I am not fine”, sometimes he says “I am lost”, sometimes he says “I am home.” Are any of these judgments or questions or announcements valid, in absence of mental activity? Read more

India and Tolerance || Acharya Prashant (2017)

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Acharya Prashant: We are here together and this meeting, the togetherness, is the central thing. Today happens to be Ramana Jayanti, an auspicious day. And on any day, what matters is the closeness, the meeting. For name sake, we always have a certain topic to discuss. It’s a kind if an entertainment: the name, the topic. How does it matter what we discuss? That we are really talking, is what matters. We could discuss this or we could discuss that. Someday, I might just forget and I would really like to forget the appointed topic for the day. I may just come here and be with you and say anything on any topic or not say anything on any topic. How does saying matter? But anyway, since its a ritual to speak and speak on an honored topic. So we shall dutifully follow the order and talk about the topic at hand. What does it happen to be?

(Smiles)

Good that you too are forgetting, or you don’t know at all. Knowledge is anyway always a burden. Forgetfulness keeps all of us much lighter. May we forget more and more. But I know, inspite of our forgetfulness, we are very vigilant beings. So we remember. So what do we remember about the topic for the day? What is the topic?

Listeners: India and tolerance.

AP: India and tolerance.

Words are words. Aren’t they? Words are words. What is India? Another word. Just like so many words that we utter every day morning till sleep, India is another word. The meaning is supplied to the word by the utterer of the word. Is it not so? What does food mean? Or love mean? Or the river Ganga mean? Or a person mean or a place mean? Nothing. The meaning is supplied to the word by the one who utters the word. Otherwise, a word is a word.

And what kind of meaning will I fill any word with? I am the one who fills meaning in a word. Don’t I? A wall means so many different things to different people. An animal or a mountain means entirely different things to different people. And even to the same person, it will mean differently at different times and in different situations. Wouldn’t it? So I am the one who supplies meaning to the word ‘India’ as well.

What kind of meaning am I going to imbue this word with? What is the meaning that I impose upon anything in the world? What does that meaning depend on? I call something a car; I call something a tree; I call something a women; I call something money; I call something God; and when I call these things with these names, I am the one who supplies meaning to them. What kind of meanings will I supply? How will I fill up these words? What does that filling up depend on?

Listeners: Value system, mind.

AP: Yes. Well said! You said my values system, you said what’s going on in my mind. Could I just say, “What I think of myself? What I take myself to be?” Depending on what I take myself to be, I paint the word with a thousand colors. The entire pallet is available. I pick up the colors according to who I think I am. If ten fellows look at a woman, they would look at her so differently depending on who they know themselves to be and this ‘knowing’ is what they ‘think’ themselves to be. Right?

You look at a child, you look at a temple or a mosque, and the meaning that you supplied to it depends on who you are, and that is one thing that must be remembered. When you are talking of India, when you are talking of tolerance, you are not talking of anything external, you are talking of yourself because to any word, you are the one, we are probably repeating it for the sixth time, you are the one who will supply the meaning to it and the meaning will depend on what I think yourself to be.

Now, for the sake of convenience, let’s just say that man thinks himself either as material or as material. That is only way you can think of yourself — either as material or as material. Sometimes, you think yourself as gross material and sometimes as subtle material. Gross material is things, body, material that you can hold and touch and watch and smell — perceptible with the senses. So, this kind of man is a body identified man; the one who identifies with body. He thinks himself to be body, his entire mind, his whole sight is obsessed with material, gross material.

There is another kind of man, who thinks of himself as subtle material. And I repeat, whenever you will think of yourself, you will only think of yourself as material. Thinking of yourself as any other thing is not possible because thought itself is ‘thing. The one who identifies himself with subtle material is the mind identified person. He thinks of himself in terms of ideas; that is subtle material. The one who is body identified, the one whose thought is gross, when he will utter the word ‘India,’ what will he think of India as?

L: Geographical boundaries.

AP: Geographical boundaries. Simply, a land, a territory, a geography, a space limited by boundaries. That would be his definitions of India. The moment such a person, such a mind, utters the word ‘India’ what comes to him is a flashing map of the political country. ‘India’ means the territorial map of India, to such a mind. Whenever you come across such a mind, and it could unfortunately be your own mind, that equates ‘India’ with the map of India, you should know something not about India, but about that man.

What do you immediately come to know about the mind?

That this fellow is terribly body identified. Because he think of himself as body, hence thinks of India as a ‘landmass’. Now every thing that he does with the body, every way in which he relates to his body, would also be the way he would relate to India. The body wants to preserve itself and expand and this mind will say, “let the country expand.” This is the mind of the ‘king,’ who fights wars to enhance the boundaries of its territory. Just as the body draws its sustenance from the world, and is concerned firstly about its own survival, such a mind would want that his country extract resources from wherever possible in the world, and be bothered principally with its own survival and continuation.

We know the games of the body. Don’t we? We have seen how two male animals fight for the female and that is not very different from how two countries would fight for a coveted resource; if that is the definition of country — a piece of land — India or any other country. There is bound to be body-centered strife. Every disease that plagues the body would then also plague the country. There would be the fear of extinction, there would be deep insecurity, the world would appear hostile, there would be a particular date when the boundary would come into existence and there would be an inevitable lurking certainty that one day these boundaries would be no more. And when these boundaries would be no more, I would be no more, the country would be no more. Hence, the relationship with the world would be of strife, conflict. Living would be continuously  under the shadow of extinction.

Then, there is the one who identifies more with ideas.

He says, “I am not a layman, I am not a common patriot, I am not the zealot, I am not the one becomes who become overly enthusiastic, I am not the chauvinist; I am an intellectual, I live in my brain, I live with thoughts, and ideas and concepts.” For him, India is a concept and we have often heard this phrase: ‘The idea of India’. Have we not? For this fellow, who thinks of himself as subtle material, who is mind identified, who lives in ideas, everything is an idea. Even India, for him, is an idea and he very proudly and assuredly claims that India is an idea. And as far as he goes, because for him, he himself is an idea, so surely India is an idea. India is as much an idea for him as is his wife, as is his world, as are all his relationships, as is his car, as his life; even life is an idea for him.

This fellow would be plagued by all the diseases of the mind. He would not overtly display conflict. He will say, “You know! I am an civilized man,” and civilization is an idea. So “I am going to tolerate. We will not fight with guns; we will debate.” But in that debate, what he wants to maintain is an opinion. He is prepared to modify his opinions, no doubt about it, but even that modification must be first approved by him. He says, “I will decide what my beliefs are going to be; I am the master of my beliefs. But one thing is certain that I do not know anything except beliefs. So, let us come to a truss: you enjoy your beliefs, and I will enjoy my beliefs, and we will call it peaceful coexistence. We will call it mutual tolerance.” And what is he doing? Look at the cunning game. He is saying, “Let your ego exists and let my ego exists because ego thrives on ideas. Let both of us feel safe in our respected domains.”

And then there is the third mind.

This third mind thinks of itself neither as gross material, nor as subtle material. Then what does it think of himself? Because all thought is material, so it does not think of itself at all. It feels no need to give itself a definition. It is so innocently, joyfully, immersed in life that such questions appear meaningless to it. He has no conception about himself. Such a mind feels no need to give a limit to itself. When asked, “Who are you?,” such a mind does not reply with anything. Silence.

“Who are you?” Well! Not even Shivoham; not even Soham. Only silence. For such a mind, India cannot be an idea. For such a mind, India can be only the mother of all religion. Religion arising from nowhere because if it arises from anywhere, that anywhere is bound to be from man’s mind and religion that arises from man’s mind will be as petty as man. This third mind that does not think of itself as anything looks at India not as a landmass, not as a political unit, not as an idea, but simply as the fountainhead of spirituality.

So is it about India or is it about the way the mind identified itself?

L: The way it identifies

AP: The way it identifies. The second word that happens to be there in the topic for the day is tolerance. We say it is not so much about India, it is more about identification. Where there is identification, there is conflict. That conflict is very tangible, very material, when it comes to the body identified mind. If there are two body identified fellows, then their conflict will be visible as a street fight. They would be hitting each others bodies. I am a body, and you are a body and where there are bodies, there are bound to be conflicts and because you are a body and if I want to hurt you, I will hit your body.

So, fists, and punches would be landing. A very explicit fight will be taking place; and you can surely call it violence. Violence, conflict is the result of the identification. Where there is identification, there is bound to be conflict. This conflict can be called as explicit gruesome violence when two body identified person are fighting. When two mind identified persons are fighting, then this conflict is called as debate. This debate is nothing but a clash of ideas. When two mind identified persons are together, then their togetherness is a conflict which is called as tolerance. Tolerance only means, “I am somehow bearing you.”

The word has a shadow of intolerance.

Tolerance is not love. Or is it? Do you tolerate in love? But because I live in ideas, because my ego is connected to ideas and I am so poor that I know nothing beyond ideas, so for my survival, it is important that ideas must survive. “I cannot allow myself to be called a bigot. I cannot let people say that I am rigid about my views and opinions. So, I am open to talking. I am open to what is called an exchange of views; what I will call as a healthy debate.” But have you ever seen people becoming free of ideas after a debate? What happens after a debate?

Yes, in worst of cases, both parties stick to their grounds. In the best of cases, somebody says, “Well, listening to you I have gained some new beliefs and I am modifying my position.” But have you ever seen anybody become position-less after the debate? Does debate ever lead to meditativeness?

When noise meets noise, can it ever lead to silence?

But the intellectual, the thought identified man, will very proudly claim that there must be  healthy debate. And what will be the output of that debate? More beliefs. Not only more beliefs, more beliefs in your beliefs; because now you are saying that “My beliefs have been purged by open debate.” You are saying that, “You know, I have gone to the market, I have exposed my beliefs and my beliefs are now a synthesis of the best that the world’s highest intellectual have to offer. Hence these beliefs must be the Truth.” 

That is the bane of the intellectual — He equates beliefs with Truth. And if you tell him beliefs are not truth, then he will say, “All right! I am prepare to modify my beliefs; tell me, what is the Truth? I will start believing in it.” His handicap is that he is prepare to change his beliefs but not ready to go beyond beliefs. Getting it?

The mind that does not think of himself or of the world or India as a material, or as a thought or anything will be bothered only with the Truth. When you are bothered only with the Truth, then there is no conflict. We have said conflict takes the shape of explicit violence when it comes to the body. Conflict takes the shape of argumentation and debate  when it comes to the mind. But when you are a nobody, then there is conflictlessness; because whatever you are, is the source of all conflict.

With Truth, there is love.

It is important to understand the difference between love and tolerance.

Tolerance implies separation, distance. “You remain in your province, as you are, I will remain in my province as I am. We both are entitled to our views, and that is called freedom of thought.”— This is tolerance. Is that not the definition of tolerance? “Both of us are entitled to think the way we want to, and both of us are entitled to express ourselves, we want to.” This is what you called as tolerance. This is what you called as democratic liberty.

The spiritual mind does not caught in this trap. He knows that you are only talking the language of ego. To maintain your opinion is to just maintain your ego. To ask me to maintain my opinion is to just safeguard your ego and my ego. Even when you say that you respect my opinion, you are respecting my opinion only so that your opinion does not get threaten because if you will attack my opinion, then you are also exposing your opinion to threat. So he will say, “Well, you know, unity in diversity” he will not say that all diversities are false, because you are a creature of the mind and mind lives in diversities. The nature of the mind is fragmentation; fragmentation is diversity. So you will use all these nice sounded phrases. You will say, you know India is like great Indian Thali, in which there are theses bowls of various kinds. You will say India is like kaleidoscopic; you will say India is like rainbow but you will be very particular that the differences remain. Because you are identified to differences, your very life will be threatened if somebody shows that all differences are false because all differences just sustain the ego. You will say, ‘you know, it is the greatness of my country that everything is varied, and different here; it is the land of contrast. You will fail to see the underlying nothingness beneath all contrast; the non-duality below all pairs of dualities. That you will not even talk of because that scares you that takes away your very belief in yourself.

In love, you do not tolerate the other. Love and Truth are one. The duty of love is to bring the Truth to other. If I live in love and I see that you are living in opinions, or if I see that you are living a body identified life, then I will not say that, that is your fundamental right or that is your personal way of living. I will not say that I respect the way you live. If I live in love and I see that you are living in violence, then I cannot say that this is your particular choice, your way of life, your tradition, so I am not going to interfere.

I will interfere! Love is not passive. Love has great energy. It is very-very active force.

In love you do not tolerate. I am repeating this and this must be deeply understood.

Love is not about peaceful coexistence.

This statement may shock many of us. But please understand this.

Coexistence means ‘you’ and ‘me’ living separately. Love is not peaceful coexistence. Wherever is co-existence, it cannot be peaceful. In coexistence, there will be tolerance but not love. In love, there is just existence — total, one, undivided. Love will not say that, ‘You may be my neighbor and I see that your life is mired in all kind of rubbish, yet I’ll keep at an arm’s length from you.’ Love will not say that, ‘I might be seeing that you may have created hell for yourself or your family members, for your entire community, but I am not supposed to interferes because it is your community.’

Love interferes.

Love takes risks.

And love has no regard for your ideas or what you call as the freedom of thought because there is no freedom of thought.

What you call as a freedom of thought and expression is a misnomer. Where there is thought, there is only bondage. But if you are an intellectual, you have nothing more than a thought. So, even freedom, according to you, is the freedom of thought. If you are an intellectual, all that you express is your conditioning, your experiences, and your prejudices. So freedom according to you is just the freedom of expression.

Love has no patience with all this rubbish.

Love says I cannot let you rot; because I cannot let myself rot. If you rot, then I rot. You and I are one. We are not just coexisting; we are one. I want you to change because if you do not change, then I am suffering. Your suffering is my suffering. I am in love with you. And just as I insist that you go beyond your beliefs and thoughts and enter silence, I too am prepared to go beyond beliefs and thoughts and enter silence.

If I am asking you to totally give up your beliefs, it is not so that you may take up my beliefs. I am just asking you to give up and take nothing as a substitute. Become empty. And this call for emptiness is not coming from my beliefs about emptiness, it is my own emptiness which is calling you to become empty. It is not as if I have a belief about something which I want to maintain. But when it comes to you, I am insistent that you must be beliefless. No. I am only asking you to taste what I am tasting.

Freedom from beliefs is a nectar of life.

I have tasted it.

And you and I are one. You too must taste it!

This is the action of love. This is the force of love.

So we wanted to talk about India and tolerance but we saw that it doesn’t make any sense to just take up any two words and talk about them. We talked rather about identification and conflict. What India is, is decided by what you are identified with. And whether it is explicit violence or the violence of argumentation, is decided by the level of conflict but when there is no identification, there is no conflict and what we have is love.

I will not ask you to choose between kinds of conflict. Surely, there can be a conflict free living. Can we live without conflict? The great action of love, the great insistence of love has great energy. It can even lead to bloodshed. Your blood may flow and the others’ blood may flow but still it is conflict free. Kindly, do not equate peace with the word-less-ness of the graveyard. Peace may imply a lot of apparent strife. If you are on the side of peace and peace and love and Truth are all one. If you are on the side of peace, you may actually have to enter a lot of noise and chaos because the action of peace is to spread. Spread where?

The action of the light is to dispel darkness.

So, light will have to meet darkness and when peace meets noise, there can be bloodshed.

Do not be scared of that.

Remember all fear arises from the need for self-preservation.

All fear is ego. Only the ego is scared and wants to preserve itself.

If you see that your brother is suffering, first of all, look inwards. See, whether you have come to a point that is free of suffering. Your first responsibility is towards yourself. But when you look at the other in compassion, and at yourself in attention, you find that you have already come to that point that is free of suffering. Now it is your responsibility to act. You may even call that action as interference, but that interference must happen.

What else is Krishna doing?

It’s a matter between brothers. Let them decide whether they want to fight or have a settlement. What else is Krishna doing? He could have said, ‘Well! Arjun, go and speak to the other party. It’s an intra-family thing.’ But he decides to interfere. He is poking his nose.

What else is Jesus doing?

The Jews are all happy. Living the way they are, they are happy. But out of love, you must interfere. But remember, only out of love. Your interference must not be a decoy, you cannot camouflage yourself. Ego loves to call itself love. It is just that I want to impose my beliefs upon you, so I am saying that it is my duty in love to interfere. No! Not that kind of a thing.

First thing: Discover the Krishna, the Jesus sitting inside you.

Second thing: :Let the Krishna and Jesus act.

A Jesus does not tolerate. A Krishna, does not tolerate. Muhammad didn’t tolerate. Saints do not tolerate. Prophets and Avatars, do not come to this earth to tolerate. You too are an avatar. Why must you tolerate? If you will tolerate, what will you tolerate? What do you see around you? What do you see? Is it worth tolerating? You really want to live with all this? You want to allow it to continue? Is that your responsibility towards yourself and the world? To tolerate this non-sense, this rubbish, this violence, this needless suffering. Yes?

Somebody is butchering an innocent animal, must you tolerate that in the name of personal freedom? Must you? In the neighborhood, next door, the father is crippling the mind, the freedom, the being of the daughter by imposing beliefs and a particular life upon her. Will you say it is their family matter, who am I to interfere? If you are really a loving being, would you tolerate? Would you give precedence to your personal security? Would you say, ‘Why must I run into personal trouble? I don’t need to stick out.’ Yes?

(Silence)

In this world, where you can breath today, just reach the lowest ebb which we have filled up with eight billion people, which has weapon enough to destroy the world thousands of time over; is tolerance a virtue? Can you say that people are happy doing what they are doing? Somebody’s religion ask him to live in a particular way, I must let him live that way. Somebody’s conditioning, somebody’s thought, somebody’s upbringing commands him or suggests to him to live and act in a particular way. I must respect that way. Would you say that?

L1: Sir, can we do anything on actual basis? It is happening all the time?

AP: You are talking about acting. You are saying, ‘what can we do?’ Action follows realization. How will you act if you do not realize? How will you know that you need to do something about the world when first of all, you have not known what you need to do about your own life? Yes! I did say that a Krishna, does interfere. But he interferes when he is a Krishna. So the first thing is to discover your own Krishna nature. Have you looked at your own life? And you say that there is so much going on in the world and there is a balance between good and bad; first of all, have you realized who you are? Is that not the foundation on which we are basing the entire session; that words are words. You are the one who supplies meaning to them.

When you know what to do with yourself, then you also know what to do with the world.

Where would you get energy from?

We are so dull.

Obtuse in realization and dull in action. That’s what we are.

When you do not understand anything about your life, how will you take responsibility of the world? I do not know what prompts you to go from this place to that place, then what right do you have to suggest to anything to anybody? You do not know how should you be living, then who are you to interfere in somebody else’s way of life? You do not why you are married, you do not know why you took up a job, you do not know why everyday you perform a particular ritual, then what right do you have to go and suggest something to your neighbor? And even if you try to, on moral grounds, even if you try to, in an attempt to look and sound good, you will find that you re afraid, you will find that you lack energy; you will find that you lack that deep spiritual conviction. Because that deep sureness comes only out of living rightly.

When you are living rightly, only then you get the license to poke your nose; only then you get the license to not to tolerate. You are tolerating all your own beliefs, you are tolerating yourself everyday; you are very accommodative towards your own rubbish, but when it comes to others, you go and say, “No! You must drop your beliefs.”

That is just hypocrisy.

L1: Who is this judge to decide that you should interfere?

AP: You are the judge and if you lack energy, then the judgment is clear. You need not judge even on subjective grounds. If you find that you lack energy, if you find that you lack passion, if you find that you feel like leaving the world to its fate, then the judgment has already been pronounced. This lack of energy comes only from not living rightly.

The one who is living rightly cannot allow others to fall, to get killed, to suffer.

When you are attentive towards yourself, then you are compassionate towards the entire world.

We must seriously ask ourselves, beneath all the verbiage — the thing about tolerance, is it not just indifference? Is it not just insensitivity?

Be active, interfere. Don’t just tolerate me.

(Laughs)

Fight, quarrel, engage.

L2: What I am thinking that when a person is tapped with the source or non-duality, then the person cannot talk about anything else. You are doing the same thing.

AP: It depends on how you are listening and if you can listen that way…

L2: I think that way.

AP: No, You are listening that way. If you are listening that way, then it tells more about you than me. If you can listen non-duality in what I am saying, then you are established in non-duality and that is such a wonderful thing.

L3: Sir, can we boldly say that we wish India to be non-tolerant. How will you make people understand that?

AP: It is not a question of sermonizing. It is the question of the understanding, the realization, showing up in our action.

What is India?

What you do, if you do it from your deepest understanding, you are India.

You are India!

That is the only befitting definition that we can give to the word, ‘India’. The source and the center of all understanding. I had said, (India is) the mother of religion. That is the only worthwhile definition of India. Everything else is so disrespectful. So disrespectful!

L4: Sir, just like to share something. I had met a Sanskrit scholar, who used to say that every word has a meaning in Sanskrit and a meaning, which is very well defined. So, once I asked him, “What is the meaning of ‘Bharat’?” He said, ‘Bha’ in Sanskrit means ‘Bhram’; ‘rat’ means who is involved with bhram. So, ‘bhram-rat’ is Bharat. That was his interpretation. I do not know if that is true?

AP: No, you see sir, we said that any word has a meaning only in context to what you are. If you come to me and ask me, “What is Bharat?” I will not reply. I will wait to catch you in your particular moment of immersion or love. I will wait to catch you, looking deeply immersed towards a mountain, or a river or a butterfly and then I will say, “That! That! That which is just now happening to you is ‘Bharat’ because that is the only way I can tell you what is Bharat?” I cannot tell you ‘What is Bharat?’ by referring to the etymology of the word.

If you ask me, “What is love?” It will be foolish of me to say, ‘L-O’ means this; ‘V’ means this; ‘E’ means this. If you ask me, “What is love?” I will wait for you to taste love and in that moment, when you would be in love, then I will say, “That! That is love!”

So, if you’ll ask me, “What is Bharat?”

I will wait for you to look at the snow capped Himalayas. And then, when your eyes would be shining with wonderment, then I will say, “That is Bharat!”

Or when you would be reading The Upanishads, and your mind would suddenly be getting lighter and your face would have a sudden radiance and you would have felt for yourself, deeply in your heart what it meant to say, Poornamidah – poornamidam’ (Opening prayer in Upanishads)

Then I will say, “That! That is Bharat.”

Otherwise what does ‘bha’ and ‘rat’ means? Nothing.

All this is just word play.

The word ‘That’ is of tremendous significance. ‘That’; ‘Tat’; ‘Tat- Tvam – asi’.

‘Tat’ — ‘That’ is ‘Bharat’. 

Just as we formally began this session, formally we have to close it as well.

But really, it is about being together and close.

And ‘that’ cannot be closed.


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

Watch the session: India and Tolerance || Acharya Prashant (2016)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


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Facts and Imaginations

19

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

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

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

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

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

Live with your loneliness, live with your disgust

13Questioner: Can one be lonely even while being immersed?

Acharya Prashant: Yes, of course. See, it is not a question of ‘Can one be or not?’, Whatever is there, is there. It is there, now, live with it; acknowledge it. Live with it without hoping for a change and then, let change happen if it has to.

Neither ask for it nor block it. Live with it without resentment, without resistance.

Q: But there is a disgust associated with that.

AP: Live with that disgust.

Disgust may be there but it is not mandatory upon you to be disgusted by the disgust.

Read more

The right role of parents in the life of child

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Question: Sir, what should be the right role of parents in the life of a child?

Acharya Prashant: The role of the father and mother is to give birth. Really to give birth not just physically. Physically it is very easy—hormonal, chemical, simply biology, really to give birth.

Listener 1: In which many fails.

AP: Hardly anybody succeeds.

To be a father or mother is not something physical, it is not about having sex, getting impregnated, bearing a baby and nursing it. It is about not only giving a body but also taking the kid to That which is beyond the body. That’s the role of parents—to not only give the body but also then unburden the child of the body. Read more

Love and images of Love

Question: Would you please talk a little more about love? You have spoken a lot about love as helping. But just love, what’s that?

Acharya Prashant: Oh yes, but I could have talked about love had we been really ignorant about love. The barrier that this speaker faces while talking to anybody is that people are already very knowledgeable. There is hardly anybody here who would not write an entire book on love given the chance. If I circulate sheets of paper and say, “Kindly write a paragraph or two on love”, is there anybody who would say, “Sir, I know nothing, I cannot write anything, I haven’t ever even heard the word.”? Anybody? Read more

The image of the so-called enlightened one makes one scared of enlightenment

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Question: I have a confused question. Can I confess that I don’t know if I want to be awakened or not! I am afraid to realise myself. I am curious but I am stepping back from the Truth.

Acharya Prashant: “I am afraid of being awakened!” You must be afraid. All these so-called spiritual people have painted such a horrible picture of awakening that it is normal to be afraid of awakening. When you look at all those who call themselves awakened, it is very normal to say, “I do not want to be awakened, if awakening means this!”  If you look at all those who call themselves enlightened, you say, “I do not want to be enlightened, if this is what enlightenment means.”

Read more

Only the fake saint conforms to the idea of a saint

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Question: What about the so-called saints? They’re not real saints but considered to be by the society.

Listener 1: I’ve got a beautiful expression about this, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.

Acharya Prashant: A saint is nobody special. We are saints. Now that breaks our own image in our mind. We are saints. Why are you not a saint? Prove that you are not a saint. How are you not a saint? Saints are undifferentiable. The Atman is the only Saint. We all are saints. You don’t have to go to a saint and we are also the so-called saints.

When you’re operating from the right centre, you are the Saint.
When you’re operating from somewhere else, then you’re the so-called saint.

Read more

Ideals and Intelligence

Student: Sir, what is an Ideal?

Acharya Prashant:  You tell me. What is Idealism?

S: It is a prescription by the society in regard to how we should be.

AP: For an idealism to exist there must be an ideal and for an ideal, there should be an idea. Let’s see what is an idea, an imagination is. To imagine something new, you must first know what is. And to know what is, one must be awake. Otherwise, imagination is absurd; it is just a dream. But if I am awake, I can’t be imagining. If I am imagining, I can’t be in the present. When we are thinking, we are out of touch with Reality.  Reality is what is right now. Reality is not a thought of the mind. Either I can be directly in touch with this moment, or I can be thinking. So idealism is imagination.

S: Why do people want ideals?

AP: Because people are dissatisfied with the present.  If I am present here; if I understand this moment, won’t I have a spontaneous response? For example, if there is a fire in this room, do you require an ideal to know what is the best thing to do?  People have created ideal as a substitute for understanding what the current moment is.  And so are all ideals, like planning, setting targets or any thought relating to future. You all are great idealists. You don’t know, you are following a set pattern that has been given to you.

If I understand this moment, deeply understand what is right now, then I have infinite possibilities. For example, if I am a die-hard communist, can I really take any action out of an understanding ? Or am I bound to act as a communist? Intelligence or Communism? Idealism will hamper my action because I don’t want to keep all possibilities open to me. This is so because either I am not courageous or I am not open.  So I need one course of action.  Hence Idealism must be demolished.  We are intelligent human beings who can understand.  Idealism is against intelligence. All intelligent men have defied ideals.

S: It is an ideal that we should not kill people. What would you say about it?

AP: There will be times when killing is appropriate. What else is Bhagavad Gita saying?

S: Sir, What about speaking the truth?

AP: Do you really know what Truth is?  How can you speak the truth, if you don’t know the Truth? What is your truth except a mere repetition of facts? In the name of truth, you only express your opinion about the truth. Truth is a situation vested in a person.  There is no objective truth. When I stand clear of my thoughts, dogmas, prejudices and pre-conceived notions, only then I can see the truth.

S: Religion gives us ideals like reading Quran 5 times a day.

AP: You are not talking of Religion; you are talking of a dogma of religion, a set of prescribed activities. Talking of religion, you see, the most repeated words in The Sermon on the Mount are ‘But I say unto you‘.There were 10 commandments that Moses had prescribed. Jesus takes up each one of these and puts all of them to the test of ‘But I say unto you’…meaning that each of these commandments is limited and violable. Just see the reality, understand it; where is idealism in all this? That alone is the basic obligation of a human being, to use one’s intelligence and understand.

S: Sir, what about God?

AP: Do you really think that believing something without knowing is good for you?

S: Sir but we feel God’s presence sometimes.

AP: (sarcastically)If you really feel God, then would you be the way you are? Your feeling is also a thought which has been borrowed. This God too is a concept of yours.

S: Sir but God is something which is unknown?

AP: Is the fact that God can’t be known your own personal truth or is it again a borrowed thought? Have you really understood on your own that God is beyond logic and understanding?  If you are accepting or rejecting a hypothesis, do it yourself.  If in your Maths exam there is a question in your exam that asks you to prove  L.H.S. = R.H.S, what would you do? Would  you just write in your paper that ‘I believe it is so’? I believe that LHS=RHS, and hence there is no need to prove !

(Laughter)

S: Sir, you are talking about two opposites-sciences and spirituality, your example doesn’t fit in the area of science.

AP: Who is the one, who talks about science?

S: I

AP: Who is the one talking of Spirituality?

S: I

AP: You being one, how can the understanding be fragmented? How is it possible that the same individual who explores life and iron ore on the moon, chooses not to step out of his house on a Lunar eclipse! All such rubbish is caused by the fragmented individual who has compartmentalised Science and Spirituality in two different minds.

S: Sir, you are talking about a Utopian world.

AP: Is this world, your world, a Utopia? Or am I talking about a Utopian world? I am the one talking of reality and you have been continuously talking about your dreams and imaginations.  The world of goal, planning, targets is a Utopia. We are living day in and day out in a Utopia.

S: Sir, you are saying that we have borrowed everything from outside, is it possible for me to be intelligent, to be able to accept or reject on my own?

AP: By virtue of being a human, you are intelligent. You are talking like a man who has all the riches in his pocket but has been made to forget that he is wealthy.

S: (Mockingly) Sir you really think we are intelligent?

AP: Your conditioning has made you believe that you are a slave.  The way you are brought up in your family, your education system, society—all have made you believe that you are a slave. Just see what it has come to! You are asking me whether I really think that you are intelligent and you are laughing! You are laughing at yourself ! You deride yourself and take pleasure in it ! You giggle so incredibly at my suggestion that you may be intelligent.(sudden silence)

Please understand that the way you are right now, you are not intelligent. Look at the chaos in the street, look at the mad crowd, look at the sheer obligation you enter this class with! Is that intelligence?

Can a person who is asleep, know that the other person is awake? Even to say that somebody is intelligent, you must be intelligent yourself. You are talking in this manner, “suppose somebody is intelligent”..What is this supposition? You know intelligence only when you yourself are.

There are two ‘I’s- One of them is your self-concept and the other is what you really are. Of course, we can’t explore it in just 20 minutes, or with a person in front of yourself as an authority. This must be done individually, with a tremendous sense of Self-love.

S: Is it not my intelligence to follow ideals sometimes?

AP: Sometimes ? How many times? How many times have you been intelligent? Whenever intelligence dawns upon you, it will show you something that you don’t want to see. That‘s why society has established guilt inside you. That’s why your ‘sometimes’ is so rare.

S: Me coming to this session, is it not intelligence?

AP: No. Intelligence comes out of understanding. Intelligence is not a thought.  Everyone is caught in thought and conflict. Intelligence happens in the absence of thought. In thoughtless observation, things are known.  The moment you borrow a concept, you also borrow the belief in the concept. If you are attentive, whatever comes to you is intelligence. Did you come here out of your understanding? Then you would have been free. Understanding is freedom. But you come at my behest, and you will go when I will close the session. And in between coming and going, you listen to me mechanically. Some of you are resisting me, some of you are gaping at me in sheer awe, some are coolly indifferent to the proceedings, and some are simply asleep. Where is intelligence in all of this?


Dated: March 12, 2012

Place: Session at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi

You are a Lao Tzu when you don’t have a Lao Tzu as your ideal

Shri Prashant: The biggest damage that you do to others comes as very innocuous, unnoticeable, run-of-the-mill actions, like the street vendor selling his oily and stale food. It appears so very normal, does it not? Have you ever seen the street vendor, huh, selling his street food? Does he strike you as abnormal? They dot the streets. They are there after every fifty metres, are they not? When you look at them, do you jump with surprise? Do you say, “Oh my God! What an enemy of mankind!”? Does that happen? Read more

The Spontaneous Dance of Intelligence

Question: Sir, does Intelligence leads to disorder?

Speaker: (Picking up a bottle which is one-quarter full of water and three-quarter empty) Let’s consider, does this bottle has water?

Student: Yes Sir.

Speaker: You see this quantity of water? Can you just estimate the number of molecules in it? Not very difficult at all. If I tell you that this weighs around 50 grams, you can easily calculate the number of H2O molecules in it. Matter of a minute. Now, it may appear to be still, if you don’t disturb it then it appears still but what actually is going on within?

Students:– Random motion

Speaker: Random Brownian motion. What are the molecules all doing? Read more

Only the ego wants to correct mistakes. The fundamental mistake is ego itself.

Question: Why is it that if we search for evil or bad things, we find that it is all our fault? What if we don’t go out searching? Then will we have a hard time realizing our mistakes?

Acharya Prashant: This option to ‘not to go out searching’ is not really available. The nature of the ego is to not to search for anything beyond itself. While it does appear that the ego is restless and keeps searching, but its entire preference is to search within its own predetermined domain. It’s a pseudo search; it’s a fake search. The ego is very, very happy in this fake search; it keeps itself occupied and it also gets to say proudly that it is searching. After all, we all do have things to search for, right?

Everybody has goals, targets, something to accomplish. None of us is sitting idle; everyone is chasing something, and we can claim that there is something that we are going after, that you are not stagnant, that life has a meaning, a purpose. But if we look closely at all our meanings, purposes and targets, they are all within the domain of our conditioning.

No target is an unconditioned target. No meaning that we ascribe to life is a para-mental meaning. All of them are coming from within a preset domain. So it’s a nice game; it’s a nice pseudo act. We can console ourselves all the time that we are doing something when actually nothing is happening, when actually whatever is happening is just happening to ensure that the status quo is being maintained. So we display a lot of activity, we move around, we run after this and that; and it’s a good act. Just a pretension, just a display to fool the world and fool ourselves. The more we move, the more we are ensuring that nothing really is changing. The more we run, the more we ensure that no reaching is happening.

So, that is the way the ego functions – a lot of sound and fury, a lot of movement, a lot of asking, searching, seeking, but essentially just the maintenance of its own boundaries: “I will run a lot within the room. I will run a lot within the preset boundary.”

So, had it been left to ourselves, we would have never really sought, we would have been happy just ‘pretending to seek’.

So, when does one start looking for the Truth?

It is not a choice; it is not an indulgence; it is never a pleasure; it is never out of great willingness. It is just that, as a natural consequence of the nature of the ego, there is suffering. Just as it is the nature of the ego to not to know the Truth to pretend a lot, to act as if it is genuinely curious, but never really to know,  just as this is the nature of ego this too is the nature of ego that it will suffer.

Nothing except the ego suffers. Nothing except the ego is deluded. 

When it suffers and suffers again and again, and yet again then it is forced to seek. Why? Again there is a reason there. Suffering might be the natural consequence of ego, suffering might be the habit of ego, but you are not only the ego. It is not your nature to suffer. The ego can get nothing except suffering and that’s when you start feeling uneasy, because it is not your nature to suffer.

You are essentially joyful; and what the ego brings to you goes against your own grain. That is the reason why anybody ever steps out to seek. Nobody steps out to seek in great happiness. Nobody steps out to seek in order to feel better about himself, or because it is a thing of pride never! Whenever seeking would happen because of a pleasure motive, it would always be within the room, and hence, it would be a pseudo search. That is the reason why most seekers never actually learn anything, because theirs is a fake, a pseudo search. They are searching within the room. The room itself is the domain the preserve of the ego. How will you get anything within it? By being within the room, all that you are doing is that you are validating the room you are confusing yourself all the more by convincing yourself that this is where you belong.

You must have heard that little anecdote about Raabiya.

She lost her small pin maybe a weaving needle or something and she started searching for it in another place and she collected the entire village.

“I am an old woman, I can’t see, help me.” Soon the entire village was searching with her. Then one man got a little frustrated and asked, “Old lady, where did you lose it?” She said “There, somewhere else.”

They said, “Why are you searching for it here then?  Have you gone totally senile?”

She said, “I might be senile, but what else are you doing! You too are searching. All your movements are a search. Wherever you go, you are going with a purpose. All of us are after something in life. But are you searching at the right place?  How will you find it where it is not?”

And there is nobody who is not after something. Anybody here who is not after anything? (Pointing towards someone in the audience.) You too must be after something. That is the way our system operates, we are always after something. And don’t delude yourself; whatever you are after is just the veneer, and the proof of that is that whatever you are after never really satisfies you. You are after something else. Whatever you are after is just a pointer you are after something else. That should be a good enough indicator to an intelligent mind, “I am not searching rightly. I am constantly searching, but probably I am searching just to maintain the search and never to find – just to maintain the search so that I can console myself and feel good about myself that I am not really idle, that I am really not good-for-nothing. So I am doing something.”

(Silence)

Lucky are those, whose eyes open up even if to just see their own wounds.

Lucky are those whose sensitivity awakens even if to just realize that they are badly hurt, because it is only then that you are forced to see the fallacy of your ways.

Otherwise nothing would ever change. We would be very happy and continue in the way we have always continued.

See, we keep on saying, “We are totally conditioned,” but that is just to drive home a point. The fact is that we can never be totally conditioned, or let me put it this way: “What is totally conditioned is not really the totality of me. I am vaster than that which gets totally conditioned. Yes, the mind-machine does get totally conditioned, but I am something beyond the mind-machine, and therein lies the possibility of my redemption. The mind is just an apparatus that does get totally conditioned, but I am something else – a little more. So, when the mind gets totally conditioned, that doesn’t match or concur with what I am, because it is not my nature to be conditioned.”

And then, you want to hit at the boundaries, to knock at the doors, to cross the limits. That’s when you challenge your patterns. Because what you are doing and how you are living is not what you are. How long can you go on violating and contradicting yourself? A point comes when you just start feeling suffocated and then things happen on their own. Never say that you have a choice there. All your choices are within the room. You will never choose to go outside it never!

Left to yourself, you will happily keep singing, dancing, eating, sleeping, and breeding inside the room. A part of you exists outside; it is that part which calls you, but you do not know that part.

It is funny, because that is the ‘essential you’ that you do not know.

That face of yourself ‘that you know’ is a very superficial face. You may as well not know it and continue no harm will be done. So, that which you know as yourself, is anyway valueless. It is another matter that you attach a lot of importance to it and you spend a lot of time and energy just trying to maintain, preserve, and burnish it.

It is like you have a diamond, and you have a diamond case, and you are spending all your time preserving and polishing the case, while forgetting the diamond, which is lying somewhere else unattended.

Even if you forget all that you think yourself to be, no great harm will be done; but forgetting that which you really are that which is lying unattended, unsought . . .  that’s a great loss!

Again, for whom is that a great loss? Only for the one who is within the room. For itself, it is never a loss, because it is not something that can be lost; it is not something to which the words gaining or losing can even be applied. It is a strange kind of thing!

Understand this: whatever I am saying right now, I am not really addressing the ‘real you,’ because that doesn’t need to be addressed.

(Smilingly) Who can teach the atman? Is there anything apart from it to teach it? And what does it lack in to be taught? So, I am not really talking to the ‘essential you’. There is no point talking to ‘it’ and there is nobody else except ‘it’ to talk to ‘it’.

I am just addressing the ego, nothing else just addressing the ego. And when you are addressing the ego, all that you can do is draw its attention to its own suffering; all you can point out to it is “Little child, you have been continuously trying and trying, and going around restlessly attempting, seeking, finding, un-finding, picking, dropping – doing all the actions that can be done.

You have been continuously doing all these things; there is nothing that you have left undone. You have seen so many colors of life, you have tried whatever experiments you could try and what have you got?

Except trying, and except an inflated sense of pride “that I have been trying” what did you get?

That is all that can be said to the ego, and then one can just wait for a bit of good luck – that is needed. Without that nothing can happen. People call it grace.

Because the ego is stubborn, you never know how much it can take. Quite resilient it is. It can suffer a lot.

We have great potential for suffering, and then denying that we are suffering.

So, you never know how much stamina is still left in your ego; it might still not be exhausted, it might still be rearing to go: “No, no, I still want to try a little more.” If that be the case then not much can be done. Then your time has not yet come. If you still have a very fit and muscular ego, throbbing, itching, running, eager, determined, then not much can be done. Your time has not come. You need a few more hits. Deep hits, bloody hits and you will get them, for sure you will get them. It’s a matter of time, you may get them in two days or in two hundred years, but you will get them and then you will see how lucky you are that ultimately you got those hits.

(Silence)

Then you really seek. Then you are forced to admit: “I am mistaken.” I am repeating these words – ‘You are forced to admit’. Nobody will admit out of his own sweet will that he is mistaken, never. It’s just that you will be battered so hard that you will be left option-less. You will be made mincemeat of. Have you heard the word kachoomar (to make mincemeat)? You will be beaten so badly that you will have no option but to accept. Out of your own false sense of pride you will have to accept: “Now I can see that there is something wrong.”

If you come across people who very easily admit that they are mistaken, if you come across people who keep smiling sweetly and saying, “You know, I have so many habits, you know I am an idiot, you know I am a slave of the ego,” you must realize that all this is just another tactic of the ego. Pretending to be egoless is such a wonderful tactic of the ego. Those who admit very quickly that we are mistaken are the ones who have co-opted mistakes. It’s a nice fashionable thing to do. Right? (Referring to his immediate disciples.) It happens with some of us here as well. You write your reflections and what do you write there? “Oh my God, I am such an idiot, I again slipped. Oh! Today I again slipped, and I realize that I am an idiot.” And the next day you again slip after realizing yesterday that you are an idiot. Great tactic: ‘own up the mistake so that you can remain mistaken’. Wonderful! Nice!

You will never own up your mistakes, you will be brought to a point where you will have no option but to see that you have been an idiot. You will be left option-less. Till the time you have an option, you will exercise it. Till the time you have an option, you will only choose the ego because only the ego has options, what else will you choose? Willingly, it is never going to happen never, ever! And those for whom it is happening willingly, it is not really happening. If it is happening willingly for you, then it is not really happening. Then it means that it is a part of your internal conspiracy.

(Silence)

Know that it is really happening when the ego, breathing its last breath, bleeding profusely, is still resisting it.

Know that it is really happening when you are deeply attracted to it, while finding simultaneously that you experience an aversion to it.

If it’s good, nice, honey and sweets, then it is not happening. The very phrase, ‘realizing my mistakes,’ is a meaningless phrase.

The ego will never realize its mistakes because the fundamental mistake is the ego itself. 

So how can it ever realize any mistake? But it’s fashionable for us to say, “Oh, I realize my mistake.” The more you say that you are realizing your mistakes, the more you are ensuring that you will not realize anything. In fact, more honest are those who say, “I am not realizing anything, I don’t want to realize anything.” You never ‘make’ a mistake, the mistake emanates from your very structure. The mistake is a representation of what you are.

You never make a mistake, you are just doing what you can do. Being what you are, what else could you have done? But morality has taught us that it’s nice to admit mistakes.

It might be nice to admit mistakes in order to keep the whole system, the social order, running; it might be a generous thing to do; it might appear a gentle and nice thing to do; but it’s a harmful thing to do. By saying, “I committed a mistake,” you want to say that, right now you are not committing a mistake.

You are always mistaken because a mistake is what you are.

What do you mean by realization? It’s like a mad man saying, “You know, I realize I am mad.” How does that help? I mean what has he realized? Being mad, how can he ‘realize’ that he is mad? And the day that he actually realizes that he is mad is the day when he is not mad anymore. So, don’t admit your mistakes too easily. Don’t just go around saying, “I slipped.” You didn’t slip, you have been slipping all along and you are still slipping. It is not an isolated incident it is always happening.

Humbly, go to the root of the happening; if you are lucky enough, if your time has come. Humbly, try to dig deep into it without feeling ashamed, without feeling guilty or bad about yourself. The ego likes to maintain its sense of purity and decency. If it starts admitting that it has been always slipping, then it will find it difficult to look at itself in the mirror. That is another thing with the ego, it must feel good about itself.

(Silence)

So, whenever by chance you get a feeling that you made a mistake, don’t stop there. See how the mistake is just a minor representation of your entire mental structure. Go into that. ‘The mistake is not an isolated incident,’ I am repeating. The mistake is an opportunity to look into your wider self, if you really bother. If you do not bother, then alright, you are still quite muscular, you can still take a lot of beating, you still have a lot of stamina; you are huffing and puffing and saying: “You know, I still want to try a little more.” Keep trying, it’s alright.

Without you how would lila (the cosmic play) continue? Without you how would the show run? Every good show requires a few comedians whose entire role is to keep slipping and keep getting beaten up all the time. You are that comedian! Without you the entire drama will become so tasteless, there would be nothing in it. After all somebody has to slip on the road, somebody has to step on the banana peel, so that everybody else can have a good time. You are that one!

So, don’t think of yourself as worthless. (Smilingly) You are the one who provides spice to the great show that this existence is. Without you there would be nothing to laugh at. Without you what else is left to be written about?

The Core, the Center, the atman is very intelligent, but it is also beyond the grasp of any writer. Nothing can be written about it. All that can be said is, “Nothing can be said.” About Intelligence, nothing can be said. About stupidity, a lot can be said. So, you are the one who provides employment to all the authors and writers. If you are not there then the world would be poorer, nothing would be left, nobody would be slipping on the road, nobody would be falling in the gutters, nobody would be creating a scene so that the neighbors can enjoy.

You are the color of the world, and this is not merely a satire  this is it!

When you see that you have been stupid all along, don’t feel bad about yourself. You didn’t do it, you have been made a fool of, and somebody else did it, right? Who chooses to step on a banana peel? There is no need to feel bad about yourself; there is no need to feel guilty. When by chance you find yourself making mistakes, then without any sense of remorse or self-deprecation go deep into yourself. The deeper you will go, the more mistakes and more sufferings you will come across. So, go in boldly; don’t feel bad, don’t stop, don’t feel shy, and don’t start crying that, “Oh my god! Am I such a fool?” Of course you are! What’s there to feel bad about? Whenever this so-called realization starts coming, “I have been a fool,” tell yourself that, “No, you have been a bigger fool than you can ever imagine, and it’s alright.” It’s alright because you are not responsible for the show. Right?

I didn’t choose to be a fool, I didn’t even choose to be ‘here’ (in this world) in the first place. I am on the stage, I am playing a fool, and I am on a stage I never chose to be on. Who chose to be born? Anybody here who did? So, you have been thrown onto a stage, you are there on the stage unwillingly, and unwillingly everything else is happening – the great game of maya.

There is no need to take ownership of all this; you are not responsible. You do not own your mistakes.

Now, you can clearly look at yourself. Now, witnessing is possible. Now you can observe all that is happening. Don’t feel bad.

That is your problem. You feel so bad about yourself that you observe no more. You feel so bad about yourself that it becomes impossible for you to proceed. Just as the entire world laughs at you, you too laugh at yourself. In fact, when nobody else is laughing then you start laughing at yourself, because you are the first one to know how big an idiot you have been.

It would be nice. Right? You are sitting in a bus and nobody else is laughing at you and you are laughing. People will say, “What is there to laugh at?” You will say, “Don’t you see? I am there to laugh at. I am the joke of jokes!”

Keep laughing at yourself. There is nothing dishonorable about it. You are anyway so dishonorable. (Laughingly) What can be more dishonorable than you? Don’t regret!

Then, you reach the mother mistake. Laughing at yourself you reach the mother mistake. Only when you look at it lightly, is it possible to drop it. That mother mistake thrives in seriousness. That mother mistake is seriousness itself. You take yourself so seriously. It’s like somebody taking a used toilet paper seriouslyThat is the fundamental mistake. Drop it! Flush it!

(Looking at the facial expressions of a listener.) That is better; now you are not serious. Witnessing is simple, natural. All that it requires is a bit of detachment and when you have a point to prove then you cannot be detached. When you have a face to maintain, an image to maintain, then you cannot be detached. Then you will admit mistakes, but never admit that you are the mistaken one. It is a clever ploy. It works against you . . . it does work, but against you. Don’t work against yourself. Whenever you come across mistakes just realize that it is not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

It is more like you are driving upon the highway and there is a bit of a stink and it is arising from the entire sewer system of the city. The stink means nothing – it is nothing, it is a small thing. You will take a few steps ahead and the stink will disappear, but the stink points out to a great accumulation of rubbish in the basement. Just below the surface lies collected heaps and heaps of rubbish. And ‘you’ are not rubbish; so there is no shame in accepting that there is so much rubbish. Be supremely confident that you are not rubbish; feel free to disown it, feel free to laugh at it.

How can you take rubbish seriously? When you don’t take it seriously there is no way you can get identified with it. Do you want to get identified with all the shit? Do you want to do that? Then why don’t you just call shit as shit? That’s our problem. We will never call shit as shit. We will acknowledge the stink but act as if there is no shit. We will acknowledge the mistake but act as if there is no mistaken one.

Yes! There is an entire ocean beneath the compost surface. That’s from where the stink sometimes arises. Disown that ocean. Laugh at it. You are not that. Nothing will be lessened from you; you only lose your heaviness, nothing else will be lost, no harm is going to come your way.

(Silence)

So, I’ve said enough, and that’s all that can be said. The rest depends on your stamina. Maybe you still want to take a few more punches. It’s alright. Somebody has to step on the banana peel. It’s alright.

Listener: If I want to see the mother mistake, then will I have to go again and again into the rubbish?

AP:  You are probably not feeling sure. Think of the man who has to take rubbish seriously and identify with it. Surely he feels very poor; surely he feels that there is not much in his life; surely he feels that life will be so harsh upon him that if he leaves the rubbish then nothing else will be there. “So better than being totally impoverished, let me at least latch on to the rubbish.”

See whether you can feel a little more certain that ‘things cannot be so bad’. See whether you can feel a little more confident that ‘even if I drop this, even if it goes away, it’s alright, I’ll live with it’. See if you can feel a little more emboldened.

Let it go! Anyway all that it is giving me is a lot of foul air. Let it go! Say: “I am prepared to take the consequences.” Feel a little more certain.

We hold on to all the rubbish in our life for the simple assumption that we have very little self-worth. We feel that if this goes away then nothing will be left. You feel, “Alright this might be defective, dead, soiled, but at least I have something. What if even this goes away? What if I am left with nothing?”

You will have to trust a little. You will have to just jump in. You will have to just hope that things will not be so bad, that things cannot be so bad. See whether that is possible.

L2: Sir, towards the beginning you said, “You have a deep belief that you still have a lot of stamina in you, and you want to keep hopping.” Sir, my condition is exactly the same. Within me, there is a strong feeling that I have to do a lot; but at the same time, there is this other side which tells me that all doing is futile.

So, what do should I do?

AP:  See, I also said in the beginning itself that you don’t really have a choice in this matter. So, even if I suggest something and you decide to pick it up, it will be you who will be deciding and hence you would also have the luxury of dropping it at your own sweet will. That is the whole problem with taking somebody’s advice. You are the one who went to take advice, you can also drop the advice.

Have you not seen people taking ‘second opinions’? Going from one doctor to the other? When you are taking a second opinion, ultimately it is your own opinion that prevails. You are the one who decide whether to consider the first opinion or the second opinion. Don’t you see? There is really no choice in this. Don’t ask, “What to do?” You are already doing a lot! Aren’t you? Go into that; if you can!

Don’t ask me, “What to do?” Aren’t you already doing a lot? And even if I suggest you a few more things to do, who will be doing them? The doer will remain the same, right? Now, if the doer is to be investigated, then why take on a new doing? You are already doing a lot, start from there and go deeper boldly, without fear or without any sense of shame. This ‘going deeper’ is not another doing. It is not another action of the same doer. It has a different quality to it.

You do ten things in a day you cannot say that attention is the eleventh thing. There are already ten things that you are doing, be attentive towards them. And that is not an eleventh action; that is like a light falling on all those actions.

Alright?

L3: Sir, if I do ten things, what gives me this stupid power to do another ten things? Succeeding in a few?

AP: The very concept of succeeding, the very hope that success is possible, that’s what keeps us going.

L3: Where does that hope come from? If I fail in all, will that hope still retain?

AP: Chances are the hope will diminish. That is why failure is often such a blessing. But again you see, one has to admit the failure. You may keep failing and keep labeling the failure as success.

Have you not seen people celebrating diamond jubilees of their marriage? Have you not seen that? (Laughter)

So failure and success are just words labels.

That deep realization has to come and that comes only when its time has come. It requires that bit of luck.

Pray, if you can!

L2: Sir, what is meant by saying that the time has not come? There are a few things that I have decided that I must do and only then the time will come, right?

AP: No, you have not done any of those things. What are you doing? What is the fact? The fact is – ‘you are deciding’. That is the doing. You have decided to do a few things, right? Have you done any of those things? What have you really done?

L2: I have decided.

AP: You have decided! Now, go into this decision and go into the decision maker. That is the real doing. Ask: “Where is this decision coming from?” Don’t go into what you have decided to do and when, and all that. You may as well never do all those things. You know the quality of your decisions, right? You decide to go left and you end up going?

L: Right.

AP: (Smilingly) Underground!

So, there is no point thinking about what goes left or right but yes, the ‘decision’ has been done, that is a fact, and that is very much an action a mental action that has been done. Go into that.

L3: Sir, while going into that, in between, one encounters, this entire thing of accepting or not accepting the rubbish. And whether we accept or deny, the ego survives in both the cases: commit a mistake and accept it or commit a mistake and deny it. How to move out of this vicious circle?

AP: The more you believe in what you have believed so far the more you will stay in the same circles. You have believed in your fears, you have believed in your limitations, you carry an entire world inside your head. At the center of that world is your own self-image.

The more you keep believing it, the more you keep feeding it, the more you keep feeling sure about it, the more things will remain the same. So try to take a few baby steps. See whether it’s possible there is no guarantee but see whether that is possible, maybe your time has come! See whether you can proceed without your self-image. See whether any harm really happens to you when you drop the rubbish. See whether you really lose something when you act in contradictions of your own assumptions. We imagine so much; see whether your imaginations actually materialize.

They won’t! See whether your own self-worth or self-image is real at all. I assure you, we know very little of ourselves, very, very little. You are not at all what you think you are. Allow yourself to come across your new face. You will be surprised. It is just like exfoliation. (Addressing one amongst the listeners.) You are a woman, you understand that, right? There is a beautiful face waiting to be discovered. Don’t be ashamed of it.

You have already decided that you are the maximum that you can be; this ‘can be’ has no limits. You can keep trying and keep moving within this so-called maxima. Limitlessly you can keep moving after setting a boundary. And in this nonsensical movement you keep missing that which you really are. Now don’t make images about it, just gather a little courage. Don’t think about it.

“What is it that I really am? What is my real face like?”

There is no need to think more. You already think so much. Just gather a little bit of courage to move into an unknown land; but that sounds scary, so I am saying, “Take a few baby steps.”

One step? At least that much can be done? Test your assumptions!

But when one is testing her assumptions, it is not tested in order to maintain the assumptions. If your assumption is that your assumptions are valid, then you are not really testing your assumptions. When you test your assumptions, then it must be done without bias, then it must be done impartially. “Let me really test.” We are so clever that in the name of testing we create situations that validate the assumptions. Don’t do that. We play so many games with ourselves. Do not do that. First of all you tell yourself that the world is a bad place and then you say, “Okay, let me test this assumption.” And then you go out and you bump into someone and he beats you up and then you say, “See I told you so, the world is actually a bad place.” Are you testing your assumption or are you going out just to reinforce it?

Don’t do that.

L3: Sir, whenever we feel light, we also find reasons that make us heavy. We do this just to ensure that the lightness does not prevail.

AP: Yes. You see we need to feel healthy, and if we can’t feel healthy, we at least need to pretend healthy.

Even if I have to slaughter somebody, it is better to do that via the court so that I can maintain my self-image. “I am a justice-loving person. I follow the due process of law, you see. I am not blindly believing in my assumptions. I tested them. So what I am saying is not an imagination; it is the fact, Sir!”

People will come and say: “I am so experienced and what I am telling you about life is not just my thoughts, it is what I have experienced.” Have you not heard this?

L: Yes.

AP: “This is my experience.” And they are not really lying; it is actually their experience. The only shrewdness there is, is that they are the manufacturers of that experience. Yes, you did experience, but who is the experiencer? When your so-called experienced people come and tell you that the world is a bad and wicked and ugly place and you need to protect yourself, otherwise a lot of harm can happen to you. They are not really lying. For them the world has actually been bad and wicked and ugly. So, they are actually not lying. What they do not admit is that they made it this way. They are the creators of their experiences that is something they will not admit.  They will not admit that.

L1: When somebody says very forcibly, “I have experienced this,” then the implication is that there is something objective there.

AP: Yes! There is nothing objective about it. ‘You’ did that.

We create situations that are conducive to our image of the world.

You hate a person and that will show up in your entire being. Now why are you surprised when the person reciprocates hate? When you look at that man your eyes are radiating hate, you words are full of poison, now is it any surprise that that person too reflects the same hate? Then you will say, “See, I told you so. That fellow is evil.” Is that fellow evil or did you make him act in evil ways? The world is your self-image, nothing more than that. It’s an echo!

L5: Sir, then experience is also a part of ego?

AP: All experience! Let experience never be a criteria. Let nobody claim that experience leads to Truth. Experience can only lead you to your own mind – that much, experience can help you. When you experience something, go into the experience, but not with an intention to know the world. Your experience will tell you nothing about the world because there is no objective world; but your experience will tell you something about yourself, your own structures.

When you hate somebody, that tells nothing about the person you hate, but it tells a lot about you. So do not make images about the person you hate. Go into your hatred; it will tell you something about yourself – it will tell you how afraid you are; it will tell you about your own insecurities; it will take you to your own basement.

L5: It will make me aware about the mechanism of my mind.

AP: And will take you to the mother of hatred.

L1: Let’s say somebody is testing his assumptions, and is doing that quite honestly. In the process, he sees that his assumptions are flawed. But since, he has been powering them for a long time, so they keep coming back again and again.

AP: See, that is why we are saying that there is no point in admitting mistakes or admitting that the assumptions are flawed; because till the time that mother is there, she will keep producing more babies.

Assumptions are not flawed, assumptions are what you are so go deeper.

Whenever you say that these assumptions are wrong, then tell me what is right? Is there another assumption that is right?

When you say, “I committed a mistake,” then tell me what not a mistake is? You must be having some image, right? That image too is a mistake.

So, it’s like a kid comes to you and says, “I have written 5+5 equals 15,” and you really scold him hard. You say, “How can you be such an idiot to write 5+5 as 15! You didn’t even know this much; you are making so many mistakes.” And ultimately you tell him, “Now, write 5+5 is 17.”

When you are declaring something to be a mistake, also ask yourself what is it that I am declaring as ‘not a mistake’? You will be surprised to see that calling something as ‘not a mistake’ is a bigger mistake.

L1: Sir, for example, the assumption is that – ‘somebody doesn’t like x,’ which is based upon x’s own inferiority complex. When x will check this assumption, it will be revealed that the fellow actually likes x.

Are you proposing that both of these aspects are equally wrong?

AP: Well said! Both are equally wrong. Neither does he dislike you nor is there anything to like. What the reality is . . . that you will never know being yourself.

The Truth is not the opposite of the false; the Truth is the absence of all that can be false.  When I say that you have an assumption that the world is a bad place, kindly do not use it to say: “Oh my assumption was invalid! The world is not really a bad, bad place; the world is actually a good, good place.”

The moment you do this, the mother mistake is smiling. Why? Because, this second assumption will be invalidated very soon, and you will have to come back to the first assumption.

So, going to something’s opposite is actually a very clever way of returning to the first thing.

The world is neither good nor bad.

‘Find out’ what the world is; why assume?

Assumption two cannot correct assumption one! So, never say, “I have known that this is a mistake.” When you say that you have known something as a mistake, you are pretending as if you know what is ‘not a mistake’. Because without having some concept, some notion, some idea of what is not a mistake, you can never say that this is a mistake. That idea too is equally wrong. Just say, “This is what I am, and I am suffering.” Now, you cannot go wrong.

Just say, “In my life, ‘5+5 is 15,’ and I am suffering.” Do not claim that you know what ‘5+5’ is. All you know is ‘5+5 is 15’. Just say, “I am holding these ideas as sacred; I am assuming these things to be true; I am living by these concepts; and what I am getting is suffering.”

These two are facts; there is very little positing here. Firstly that ‘I think,’ and secondly that ‘I suffer’. Now proceed downwards; keep going into the depth.

L5: Sir, I am suffering and I know that the mother reason of my suffering is my assumption about life. So when I see that a particular thought is arising from an assumption, I pause . . .

AP: Does that really happen that when you don’t want thoughts to come, they don’t come?

L5: Yes, it does! The other day, I was getting late for office. I stopped at the traffic signal for a minute or two and my mind started getting anxious. So I just paused and said, “Okay. Don’t let these thoughts come, reach the venue and see what happens.”

AP: If it is happening, then there is nothing to worry about. If it does happen that when you ask your thoughts to shut up and they do fall quiet, then, it’s good . . . already good.

L5: So, I don’t need to get into this assumption that certain thoughts are not good for my well-being – nothing like that?

AP: No! Where is the thought left now?

L5: It’s gone!

Sir, there are certain kinds of impulses that have gained so much momentum that it requires immense energy to dislodge them. What should be done?

AP: Take the previous example: when thought refuses to subside in spite of your telling it to shut down, then there is anyway not much that you can do – then let it continue. Don’t resist it.

You feed thoughts in two ways: from the front and from the back. From the front you feed it by asking it to continue: “It’s a pleasure to think sometimes.” You feed it from the back by resisting it: “It’s a bad thought, how can I think this way?” The moment you say this, then the bad thought intensifies. Let it continue. After all, how much can the imagination proceed on its own? How far will it go? You will assume that you will come late, alright, then? The gates will be closed, and then? And then . . . and then? Soon you will be bored.

“Alright, let’s stop.”

What is the worst that can happen? He doesn’t even have a gun license – your boss at the office.

What is the worst that can happen? Let it continue. It’s alright. You want to think? Proceed.

L5:  Yes. Then I start feeling guilty: “Why do I waste time thinking more and more about an unnecessary thing.”

AP: Never be bothered about your actions. By being bothered about your actions, you create a ploy to not to be bothered about the mother of the actions.

You meet a small kid and the kid is behaving in all kinds of stupid ways and he has acquired so many habits at just three or four years of age. He is stealing, he is cursing, he is kicking and crying – he is doing all kinds of things that kids do not usually do if they are healthy. What do you say to the kid? “Who is your mother? What have your parents taught you?” Actions are like kids. They are poor kids. What is the point in beating up the kid? Go to the mother; she is the one who is training the kid. But we bash up the kid: “This action is bad, evil!” What is the point?

You can even the kill the kid, but the mother is very fertile, she will produce more and more.

Actions are kids, go the mother of that action.

L2: Sir, but this requires subtlety of the mind. One who is very thoughtful, has not the depth to locate and scrutinize ‘the mother’.

AP: Then at least stop blaming the kid!

Can you remember this much? We have a great tendency to say, “Oh my god, I did something bad today.” Don’t we have that tendency? And all concepts of correction and repentance are based on this concept: “I did something bad.” So what am I correcting? The mistake. What I am repenting for? My action. At least stop doing this? Remember that the action can never be corrected; it is coming from a particular actor who is the mother. At least stop saying that you did something bad today; at least stop writing in your daily reflections that “Oh my god, I forgot, I slipped!”

You are not forgetting, you are forgetfulness itself personified.

By saying that you forgot, you are pretending as if you otherwise remember. You never remember.

Don’t blame yourself too much; don’t be harsh upon yourself. That’s what I mean when I am saying that don’t feel ashamed. By feeling ashamed you are pretending as if there is something honorable about you.

A speck falls off a lump of coal and the coal is regretting: “Oh my god! It’s so black.” As if there is anything non-black about it. A particle falls off a lump of coal and the coal looks at that particle and says, “Oh my god! It is so dark, so black.” Hello sir! Is there anything except blackness about you? So, what is the point in feeling ashamed? Just laugh it away: “Of course, I am all black. But when I will burn, when I will turn into ash then I will no more be black.”

Have you seen that? How coal becomes almost white when it turns into ash? There is no point regretting at your own little speck, your own baby. “The baby is so black.” The mother is an entire lump of blackness, the baby is bound to be black. Let the mother get burnt down, then things will change. Never regret your actions, never. Never feel ashamed of something you did. That’s a clever ploy against yourself. Don’t repent. Don’t try to correct your mistakes, never. You will be allowing the mistaken one to happily continue. Don’t do that.

L6: Sir, do we give value to assumptions and other things just because we are always trying to analyze situations? Like we do in a math problem – that if we don’t have a value for anything, we assume it to be something, and then derive the whole formula just for the sake of our analysis.

AP: See, there you have no option. You will have to do that because it’s a pattern. Mathematics doesn’t breathe. It doesn’t know by itself. So, if you don’t make that assumption, you will not be able to proceed at all. Life is a little different. Here, if you don’t make assumptions, you reach the solution.

Mathematics – you don’t make the assumption, you can’t even proceed to get the answer. Life – don’t make assumptions, and the solution would be obvious.

That is the difference!

(A long silent pause.)

L7: Sir, how can I call something a mistake if I have no idea of what is not a mistake!

AP: Yes, that’s what is being said. So, don’t call anything a mistake. Just say, “This is what is happening and I am suffering.” Only two things: “This is what is happening, and I am suffering.”

No point calling it a mistake or anything. There is no benefit in naming.

L1: Sir, this shameless, fearless, and guilt-free acceptance, something that is needed to see the ‘mother problem’ . . . Sir, it just does not happen to me. I stop midway. I am unable to go really, really deep. Fear, self-image, etc., stop me.

Sir, there must be something that gives the mind the courage to keep digging despite fear, shame, etc. . . .

AP: Yes. It is something very subtle, very faint. It’s a very subtle sureness. It is not a loud emotional declaration. It is not the reiteration of some conceptual knowledge – that when I feel afraid, I say, “I am the fearless atman.”

No!

It’s a very subtle sureness; not the recitation of some old mantra.

L4: Sir, this discussion reminds me of the activity ‘Mirror Identities’ we conduct with our students, which says that all identities are dependent upon each other: ‘If I am this, I am not that’; ‘if I am goal-oriented, I cannot be an aimless wanderer’.

To me, being constantly aware of the fact that I am none of these co-dependent identities, seems the only right step at any time.

AP:  Yes.

And you know, when you are taking that step . . . you see we live in closed claustrophobic rooms . . . when you just open the gate a little and take half a step outside – you know it’s new. The fresh gust of air hits your face. You know there is something new about it. You realize that it is fresh, it is new. This doesn’t happen within your circles.

L5: Sir, you talked about not resisting the assumptions, but my resistance or non-resistance is through thoughts, and when I don’t resist, thoughts become all the more powerful and shake me up from peace.

So, what is this ‘not resisting the assumption’ which will make me feel light? Kindly guide.

AP: There is Udit sitting next to you. Shake him up!

(Listener shakes Udit’s upper body.)

You could shake him up, right? Now shake up the space here! Shake it up. You can’t!

You can shake something only when it offers resistance. Udit’s weight is offering resistance that is why you can shake him up.

Understand that you feel shaken up only because you offer resistance to thoughts. That resistance itself is the energy that shakes you up. Thought comes and says, “Some great harm is going to happen! And you say, “No. No great harm is going to happen. How can it happen?”

Don’t you see that in the process of resisting the thought, you are supporting the thought?

Thought is saying, “Great harm is going to happen,” and you are saying, “Great harm is not going to happen,” but you too are admitting that great harm is ‘possible’.

Only that can happen or not happen which has a possibility of happening or not happening. When thought comes and says, (and that’s what this terrifying thought says) “Some great harm is possible,” say, “Go ahead. Let’s see what great harm is possible.”

As I said, your boss doesn’t even have a gun license. What great harm can be done?

Now thought is coming and saying, “Something bad is going to happen,” and you are getting all worked up, “No, no! That bad thing cannot be allowed to happen. It cannot happen!”

Thought is coming and saying, “You are dying! You are dying!” and you are saying, “No, no! I am not dying yet!” Don’t you see that you are supporting your thought by admitting that death is possible? When thought comes and says that you are going to die, say, “Fine, if that’s what pleases you, if that’s what makes you feel better, yes, I am going to die. Now, what next?”

Remember? You feed it from the front, you feed it from the back. Don’t feed it from the back.

“Something bad is going to happen!”

“Yeah! Something bad is going to happen.”

L2: Sometimes what happens is, this whole game of thinking gets exposed. How? Say, I am sitting and thinking, I am brooding, and I forget what I was thinking about. Then later on, I try to remember, “What was I thinking about?” And I am unable to recall it.

AP: Thought itself is such a stupid thing; you allow it to continue, it will get tangled within itself and will forget what it was all about. It is a monkey; it jumps from one place to another.

Thought is saying, “You will die! You will die! You will die!” You say, “Fine, proceed”; and next thing it will be thinking about the wood in the funeral pyre and then it will be thinking about the Himalayas and the great weather.

(Laughs)

So, from death it will, like a monkey, hop from one place to other. So, death will bring it to the wood; the wood will take it to the Himalayas; Himalayas means fine weather, so now you are thinking of fine weather. . . It’s alright.

L7: Sir, while doing tasks that ought to be done, like reading scriptures, I experience solid resistance. As per you, this resistance is a thought and need not be resisted further; but this ‘thought’ creates a lot of turbulence in my mind-body. What to do?

AP: When the thought says, “Don’t read!” Let thought say, “Don’t read!” You read.

(Laughter)

What else can the poor thing do!

L2:  Sir, does thinking differ from person to person?

AP: Oh, of course!

L2:  Like, not the thoughts, but the whole process. Sometimes when I try to cut the thoughts . . .

AP: The tendency to think doesn’t differ. That is the mool vritti (fundamental tendency). Thoughts always differ. In fact, thoughts make the person; that is why you are never the same person at two different points in time. But the tendency is the same everywhere. That’s where we are all one. We all have the same latent tendencies . . . same latent tendencies – fear, greed, lust. And at the root of these tendencies, lies the ‘I’ tendency – aham vritti (ego tendency).

L7: Isn’t that aham vritti coming from the tendency to think? As in, if we don’t think, the ‘I’ thought won’t come.

AP: Because of the ‘I’, the thought comes!

At the center of the entire expanse of thought, sits the ‘I’. You cannot think without an ‘I’. Go into your thoughts, there would always be an ‘I’ present.

So, the ‘I’ makes the thought possible.


~ Excerpts from a Clarity Session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Only the ego wants to correct mistakes. The fundamental mistake is ego itself.

Read more articles on this topic: 

  1. The unrealistic expectations of the ego from its self-created world
  2. Even when you are lost, you are already Home
  3. Why do we blame others for our mistakes

What is inspiration?

Question: How can inspiration be so effective that it changes life of a person?

Speaker: Person have no inspiration, they only have ‘expiration’. Do you know what inspiration is? That is “in spirit”, your very core; when it arises from there, only then it can be called an inspiration. In spirit! Are we ever inspired really? No. (Smilingly) We keep expiring. That is why a saint has said that “you die a thousand deaths before you physically die“, because we always expire. Inspiration means when you really know not when you have heard, read or thought about it and it has stopped at that.

The person is made up of the world. He cannot have inspiration. He has nothing actually that can take control of him and comfort him and relax him. He is always at the mercy of the outside buffeted by and in between a thousand forces.

Because a person is asking this question that is why the person is asking, how can inspiration be so much or whether inspiration can be so much? All this is the lexicon, the tongue of the person. In the wiring of the person there are only movements and processes and reaching and doubts so he will firstly ask whether and then he will ask how.

Inspiration is about being totally possessed. Inspiration is about giving your complete command to something that you are not. And when we are talking of completeness, then it cannot happen in doubt. Doubt means hundred percent cannot happen. Doubt means something will be reserved.

Inspiration is not for those who ask for why and how. Inspiration is when you drop all this mental veneer. And allow yourself to roam naked. Inspiration will not tell you what to do in your current circumstances.

Read more