Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Consciousness is just physical

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

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

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

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

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

You cannot have anything called ’empty consciousness’.

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

Consciousness, does not like a vacuum.

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

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

That is consciousness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you getting it?

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

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

(laughter)

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

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

Or, as Awareness.

The foundation of consciousness, is awareness.

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

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

No.

Being aware implies – not identifying with consciousness.

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

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

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

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

Close your eyes, and take a step backwards.

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

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

Now, you see why He is so inaccessible?

Where is He?

Just one step behind.

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

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

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

So taking that one step backwards, is impossibly difficult.

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

But if you move backwards, everything changes.


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

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Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: You know your real face, and your real home?

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“Your life, my friend,

is a residence far away from any other

residence and neighbours.

Your inner soul is a home far away from

other homes named after you.

If this residence is dark,

you cannot light it with your neighbour’s lamp;

If it is empty you cannot fill it

with the riches of your neighbour;

Were it in the middle of a desert, you could not move it to a

garden planted by someone else…

Your inner soul, my friend,

is surrounded with solitude and seclusion.

Were it not for this solitude and this seclusion

you would not be you and I would not be I.

If it were not for that solitude and seclusion,

I would, if I heard your voice, think myself to be speaking;

Yet, if I saw your face, I would imagine that I were looking into a mirror.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Acharya Prashant: Poets have a way, of presenting the Truth. The way helps. The way is beautiful. But as happens with all ways to the Truth, the way itself is a bit of a hindrance to the destination.

What Khalil Gibran is saying here, is essentially very straightforward. The inner seclusion and solitude that he is talking of, is nothing, but your calm, peaceful, silent, immovable, center.

Seated at that center, with the calmness, the immovability, of the center, vested in the mind as well; the mind gains intelligence, the mind gains discretion.

Read more

Who is Jesus?

There is a certain environment in which every prophet speaks. His words have to be understood keeping that environment in mind.

‘Garden of Eden’ is the state of bliss that one enjoys as long as one keeps making the right choice.

Even as you are feeling delighted, blissful, you do not know that something else too is at work.

In your moments of bliss in the garden, don’t totally be off guard. Always remain close to God even if it appears that everything is settled.

If Adam and Eve were incorruptible, they would be JesusJesus is that man who is not quite a man because he is left with no choices. Adam and Eve still have choices, they can go this way or they can go that way. Jesus goes only one way, towards his father. Jesus, one cannot say is a man. Jesus, one cannot say is not a man either. Jesus is the highest potentiality of Adam and Eve.



Read the complete article: The highest potentiality of Adam and Eve is Christ


 

Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: The highest potentiality of Adam and Eve is Christ

May 2018 TL_Poster 8

Acharya Prashant: Harshal has asked:

“Serpent denotes Kundalini(Helical) awakening in various cultures. In Hindu culture, it signifies the opening of the crown chakra. The serpent here denotes the evil or something else?”

Harshal the serpent here in a serpent. Why are you relating it with something else? You know a serpent? Serpent, Hisssss… that kind of serpent. Firstly, understand what the serpent is all about. Your concern must be to understand, not to relate it with something else. Whenever you relate something new to something old, then the new loses its newness. Now you have defined the new in terms of the old, and the new feels helpless. The new had come to bring something new to you, and you’ve co-opted the new. You defined the new as a function of the old. The new is now destroyed. It holds no lesson for you now.

You look at a man and you comprehend his actions in terms of what you have so far seen in your life, and you will succeed, and you have lost it.

Are you getting it?

Jesus says:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its flavor,how can it be made salty again? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by man.”

Alok Ji is asking:

Acharya Ji, why does Jesus say that you are the salt of the earth? What is the meaning of this statement?

It means you are the core of the material. You are the spirit of the material. Salt of the earth. Earth denotes the material. Salt denotes the essence of the material, that which is obtained when the material is distilled, filtered. From immense quantities of material, very subtle, very little bit of salt, essence emerges that is what Jesus means when he says you are the salt of the earth. In his own way, indirectly in the language of the commoners, he is saying – you are not material, you are the spirit. You are not the body, you are the Atman. The ‘earth’ would denote the ‘body’, ‘salt’ would represent the ‘spirit.’

Read more

The heart is a different sky altogether

Just because you feel like doing something emotionally, it does not mean that it has something to do with the heart. The heart is not the center of emotions. Though emotions have a tendency to introduce themselves as something very pure arising from a place very deep, emotions are emotions. They too arise from the same place as any other mental activity. Thoughts, instincts, intuitions, emotions, they all belong to the same dimension. Some are a little shallow, others are a little deeper. But, fundamentally they arise from the same space.

The heart is a different sky altogether. You would not be able to talk of the heart, just as you talk of the mind.

With the mind, there are business deals, “I do this, I get that.” With the heart, there is only surrender. You let yourself be possessed. You simply become a servant. And when you become a servant, you forfeit your right to judge and complain, you forfeit your right to choose. Now, who are you to ask, “What am I getting out of this?” You have given up your right to get anything, you are totally sold out. Now, what are you asking? You are a servant. You have given up all rights over yourself. Your welfare now no more your personal responsibility. The master will take care. You have surrendered. So, why are wondering about your welfare now if you are indeed operating from the heart?

The mind is insecure. The mind feels that it must take care of itself. The heart is not insecure. The heart says, “I have done the one right thing, I must always do. And after this one right thing, whatever wrongs fall on me are all gladly acceptable. This one right thing is a million times more valuable than whatever losses may befall.”



Read the complete article:  The Heart is enough

The Heart is enough

gen 1Listeners: I was reading a book of yours, Personality. It was written that whatever you liked from your heart, the same thing you should do in the outer world. But if we talk about it ina practical aspect, maybe in a professional or personal life point of view, that is something other, that people expect from you and mostly it is considered failure. What to do to connect the internal as well as the external world?

Acharya Prashant: Two things, firstly, what we usually call as our heartfelt liking, has not much to do with the heart. It is just another part of the conditioned mind. The heart is no particular entity. It does not have any set likes and dislikes. It is not in favor, or in opposition, of anything. It does not like activities. It does not have expectation from activities. And, what the heart might suggest is never knowable in advance.

One cannot come up and say that this is what my mind wants, and this is what my heart wants, and there is a conflict. The ways of the hearts are very very subtle, not comprehensible, not knowable, purposeless, indeterministic. Just because one has a sharp like for something, and that likeness might be mixed with some emotionality. It does not mean that the liking is arising from the heart. Read more

We all keep bearing hell in the hope for heaven

We all keep bearing hell in the hope for heaven, don’t we? There is nobody here, who is not chasing a heaven. The heavens have different names, different forms, and definitions. But we all are chasing heavens, thereby living in hell. Tiredness is to see that you have chased enough. Not only have you chased enough, factually too, you are repeating your old tricks, tricks that never worked in the first place! If they didn’t worked once, how will they work now?



Read the complete article: Be fully tired

Be fully tired

Slide2

 

Questioner: Sir, if I give up myself and all that the world has taught me, all the layers of knowledge that I have gained, then how will I function in the world? Won’t it actually be a physical death than just a mental one?

Acharya Prashant: Why must you function in the world?

Listener 1: That’s what I am saying, it would be mental death also.

AP: Question is, why must you continue to function in the world?

Because we are afraid of death. Read more

Basic definitions of Awareness, Attention, Understanding, and Intelligence

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Acharya Prashant: Kundan (questioner) has asked for these four terms: ‘awareness’, ‘intelligence’, ‘attention’ and ‘understanding’.

The word awareness is meaningful in only in the context of the word consciousness. Consciousness is a divisive phenomenon. To be conscious of something is to be something and know the other thing. Consciousness is always in duality. You always say, “I am conscious of something.”

When you go close to what you are conscious of, when you are really inclined to know and realize the object of consciousness, then you soon discover that it is impossible to know that object without turning inwards. You have to know the subject also. The more you want to know the object the more you have to turn towards the subject. The more you turn towards subject the more you see that the subject and object are inseparable; that they are the one. If they are one, then the distance between the subject and object disappears. Now there is no telling apart, they are one and hence there is nothing. Subject and object hold meaning only when they are separate. Read more

Guru is neither a person nor a qualification, Guru is the mind surrendered to learn

Question: Is the mind a product of duality?

Acharya Prashant: Mind is duality. Do you want to say duality is something apart from the mind? No, it is not. Mind is duality.

Listener: Duality in oneness?

AP: See, the source of all duality has to be something non-dual.

L1: If the mind is silent, peaceful, calm…

AP: Then, this duality, is silently resting in its Source. It is still there. The duality has not gone anywhere, it is still there. It can exist as a dissolved entity; it can exist as a sleeping entity but it is still there. But now, the very touch of the source has sanctified this duality. The mind is still the mind; the body is still the body, but now it is a sacred mind; now, it is a sacred body because it is in touch with the sacred.

L2: Sir, my question is on duality. The source is again Advait. The source of duality is…

AP: … non-dual.

L2: So, nothing is dual?

AP: Whatever you call as ‘is’, is dual. This wall, this floor, and all of this is dual. That is the reason why the Buddha had to say that – “The Source is not”. And in fact, that is the proper way of using language. Because when we say that, “The body is, that the earth is,” then, we cannot say in the same flow that, “The Source is’, because they are not in the same dimension. If the wall is, if the mud is, if the sky is, then the Source is not. Getting it?

But that way, you solve one problem and move into another, because in our language, is not is the opposite of is. And the opposite of a thing is always in the same dimension as the thing — Black and white are always in the same dimension. So, to get rid of is, you go to is not. But when you go to is not, you find that you are still in the same dimension. So, the sage says, “I will just be quiet. I will not speak anything about the Source because to say anything is to use language and our language cannot stand the strain, the weight of the Source. It cannot stand that.”

Language is small; language is the product of human mind. It is unbearable for the language to accommodate the source.

L3: If every element is created by some source, whether it is matter, or consciousness, or the light. When, the source is one which the man can observe in oneself. At some position, un-duality is there. You reached the state where the things are non-dual. The language, the words, speeches, expression, they are the same. Then there is no difference in calm and quietness and the words coming from that source. They are the same. Word is the guru, the guiding source and the disciple is the same and the creating words of this universe are the same. So, this realization is basically the words with which we can come to know?

AP: No, not really. Essentially, all words are just the same. Be it the crying of a toddler, the ranting of a mad man, or the utterances of the wisest man ever – they are all the same. To credit a man with the ability to cause a change in another man’s mental condition, is to say that there surely exists a benevolent ego.

There is something that happens between two human beings. Here is Priya (addressing one of the listener) and she says that there was a dog she recently met, who acted as her guru. Now, what great words is the dog uttering? I didn’t say that. What great words is the dog uttering? It is just Grace. Neither is there anything in the dog nor is there anything in the guru. That same for His own reasons, unfathomable to you, sometimes presents himself in the form of a man and sometimes in the form of a dog.

Could the guru do anything, we had a ready-made recipe in our hands. (Sarcastically) Bring the guru in front of ten people per day; he will create ten more and in no time, will there be a transformation in the world?

The guru himself is helpless. What can he do? Without grace shining on the disciple, what can the guru do? And is the guru a guru, if there is no grace shining on him? And with grace, the dog is a great guru; the greatest guru!

L3: Sir, it is not the existence of physical body. It is the intellect I am talking about, that Guru.

AP: The intellect is worthless; the intellect accounts for nothing. There have been so many intellectuals and the world is just too full of intellectuals. An intellectual is not at all a mystic.

L3: Wisdom you can say…

AP: No, wisdom is not intellect. Wisdom is not raw intellect. And to think just because somebody can speak well, has read few books, appears confident – none of that.

There is only one guru — the Super Boss.

Go to That.

And that Super Boss does not tolerate middlemen.

He can only be approached directly.

That is one of His commandments — Middlemen not tolerated.

You must have your own unique, personal relationship with the Super Boss.

Is that clear? No middleman is needed, not at all. Or are you saying that you are less worthy? Or are you saying that grace is selective?

Yes, of course, Guru is wonderful; Guru is divine; Guru is God, simple! The Guru is the Source itself. What else is the guru? Why do you need another guru?

The Source itself is the Guru — always present, always ready, always knocking.

Closer than the closest.

L2: Sir, you said about middlemen. So, any way, any method, any discussion, reading, anything that we used to reach the source, is it acting as a middlemen?

AP: You don’t use the methods to reach the Source. You do things situated in the Source. Is the source somewhere that you will reach it! Then what do you mean by reaching the source? Is it located somewhere that you will reach it?

You can be in it;

you can play in it;

you can have fun in it;

you can exist in it;

you can dive in it;

you can swim in it;

you can breathe in it.

But you cannot reach it.

How can you reach it? 

L3: Sir, there are two persons, one blind and one with the eyes. Blind one cannot support the other, while the one with eyes has the power to hold the blind one and bring him out.

AP: The analogy is all right in affairs of matter. When you say, that a man is blind, all you mean is he cannot see matter. So in affairs of matter, you are very right. But here, are we talking of affairs of matter? Nobody is blind. Forget about a human being, even a blade of grass is not blind. What do you mean by blindness? There is no blindness. Nobody is blind.

To think that the Source creates imperfection is an insult to the Source. What you mean by blindness is imperfection. There is nobody blind. Nobody is blind. There is only the illusion — I am blind. And that illusion is there when you are separate from That. And the more you search for a guru, the more you will be separated from the Real Guru.

Do you know who are the people who never meet the real guru? Who never get the joy of submergence in the Source? Who are those people?
Those who are always in search of a guru. And that is their punishment. Because you are always searching for a guru, you will always be separated from the real guru, which was always present but you never cared for it. All your illusion is because all your life you have been hunting for a guru. The guru is there. Closer than the closest.

A man is driving a truck. There are two ways he can wake up. One, he meets an accident. Let’s say, a small accident or let’s say, a pot hole on the road. The truck falls on the pot hole and comes out and he wakes up. “What a shock, what a jerk!”

The other way is there is somebody sitting by his side and says, “Sardar Ji, neend aari tussi(Hey, mate! You are feeling a little sleepy) and he wakes up. He has woken up. The other man is just as much of a guru as a pothole.

Life anyway does a lot of things to everybody which help them wake up. We are just one of those things, we are no special. That fellow may fail in his semester exams and wake up. That fellow may break up with his girlfriend and wake up. The girlfriend is a guru, the exam is a guru. We are only as much of a guru. If you want to call us a guru, then the exam is also a guru; then the girlfriend is also a guru because life itself is presenting situations and these situations are present in front of everybody.

Buddha woke up by looking at a corpse – a dead body! Life is giving you opportunities all the time. Life is the guru. We are a part of life. Yes, we are a guru, of course! Why not? Because when the Source itself is the guru, everything in the life is guru. So we are guru but that does not mean that the piece of chair, the wood is not the guru. Wood is also a guru. All is guru. It is just incidental that how the light of the divine will shine upon someone.

Some get it through dancing, some get it through singing. Some get it just through serving somebody. Some get it through listening to a man but that does not mean that the man is somebody special. If the man is somebody special, then the ornaments of dancing are also equally special. Then that dead man, that Buddha saw is equally special.

Uddhava Gita lists 24 gurus of an Avadhuta. And what kind of gurus are they? What kind of gurus? Snake, pigeon, Vaishya (Prostitute).

All guru! Life is a guru.

Do you want to know what is it to be a Guru?
To be a guru is to be That; because the Source itself is the guru.
When the mind is immersed in the Source, you are the Guru
.

Wonderful!
Only then you are the guru.

So, do you want to know who the guru is in this room?
Anybody who is immersed in the Source.

Guru is not a qualification.
Guru is a state of mind.
An immersed mind is the guru.

It may be quite possible that I, the speaker, might be speaking from a state of disturbance. Whereas, somebody over here, might be totally immersed, who is a guru? Me or the person?
That person.

Just because somebody appears to be speaking a lot, he does not become a guru. The guru is one who is in the Guru. And what is the Guru?

Listeners: The source.

AP: The source. The one who abides in the source is the guru.

L3: What we have named as “guru”, what can he do?

AP: Why to bother about that?

L3: But the thing is he has bliss, powers, and…

AP: You are still personalizing the whole thing. What do you mean by what can a guru do? Guru never does anything. Everything is done by situations. Guru has never anything to do; he has no agenda. Whatever is done, is done by situations because doing itself is a metaphor applicable only to the world. Guru is the Source. There is no world there. So, what can he do? He never does anything.

L3: There is some effect?

AP: Effect is felt. Yes, of course! But not because he wants to do anything, it’s the presence – simple and direct! And that presence is not a personalized presence. That is a more important thing because the moment you utter guru, the image that comes to your mind is that of a person. Please get rid of that notion.

I mean this is a personality cult. You are running after personalities. You have personified the guru.

L4: Sir, you are speaking, you understand, you are doing everything. Is it not that the guru exists within us?

AP: Yes, of course. Within us, outside us.

L4: The introspection that we do with us, the exploration…

AP: Always, yes.

L4: Right perspective, right direction?

AP: Right and wrong, both.

L4: Both?

AP: Both.

L4: So somebody is the source, we can say.

AP: (Smiling) No. It’s not somebody.

L4: I mean there is an existence of wisdom inside…

AP: It does not exist. We said that whatever exists, is here. The samosa (referring to a food item) exists, this fan exists. The source does not exist. It does not exist, because, “existence” is the word that you use for the bird and the trees and the stones.

L4: Omniscient, omnipresent. It doesn’t exist?

AP: Never use only one side of the duality to describe the Source.

When you say “all”, also say “none”. When you say, “It is everything”, also say, “It is nothing”. Only then you will be able to make some sense of it, if any sense can be made at all. So, all and nothing; everywhere and nowhere; always and never; ever and never.

L4: Combined?

AP: Not combined; not not combined.

That’s the reason why Koans are needed in Zen. So that we may not be able to capture it, you cannot capture a Koan? You want to capture the Source, you cannot capture a Koan.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Guru is neither a person nor a qualification, Guru is the mind surrendered to learn


 

Further Reading:

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Commentaries on Ashtavakra Gita

Commentaries on Ashtavakra Gita is a collection of 8 Questions asked by a seekers when they were not able to relate the verses of Ashtavakra Gita in their daily living.

Even the greatest texts in the world can be just a mental load if they don’t bring you to peace. This text on Ashtavakra Gita is essence of Ashtavakra bringing one to his/her essential nature and simplicity of life.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/3RsGAm

Kindle: https://goo.gl/T3GGnP

Questions come to a mind that has first known the pattern

We question because we believe in the pattern.

Hence, questioning can come to a mind that has first known the pattern. This mind has known the pattern, but not seen the pattern to be false. So it starts feeling a little uneasy when it finds the pattern broken; it questions.

There can be a mind lower than this—that has not even seen the pattern. It is such a dumb mind that it will not even question. A mind that is not even conscious of the pattern will never raise any questions. And you would have met minds like those. They don’t question anything, whatever may keep happening they don’t find any need to question it.

Then there are those who question, those who questions believe in the pattern.

And then there are those who say, “Aah! pattern!” it may continue or it may break, how does it matter; just as a dream may continue or break.

Continuation of a dream makes it no more real than a broken dream. Then, they just sit in silence; they too don’t question.


To read the complete article: What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

Is it difficult to drop the ego?

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Question:  How to drop the ego? It’s an everyday struggle.

Acharya Prashant: The ego can never be dropped.

You can only get something that replaces the ego; that out-smarts the ego; that out-attracts the ego, that outpaces the ego.

In the name of ego, all that you stick to, you stick to that because you find it attractive. Now we may keep condemning the ego but the fact is that if you find something attractive, you will not drop it. You drop it when you will get something infinitely more attractive than that.

Pay attention to that. Read more

THE WAY

THE WAY

‘The way’ is not for those who think about it.
‘The way’ is not for those who want to walk ‘the way’.
‘The way’ is not for those, who approach it through their intellect and knowledge.
‘The way’ is a resistance-less movement, and hence it is no movement at all.

It is not for those whose mind resists.
It is not for those who do not surrender to it.
It is not for those who want to look at it with open eyes, because they want to size it up.
It is not for those who close their eyes, because ‘the way’ does not demand that.
It is not for the idiots, because they are ‘idiots’.
It is not for the intelligent ones, because they are ‘intelligent’.

What to do, to at least get a glimpse of it?
If you do anything in particular, you will resist the flow,
that is already available.
The moment you resist, ‘the way’ is lost in resistance.

After learning this much about ‘the way’,
for sure you are farther from it, than you were, before you heard.
‘The way’ is not for those who prefer hearing over walking.

Had you really loved ‘the way’, you would have been walking ‘the way’,
instead of talking about it.
Attachment, inclination towards discussion about ‘the way’is a good indicator that
‘the way’ is yet far away.

On Upanishad: The difference between knowledge and intelligence

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Questioner: Can I say that intelligence is greater than knowledge, or vice-versa?

Acharya Prashant: They are incomparable.

To say one is greater than the other, you have to bring them to the same plane, have the same unit, the same benchmarks, and the same scale to compare them. They are in different dimensions. Read more

Artificial intelligence and Real intelligence

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First Question: In the age of artificial intelligence, where does man stand in front of machines?
Second question: What kind of personality development does man need?
Acharya Prashant: Computation and information technology has been, and is, evolving rapidly. Machines bring with them the benefits of efficiency, scalability and predictability. Everything that a computer system, a mechanical arrangement, can take care of will be sooner than later assigned to the machines. Which means that all pattern based jobs – work that involves repetition and adherence to procedures – will go to machines. This is happening, and will happen, not only in engineering and management fields, but in all fields of human activity.

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

The Novel

THE NOVEL

The fan is on as usual. He is beneath a thin blanket. It’s 3 at night. There’s always a 3 at night. He sees it daily. Today he went to bed at 10.  But he woke up to see the 3. He feels cold. The fan regulator is set at 3. He wants to make it 2. If he does that, he would feel uncomfortable beneath the blanket. He can’t put the blanket away. It would feel a little cold then. He huddles himself in a bundle. The touch of his body feels warm and he closes his eyes. Read more

How do I know whether I really understand it?

Question: Sir, how do I know whether I am really understanding something or not?

Shri Prashant: Understanding is not some knowledge that you can hold and store here (pointing towards the brain).

 It has to become your life. If it is not becoming your life, it is useless.

You may know a lot about fearlessness.

“You know, I have read twenty volumes on fearlessness. And the moment I see a small lizard, all hell breaks loose!” Read more

Sleepwalking through life

Speaker:  If somebody asks, “Tell me about yourself”, then how will you talk in the language of ‘We’? You see, this is what it is. I do not know myself and I claim to know everybody else as well.  It is already dangerous to claim self-knowledge, and I am claiming knowledge of others as well. Yes, so ‘I’…?

Listener 1: But Sir, I am not getting you actually.

Speaker: “I am not getting you”, right? Not “We are not getting you”. What did you say? “I am not getting you”. Correct? So, ‘I’! Yes?

Listener 1: Sir, I was saying, up to now, it was just a growth. But now I am here for development. Growth plus progress.

Speaker: Alright Sir. Now how do you differentiate between growth, progress and development?

Listener 1: Sir, according to me growth + progress = development.

Speaker: What is growth? What is progress? When you say X + Y = Z, you must first know ‘X’ and ‘Y’ in order to come to ‘Z’. What is growth? What is progress?

Listener 1: Growth is just increase in size and when some progress is included in that, it becomes development.

Speaker: When some…?

Listener 1: Progress is added to it.

Speaker: What is progress?

Listener 1: Progress means enhancing your views, observations and all the things.

Speaker: When you say increase in size, increase in whose size? Your body’s size. Is that what an educational institution is for? What do you mean by increase in size?

Listener 1: Sir, knowledge, mindset. It is a part of development.

Speaker: Growth. Let’s first focus on one thing. What do you mean by growth? We will then come to progress so that we can come to development. What is growth?

Listener 1: Simply as you have told that…

Speaker: Why should what I have told? I am nobody.

Listener 1: You were saying one thing…

Speaker: (Interrupting) You tell me, what do you mean by growth because it is your life, not mine. Right? It is your life. Not mine. So you tell me, what do you mean by growth.

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