How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


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What is Sin? || Acharya Prashant, on Vivekachudamani and Bible (2018)

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A teacher is one, who is well versed in the scriptures, pure, unaffiliated by desire, a perfect knower of the supreme, who continuously abides in the supreme, who is as calm as the fire that has burnt-up its fuel, who is a spontaneous ocean of mercy that needs no cause for its expression, an intimate friend to all good people, who surrender to him.

~ Vivekachudamani (Verse 33)

Acharya Prashant: Nimisha has quoted Vivekachudamani. So, she is asking what it means to be sinless?

In the Bible it is said that man was born from the original sin that stemmed from Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden The Lord Jesus Christ had all the above mentioned qualities and died on the cross, to redeem a man of him. Yet the world is mired in sin and suffering like never before.

Please help me understand sin and sinlessness in right context.

The original sin is to assume a form you have, quoted the Bible. And there too, the sin was to taste the forbidden fruit and then as a punishment to be born in the world. As a punishment to be expelled from the holy garden of bliss and to be born as human beings in the world.

That’s sin, fundamentally.

To feel born. To be born. To be someone, inside whom the clock is ticking. Birth relates to time. Does it not? And the moment, you are born, you say, now I am six months old, now six years old, now 60 years old. The clock starts ticking from, when you were born. That’s the original sin.

To not to heed the advice of God, taste the forbidden fruit and set the clock ticking.

Tasting the fruit of knowledge is letting knowledge in. Once you have eaten the apple, the apple has gotten in. So, to taste the fruit of knowledge means to be identified with knowledge. Now knowledge is in. Knowledge is not merely something that you hold. Now knowledge is in. Knowledge is now a part of your system, your being. That’s sin.

Your being should have been purely the being of God. But now your being is your personal being. Now you are not residing as the innocent one.

The story says that Adam and Eve would wear no cloths. But once they have tasted the fruit, and the God came looking for them, they hid behind a few shrubs. Because, now they were ashamed of themselves. Now they are no more innocent. Now they are ashamed. Now they ‘know’ that to not to be wearing cloths is a matter of shame. Worldly knowledge has been taken-in. God never taught them that nakedness is a matter of shame. But now they have knowledge from elsewhere.

The apple represents the tempting world. The apple, you feel like eating it. Just as you look at the world and feel like, eating it.

World, nice apple!

So, many have fallen to the temptations of the apple, haven’t they? Once you have fallen to the apple, you are a sinner. Now you know a lot. And now you know that which did not need to be known. Now you are knowledgeable, but most of your knowledge is just a burden. And it’s not a problem that you have knowledge, the problem is that you consider yourself as the knowledgeable one.

That’s the sin. To depart from God and be born in the world of knowledge. Now your being is not just God, your being comprises of stuff, taken-in from the world. You have lost innocence. What then is innocence? To be purely innocent of this and that. This and that exists but cannot get in. That’s the statement of innocent mind. This and that exists but it cannot get-in. Its existence is undeniable. Remember, that the tempting fruit existed in the God’s garden itself. So, its existence cannot be denied, the world definitely exists.

The existence of this and that is not a problem, the problem is when this and that overwrites the instructions given by God. When this and that starts getting the same place, the same respect, same treatment as God’s being or the being gifted by the God, that is sin, to corrupt your identity, and that is why being born, has been variously called as the fundamental sin. Now, you are no more Gods.

No parents ever celebrated the birth of God. Nobody ever says, ‘This is God’. You are called, ‘My son or my daughter’. Your identity is spoiled, the moment you are born. The born ones cannot have innocent identity. This is sin. Departure from the Truth, departure from the God.

If the word God is too heavy for you, just understand it in basic term. To be born means, to be called the limited and to take oneself as limited one. And you very well know that no limitation pleases you. That is sin. To be irrevocably tied to a body, at least irrevocable till the time of physical death. To be irrevocably tied to a physical body, that is really incapable of giving you the fulfilment, is sin.

You have mentioned Christ. Because, he does not value limitations, therefore, he calls himself as the son of God. And because he does not value the limitations, therefore, he is prepared to give up the limited body so that the limitations of others can be removed.

Compassion.

This body is anyway limited, who can attach too much value to it, that’s what Christ say. So, if this limited body, is done away with, in the service of the Unlimited, it’s a good deal. I take the deal. I lose my body, others lose their limitations. I sacrifice my body and looking at this sacrifice, if others can sacrifice their limitations, then I would joyfully sacrifice this body because, what I am sacrificing is little, and what they are getting is Immense.

So, it’s a good deal. I take the deal.

You get, what the sin is?

To be bodied is sin. And you also get the meaning of the sacrifice, of many of the Prophets and Saints and Teachers. Their entire aim is to rid people of their self-imposed limitations.

After all, it was the ‘decision’, to taste the fruit.

The limitations are self-imposed.


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: What is Sin? || Acharya Prashant, on Vivekachudamani and Bible (2018)

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Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ and Sage Ashtavakra: The world is a river; use it to cross it

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Acharya Prashant: Two excerpts are with us.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

BIBLE

(JOHN 2:15)

“Prosperity, pleasure, pious deeds. Enough! In the dreary forest of the world, the mind finds no rest.”

ASHTAVAKRA GITA

(CHAPTER 10: VERSE 7)

The questioner says that he is astounded at the commonality between Jesus and Ashtavakra and asks why are both saying that engaging in the world will not be a way to peace. What does it mean to engage in the world?

The world is a tricky thing. The world has to be understood.

The world has utility but the world is not the end.

One uses it.

Ever seen a man swimming? What is he doing? Why is he swimming at all? He is crossing a river. Man is swimming. Man is crossing the river. Why is he crossing the waters? Because if he doesn’t cross the waters, he will drown in the waters. If he doesn’t cross the waters or the river, he will drown in the river.

And what is he doing to cross the water? He is using the waters themselves.

Read more

The Real Saint looks like a heretic or a lunatic than a saint

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The myth of the Saint, the Saint!

And with, the myth of the Saint we would be able to touch many associated myths. Like the myth of the respect: respectability rather, the myth of godliness. And of course Love!

When we use the word “Saint”, we use it obviously, inevitably in the same frame of mind. From the same center, as we use many other words.

Our language is a language of objects. Any and every words that we know refers to something; something that can be thought of; something that can be touched, conceptualized, seen, felt, hurt; something that is within the domain of the mental activity.

So the obvious result is that even when we use words like saint, God, Truth, freedom, joy, love they turn into objects due to the sheer fact of verbalization. Because you have put them into words, you have willingly or unwillingly turned them into objects. The same thing happens when we refer to the word “Saint”. Read more

You are the salt of the earth

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“Ye are the salt of the Earth; but if the salt have lost his savour,

Wherewith shall it be salted?

It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out,

And to be trodden under foot of men.”

-Mathew 5:13

AP: What does earth represent? And what does the salt of earth represent? Earth represents the material. Salt of earth represents the essence of the material. When you look at the earth, what do you find? Stone, soil, dirt, dust, sand. Do you really find salt somewhere? Have you ever been able to go and just pick up salt? No. salt lies embedded, deep within. So salt here, stands for something that is a little inside. That lies at the heart. Inside! That which is the essential.

Earth represents the body, salt of earth represents the Atman, the Self, the core, the heart. It is being said you are not the earth really, you are the salt of the earth. You are not the body really, you are the pure Self. And then he is saying that if you are someone who has distanced himself from the Self, the Centre, then he will only be trampled under the feet of man. He will have no value. He will live a joyless life. Read more

If a Christian is one who loves Christ, I am absolutely a Christian

Listener: Sir I have heard or maybe read somewhere that you are a Christian, is that right?

Acharya Prashant: I love Jesus, l love Krishna, I love Buddha, they are all wonderful. There is no doubt that there is a lot about me which is Christian. I won’t even say Christian, I would say – in tune with Christ, in accordance with Christ, in love with Christ. Obviously I do not follow the way of life suggested by the Church. So going by rituals and organized conduct, there is hardly anybody who would call me a Christian, but essentially if a Christian is one who loves Christ then I am absolutely a Christian.

You know what I love about the Christ the most, you would be surprised – His words are wonderful, his short life was glorious but what I like the most about him is that he was a very handsome young man. Obviously all we have is images of his physical form but I am so sure that he would have been one hell of a beautiful man. In fact a lot of my students are in there 20’s and I often quote ‘Jesus on the Cross’ to them as a perfect example of what vigorous youth is like, what is means to be fully young. To me Jesus epitomizes the fullness of life, the rebellion of a young man. He is absolutely lovable.

Read more

On Jesus Christ: What is woman? What is Adultery? What is sin?

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You have heard it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’

But I say to you that anyone who even looks at a woman with a lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in her heart.

So, if your eye — even your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

And, if your hand — even your stronger hand — causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

For it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  

Jesus
~ Sermon on the Mount ~ Read more

How to read the scriptures?

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Listener 1:  I come from a very orthodox Muslim family. I have read a bit of Quran and it makes a lot of sense when it comes to particular stuff but at the same time, one of its perspective gives a feeling of narrow-mindedness. Right now, I am in a very big dilemma where to start with because I am quite illiterate in spiritual matters, and also I have been taught the same thing by the society like they condition everybody.

Acharya Prashant: Because you named the Quran, the center of Quran is Tauheed Oneness. There are no two Truths. Just That, and nothing else. Which means that be it the Prophet Mohammad or anybody else who ever could say anything of wisdom and value, the source is always the same because there are no two Truths, which means that even if you understand anything, including the Quran, the source of understanding has to be That One only.

Quran can be understood really only when you—as the ego mind; as the person, are connected to the same source that blessed the Prophet. Otherwise, one will misinterpret. And Quran has been badly misinterpreted, all religious scriptures have been misinterpreted.

The reason is obvious, very simple: the fellow who is speaking; the point from where his words are coming, that point is up there on that hill. Up there and pure, snow-like, beautiful, up there in the sky, the very peak, the climax, that is from where those words come. But words are words. Words belong to human languages. Be it Sanskrit or Aramaic or Arabic, doesn’t matter, words are words. The source of words is there but words are in the language of the commoners. So the commoners feel that they can interpret those words because they are in the commoners’ language, and commoners interpret those words standing in the valleys.

Words are coming from the sky and you are listening to them standing in the valley. You don’t want to rise up to that point. You don’t want that closeness; that oneness; unity with the source. You are so full of ego that you want to remain what you are. You want to protect your house which is in the depths of the valley. Remaining what you are, you apply your intellect upon the scriptures. Obviously, you will distort the scriptures. 

Sometimes you do it deliberately, sometimes you do it inadvertently, but invariably it does happen. Before you go to the Quran or the Bhagwad Gita or Bible or any book of any wisdom or any man of any wisdom, before you go anywhere you must first be in a condition to understand what that man or that book or that situation is saying.

Is it not right?

Suppose you are drunk and you start reading a holy book. Will you be able to make any sense of it? The whole of mankind is perpetually drunk. Can you allow a dunker to even touch the Quran? If you find that somebody has come to the Quran and he is stinking of alcohol, is it advisable, permissible that in that state he can read the verses, recites, interpret it? Is it alright? It cannot be alright in any religion.

In fact, it is said that you must be pure, you should’ve taken a bath, you should be fully awake, and then in a nice peaceful place, you should go to the scripture. The question is: Is it about the peace of the external? Is it about the peace of the words? Is it about the cleanliness of the body?

You should go to the scriptures with a very clean mind. You don’t just have to take a bath to purify the body, your mind should’ve been first purified, and only then you can go to the scriptures. Otherwise, you’ll make the mess of the teachings.

L2: Sir in due course of time the scriptures have been modified and altered as per the interests of a few. I have seen that people have started creating scriptures in their own way. The scriptures are the same but they interpret it accordingly so as to suit them. Therefore in my view people should not consider scriptures very much because they try to alter the sayings in their own way, but it seems so negative.

AP: No, it’s not at all negative, you see, what you are saying is exactly what at least the Indic scriptures say. They say that the highest point is to forget the scriptures. The scriptures do not recommend that you must constantly remember them. They say your mind is full of rubbish, you come to us so that the rubbish is cleared. And once you’ve gotten rid of the rubbish, you must also get rid of the scripture. In the same way, as one gets rid of the boat after crossing the river. Now, that you have crossed the river why are you still sitting in the boat.

So, if one can drop all the nonsense that is there in the name of religion then one is truly religious.

It requires a really religious man to drop all the religious nonsense.

Unless you have faith how will you really rebel against religion?

You look at Jesus, was the Jesus following the Bible? Not at least the new testament. Maybe, even the old testament, he wasn’t really following, he was clearly giving it new meanings. He said that the commandments are there but let me tell you what those commandments really mean. So it is an expression of the deep religiosity of Jesus that he rebels against the existing religion.

Only when you can rebel against the existing religion then you can be assured that God is powering you. Because without the support of that One reality, that one Truth, how will you have the courage to stand against the false?

The false is so overwhelming, you know, today you have communities that number in billions—Christians are over two billion, Muslims must be approaching two billion, more than one billion Hindus are there and Buddhists and numbers and numbers. Now, when such a huge number is following a particular way, then from where will you get the strength to not to follow that way?

That requires the support of God.

So that is real religiosity.

You see, be it, Jesus or Mohammad, they are first and foremost rebels. Mohammad didn’t carry forward a pre-existing religion. He had something new to say, and that is why it is said that He was in direct touch with Allah. Because without being in direct touch with God how will you ever come upon something new? You’ll just keep repeating the old.

So, feel free, totally free, don’t have that fear that you must follow the conventional.

Religion is not at all about going in a particular line, going down the beaten track, not at all.

Religion is extremely dynamic, religion is more modern than modern.

Religion does not consist of rituals.

Religion means, ‘I will live my life with Honesty and Truth.’

And are Honesty and Truth outdated things? Are Honesty and Truth something that belongs to the seventh or first centuries?

They don’t!

Is love something that you would take as primordial? And without religion what love are you talking about?  

So, religion is cool; religion is young; religion is vigour.

But not the religion that is touted, not the religion that is being publicised.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to read the scriptures?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: God and scriptures are not matters of personal belief

Article 2: On Quran: You cannot guess the ways of God

Article 3:Spiritual scriptures have no meaning


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Whatever takes you towards your beautiful Heart is Beautiful

Whether or not your wife is beautiful, is not determined by the way she talks and looks.

It is determined by how you feel when you are next to her.

Does she bring you to that beautiful silence, or do you get further agitated in her company?
Does her very presence calm you down?
If her presence calms you down, then she is beautiful.

I keep calling Jesus, ‘handsome’.

It is not because he was young, tall, fair, and muscular.
I keep calling him ‘handsome’ for what he is.

Kabir is beautiful, Meera is beautiful.

Meera is beautiful for her devotion.

Meera is beautiful because when you are with Meera, then some of her devotion simply rubs-off on you.

Sitting next to Meera, you get a taste of Krishna. That is why Meera is beautiful.

So, what is Ugly?
Whatever takes you away from the beauty in your Heart is Ugly.

What is Beautiful?
Whatever takes you towards your beautiful Heart is Beautiful.

Sin and Repentance

The concept of sin has a very central place in Christianity. The Bible repeatedly refers to it.

And it is supposed to be a pious Christian’s duty to repent for the sins.

This repentance is interpreted in several ways, and there are several ways in which it is advised that the atonement can take place. But obviously, any question of repentance is meaningless without first understanding what the sin is.

Otherwise, there is the absurd situation of a man trying to correct a mistake, without knowing at all what the mistake is?

On Jesus Christ and Saint Kabir: At the root of desire, you find the Ultimate desire

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THE GOLDEN RULE

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you,
do also to them,
for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
“Enter by a narrow gate.
For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction,
and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few.”

~ The Sermon on the Mount

 

Acharya Prashant: The first part says so whatever you wish that others would do to you. This part itself necessitates that we know what we desire. Christ is saying, ‘Figure out what is it that you want from others. Figure out firstly what is it that you want.’ So he is saying go to the root of your wanting, go to your basic desire.

When beneath the clutter of all the superficial desires, you go to the root of desire,
you will find that your ultimate desire is peace.

So from everything, from the entire world, from this and that, from others, from yourself, all you want is peace. Here is a way to peace.

Jesus is saying, ‘If you want peace then ensure that you bring peace. Do to others what you want done unto you. If you want peace then bring peace to others.’ You want truth then bring truth to others. You want love then bring love to others.

But remember it can be very easily misinterpreted!

To rightly interpret it, first of all, you must know what you really want. Know what you really want and bring it to others as well.

The trick here is- let’s say you want peace then you cannot give peace to others unless you yourself is peaceful. Because peace is not a commodity that you pull out from pocket and give it to somebody.

Peace is an overflowing from your heart.

Only when you have it, can you give to others.

Jesus is saying if you want peace, give peace to others but to give it to others, first of all, you have to have it.

So it’s a circular thing.

You want peace then give it to others. But to give it to others have an abundance of it. In a sense he is saying, ‘Have what you want.’

Then enter by the narrow gate. There are many who enter by the wide gate but for them there is only destruction and there are only a few who enter by the narrow gate.

The keyword here is—the broad gate and the many; the narrow gate and the few. Any gate through which a crowd enters is bound to be a gate opening into a destruction. Crowd means influence of others on the mind, that’s where the crowd exists. What he means is that a mind that is crowded can never enter the truth, a mind that is dominated by many can never enter the truth. Only the mind that is devoted to one can enter the truth.

Kabir says- “Prem gali itni saankri, taame do na samaye” (The road of love is so narrow that not even two can walk on it, only one can walk.)

Jesus is saying exactly the same thing here.

If you think that you can bring all your friends, family, relatives and their influence on your mind, if you think that you can carry all that and still be liberated and still belong to god, then it is not possible. You will have to make God your primary relationship. You’ll have to set truth as your first priority. That is called the narrow road, narrow because it has space only for the truth.

Incidentally, when you are devoted only to truth, when truth is your first priority, then the truth itself takes care of all your other priorities and sets them right. Those priorities that must remain, remain and those that must fall, fall.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Jesus and Kabir:When you go to the root of desire, you find your ultimate desire

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Dropping desire is just another desire; knowing desire is fulfillment of desire

Article 2: The power of desire is the power you are using to suppress it

Article 3: It is desires that are born as a child


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant are available on AMAZON:

http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant

On Jesus: The real teacher cannot belong to a tradition, he belongs only to God

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The Authority of Jesus

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

~ The Sermon on the Mount

Acharya Prashant: “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”.

The Real guru would always speak from an inner sureness. He would not act as an agent of the crowd, not as a social pleaser. He is not looking to get his authority from somewhere else. He is not looking to gain applause from the crowd. When he speaks it is very clear that it is not the gathering that gives him strength, his strength comes from somewhere within. And that display of inner strength is what really convinces the listeners. Read more

Anger is often just an impotent and deceptive escape

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Anger

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

~Jesus, Sermon on the Mount Read more

What is celibacy?

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Question: Tell us, why Jesus pray celibacy for his followers?

Acharya Prashant: What is meant by celibacy? When Jesus or any other teacher talks of celibacy, what is meant by celibacy? What is the meaning of celibacy?

AP: That is the only meaning of celibacy.

One point commitment; only one lover—that is celibacy.

To be committed only to God.  To be determined in one’s loyalty towards the Truth.

For celibacy, India has a beautiful word – Brahmacharya, to operate in Brahma, to operate in Truth; to live in Truth. Do whatever you want to do; go here, go there, wander, roam, eat-drink, rise-fall, left-right, whatever you want to do, but within Truth – that is Brahmacharya – celibacy. It has nothing to do with one’s physical activities or sexual orientation. Read more

What is meant by false Teacher? What is meant by will of God?

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The tree and Its Fruit

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.
Can you pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

~ Jesus, Sermon on the Mount

 

Question: What is meant by false Teacher?

Acharya Prashant: When Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets”—he says just see, what influence they are having upon you; tree is known by its fruits. Just see what their presence do to you. Are they really able to bring peace and lightness to you? Are they really able to remove fear from your mind or are they putting you in greater fear?

Do not know them by their forms, decorations, medallions, all the respect that society gives them—do not use that to know them.

Know them by one criteria only—what have they done to you? Have they liberated you or have they put you in a greater bondage.

That is the only test of the prophet—He liberates.


Read more

A Krishna is not shy of declaring his divinity

“While doing your duty, let me tell you, never bring in any of the attitudes of the outer self.

Anger, hate, jealousy, attachment, all pertain to the outer self.”

Lord Krishna (Bhagavad Gita)
Question: Above mentioned lines that Lord Krishna said to Arjuna were meant to motivate him to fight his own elders/relatives. To me, it seems as if Lord Krishna was asking him to be a cold-blooded murderer probably like a lot of criminals these days. Can someone please explain to me the correct meaning and its application in current age?

Acharya Prashant: A similar verse from Gita was raised this Wednesday as well. Krishna, the renegade, seems to be junking all traditional values. Non-violence, democracy, individuality, family, lawfulness- he would have none of these.

What he is teaching Arjuna is scary. Our society is surviving precisely because we (gladly) donot have teachers like Krishna today. A Krishna is extremely dangerous. He will demolish our minds, relationships, families, individualities, just everything.
What is worse, a Krishna will not say that his Father sent him (Jesus), or that his mother speaks through him (Ramakrishna). A Krishna is so arrogant that he says I AM IT, and this is it. No humility this fellow has.
Krishna does not comfort us like the Buddha. Krishna does not say ‘Be your own light’. He does not give us the slightest respect 🙂
Krishna will not go down well with Krishnamurti people as well. Krishna has no problem with authority. Unabashedly, he declares himself to be the absolute authority.
Krishna is not the one for liberals and democrats who sing of equality. He will not debate with us. He will not pretend ‘Sir, we are discussing as friends, equals’. Instead, he says ‘Come, and surrender to Me’.
The climax is when Krishna tells Arjun to leave all religions and be devoted just to him. It is impossible for us to tolerate such certainty, such totality (such dictatorship!)
Here is something: Give up your values!
(Dated: 11/22/2013)

Who is Kabir?

Questioner: I have a question about Kabir. As I know, he was also a kind of Sufi, not just Hindu or Muslim, he…

Speaker: See, the heart of Sufism and the heart of Vedanta, the heart of Hasidism, the heart of Christian mysticism, they are all one Heart. So, it would anyway be unwise to call anybody, any realized one, as belonging to any sect. You see, Kabir can’t be called a Hindu or a Muslim. Some people substitute it with calling him both a Hindu and a Muslim. I call him neither a Hindu nor a Muslim. Krishna cannot be called a Hindu. Jesus was even by fact not a Christian and he can’t even be called a Jew. You see, where does the Jesus lie? He revolts against Judaism, so for sure he is not a Jew, and he is not a Christian either because Christianity was not there. Read more

Faith does not answer questions, it laughs at them

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,

the evidence of things not seen.

– (Bible, Hebrews 11:1)

Question: Sir, how is faith different from superstition? How do I know that I am not landing in trivia?

Speaker: A similar question was posed to Jesus. He was asked, “How do we know that your Father’s Kingdom is just as you describe? Can you give us a proof? Can you show us a sign?” That was the exact question asked to him, “Can you show us a sign?” And this got Jesus upset. He said, “With your faithlessness you are asking this question, how will you ever see a sign?” And he walked away. He did not stop at that place. He went away. He said, “I can’t even talk to you.”

Then he said that “The only sign is – the dead will come alive. That is the only sign, but to see that sign, you will have to die. And you won’t die because you are faithless.”

Read more

God neither judges nor can be judged

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

  • King James Bible (Mathew 7:1)

Acharya Prashant: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Do not judge others so that you may not be judged.

Often these words from the Bible are interpreted to mean that if you judge others, then you too will be judged (and that too, probably harshly) by God. That is not what these words mean!

See, that which we call as ‘I,’ is not different from the world – it is an accumulation of the influences from the world. There is no way you look at yourself any differently from how you look at the world. Read more

What is sin and what is repentance?

Question: The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Sir, I want to know what is my sin? And what is the meaning of glory of God?

Acharya Prashant: Concept of sin has a very central place in Christianity. The Bible repeatedly refers to it, and it is supposed to be a pious Christian’s duty to repent for the sins. This repentance is interpreted in several ways; and there are several ways in which it is advised that the atonement can take place. But obviously, any question of repentance is meaningless without first understanding what the sin is. Otherwise, there is the absurd situation of a man trying to correct a mistake without knowing at all what the mistake is.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

“What is my sin?” There is nothing called ‘your’ sin.

The simple fact is that you are the sin!

You are not a sinner; you are the sin itself. You are not mistaken, you are the mistake itself.

The moment this ‘my’ comes into picture is the moment of the beginning of sin. It is the point of beginning of all moments. Without this ‘my’ there is no moment, and no beginning either. All that begin is this ‘my,’ and this ‘my’ itself is the sin.

This has to be understood!

In what sense is it the sin? In the ultimate sense there can be only one sin, which is to be dissociated from God, which is to be separated from the ‘one Truth’.

Now, what do you say . . . the moment you say, “I?” . . . do you say, “I am God?  Have you ever heard anybody saying that? The moment you utter this ‘I,’ you declare yourself to be somebody short of God. You declare yourself to be somebody other than God.

The moment this ‘I’ comes into picture, is the moment of the birth of duality, and duality implies that an alternate reality, other than God, other than Truth exists. You start talking of yourself, and you do not refer to yourself as God. And it is not merely a question of verbal reference; it is the question of your entire feeling. When you refer yourself as ‘I,’ you surely do not refer to the ‘total,’ to the ‘one,’ to the absolute; instead you start referring to a fragment, to the limited.

Now, what are you doing? You are saying that you exist. By uttering ‘I,’ you are saying that you exist. And you are also saying that the world exists, and you also probably do not mean to deny that God or Truth exists. So what have you done? You have created parallel and multiple realities. You are saying, “I exist, the world exist, and God also exists.” Now, is the Truth many? Then how can there be many realities? How can there be these three: you, others and God? To believe in many Gods is sin. To believe in yourself is sin. To have an identity separate from God is sin. This ‘my’ itself is sin.

Do you get this?

It is impossible for you to ‘be’ and not be a sinner. Now, what does this imply? Does this imply that as a human being, you have to live a life mired in the guilt of sinning? And this is what religious men sometimes end up implying and advocating. And Christianity has done a lot of this. They talk of sinning so much that repentance becomes a standalone virtue in itself.

Now repentance is no dissolution of sin. Repentance is just the dual opposite of sin. Repentance always goes along with sin. Repentance arises from a feeling of guilt. You cannot ask somebody to repent without first declaring him guilty. So, what is the implication? Are we to spend this human life in guilt? Feeling bad? Feeling small? “Oh! We have sinned? Just to be born is sin?”

If you be a little attentive, you will see that there is only one way out, which is to not to believe in any identity except the God identity. You acquire any identity and you have sinned. Because acquiring an identity implies, I am repeating, a belief in many truths, and a belief in the separation from the ‘one Truth.’ And both of these are surely sins.

You take on any identity, it is as good or as bad as the previous one.

You believe that you are a sinner, you are believing that you are a sinner. You believe that you are a repenter, and you are just believing that you are the one who is repenting. In either case, you are still maintaining an identity apart from the Truth.

Repentance does not mean that your central sin has been dissolved. It only means that you have moved from one type of sin to another type of sin. To feel guilty is sin, and to repent is sin reinforced. That’s why I said it is the dual opposite and companion of sinning. Repentance is simply the dualistic companion of sinning. It does not absolve you of your sins. It only gives you a new type of sin. If sinning is sin, then repentance is just a new type of sin. I am repeating this because religion has been making this mistake of advocating repentance.

What really then is repentance? There is only one real repentance possible. I have just talked of it. It is to live in the God identity. That is the only real repentance possible. If you say that you are a sinner, then you are only extending and deepening your sin. If you say you are repenting, you are again only extending and deepening your sin. The only way to get rid of sin is to get rid of the sinner itself.

You will have to very clearly live in the deep faith that because Truth is one, hence, you cannot be separate from God. After all, this too is just a belief that you are separate, the world is separate. If you can be misled into cultivating and nourishing this belief, then with a clear mind, you can also clear away this belief. This belief is not innate, not really natural. It has been given to you by circumstances, by body, by society, by books. If it has been given to you, it can also be cleared away.

This clearing away of this ‘I’ belief, this clearing away of this ‘I’ identity, is the only real repentance.

That is the only way to get rid of both the sin and the sinner.

I am repeating this: there is no way to get rid of your sins, except by coming very, very close to God. You have to come so close to God that you are left with no individual identity of your own. That is the reason why the Upanishadic Mahavakya, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahma) is the heart of all spirituality. Without that utterance there is no redemption possible for man. You may say a thousand things about yourself, about Truth, and about God, and about the world, yet nothing will absolve you, nothing will give you peace. There is only one declaration, one article of faith which will bring you to rest, and that is, ‘I am That and That am I’. Everything else is sin.

You may say you are a ‘Son of God,’ it is a statement of sin, because the son after all, is separate from the father. He may be quite close to the father, yet he is not the father himself. So, even to say that you are a son of God is sin. And obviously, it is a great sin to say, “I am a creation of God,” unless you also say that the creator himself is the creation. Then it is alright. If you say that you are a creation of God, you will have to simultaneously say, that the creator himself is the creation. Only then is this a proper statement. But if you say that the creator is somebody else, and his creation is separate from him, and you are a part of that creation, then it is a statement of sin.

Are you getting it?

Kindly see that all your suffering, and sorrow, and misery, arises from your fragmented identities. Sin is something that leads to sorrow. See, where your sorrow comes from. It comes from your identities. It comes from your belief in your individuality. Till the time you keep believing that you are ‘you,’ a bundle of identities, your sorrow will continue. Dissolution of your identities is just the same – it is a return to the identityless identity, and that is the God identity.

To not to have any identities is to have the ‘ultimate identity’; and that is the God identity.

Are you getting this?

This is not merely a concept. This is what we all are living daily. See that not even one of your problems is there without you being attached to some or the other identity. See that you cannot suffer without a belief in your limitations. You will have to be attached to some sense of limited being for you to suffer.

What does it mean to say, “I am God”? It is not to declare that I am grand and big. On the contrary, to declare that I am not separate from God, is just to declare that I am not going to be attached with anything that is petty, limited, small and trivial. It does not mean that there is something big called God, and I can declare myself to be that. No, because whatever you will declare to be big, will actually be very small. The biggest that you can think of, will just be as big as your mind is, and that is very small.

How big can your mind think of? The biggest that you can think of is nothing compared to the immensity of infinity. And your mind cannot conceptualize infinity. So, even your biggest identity is shallow and petty.

So, to have God identity, is not to have a big identity. It is to have no identity. Many people are apprehensive of this statement, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. They say that if man declares himself to be God, it is just ego. They say it is a proof of your arrogance, if you say, “I am God.” They are mistaken. And mistaken are those who utter ‘I am God’ in the wrong sense. If you have a concept of God, and then you say you are God, then surely you are committing a heresy. If you have a concept of God, and then you say, “I am God,” then this is surely blasphemy. Because then to say, “I am God,” would be similar to saying, “I am a husband, I am a Hindu or I am a Christian.” All concepts!

You had ten conceptual identities, now you have an eleventh conceptual identity also. What is that eleventh conceptual identity? Of God.

No! It is not really a statement of ego, because the man who honestly says, “I am God,” is actually saying, “I am nothing.” It is a statement, hence, of great humility. Only a greatly humble man can say, “I am God.” It is not at all a work of ego. So, there is no need to be apprehensive of the man who honestly declares himself to be God. Because this man is actually saying, “I am nobody.”

It is statement of great humility, along with great boldness. “I am nobody.” And if somehow, you dislike to say that you are God . . . it happens, in some religions, for example, it is prohibited, and you cannot say that you are God . . . then no issue, simply say, “I am nobody.” No religion prohibits this statement. There are religions which prohibit man to declare identity with God. They say that you cannot say, “I am God,” but no religion prohibits man to utter “I am nobody.” So, there is no need for unnecessary confrontation. Simply say, “I am nobody.” That is just the same as saying, “I am God.” Because when you are nobody, then you are the closest to God, actually one with God.

Just say, “I am nobody.”

Your humility, your deep humility is identical to saying ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ and ‘Naham’ (I am not) are the same statements. Aham Brahmasmi says, “I am the Truth, I am God, I am Brahm,” and ‘Naham’ says, “I am not.”

And both of these are same. Just say “Naham, I am not!” Both these statements are one, and both of them absolve you of your sin.

You are the sin. Get rid of yourself and you have fully repented. This is the only repentance possible.

 

IMG_2716

Question: The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Sir, I want to know what is my sin? And what is the meaning of glory of God?

Acharya Prashant: Concept of sin has a very central place in Christianity. The Bible repeatedly refers to it, and it is supposed to be a pious Christian’s duty to repent for the sins. This repentance is interpreted in several ways; and there are several ways in which it is advised that the atonement can take place. But obviously, any question of repentance is meaningless without first understanding what the sin is. Otherwise, there is the absurd situation of a man trying to correct a mistake without knowing at all what the mistake is. Read more