Thought is not bad

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not. The question is, who is the thinker? If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Is the river of your thoughts pure enough to allure Shiva to dance in it? And Shiva will not dance in a stream impure.

There is understanding without thought and there is understanding with thought as well. Just as there is Truth, formlessly, and there is Truth, formed as well. There will be occasions when the Truth will strike you like a thunderbolt, like a flash of lightning. And understanding will be complete in a split second. And there will be occasions when you will be required to think.

But I understand your predicament. All the spiritual masters are treating thought as the worst offender. As if thought has brought in sickness and disease to your life. Not really. Thought is your expression, just as action is your expression. As you are, so your thought is. In fact, thought is so very helpful. You cannot look at your tendencies, your vrittis, directly. But thought is gross, palpable, definite, it can be watched.

When you think, you come to know of yourself. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have known. The thought of jealousy or the thought of fear arises, it helps you know that deep within somewhere, you are? Afraid.

Thought is not bad. ‘Useful’ or ‘Useless’ is the place, thought is coming from.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?


 

Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?

Acharya Prashant: The next one is from Roosmarjin, from the Netherlands. And she has tried the devanagari script today. That’s what I say, you Love playing games. And you keep trying your games upon me as well. I too am a sportsman. Right? If you offer me a game, I won’t refuse.

So, yes Rosie, let’s have a ball.

“Acharya Ji pranam.” Rosie ji, “Pranam.”

Freedom is compulsory.” Of course.

“At a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer. I want to do or drop, whatever it takes in order to not resist the process. Day by day, the pull to be in physical proximity with you and devote my life to you, the Truth, grows stronger. Most of the thoughts that are in my mind are related to moving to India, to be in your physical proximity. Only if it would be wanted for the sake of the mission at large, will I stay there? But the thought of not coming to live close to you literally makes my heart contract. Maybe this message is not suited for the class, but it is ‘the one thing’ I am serious about. If you don’t stop me, I will come. Please tell me, what is being wanted.

Yours Roosmarjin”

[Holding a cat in his hands and showing the cat towards the screen] Say “Hi” to Roosmarjin. So what do you want from her (asking the cat), she is the Oracle (referring to the cat). So, what do you want from Roosmarjin?

Silence.

Yes, Oracle, speak !  (still holding the cat)

Nothing. Please. Just a meow would be enough. Say something, say something!

She is not refusing. She is not even saying, that consent is needed. She wants to sleep (lets the cat off his hands, and while she goes, comes a meow). And to this, she said, Yes.

A few things you have said.

You have said, “at a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer.” When you were here in India, I had spoken about this, I will repeat!

It is not at all necessary or advisable, to target a state of ‘no thoughts.’ To extend the metaphor of the last answer, will the Sun ever be without its radiance? It’s rays? Will the ocean ever be without its waves? Will there ever be God, sans godliness? Will there ever be the creator, without the creation?

Thoughts are like waves. And waves only give dance to the substance of the ocean. If the ocean itself has somehow become contaminated or spoilt or corrupted. Then the waves too would have that corruption.

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not.

The question is, who is the thinker?

If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

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On Jesus Christ: How to be free of envy and jealousy?


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“Heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones.”

BIBLE (PROVERBS 14:30)

Acharya Prashant:

Shilpi is asking:

Namaste Acharya Ji,

The bible says “Heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones”. I see that I’m stricken with jealousy or envy for my fellow co-workers, or people I hear about in the media, sometimes even friends, as I feel like they have something I don’t. It is very draining and disturbing and I do not want to focus on this anymore. Please guide me away from this trait.

Thank you.

Shilpi, when you are alright with yourself then the way your energy flows towards others, your attitude towards others, your relationship with others, is called as Love. When you are not alright with yourself then your attitude towards others, the way your energy flows towards others, is called as envy or desire.

If you are envious that somebody has something, then rest assured, you too desire that something. So, envy and desire go together.

Unless the other has something that you too are desirous of, you won’t feel any envy.

So, the question is not about how you feel towards others. It’s not about your coworkers or the people been talked of in the media. The question fundamentally is about your relationship with yourself. When you are great with yourself, then to others you have only Love to offer, and when you are not alright with yourself, then to others you offer all the vitriol that is consuming your life. How to have envy-free relation with others? By having ignorance free relation with oneself.

The more you look at yourself in erroneous ways, the more you will be compelled to look at the world as the provider of a sucker, or as a threat to your identities and comforts. No feeling of any kind is to be promoted. I am not qualifying my statement by saying that feelings of littleness or envy or loneliness or incompleteness are to be selectively discouraged. I am saying no feeling of any kind is to be fueled.

Are you getting it?

No feeling of any kind.

All feelings are fundamentally feeling of incompleteness, of completeness, there is no feeling.

Completeness is a different entity altogether. It comes to you but not as a feeling. If I switch off all the lights in this room you will stop seeing me. When the light is switched on you’ll start seeing me. Does that mean that I have emerged from the tube light? Think of it. All the lights are switched off and you do not see me, and then you go to the button, you switch something on and I appear. Why can’t you say that I have sprung up from the switchboard, or dropped down from the tube light? Why can’t you say that? That’s the thing with completeness.

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Why do we often require somebody’s company?

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Acharya Prashant: Praveen is asking, “Why do we always require somebody’s company?”

Even when there is somebody who is lying on the side of the road, let’s say an accident victim waiting to be helped, we wonder whether we are the first one or the only one who would be getting involved. We think so many times before putting our foot forward. In such situations too, we require the company of somebody else, why?

Praveen, this is just one particular incident where it becomes obvious, that we are so dependent on others. Such incidents only exemplify, bring forth to light that we are very very dependent. But, such dependence is not limited to these kinds of incidents. Kindly, do not think that in other general, day to day matters of life, we act independently Read more

The difference between ordinary and common

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Question: Sir what is the difference between being ordinary and being common?

Acharya Prashant: Commonness is social, commonness is what you see all around. What is very very prevalent is common. Ordinary is that which may not appear to be very prevalent, but is all-pervasive; which is the essential; that to which nothing has been added.

We usually use these two words — ordinary and common — as synonyms but they are not synonyms. 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

You are going to be afraid

You are going to be afraid.

And not only ‘fear’, you are going to experience all that which you usually call as
negative emotionality—temptation, jealousy, greed, insecurity, possessiveness.

All that will come to you.

But remember, your resistance to all that, is the energy that inflates it up.

Don’t resist fear, and you will find that fear is just a thing in the brain.

Don’t have pretensions about jealousy and possessiveness, and you will find that they don’t really have too much power of their own.

The one who is not dependent cannot be jealous

To start with, see what is Ego. It is your sense of yourself, which has been borrowed from the others. I do not know myself directly. I am depending upon somebody else to tell me who I am.

A fellow comes and says, “You are brilliant”, and what do I start believing? “I am brilliant!” Now my sense of being brilliant, my idea about myself that I am brilliant depends totally upon this other person who initially told me that I was brilliant; otherwise I am not brilliant.

If too many of them come and say that I am stupid, then I have to believe that I am stupid because even my idea of stupidity comes from others. If he says that I am brilliant and I believe it, then I will also have to believe him when he says that I am stupid.

My brilliance is not coming out of my own understanding. My sense about myself is not coming from my own understanding; but is borrowed.

Now, I am dependent upon others and I want them to keep saying, “You are brilliant,” because my brilliance depends on their saying. The more they keep saying, the more special I feel.

A direct result of this would be that the day I see them telling someone else, “You are brilliant,” I will feel jealous. Let us say that I am ‘A’, he is ‘B’ and there is another entity ‘C’. Now ‘B’ tells ‘C’ that you too are brilliant. How will ‘A’ feel?

Jealous!

Now do you see what jealousy is?

Now let us take a different situation. I know that I am brilliant and my sense of the self is not coming from ‘B’. I just know that I am brilliant. It is not a borrowed idea. Now will it matter to me if ‘B’ says to ‘C’ that you are brilliant? Will I be jealous?

So, jealousy comes from dependence. The one who is not dependent cannot be jealous. The one who is his own master cannot be jealous. To be jealous means that I have accepted somebody as my master and now I want this master to remain with me. If he goes to someone else, then I feel a certain pain, and this pain is called ‘jealousy’.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘What is Jealousy?

Read more about ‘Being Independent’: How to get rid of dependencies in life?

Babaji can’t even talk sense, how will he talk spirituality?

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Question: Sir, I have seen one of your videos on YouTube about ‘What is God?’. I understand that God, for me, is whenever I have a desire and I want something from the future, then God comes for me, so should I stop worshiping God?

 Acharya Prashant: Obviously, if God is the one who grants you your desires, then you are not worshiping God, you are worshiping your desires. Stop worshiping your desires, obviously.

Who is God for you? Read more

You are the personification of the only Real; why then must you chase an ideal?

Questioner: Sir, it is also not incidental that man has, throughout history, connected other worldliness with Truth or God, I mean this is the way that things have been propounded, right, in all the religions, in all the images…

Speaker: Not really, are we saying that Dattatreya is outside the domain of religion? The highest word in religion has always been this. But if you are confining yourself to the lower echelons of religion…

Listener: Which is the mainstream religion.

Speaker: The mainstream is idiotic, what can you do about it?

Listener: Sir, one thing is this that the way things have been presented, the other thing is also the style of the discourses, the way things have been presented – we always talk about the ideal – the way you should listen, the kind of expression that must be on your face – inadvertently an image gets created, you can’t help it – this is the way you should listen, this is the image of a saint, this is this, this is this.

Speaker: No, but that is important. You see, we are constantly talking of coming close to the material.

Listener: What I mean is that when we create that image, however unintentional, it distances us from the material.

Speaker: Yes it can, but only if you are not even following the method impeccable. For example, you talked of the saint. The saint is sitting in front of you in his material body. And what are you doing? You are scratching your back, somebody is busy with a water bottle, and somebody is busy scribbling something on her thumb, with the pen. Now, how will you get close to even the material? Look at the scientist in the laboratory, do you think he is dozing off? Even to get close to the material you require a particular quality of attention. That is needed. The man who was building the temple of Truth was into it –  twenty-four hours, dedicated, with one mind. So approaching the material requires the summoning of your highest energies, it is not a despicable act. To be a materialist is really not so easy. I say, to be a materialist, you must first know the material. Do we know the material? We’re talking of the Saint, do you ever pay attention to him? Really? And the Saint will not come to you in some fifth dimension of space. If the Truth comes to you in the form of the Saint, it will be in a three dimensional body, right?

It will be in a three dimensional body. That is all that you can see. But do you pay attention? And paying attention has its methods. The problem is not with the prescribed methods, the problem is that you do not follow those methods. You don’t follow those methods and then you blame those methods, because they have failed. Have they failed because they are faulty in design or have they failed because you didn’t follow them properly?

Listener: What I am saying, for instance, is that in no spiritual discourse would it be said that you should be jealous. Right? This is one virtue. One also sees that one is jealous. And at one place it said, “One should not be jealous”, at another place it is said, “Go close to the fact that you are jealous.” All I am saying is that, this ideal – ‘You should not be jealous’, this reality – ‘I am jealous’ and this method – ‘go close to the fact that you are jealous’, they do not get together, there is no way they can get together. Because when you say, “You should not be jealous, and one sees that one is jealous, at that very point the method has to fail, because you know, “Oh, one should not be jealous”.

Speaker: I see the contradiction that you are referring to but it is more of a contradiction in expression than in intention. We’ll understand this. Yes, there are scriptures that have talked of getting rid of jealousy. Krishna, for example, talks of getting rid of the six enemies, the shad-ripu, and one of those enemies is jealousy. On the other hand, here I am saying, “Get close to your own sense of jealousy” and that too has been said. “Come close to yourself and watch the mind.”  You’re saying that these two don’t go together. Right?

They do go together. You see, one is just looking at things from two different points.

It is being said that you have the power to go close to happening, and it is being said that when you go close to the happening, then the happening opens up into something beyond itself. Simply put, you have the power to go close to the fact and when you go close to the fact, the fact opens up into something beyond itself.

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When the fact opens up, then the fact does not remain very material, very important, very significant; it remains present, as a fact, but something beyond it comes into being, the picture; the mental picture. Getting it?

So what is being said is – Go close to jealousy and on going close to jealousy, you find that jealousy evaporates, sublimates into something else. Are you getting it?

It’s just that these are two different points, two different situations, two different steps in the process. When one reads step two, prior to step one, then there is bound to be confusion. It is being said – Go there. You find it there. You miss out on step one, which is ‘going there’, and you read just step two, which is – you find it there. Now you don’t find it anywhere and you are blaming it on the process-writer. Yes the process-writer did say, “Get rid of jealousy”, but he said, “Getting rid of jealousy is just the same as going close to jealousy”. In fact going close comes first, getting rid is automatic. Going close comes first and getting rid of it is automatic, natural.

But if it has not been stated accurately, or heard in attention, then you will miss out on the first step, will be left with the second one only, and you will keep wondering, “I am being told to get rid of jealousy, but jealousy has such a hold over my mind, that there is no way that I can get rid of it.” And that’s our predicament, right? We are given such great ideals that are impossible to fulfill.

At the root of those ideals lies the simple spiritual practice of closeness, of courageous Faith. Go close, don’t be afraid. Go close. When you go close then all those ideals, even without your effort, even without your volition, you find materialising; they all just happen. Just happen. But go close first, sitting at a distance and wondering and conceptualising will only keep you there in concepts.

Listener: Going close does require a strong sense of self–performance and also acceptance. Sir, what has happened with me, is that when one encounters ideals, when you compare your material situation with those ideals, there is a strong sense of guilt that this is not how things are working out with you, which leads to self-denial and hence…

Speaker: You see, the larvae has no business comparing itself with the butterfly because it is the butterfly. That is the foolish thing about ideals, you are that which you are comparing yourself with. The illusion of time separates you from that. What lies between larvae and the butterfly? Time. But if the larvae is given the ideal of the butterfly, what will happen to the larvae; it will just collapse under the weight of expectations and there is nothing in the larvae that suggests that it is going to turn into a pretty butterfly. Nothing. Have you looked at a larvae, seen how ordinary it looks? And the larvae has been given an ideal of a butterfly. The larvae is the butterfly, what will you do with that ideal? Being ‘jealousy-free’ is your natural state, why do you need to have an ideal of being ‘jealousy-free’?

Do you need to have an ideal about yourself? You are the Truth, what will you do with ideals? You are the highest ideal personified, what will you do with images?

Think of that larvae and he is badly caught in an inferiority complex, “O my God, look at all those beautiful butterflies, I could never be like them.” So what does he do? He goes to a guru and if the guru is one of those, then he gives the larvae a complete makeover, “Why can’t we clip these things a little, why can’t you wear this cute hat? These days a new technology of plastic surgery has come up, let’s try it on you, little thing!” The butterfly was already there but in all these acrobatics, the butterfly is being lost. Getting it?

Listener: Sir, in this analogy that you gave about the larvae and the butterfly, it is obvious that after a point in time the larvae will be converted into a butterfly but when I see myself then it is not obvious that with time – I will be ‘jealousy-free’.

Speaker: Is it obvious to the larvae?

Listener: No.

Speaker: How can it be obvious to you? It is not obvious to anybody. The larvae is the larvae in its own eyes; that is what is called as ego.  In its own eyes, the larvae is the larvae. In your own eyes you are what you are. But really, you are what you are.

Listener: Sir, does it mean that one’s perception about Truth as Truth?

Speaker: You have a perception, right? And you are trying to perceive ‘something’. The result is some kind of image that you build up, some kind of conclusion that you reach. Some mental activity. The output of that mental activity is not Truth, but the driver of that mental activity is surely Truth.

You see, you are trying to solve a problem in mathematics, you are trying to reach a solution, and you try all kinds of tricks, and ultimately the answer that you arrive at, might be wrong, but what is certain is that you want a solution. That want itself comes from the solution. Had you had no taste of the solution, no prior taste of the solution, there is no way you could have wanted a solution now. So currently, the answer that you might be at might be wrong, and mostly the answers are wrong; the mind is not a machine that can really draw a map of the Truth, but one thing is certain that this machine is powered by the Truth. Powered by the Truth, yet unable to reach the Truth.

Now, sages have always, always told you both the things, it depends on you, that you take them together. The sages have, on one hand, told you, that there is no way that the mind can think of the Truth. Right? The seer says, “The eyes cannot look at it, the ears cannot hear it, the mind cannot think of it.” So that is one thing that has been told. What is that one thing? Mental activity will not take you there. Parallely, another thing has been told that the Source of the mind is nothing but the Truth. These two always must be taken together. Always. Getting it?

On one hand, the mind cannot take you there, on the other hand, the very existence of mind is the proof of the Truth. That’s the fun of it. That’s the amazing part of it. “I know that what I am saying is not the Truth, yet it is the Truth that makes me say all this and hence I must say it.” Getting it? These two have to be taken together. If you take only the first part which says, “The mind cannot reach it”, then you are condemned to live in a continuous neti (denial), just a denial, a negation – “this is not true, that is not true.” That day Rohit was talking of nihilism and we have such people, who only perceive the falseness of things. Right? “This is false and that is false. The mind cannot reach it, whatever the mind is talking of is false.”

And if you take only the second statement, then you have the so-called ‘atheists’ who keep conjuring up images of Truth and of God, they forget that though the Truth is the base of the mind, yet the mind cannot bring the Truth into images. They forget this and so they come up with a thousand images. We see people of both kinds, right? We see the negation-ists, the nihilists and also the so-called ‘atheists’, image worshipers.

None of these are hitting the mark, both are missing. These two have to be remembered together:

  1. Whatever I am thinking of is not That.
  2. Had That not been there, how could I have thought?

So the very process of thinking is a proof of That. These two things have to be remembered together, you forget either one, and you are in for trouble.

Listener: Sir, if you only remember the first, then life becomes too dull.

Speaker: Too dull, too dull. Not worth living, if nothing means anything how will you live? And that is why, so often, your intellectuals have such insipid lives.

Listener: You also start living in self-pity.

Speaker: Self-pity, self-contempt. So the really Godly man says, “It is. If I am, It is. But it is not what I think it is.” It takes great courage to straddle in this way, on one hand you are saying with all your.., “It is.” It is. With all the power of Faith, you are saying, “It is.” On the other hand you are saying, “But it is not what I can ever think it to be.”

This is bhakti (devotion) and gyan (knowledge) – together. Great Faith in the Truth and yet a complete rejection of mentation about the Truth. “Yes, it does exist, nothing exists but That.” At the same time, “I cannot say any further.” At the same time, “I will not build images. But what I know that it does exist. Form? I do not know. Shape? I do not know. But it does exist.” And if I am too interested in shapes and forms, then here is this great world lying in front of me. Any shape is as good as the other. This is the shape of Truth; that is the shape of Truth. This is the form of Truth; that is the form of Truth. If you are so interested in shapes and forms and names, give it any shape, or any form, or any name. Do not be selective or choosy. If you must build an image then any image is as good as the other image. If images are what attract your mind, then have the same attitude towards all images. Do not just see the Truth in one particular deity. Then see the Truth in the larvae as well, not only in the butterfly. In the pig as well, not only in the cow. In the ugly as well, not only in the pretty. So don’t see it anywhere, or see it everywhere.

Listener: Sir, you said, “If I am there, then it is.” In the same way, there is poem by Faiz-Ahmed-Faiz that “Ham hain to khuda bhi hain(If I exist, then so does God.), so what exactly does this mean?

Speaker: You may be false, you may be a shadow. But can a shadow exist on its own? The existence of the shadow is the proof of the Man. “Ham hain to khuda bhi hain(If I exist, then so does God.), if the shadow is there, it proves, that the man has to be there. “I may be false, but the existence of the false is the proof of the Truth.” Are you getting it? And if you do not have access to the Man, at least go close to the shadow. Being close to the shadow, brings closeness to the Man as well. Because at some point, the Man and the shadow are probably going to be connected. So go close to the shadow, if you can do nothing more. The shadow will bring you to the man and once you have seen the Man, you will recognise all the shadows. You see a shadow is not a very potent thing, a shadow cannot give you the clear and complete picture of the Man, but the shadow can help you come close to the Man, especially if you have no other option. And we hardly have any other option. We live in this world, the shadow. Use the shadow, come close to the shadow and you will come close to the Man. Having known the Man, you will know all shadows. If you know a Man, won’t you immediately recognise his picture, his photo? Won’t you?

Listeners: Yes Sir.

Speaker: That’s when you start saying that all images are His images. “Having seen Him, I see His face everywhere.”

Listener: Sir, you have said that at some point, the shadow is connected to the Man, and at some point, the larvae becomes the butterfly. In all of this, there seems to be a distance and a time and once I had asked, “Can this process take me to the Truth?” and you had said that the choice is available at every moment. So, how are the two connected? Every moment is a choice but the larvae doesn’t have the choice to become the butterfly at this moment, there is a process involved, right?

Speaker: No. You see, is there any way the larvae continue to grow without the butterfly already being inside the larvae? How is the larvae growing? Because it knows the butterfly. All its steps are precisely calculated to take it towards the butterfly. Does that not prove that the butterfly already exists inside the larvae? The larvae is living for the sake of the butterfly. Can we say that the larvae does not know the butterfly? Is the larvae doing anything that will take it away from the butterfly? Every second, every step, it is moving only towards the butterfly. It knows the butterfly, its heart is full of the butterfly.

Listener: Sir, then what is the choice?

Speaker: The choice is either to accept it or reject it. What did I just say? Everybody here understands. Some accept and some reject. But your acceptance and rejection has no bearing upon the Truth. You may reject the Sun. That does not hide the day.

~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabdyog’ session held at Advait BodhSthal, Noida.

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: You are the personification of the only Real; why then must you chase an ideal?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: For real action, let the Real act on your behalf

Article 2: The Real can neither emerge from commandments, nor be confined to patterns

Article 3: The Real Guru

Our education fills us up with external knowledge, leaving us ignorant of ourselves

Question: Sir, what made you to leave your corporate job, and start this whole different line of work?  

Speaker: There was a lot that was asking to be changed. Leaving the corporate was not really an objective. I wanted to do something, and if it could have been nicely done from within a corporate, I would rather have done that. In fact Advait is still a private limited company. So, it is not that I opted out of corporate, but as far as the mission is concerned…

You know there are things that people are doing; there are things that I could have done, but a lot of people could have done them as well as me. There were things that I could have done and somebody else could have done them in a better way but there was something that I saw, that I was seeing and that cause was really crying out, it needed to be taken up, but very few people were attending to it. So, (Smilingly) just opportunism. It is something important and somebody needs to take it up, so I said, “Why not me?”

Listener 1: Sir, would you like to elaborate on this topic a bit more?

Speaker: You see, all of you sitting over here, are quite knowledgeable people. Right? Even the reference made to us is, ‘Knowledge workers’. Right? That’s how we are referred to. ‘White-collar jobs’. So we know a lot, or at least a little.

Our knowledge is, in some areas, pretty detailed as well and it’s quite amazing, the extent to which human intelligence has gone and created this knowledge and other human beings have absorbed it and are putting it to use. Now, having known this much, is it not strange, what you read in newspapers? “Man quarreling with man, nation quarreling with nation, husband quarreling with wife, neighbor quarreling with neighbor, man quarreling with himself!”

When we find nobody else to engage, we are busy fighting ourselves. And we know so much.

Anu_KnowWe know so much. Yet basics of life – jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, small happenings in our environment seem to shake us up. Does that happen or not? One piece of news regarding the market, or regarding the changing company policies, or regarding the changing environment within the organization and suddenly we feel as if the ground under our feet is slipping. Is that not so? And we have so much of knowledge! All of us! And there are people who have much more knowledge than us. The thing is, their situation too is just the same.

So, this interested me. I asked, “Why is knowledge, why is all our progress not helping us lead more secure and composed inner lives?” You know, you look at a illiterate man, then you look at somebody who could not go beyond class tenth, then you look at somebody who has done his B.Tech, and then at a post doctorate, and tell me, are they really, internally, any different?

It is equally probable that all of them might be suspicious of their wife, authoritarian towards their kids, aggressive towards their neighbor, jealous of their colleague; is it not equally likely? By doing a PhD, does the probability that you will be worried, does this probability decrease?

Chances are, it increases. So why is our knowledge not helping us be…. Ultimately we have to live with ourselves. Right? Why is our knowledge, not helping us, simply be more centered?

So this brought me to the question of – What kind of knowledge do we have?

The knowledge that we have all pertains to something external. We know about this, we know about that, we know about cooling technologies, all kind of electronics, optics, the world, Mars, other galaxies, we have collected so much knowledge about them but our education, in schools and colleges, and our training, as professionals in corporate, simply does not touch upon ourselves.

Anu_WithinYou know, we have been educated probably from some of the premier institutions and then our training has continued in the places that we have worked in, but somehow, nowhere have we being sensitized towards our own mind. Our education and training is such that, it never asks us to turn within with the result that even the most knowledgeable man, is actually so infantile, and immature. He may be forty years of age, he might be earning a lot, but in his psyche, he is still a baby; somebody who can have a nervous breakdown any time. Somebody who just can’t get along with his wife. Somebody who just can’t stop himself from competing, he competes with everybody. And he says that he is in a leadership position! He says, he is leading X number of people.

The fault does not lie with this man, the fault lies with the way we have been brought up, educated, and continuously trained.

So, full of knowledge about this and that, but largely ignorant of the self. Unfortunately, nobody lives with his knowledge. You live with that feeling in your mind. Don’t we?  We all know that. We know what I am talking about. Right? You know when you are not alright. And I know that nobody wants to feel not alright. Anybody here, who is interested in feeling not alright? Anybody here who likes that feeling when your legs are unnecessary shivering? And we all have experienced that, have we not? You have just appeared for an interview, and you are awaiting that call from HR, and that call comes, you recall that experience? Some of us might be having it pretty frequently. There are professional job hoppers.

You recall that experience? That call comes and how your fingers simply can’t stop their SHM (Simple Harmonic Motion). Now, what is the worth of your knowledge? What is its worth?

Yes, others might think that you are somebody. Given your knowledge, your experience, your professional advancement and probably your bank balance. But is all of that, of use to you, beyond a point? These were the questions that I was struggling with. And I thought these are important questions. And I could see that these are important things that not many people are really prepared to attend to. So I thought, well, let’s go into it.

I have been lucky that I have had many other people who have seen the importance of this over the years, who came to me, who joined me, assisted me in this journey and are still coming. And you would understand that this is not something which is a main-stream career option. So only those who really see the worth of this work, they come and join. Thankfully there are a few such people. You too are welcome. Devesh ji knows the address and the rest of it.

Look at this for an example. Had I been sitting here to talk about some technology, give me the name of a latest technology that people here might be interested in?

Listener 1: Cloud.

Speaker: So let’s say I am an expert in Cloud Computing, and I have come here to talk. A lot of us would have a lot of questions to ask, especially if we had only ten or fifteen minutes. Right? But when it comes to speaking about ourselves, we are simply lost. We don’t know what to say. And I understand our predicament, what I am saying might sound interesting to you, but what do we talk about? Yes, nice, right, alright, but what is in it to talk about?

There is a lot, incidentally, but this is such an unknown territory, our own mind is such an unknown territory to us. And in spite of seeing, getting a hint, at least, that there is something in it.

That’s the story with every walk of life, you know, I am sure many of us are friends here, with each other. Right? We talk about so many things, don’t we? But do we really talk about the Real? Not that we want to hide this. But there has been something in the way we have come up that we have become experts in remaining engrossed in the trivial. But when it comes to the Real, we become a little tongue tied. Don’t we?

It’s not something that is happening only in your relationship with me. Parents and kids, how authentic is their conversation? I need not talk about bosses and subordinates; that is not even supposed to be authentic. But what if, even a husband-wife conversation is rarely genuine? Rarely Real? Yes, we can talk about the furniture, we can talk about what is happening in the neighbor’s house, we can talk about the new restaurant down the road but do we really talk about that which matters? That, which matters. That which really keeps us off-center. Do we ever talk about it? We have been trained to slip it under the carpet. I thought why not bring the few skeleton out of the cupboard, just for fun.

Think of all the people you have been in touch with since years, and think of whether you have had a single genuine conversation with them. It is amusing, and at the same time, horrifying. Even the ability to look at each other directly in the eye! Have you seen people, who just really don’t want to have any eye contact? And it’s not their fault. It’s nobody’s fault. But somebody needs to do something about it. It’s a worthy cause, right? A few people must take it up. Should they not? What do you say?

I invite people. I say, “Let’s look at facts, let’s not talk dream stuff.” I say, “Look at all the mails that you have written in the past six months. Not the strictly professional ones. All the mails that you have written, to your friends, relatives, acquaintances,” I say, “Now, read them again. And read them very directly, very objectively, very honestly, and then tell me, how much of it is Real?”

Of course, I am not talking of mails relating to a sales pitch, or such stuff; they are not suppose to be Real. Are they? But what about the mails written to your friends, to cousins, even to parents? What is happening? We are intelligent people all of us, at least to the extent that intelligence is synonym of knowledge. We are quite intelligent. So, what’s going on?

I still don’t know, what’s going on. I am exploring, I mean, I no wise in that sense.

Ok, try this, a small experiment. A small experiment. Just walk up to somebody, not causally, walk up to somebody as if you really mean it; looking straight in his eyes, take his name or her name, and say, “I want to talk to you.” Not so melodramatically, but with sincerity, just with sincerity and you will only see scare in his eyes. “Oh my God! Is something Real going to come up?” As long as you are casual, and you just walk past people, tapping them on their shoulders, “Hi John, what’s up? How’s the hotdog?” The Yankee thing, as long as that is happening, we are friends.

But if you give the slightest hint to the other person, that you mean to open your heart up, instead of feeling gratified, he will feel terrified. Try this, its fun. Good fun. And after you see him trembling, tell him, “No I don’t mean anything, it’s casual”.

We are afraid of everything that is not really false. For the years, I have been surprised to see how much we are really afraid of intimacy, I am surprised because ostensibly we all says that we want intimacy, we want closeness with somebody. But when intimacy really beckons or knocks on our door, we retract. We don’t have the guts to embrace it. You must have seen such people, they are so insecure they can’t let anybody come close. Because somebody coming close is a threat to their entire mental structure. They’ll have to accommodate him, their structure will need to change. That structure, by the way, is also called as ego.

We are young people here, and I am not talking of physical intimacy. We understand that, right? So that’s what the whole game is about. Complex, challenging, but fun!

~Excerpts from a guest talk. Edited for clarity.

View the session at: Our education fills us up with external knowledge, leaving us ignorant of ourselves

Read more on this topic:

Article 1: How important is education of the self?

Article 2: Why is education not helping the world?

Article 3: Solve your mind, all your problems will be solved

Why do I get jealous?

Question: Sir, when two people are at a same level, and if one of the two moves ahead, the other is mostly not comfortable of this fact. Whereas had the same person, been a stranger to him, the second fellow would still have been comfortable. Why is it so that knowing someone, leads to problems including jealousy?

Speaker: There is very little left to be answered here. The fact has been rightly stated. It is just that you have known the fellow since a period of time, and now the fellow is changing. Obviously you cannot ignore the fact that you have known him. Obviously there are images from the past, and compared to those images the fact of today is different.

I am not asking you to forget the images of the past, I am not asking you to look at that man in a new light, I am not asking you to look at him as if you are looking at him for the first time today, because that is probably not possible for you. You have been too close, too intimate for too long to look at the man afresh. Yes, you have a past, and yes the changed man is standing right in front of you. Now if you really love the man is not this a cause worth celebrating? Isn’t this a development to be rejoiced!

Do not forget that earlier he was with you. Because you will not be able to forget! But today, if he is unlike you, should you not celebrate this fact? Or would you rather mourn and complain and be jealous. If jealousy is arising in you, it’s a fair opportunity to reflect on the quality of the relationship that has already been there. jealousyI have been with somebody, and I do not like the fact that he is refining. Now has this a relationship been of love? Had it been of love, I would have been happy. I would have said, “Great that you are moving ahead. I love you even more now. I loved you then, and you are far more lovable today!”

Or would you rather regret and rue? Your child gets seventy marks in one examination, and in the next examination he gets eighty, do you feel disappointed? What do you say? It’s great that he is improving. Then why do you feel disappointed when your spouse starts getting ten percent more in the exam of life? He is improving, he is a better man. Celebrate!

But you can celebrate his refinement, only if first of all you value refinement. (Sarcastically) “I loved you for your crudeness, I loved you for your ignorance, I loved you for your violence, I loved you for your servility, and I do not value freedom, refinement or wisdom.

When I do not value refinement or wisdom or freedom, how will I love a wise, refined and free man? How will I love?”

Somebody getting ten more marks is a very gross event. It is obvious and visible that from seventy, there is an increase to eighty, and I wanted that increase. Right? But if you don’t want that increase, then that same increase can be a cause of regret. “Oh, I didn’t want that increase, it has increased.” Marks increase from 70 to 80, you celebrate! But if your weight increases from 70 to 80, you don’t really celebrate that much. It’s a question of value. You value marks but you do not value weight. You start calling yourself ‘overweight’.

Do you value ‘wisdom’? Do you value ‘peace’? Do you value ‘understanding’? Do you? And if you don’t value these things for yourself, obviously you cannot value these for your husband. First of all you have to value these for yourself. A wise woman would thank the heavens that the husband is gaining in wisdom. A free mind would fill up with gratitude that the partner too is gaining freedom. So, remove the spouse from the question, remove the other person from the equation. Look at yourself. “What do I value? What have I labelled as important in life?”

When you would be rightly valuing, not somebody else, first of all yourself, when you would be rightly knowing what is valuable, then you would value all the right things, all the right people, and all the right developments. Then you would not resist them. Then you would not wish that things would have been better, had this not happened. “Oh, you were better off earlier, why don’t you become the same old man? I miss what you were one year back.” Then these things will not come to your mind.

Have your heart at the right place. When somebody is waking up, and you are really friends with him, then wake up along with him. That is the only way to keep company, that is the only way to maintain the friendship. There can be no friendship between the running and the limping.

Listener: What if there are two people, both at the same level. One person who is known to me and if this person rises up, it causes a wrath of jealousy in me. However, the other person is not known to me, and if he rises, there is no jealousy. I even think that probably he deserves it. I might even be happy for him.

Speaker: Factually unfeasible. Movement means ‘comparison’. Movement is always from A to B. If you are saying that this person is showing a movement it means that you have known him in the past. You cannot say somebody is improving without having a standard to compare him against. How do you know somebody is improving? Only by knowing firstly what he has been. Do you understand what I am saying?

Listener: What about the relationship then?

Speaker: Ah, attachment!

It’s alright. Be attached, but to what? What are you attached to? I will not just announce that attachment is bad. I am saying that it is alright, be attached, but what are you attached to? There is something about the man that was there in him two years back that you are attached to. What is it that you feel attached to? His ignorance or his love?

If you are attached to his love then he is becoming all the more worthy of love, kindly be all the more attached. Wonderful! Divine attachment! But you will have problems if you are attached to his darkness. And what gets attached to darkness? Does light get attached to darkness?

It is your own darkness that is fond of darkness. So I’m saying, forget the other person. Look at yourself. Dispel the darkness within and then you will value all that is light. Being dark within, how will you value light?dispel darkness

If there are people in your life who are not happy with the fact that your eyes are opening up, that you are able to look at the world clearly then please know that this resentment is not coming from their light. It is coming from their darkness and hence this resentment cannot be made important. If your friends taunt you, when you turn up for the clarity session, then they are not your friends in the first place. Please understand this.

Friend by definition is a well-wisher. A friend by definition is a man who would celebrate if you are improving. Not a man who would be jealous and irritated seeing you walk the path of liberation. He is not a friend at all. But don’t condemn him, because if he is not a friend to you, firstly he is not even a friend to himself! He is his own enemy, how can he be a friend to you?

We make friends with so many people, without even asking, “Is that fellow a friend to himself first?” He is his own enemy, how can he be my friend? The one who does not know what is good for him, how will he know or like, what is good for you? He is bound to resent it. How can you give importance to their resentment?

– Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at AdvaitSthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Why do I get jealous?

Read more article on this topic:

Article 1: Ego will not understand this world, but will demand a Reality beyond
Article 2: Place of ego either at the Master’s feet or in the Master’s embrace
Article 3: The ego hates light and truth

What is unconditional freedom?

Question: Is there any difference between freedom and unconditional freedom?

Speaker: We live in bondage. What we call as our normal, usual, daily life, is a series of bonded movement in time. Our thinking, acting, even breathing is bondage. It is happening as per forces we have no understanding of, and hence no control over. And then suddenly, without our explicit demand, it so happens that this series, that this chain gets disrupted for a while, like a flash of lightning in dark sky, not lasting long, but having its distinct presence, an undeniable presence. It didn’t last, but it illuminated as long as it was there, and I can’t forget that it illuminated Read more

Intentions don’t matter; Awareness does

Question: What we get from outside especially in the childhood, is the love, affection, care of our parents, family. How can that contribute to our ego?

Speaker: There is a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People’s intentions are good, but they end up doing a lot of harm. People’s intentions are good but they end up doing a lot of harm because they are not aware. Even their love can only cause harm to the loved ones.

Intentions don’t matter, awareness matters.

I may have all the intentions of helping my son, my friend, somebody. But how can I help if my notion of help itself is misplaced.

Read more

Before you chase goals, become goal-less

Impart not esoteric Truth to fools,
Nor on molasses feed an ass.
Do not sow seeds in sandy beds,
Nor waste your oil on cakes of bran.
-Lal Ded

Speaker: The question is, ‘Why is a compassionate saint speaking such words? They look more like coming from a result oriented mind.’

When you say, ‘Why is a compassionate saint speaking these words?’, who are you referring to? There is a Lal Ded that never took birth and will never die. There is a Lal Ded who is so expansive that space cannot contain her and there is a Lal Ded who surely took birth and who surely die. There is a Lal Ded who is limited in a body, there is a Lal Ded who is living, eating and breathing in achievement and there is nothing left for her to get. And there is a Lal Ded who must move around, go place to place, speak and dance. There is a Lal Ded who is pure silence and there is a Lal Ded who must deal in words. Who are you referring to? Who is the saint? When you say saint, what do you mean? What do you mean? Your query is that why is Lal Ded speaking in a language that looks result oriented?
Read more

Why does man go wrong?

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

– (Bible, Romans 14:17)

Question: Christ says, ‘The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink’, but on every special day, all I see is meat and drink. That is how people celebrate. So where did it all go wrong?

Speaker: If Christ is saying that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, then why do we only see meat and drink? And his words are both figuratively and literally true. Millions of animals would have been slaughtered just for the New Year eve celebration. And you know, statistics are that forty percent of that meat, chicken, ham, beef, bacon, all that goes to go waste. Because in festivals people tend to buy more than they need, then they throw it away. Of the millions of slaughtered animals, millions have been killed, just to be dumped in a waste basket.
Read more

Only a Godless mind will be petty

यदि देहं पृथक् कृत्य चिति विश्राम्य तिष्ठसि।

अधुनैव सुखी शान्तो बन्धमुक्तो भविष्यसि॥

– अष्टावक्र गीता (१.४)

Translation: If you detach yourself from the body and rest in consciousness, you will become content, peaceful and free from bondage immediately.

Question: How to detach oneself from the body? Read more

Freedom from compulsive slavery

Speaker: The topic of ‘Compulsion’ and ‘Free-will’ is what we are concerned with. When do you call something a compulsion?

Listener 1: When I am not interested in doing something and I am forced to do something.

Speaker: At a superficial level compulsion is when the mind does not feel interested. And according to you, when you feel interested, then it is not a compulsion. Correct?
Listeners(everyone): Yes.
Read more

The delusion called ‘Achievement’

Speaker: Do you really want to understand what this whole business of ‘achievement’ is? If you really want to understand, only then we can go into it. If you are into it superficially, out of an obligation, then you will not understand anything. So do you really want to understand this ?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: If you think this must be a very, very serious thing in which we are investing our entire life, this business of achievement, then it is very important to understand it. If you think this to be of that great importance, then only you will be able to understand. And if you think that there is nothing to do, life comes and goes, and if we waste one life then another life is waiting for us, then there is no point discussing all this. So are you really sincere about understanding ? Read more

Whose desires are you chasing?

Question: What is the proof that we are still evolving?

Speaker: Who says that it is not happening anymore? That process takes millions of years. There is enough proof. If you go hundred years back, the human brain has become larger. The overall size of the body has decreased because we have moved from an agrarian society to a society that is service-based, doing far more of intellectual work than mechanical work. Do you know what is happening? Across the world, babies are being born with bigger brain and smaller body. Evolution is at work all the time. Because your life span is only eighty to hundred years, you never see that. It takes place across centuries. You never see a monkey changing into man overnight. Read more