Honestly watch your actions, and you’ll be liberated || Acharya Prashant,on Adhyatma Upanishad(2019)

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Honestly watch your actions, and you'll be liberated

क्रियानाशाद्भवेच्चिन्तानाशोऽस्माद्वासनाक्षयः ।
वासनाप्रक्षयो मोक्षः सा जीवन्मुक्तिरिष्यते ॥ १२॥

kriyānāśādbhaveccintānāśo’smādvāsanākṣayaḥ ।
vāsanāprakṣayo mokṣaḥ sā jīvanmuktiriṣyate ॥ 12॥

The destruction of actions leads to that of thought; thence results the dwindling of innate impulses (to act).
The obliteration of innate impulses is liberation; it is held to be freedom in life. || 12||

~ Adhyaatm Upanishad (Verse 12)

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! I am aware that I have innate impulses like anger, greed, pride, fear and attachments. Kindly help me understand this process of dwindling of innate impulses, as mentioned in this verse.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It is the path, the method that proceeds from the gross and goes towards the subtle. This method is for those who cannot begin from the subtle-most.

There is the path of realisation. The path of realisation says, “Begin from your center, begin from your Heart, Atma. Let that guide and dictate your mind. Let that which comes from your Heart shape your thoughts, and then let your mind dictate your actions. Let your thoughts seamlessly transform into your actions.”

Flow is from the center, radially outwards.

You start from the Heart, you go to the mind, and then you go to the gross actions.

The movement is from the most subtle to the gross.

And then contrasted to that is the path, the way, the method mentioned in the verse.

Why is a contrasting method needed? Because most people cannot start from the Heart. Most people are so out-of-touch with their Heart that they cannot listen to the Heart. They are no more in sync.

You tell them, “Please start from your Heart. Do what God says,” they will be perplexed because they have lost the faculty to listen to the Heart. So if you just leave them with the instructions or with the advice that they must do what their center says, they will not be able to do anything at all. Or, they will mistakenly construe some random voice of the mind as the voice of the Heart, and proceed as per that random voice, and harm themselves.

So the way of the Heart is not for everyone. It is only for those who are in touch with their Heart. It is only for those who are in touch with the subtle-most.

And then there is the opposite way that this verse is talking of.

It is the way of the gross.

So you start from your actions, you look at your actions. You proceed backwards, you see where your actions are coming from. You come to your thoughts. Your thoughts then lead you to look at your deep tendencies. You negate the tendencies then. And when all of these are gone, then you are left with nothing but pure Truth.

So the verse says, “The destruction of actions leads to that of thought.” You look at your actions to begin with. You look at that which is most gross. And what is that? Actions. You look at your actions, and you find them horrible. You negate your actions.

The verse says, “Destruction of action,” you destroy your action. You say, “No, the moment I pay attention to my actions I see that I cannot continue with them.” And if you can freeze your actions then the thought that leads to those actions will start shrinking.

Please understand the theory here.

Thought feeds upon its manifestation into action.

If you have a thought and you do not favour it, support it, energise it, do not turn it into action, then that thought gets weakened.

It loses its power.

Because it is not gaining any sympathy from you.

So the thought is arising, and the thought is prompting you to act in a certain way. And you refuse to go by the demand of that thought. You refuse the thought, you freeze the action. As the verse says, “You destroy the action.” You do not let the thought turn into action. The thought itself will die down, because the thought requires your support.

How do you express your support to the thought? By turning it into action. When you do not turn the thought into action, what have you told the thought? “I do not respect you. You have come to me and you are saying that act this way, and I am not going by your advice. I do not respect you. I will not fuel you. I am not your ally.”

And the thought, humiliated and de-energised, falls down.

Similar is the relationship between the latent tendency that gives rise to thoughts, and thoughts.

Thought demands action, tendency demands thought. So the tendency comes to you demanding that you think in a particular way. But if you do not support the tendency, if you do not let the tendency turn into active thoughts, then the tendency too will gradually shrivel. You are not energising the tendency, from where will it continue?

So action is destroyed and that destroys thoughts. Thought is destroyed, and that destroys the tendency. And when false action, false thought, false tendencies are all gone then you are left with nothing but the Truth.

This is the way in which you proceed from the gross to the subtle.

Anisah (the questioner) is saying, “I am aware that I have innate impulses like anger, greed, pride, fear and attachments. What is the process of dwindling of innate impulses as mentioned?”

The process of dwindling of innate impulses is the process of not turning the impulses into thought or action.

How do you dwindle the innate impulses? By not letting them turn into thoughts, and then actions.

That’s the highlighted portion.

How do you enfeeble a thought? By not acting on it. Let the thought keep coming, you keep disregarding it. When the thought will not find any traction with you, it will feel insulted and will retreat.

Let your impulses keep raging, do not let them occupy your mind. Do not start actively thinking on their lines. And then the impulses will gradually fall silent. You have the choice. Nothing happens to you without your consent. Impulses appeal to you. Thoughts appeal to you. You are the judge. You decide whether to accept their appeals.

Do not say, “What do I do? I am a slave to my thoughts.” You are not the slave to your thoughts. You are the one who decides that you will go by your thoughts. And if you have decided, you can also reverse the decision. Right? That power is there. Exercise that power judiciously.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, those thoughts can be good thoughts too?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Do you ever have ‘bad thoughts’? If you know that a thought is ‘bad’, it will not remain anymore. According to the thinker all thoughts are good. We said, “Thought requires your support to survive.” So if there is any thought that is surviving in you, according to you it is a …..? Good thought. Otherwise how could it have survived.

Survival of thought requires that you consider it beneficial for yourself, right? If you know that a thought is not beneficial for you then you will not support it. And then it cannot survive. If a bad thought is preserving in your mind, continuing in your mind, then it means that you are just calling it a ‘bad thought’ deeply you are supporting it. Deeply you think that it is a ‘good thought’.

May be for reasons of moral necessity you are superficially calling it ‘bad’. But deeply you are quite pleased with it. Had you really, honestly thought that the thought is ‘bad’, then the thought would have gone. But our minds are so full of so-called bad thoughts.

What does that mean? We call them ‘bad’, we actually do not consider them bad. And if your minds are not full of so-called ‘good thoughts’, what does that mean? It means that you call them ‘good’ but you consider them very-very bad. So even when those thoughts come to you, you do not support them. What do you support? All the so-called ‘bad thoughts’ because they are all quite nice, lovely, attractive.

Then let’s have little honesty. Why call them ‘bad’ at all?

There was this Bengali story.

There was a Bengali gentleman, the Bhadralok. He was very fond of visiting brothels. And he was a Brahmin, the Brahmin that too of the highest gotra. So he will go to the prostitute and coil the sacred thread around his ear, do what he wanted to do and leave. One day when he was leaving the woman saw that he was exhausted. All in sweat, and huffing and panting. Must have been quite intensely in the act.

So the woman brought a glass of water for him. He must have been a regular patron. So for some client-relationship management she brought him some water. She said to him, “Sir, Please take some water. You are sweating a lot. You are losing your breath.” The bugger said to her, “I am a high-caste Brahmin. Will I drink water from your hands?”

The woman was a ‘bad thought’ to him.

Such are our ‘bad thoughts’. We enjoy them, and then we say, “Will I touch you? You low-class prostitute. Will I ever touch you? Will I ever accept water from your hands?”

That’s our relationship with our bad thoughts.

Question 3: We are able to see that we can stop the thoughts by not turning them into actions. But how to see tendencies? How to catch tendencies not becoming thoughts, because they are very subtle?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Tendencies are subtle, thoughts are not. Thoughts are not as imperceivable as tendencies. So they are not very subtle. Don’t keep thinking. You know how to stop thoughts, right?

You very well know how to fuel the thought.

You also very well know how to de-energise the thought.

Go and occupy yourself constructively.

Don’t give yourself the time and the space to think so much.

That’s how you block the flow of thought.

That’s how you interrupt the momentum of thought.

Don’t you?

The moment you interrupt the thought, you have weakened the tendency behind the thought. Tendency you cannot see, but thought you can. So work on the thought. By working on the thought, you are indirectly working on the tendency.

And if you can work on your thought long enough and consistently enough, you will find that your tendency has weakened down a lot.

Questioner 3: While sitting in the Satsang usually we sit in a particular posture, so actions are numbed down. Here , we are able to do that. This is also the right time where we are able to see our rising tendencies. So action is not happening, because the body is not moving. But tendencies keep pushing up.

For example, when you were answering the last question some scenes from a very popular movie started flashing up, and kept on flashing. How to tackle such situations?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Listen to the next answer. The movie will stop. That’s all.

Man is forever acting.

How do you stop a particular action? By doing something else. Not doing something is anyway not possible.

What does it mean then to destroy action, as the Upanishad says? It means to do something else.

Go, get busy with something more fruitful, more sane.

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

Watch the session video: Honestly watch your actions, and you’ll be liberated || Acharya Prashant,on Adhyatma Upanishad(2019)

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Why doesn’t the current education system create a Vivekananda? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why doesn't the current education system create a Vivekananda

Question: What is the purpose of our current education system? Why can’t this system produce more Vivekanandas? What will it take for the system to create one?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Every system is designed by someone, for some purpose. Can you blame the car if it doesn’t travel to the moon?

Questioner: No.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why? Isn’t it a serious shortcoming that the car isn’t able to fly up to the moon? Why don’t you blame it? Why don’t you blame it? Because that was not the designed goal. The car is perfectly fine at doing, what it has been designed to do.

What has it been designed to do?

Questioner: It has been designed to move on the road.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It has been designed to be a terrain vehicle. It has been designed to horizontally scan the surface. So it does that.

What is the intention of the current education system?

The system is good, very good at doing what it has been designed to do. But what is the intention of the designer, must that not be asked? And when you ask the intention of the designer, you will have to ask: “What is your vision of the products of such a system?”

When you envisage a product of the current education system, what do you see?

And related to that, is the question: Do you understand who is entering the education system? If you understand who is the one who enters the system, you would probably be nicely placed to see: who is it that must emerge from the system?

In other words: Do we know who we are, and therefore who we must be? The ones that we are, is the input into the system. The ones that we must be, must be the output of the system. Do we know who enters the system at age three or five? And therefore, do we know what to expect from the one, who emerges at the age of twenty-three, or twenty-five?

Do we understand both our fact, and our possibility?

And is not education the movement from our somber fact, to our splendid possibility?

Must that not be the very definition of our education – a movement from the sordid, primitive fact of our existence to the glorious, splendid possibility of a liberated human being?

Education is what must connect these two.

Right? But is that even the thought, or the idea? Is that the intention? No it is not the intention. I will tell you what the intention is. The makers of the system, think of the input as a raw material, and the output as the finished product, that must serve the needs of the social order, and in the process ingratiate itself as well.

So, if the existing social and economic order requires people who can produce shopoes, then the education system will be directed towards educating kids and young men, about leather, about tanning, about shoes, about marketing of shoes, and such things.

In the process you would be told that if you do this well, then you will get material comforts. “If you are a good manufacturer of the shoe young man, or a good marketer of the shoe young man, then you will get good material comforts from the society, young man.”

In other words, if you provide the society with good material comforts in the form of good shoes, then the society too would reciprocate by providing you too with good material  comforts like money, like respect, like other physical and monetary things.

Is that not how our education system proceeds?

Are we not producing goods for social consumption? In fact, is that not what we consider a great virtue in a college, or a university?

The products of this university find good positions in industry, and we say, “Wow!”

The products of this university find good positions with government, and we say, “Wow!”

We fawn and grovel at someone with good placement figures, don’t we? What is exactly this thing called ‘placement’? Absorption of the individual into the social-economic order. Is that not what placement is? And we take that as a great virtue.

If that is happening, then we say that the education system is – practical.

Where is ‘Liberation’ in all this?

Where is ‘Truth’?

You are being educated to become something, you are not being educated to un-become what you erroneously have become.

A good education system will have two components.

On one hand, it will surely tell you of the world. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you do not know about the world, then you are prone to imagination. The absence of facts, is a good breeding ground for imagination. So you must know the facts, so that you do not fall prey to baseless imaginativeness.

Secondly, when you know the world, then you also know the hollowness of the world. If you do not know the world, the world remains a distant attraction. When you go close to it, only then it’s attractiveness starts waning, and you see that it cannot offer you what you deeply, desperately want.

So that component education must surely have – deep, clear, factual knowledge about the world.

That includes Sciences, Mathematics, knowledge about different lands, their cultures, their political systems, History, Cosmology, the rivers, the trees, the hills. Man, his life, his health, his body. The molecules, the atoms, the medicines.

Education must surely tell us about these things. If we do not know about these things, then we will be superstitious. And education must have a very important, second component also.

Education must tell us about ‘the one’ being educated.

How important does that sound?

If you are being told of lot of things, if you are being given a lot of knowledge, without being told of ‘the one’, the knowledge is coming to, how good is it for you?

So, the second component of education must tell you of – who you are, why at all do you need to being educated? Why do you want to know about the plains of Central Asia? Why do you need to know about the Prairies? Why do you need to know about the Ural Mountains? You would probably never need to go to Antarctica, then why do you need to know about the glaciers there? You are never going to be found on Saturn, then why do you need to know about the rings and moons of Saturn?

The second component of education must tell you who you are, and therefore why do you need knowledge.

It will tell you why you need knowledge, and it will tell you the distance to which knowledge can go. And therefore, the limit of knowledge.

And where knowledge stops, love begins and meditation begins.

If you do not have this second component of education, there is no possibility of love and meditation.

All you will have is factory-made products.

Those factories would be needlessly named as ‘universities’. There would be a admissions office, and there would be a placement office. And in-between there would be the assembly line.

The second component of knowledge is almost totally missing. The ones who are educating do not know they are, and who is being educated. The one who is being educated has no idea why all the knowledge is being thrown upon him.

If you ask him, “Why do you need to read those books?” if at all he wants have to justify himself, you will have just one response. He will say, “It will give me acceptance and placement. I will get a job. Or, I will get admission into a subsequent course.”

Ask him, “Why do you need that?,” he will mumble something. Go deeper, repeat the question, and he will get irritated because he has no answer, because he has no understanding.

It’s alright if a three-year old has to be just taken to the school, let’s say to the play school. You really can’t explain him why you need to take him there. So you have to just engage him, and entertain him and these things. But by the time the student reaches the age of six or ten, the thing has to be consensual. The student must know why he is proceeding to class five or six.

There has to be clarity about the learning process, and only then there would be love for learning.

Isn’t this a obvious question to ask, “Mom, I am going to spend eight hours in school, every day. Why at all do I need to be there?” Does the fellow not deserve a convincing answer, a solid and truthful answer.

But who would answer? Mom herself never knew why she got educated, or got married, or gave birth. What does she have to tell the kid? She will say, “This is the way it happens. You just go.” Or if she has some wits, she will say, “Son, had I asked so many questions, you would not have been there to ask even a single question.”

Knowledge is totally meaningless without an understanding of the knower.

Getting it?

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

Watch the session video: Why doesn’t the current education system create a Vivekananda? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Woman as the passive player in sex|| Acharya Prashant (2017)

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Woman as the passive player in sex

Question: Why are females silent players in sex, in this society? Why do they spend their life as deaf, blind and dumb in matter of sex? Why does the society make them like this?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the society? The society is what you and me are. If you and me are exploitative, the society too will be exploitative.

Man keeps on fantasizing sex as the ultimate remedy to his mental chaos. And to get this remedy, he must have the woman’s body. To ensure that the woman’s body is available, the man must keep the woman in bondage. Otherwise, she may or she may not acquiesce.

Is it not very straightforward?

Is it not all in line with the ancient pattern of the ego?

What is surprising about this?

But what you are not seeing is, that just as the man wants to enslave the woman, because the ego is hungry for satiation, and being hungry it cannot let go of it’s promised food. Similarly, the woman too wants to hold the man captive. Their ways are different.

Man may use physical force, the woman may use force of the emotion. And if the woman is powerful in some other ways, she will use that power.

So it is great to be compassionate towards women, but it is greater to first of all understand, where all this exploitation stems from. Then you will be compassionate towards both men and women.

You must realise that – it is the fundamental nature of mankind, to be exploitative.

Man exploits woman, and woman too in her own enslaved way, exploits man.

Of course, one can go only as far as one’s apparent powers allow. And one can exercise his powers only in dimension, where on is powerful. So they both do that. They are masters of their own respective dimensions. And both want to have slaves in their own dimensions.

Man and woman together, both have to realise that this sordid game, that is being played behind their back.

No man realises what his true relationship with a woman is. And neither does a woman realise, what being related to a man means. Unless they both realise that, there would be suffering for both. The nature of suffering, the appearance of suffering, might differ. But suffering is, suffering.

Man cannot live in peace, when the woman is suffering.

And when the woman is suffering, how will she ever want peace for the man.

You must see, you must be liberated.

And then you will help all men and all women around you, to see and be liberated.

It is not then a gender-specific thing.

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

Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant: Woman as the passive player in sex

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Why help others be liberated? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why help others be liberatedQuestion: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam!

You have told that individual liberation is not possible. Either we can go together, or nobody can go. So we have to help others to cross-over. Acharya Ji, I can’t even help the people close to me, they are caught up either in routine work, or they indulge in entertainment. No time for enquiry or devotion is left for them. And there are others, who say that they are not interested in spirituality. I feel helpless.

There are billions of people on earth. Even if they all get liberated, miraculously, then these monkeys and chimpanzees, may evolve into human beings, and it is going to be a never ending process, until the final destruction.

It seems we all are going to be stuck here forever. I know I am asking something childish, but this is how I am thinking. Please give clarity Acharya Ji. Thank you.

Acharya Prashant Ji: So, tonight’s query is: If all are to be liberated, for the liberation of one single individual, then what about the chimpanzees? By the theory of evolution, it seems one day they too will evolve into human beings, and so work will remain pending. Total liberation is still not there. What to do?

Parmeshwari (the questioner), liberation of everybody is not like vaccination of the entire population, where you have to have a head-count. As they used to say in anti-polio campaign, “No child left.” No we are saying, “No chimpanzee left. All liberated.”

There is no such equivalence.

Are you getting it?

Now, how do I explain, because you have quoted me fully correctly. These words are actually mine. But the meaning you are drawing from them is not mine. I will credit you with quoting without a flaw. But this is not what I intended to say.

What does ‘liberation’ mean? Let’s start from basics. What does ‘liberation’ mean? What does one liberate herself from? What is ‘bondage’? If you are talking of liberation, it is always in the context of bondage. What is ‘bondage’ first of all? What is human bondage?

Acharya Ji: Suffering. Expand on that.

What is ‘suffering’ related to?

Listener 1: Sorrow, pain.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sorrow, fear.

Proceed, give me more words.

Listener 1: Shame.

Listener 2: Desire.

Listener 3: Death.

Acharya Ji: Which is fear.

Listener 4: Grief.

Acharya Ji: Which is sorrow.

Listener 5: Jealousy.

Acharya Ji: Which is comparison, and limitation.

Listener 6: Resentment.

Acharya Ji: Which is insecurity and resistance.

And more….Talk of time. Let me drop a hint. When we say, “The mind has to be liberated,” the mind has to be liberated from…?

(Chuckling) Time, time.

Expand on that. What in ‘time’?

Listener 7: The past and the future.

Acharya Ji: The past and the future. With respect to the past, the mind has memories.

Listener 8: Sorrows.

Acharya Ji: Not only just sorrows, one could have had pleasurable experiences as well. So, the mind has to be liberated from memories. And, with respect to the future, the mind has imaginations. And…..

Listener 8: Hope.

Acharya Ji: What was that word? Hope.

So when we are saying that we must be liberated, we are saying that we must be liberated from – hope. If you are to be liberated from hope, can you hope for liberation? Parmeshwari (the questioner), can you hope for liberation? And if you are not to hope for liberation, why are you becoming hopeless?

What is ‘liberation’ then?

Liberation lies in not even wanting liberation.

Liberation lies in not wanting, even liberation.

Not wanting even liberation – and that is the ‘desireless action’ of Krishna.

And that is the love of the Saints.

You work not so that you would be somehow benefited from the work. You work, because you love the other. Even to work for the other, with the expectation that by working for the other, your own liberation would be facilitated, you are just playing in the hands of hope.

So, Parmeshwari, though you have quoted me right, but you have got me wrong. I did say that unless all are liberated, the individual cannot be liberated. But I did not say that this should be the reason, why you should work for the other’s the liberation.

The reason has to be – self-love, desire-less action.

Do you get the difference?

If you work for the liberation of the other, hoping that the liberation of the other would help in your liberation, then you would work for the other, only as long as you are convinced that the liberation of the other would in some sense, help you.

If somebody comes and convinces you that the liberation of the other has no bearing upon your liberation, then you would just drop the other, very cruelly. Because why were you helping the other in the first place? So that you could be benefited, in turn in your liberation. So if you know that helping the other, is of no consequence to you, then your help would freeze.

But it is very different in love.

In love, you continue to help the other, irrespective of the consequence it would have upon you.

Do you see the difference in these two approaches?

Yes it is true that yours and the other’s liberation are one, but that does not mean that you help the other with the intention of gaining your liberation.

Because if you are helping the other, with the intention of gaining personal liberation, it means that you still see a difference between yourself and the other.

The intent is still personal. Is it not? If the intent is still personal, then are you really one with the other? Then this is very selfish help, very self-centered help. And self-centered help would only reinforce the help, not liberate the self. Would it?

So do help the other, but without any desire for result or success.

We do not know how really the other would be helped.

We can atmost do our best.

You do your best, and that is enough for someone up there, to smile and do some magic.

That magic does not occur because you did wonders. That magic occurs because someone has smiled at your childlike labor, like the little squirrel, that was trying to help Sri Ram build the bridge to Lanka.

Could she have ever succeeded? Could she have? But the Lord smiled at her. Do your best, that’s all that He wants from you. You cannot cause the liberation of other. It is the ego that believes in causing things. Liberated ego-lessness lies in just doing in love.

Often times, knowing fully that what you are doing is materially inconsequential. Materially inconsequential, not actually. In material terms, it can cause no difference at all, like the few particles of sand carried by the squirrel. What material difference can they cause to the building of the bridge? But actually, mush difference is caused.

Similarly, being the little, limited self, the little person that you and I are, obviously our help cannot reach to many people. But still, let’s do our best. That’s liberation. To be liberated of hope, to be liberated of a desire of a response of the other. To be liberated of the demand for a positive result. Just do your best.

And also, one more clarification. When I said, “All will be liberated together,” I included Chimpanzees. The Bodhisattva ideal is: “Till the last blade of grass remains in bondage, I will not cross the river.”

So forget about the Chimpanzees, it’s worse. You have to take into consideration every single little blade of grass as well. And you are liberated, if this piece of news does not disappoint you. You just say, “My task is to help. Rest is upon the Lord.”

What more can this little woman do?

She has to help, help and help to the best of her capacity.

And if her capacity is limited, how is she to be blamed?

But what is certain is, that she will be truthful.

Till her last breath, she will stay put.

She will not desert the battle.

Till even the last bit of energy is in her, she will keep dedicating it relentlessly, religiously to the sacred mission of liberation.

And nothing else. And nothing else.

That’s what is to be done.

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

Watch the session video: Why help others be liberated? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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

Or, call the Foundation at 9650585100, or write to requests@advait.org.in


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Befriend the mind, and it will be your best friend || Acharya Prashant (2019)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here


Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Acharya Ji, you mentioned that mumuksha is what matters when we choose a path for liberation. Mumuksha is a deep desire for liberation. But the mind is always playing games. Once I do things against it’s comforts, it tries to make up stories, create random, non-existent problems for me.

Shall I listen to my mind, or should I ignore it? Should I be neutral to what it does, and just watch? Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: This is how you are looking at it. You are saying that whenever you try for liberation, whenever you move towards liberation, the mind tries to disturb and distract you. You are saying, “It cooks up stories, it creates random, non-existent problems. And it starts playing various games to disturb and distract you.”

That may not really be the case.

You see, it’s like this. The mind has had experiences. It proceeds only on the basis of experiences it has had. It has nothing else. The little self, the ego is nothing without time. And what it has been doing through the course of time? It has been interacting with the world.

Time means – a relationship now, and a relationship then. Something happening right now, and something happening later on. That is ‘time’. So the mind is all full of experiences. And the mind’s experience has been such that, whenever it has wanted to quench it’s thirst, it has never had pure water available. It has never experienced pure water at all.

Probably, pure water is something that cannot be experienced. So what has the mind had? Soda water. What has the mind had? Soda water. So what has the mind learnt? That when you are thirsty, you should have soda water.

Even in soda water, what is the mind really looking for? Water. So, it brings the soda. And in the soda, what is it that it finds useful? The water. But it does not ‘know’ water. Water has been outside experience. What has been within experience? Soda water. So now the mind’s conditioning is: when thirsty, get soda water, or some coke, or some canned juice.

Now it’s ‘your’ mind, not really separate from you. I say that the mind is your own shadow. Which means, your fundamental desire, and that of the mind, cannot be two different. In fact, they are just the same.

It’s just that you exist as ‘I’, and the mind exists as the experiences that the ‘I’ has had. You, the ego exists as ‘I’. And the mind exists as the sum total of experiences that this ‘I’ has had. ‘You’ are conscious, the mind is not. Just as the man is alive, the shadow is not.

The ‘I’ is conscious, the mind is not really conscious.

The mind is a dead pattern.

The mind is mechanical.

So you may decide to move towards pure water. Consciousness gets elevated. It comes to see that pure water is what would quench the thirst, it tries to move towards pure water. It tries to move towards the pure water, the centuries old conditioned mind, obstructs the way. It says, “No, no pure water. We must have soda water.”

And then Saurabh (the questioner) says, “Whenever I try to do something good, the mind tries to distract me.” Is the mind really trying to distract you? Now you and the mind are fighting. You are saying, “Water,” the mind is saying, “Soda water.” And then Saurabh sends over the question: “The mind is so foolish and so evil. It does not let me do my sadhana. I have mumuksha, I want liberation, the mind only want bondages. I want water, the mind says, ‘Coke.'”

What you do not see Saurabh, that deeply behind whatever the mind is saying, mind wants exactly the same thing, as you do. There is no divergence at all. There is only lack of understanding. And that onus of understanding is upon you. We said, “Mind is a machine.” Can a machine understand? The machine will not understand.

You have to see that what all your conditioning, all your habits, all your patterns, are crying for, is really redemption.

It’s a strange thing to hear probably. But even your patterns are crying for liberation. It’s just that they will not spell Liberation as L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. There spelling of Liberation is different, just as the mind’s spelling of Water is C.O.K.E.

But you are consciousness, you must understand. If the mind is saying, “Coke,” it really wants Water. If the mind is saying, “Mocktail,” it really wants Water. Instead you are complaining, “I want water, mind wants soda.” That is not the case.

The mind is really you, in a frozen form.

Mind cannot want anything that you do not really want.

It’s just that you are a bit intelligent, and the mind is dumb and frozen, and unconscious, and stupid.

Co-operate with your mind, learn to take the mind along. Mind is not evil, it’s just stupid. You cannot put somebody to the sword, just for stupidity. And how will you kill the mind? Does the mind stand independent of you? Does it?

The mind is your shadow.

If you change, the mind will change.

And that’s what I am advising you.

Prove that you have changed. If you have changed, you will be able to convince the mind. Just as the shadow changes, when the man changes. Just as the world changes, when man changes.

Don’t dismiss the desires of the mind.

Look at those desires.

Go deeply into those desires.

And behind each desire, you will find only one desire – the desire to be free.


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

Watch the session: Befriend the mind, and it will be your best friend || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Is enlightenment gradual or instantaneous? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Is enlightenment gradual or instantaneous

Question: Acharya Ji, we have heard many stories of kings getting enlightened in one moment. So, is enlightenment gradual or instantaneous?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. (Pointing at the arrangement of posters on the wall) Do, You see this arrangement there? Let us say that this is the arrangement that is called ‘completeness’ or ‘totality’. Nothing is missing here, right?

Now, in the king’s life, this particular poster is missing. (Reading out the quotation written on the poster) “As you minimize the role of planning in your life, your freedom increases.” So one day, this poster comes floating upon the wings, and somehow gets fixed here on the wall. And now, the pattern is complete. Now the thing is – Total.

This is the way, it becomes Total for the king, because in the king’s story, in the king’s life only ‘this’ is missing. ‘This’ has no special relevance, except that in the king’s particular, personal story, ‘this’ was missing.

Therefore, the appearance of ‘this’ thing has no special relevance for you. You find out what is missing in ‘your’ life.

The king saw a dry, yellow leaf floating upon the winds, and he was immediately enlightened. That might be, because the king has brought everything else, assembled everything else, that is needed for Totality except – detachment.

Now when he sees that the tree has given up on the leaf, and the leaf is no more attached to the tree, and the leaf is freely floating – that completes the story for him. Now, what completes the story for the king, will not complete the story for Parmeshwari (the questioner), because in the king’s world, only ‘this’ was missing.

In Parmeshwari’s world, this-this, and that are missing. So a floating leaf will not help you. So, what is going to help you? May be a talking parrot, may be a dancing frog. May be some tea.

You have to see what is missing from your Totality, therefore stories about others’ enlightenment must be read with caution.

You specially have stuff like this in Zen.

“So the monk was walking on the street, and he found a dog sniffing into the garbage pile, and the monk was immediately enlightened.” If you try the same thing, all you will get is some infection, not enlightenment.

(laughter)

The monk had already come to a particular stage, where all that was missing was already there, except that missing piece. And the moment that came in, everything else was already ready. Everything else was already, only this much was missing. So, as they say in a proverb, “The last straw on the camel’s back.”

That does not mean that enlightenment is a product of the last straw. That only means that the fellow is so thoroughly prepared, the fellow is so absolutely ready, that one small incident, and the so-called event precipitates.

Are you getting it?

When the car is fully assembled and well-fueled and totally ready, then you just insert the key and ignition happens. If the car itself is in shambles, and has no engine, what is the point in talking of the key again and again?

In the case of the zen seeker, enlightenment happens at the turn of the key. How does that happen? Because the car is already raring to go. And so much effort has happened in assembling the car.

But the story won’t talk about the effort that went into the manufacturing of the car. The story simply says, “And the monk went in, and with one slight twist of the key, he flew away.” And you say, “Wow! Is that how it happens?” No, it won’t happen that way for ‘you’. You have to first assemble the car and then, there might be one point or one touch, and – Start! Not before that.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, what is the purpose of Zen stories then?

Acharya Ji: To see that someone can be so thoroughly prepared.

The point is not to lure you with the prospect of instant liberation.

The pint is to communicate to you, that your own preparation can be so very rigorous, so thorough, so complete, that after the preparation even an ordinary event can precipitate your – total Liberation.

An ordinary event. There is nothing special about the event. That event could as well be, walking of the monkey that just went by this place. And the story would say, “With one eye, Anna(the questioner), looked at the Master, and with the other eye she looked at the monkey. And then both the eyes were together and simultaneously liberated. And gone was the ‘I’.”

Question 3: Acharya ji, does enlightenment happen on its own?

Acharya Ji: No, it requires your conscious preparation.

Unconsciously, you anyway, always clamoring.

Your deep unconscious self is always yelling for Liberation.

What is missing is the co-operation of your conscious self.

Deep within, each one of us is beating our fists. None of us is contended. But at the conditioned-thought level, at the conscious-determination level, we do  not commit ourselves to Liberation.

So, a conscious commitment is needed.

It’s like the body being fully ready for the bath, but the ‘person’ not being ready for the bath. You know how it happens, right? It’s winters.

(laughter)

The body is clamoring, “I need Liberation from the non-sense that is sticking to me.” But the conscious mind is not agreeing.

A conscious commitment is needed.

Deep within, you are already ready.

———————————————————————

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

Watch the session: Is enlightenment gradual or instantaneous? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The desire behind all desires || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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Question: Acharya Ji, an intense desire for liberation, is a prerequisite?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Classically, it has been put that way. The scriptures talk of mumuksha (desire for liberation). But that intense desire, is not a desire with the same quality, as that of normal, ordinary desires. It is a very latent thing. It is not something that would scream from the surface. It is not something that would shout from the rooftops – “I want liberation.”

It is the desire, behind all desires. And one has to be a little watchful, a little meditative, to be in touch with it. Otherwise, you will be in touch with only with what you superficially want.

For example, you want to change your job. If you are not attentive enough, you will say, “My desire is to get a new job.” But actually, your desire is of deepest liberation. So, mumuksha, is actually the one desire, behind all desires.

And if you make it superficial, if you start saying explicitly that – “I want liberation, I want liberation,” then you have reduced and trivialized mumuksha.

Questioner: Do we have to think about it day and night?

Acharya Ji: No, you don’t have to. Because you are anyway thinking about something day-in and day-out. Whatever you are thinking about, you are actually thinking about liberation only.

Give me one thought that bugs you, or anything that you think about. You will see that behind that thought, is the thought – ‘I want freedom, I want freedom’. But if you start explicitly exclaiming – “I want Freedom,” then as we said that we have trivialized the matter.

So, you don’t have to say, “I want Liberation.” You anyway keep thinking about X,Y and Z. Something or the other, right? Don’t we all keep thinking? Is our mind not always occupied?

Whatever your mind is occupied with, behind that occupation, lies the desire for Liberation.

You say that you want a new house. The thing is that you want liberation from, what your current house imposes upon you. Behind all desires is the one fundamental desire to be – liberated. And you don’t have to make that desire explicit. You just have to pay attention to what is already going on.

The mind is already thinking, the mind is already occupied.

The mind is already thinking, the mind is already occupied. See what it is already occupied with. Just don’t swim on the surface. Dive a little deeper. And there you will find, that you may say that you want ‘this’, you want ‘that’, you want A,B,C,D,E,F,G, but whatever you say you want, you actually want that One single thing, which you may call by any name or no name.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, so is there a bond between love and liberation?

Acharya Ji:

We love to be liberated.

We want liberation, so that we may love.

Man’s primary draw, man’s fundamental pull, is towards freedom. People call it the ‘Truth’. So, you love freedom, you love to be liberated. You go towards That, which will relieve you of your sense of bondage.

You feel bonded, you feel enclosed. You are drawn towards That, which you feel, will give you relief from your chains, and pull down your walls. That is love. that attraction is – love.

So, you may be attracted to any thing or any body, but fundamentally, you are being attracted only towards liberation. You might be attracted sexually towards somebody, but even there, what you are looking for is – liberation.

“There is something within me, that is so incomplete. By being with you, I sense that I might begin to feel complete. That will give me liberation from my sense of incompletion.” And that is why you are drawn towards a man, or a woman. The pinnacle of that liberation is the moment of orgasm, when you feel liberated from just everything. It is in search of that one moment, that you go to a woman.

Questioner: So, is spiritual being, really loving and caring?

Acharya Ji: First of all, we all are spiritual beings. Because we may or may not have spiritual antecedents or pretensions, but we are anyway drawn towards Peace, Love, Truth. And that is what is meant by being spiritual.

To be drawn towards Peace – is Spirituality.

And there is nobody here, who is not drawn towards Peace.

So, there is no living being, who is not spiritual.

We all are spiritual.

It is just that some of us follow so-called spiritual practices, others don’t.

There are some who associate themselves with religions and cults, others don’t. But to be a man, is to be spiritual. To have a Heart, is to be spiritual. Everybody is, inexorably spiritual. There is no exception possible here.

That is one thing.

Second – would a religious or spiritual being, be loving, caring, compassionate? Of course, because that is one’s nature. It is just that when one is not simple, then love, care, affection and compassion, themselves assume very vicious forms.

Then your intention is to love, but you end up chaining the other. Then in the name of care and compassion, you put the other in a prison. The intention is always of love. You ask anybody, who is doing something at any given particular moment, and you would find that his intention, in his own eyes, is right.

In his ‘own’ eyes, everybody is doing the right thing, at any given moment. Later on, he may repent. Later on, he may acknowledge that he was led astray. But at that moment, everybody is right, in his ‘own’ eyes.

So, we all are always looking towards the same things – love, care, compassion. But we are not simple enough, not surrendered enough. Then we say, “I want love, but on my own terms and conditions. I will surrender, but at a time and place of my choosing. I will narrate the Truth, I will live in the Truth, but in my own particular style.” This ‘own’ particular style – that is where the problem is, that is where we all blunder.

We are not simple enough. When there is something beautiful, we don’t just simply say, “O! Beautiful.” We would rather take oblique ways. When we find something, that is really valuable, we just don’t present ourselves to it. We just don’t go to it, and greet, and acknowledge. When we love something or somebody, we just don’t go ahead, hug and kiss. We try very tangential tactics.

The woman would dress-up, to attract the lover. Now, if you are really caring for your lover, if you have something for this person, this man, then why are you trying all these games? If you love him, go to him, sit with him, be with him.

But no, she would rather keep a distance, and try to seduce him.

This is where the problem lies. The woman is acting from the center of love. There can be no denial. Because she loves, that is why she is maintaining a distance. But what mind of love is this, that is only increasing the distance?

“I love you so much, that I will not call you for one week.”

“I love you too much to be with you.”

Have you not heard these statements?

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Ji: “Let’s go a little distance apart, that will increase our love.” These are not simple things. We are not simple beings.

This is a simple way of loving.

If there is something that is tasty, eat it.

If you are thirsty and there is water, drink.

If you find somebody lovable, kiss.

If you don’t like a place, quit.

But we don’t do all these things. When we don’t like a place, we say, “You know what, this is one of the best opportunities I could have had. And I really like being with these people. But the time has come to move on, but still I would be here for two more months to bug you.”

This is not simple.

If you don’t like, please quit.

If you don’t like taste of something…just as a kid…Can you force a kid to eat something it doesn’t like? You can’t. You can dupe him, you can coerce him. But he would not do it by himself.

Getting it?


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

Watch the session: The desire behind all desires || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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There is nothing as one’s True Self || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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There is nothing as one's True Self

Question: Acharya Ji, I have often observed that my bodily tendencies always act as a hindrance in my spiritual growth. Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sadhana is not for the sake of the body.

The body does not want any kind of liberation. All that the wants is – food, rest, sleep, sex. Therefore, whenever you would go against the conditioning and the objectives of the body, the body is bound to resist.

Obviously, sadhana requires a fit body. But, this has to be remembered that fitness is for the sake of sadhana. Otherwise, strength and longevity of the body, have no value per se.

The body is like an instrument, or a vehicle. You do not want to have a car that is serviced, fueled, polished, maintained, but never used. You maintain your car, you service it, you fuel it, so that it can take you to your destination. The destination comes first. The car is subservient to the destination. The car is not an end in itself.

However, there are many, who would compromise on the destination, for the sake of he vehicle. That does not sound quite intelligent.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, how do I know that the one who observes all the thoughts, all the temptations, is my ‘High Self’, and not my mind?

Acharya Ji: There is nothing called ‘my high self’. The ‘High Self’, is not ‘yours’. If the ‘High Self’ is really high, how can it be yours? You don’t have two selves – one high self, and one low self.

True Self is really is a misnomer. The True Self is not personal. The True Self does not belong to ‘you’. Not ‘yours’.

You can’t say, “It’s mine.” It is unknowable, unthinkable, untouchable, unimaginable. You can say nothing about it. You are the low self, who can at best simply surrender to the Truth. The Truth is, sometimes called as ‘The True Self’, or ‘the High Self’.

The little self, must not even talk of the Truth. it can just bow it’s head down.

When you say, “I am the True Self, that observes all the little activity,” you are saying something about the True Self. Right? You can say something about anything, only if you can observe that thing. Right?

(Pointing at the camera, placed in front) So, if you say that this camera is observing me(the Speaker), then there has to be a third entity, that is observing the camera, and is therefore able to say that the camera is observing this speaker.Correct?

So, if you say, as is often commonly said that – ‘the True Self is the observer, that observes all the little activities of the mind’ – then you you are making a claim about the activities of the True Self. In other words, you are claiming, that you are observing the True Self.

You can observe something, only if you are behind it.

On one hand, you say, “The ‘True Self’ is the witness of everything.” On the other hand, you say that, “Witness is witnessing, the witness is not witnessing” – and such things about the witness.

Who is a ‘witness’ by definition? Who sees everything, but can itself never be seen. It would be a poor witness, who is witnessed. When you talk about the ‘True Self’, you are actually talking of – witnessing the witness. Don’t you see how absurd that is?

But we want to keep talking about ‘witnessing’ and ‘True Self’. This is nothing but the ego’s attempt, to lay it’s hands, it’s small and dirty hands, even upon the Truth. So much talk about witnessing. Only the ‘witness’ can say about ‘witnessing’. But, the ‘witness’, by it’s very nature, would not be interested in saying anything. Who are we to talk about ‘witnessing’?

But in talking about witnessing that same, fundamental misconception is there, called ‘my High Self’. As far as we are concerned, there is only the small self, the low self, in your words.

‘Witnessing’ is never something, that you would ever – know of.

You can never say, “I was in the witnessing mode, an hour back. And now I am not witnessing.”

If you knew that you were witnessing, then I repeat, you were witnessing the ‘witness’. It must be a very poor witness. So, here is the event, here is the witness of the event, and here are you – witnessing both the event and the witness.

Even the best that you can be is small. Retain this humility. This humility is far more important than concepts like witnessing.

Questioner: You said that it is better to keep up with this humility. But this decision too would be taken by somebody. So, keeping up with this humility would be impossible.

Acharya Ji: It is not impossible, because someone, or somebody, we inexorably, inevitably, are – by dint of birth, by dint of body-identification. The somebodi-ness, is anyway there. No point turning blind to it. That’s the fact of our living. Now, given that we already live as ‘somebody’, why pretend that we are nobody?

Anshu (one of the team members) was telling me that he met a lady, and asked her name. And she was returning from some satsang, and she replied, “I am nobody.”

You are ‘somebody’.

Given that you are ‘somebody’, the somebody would always have an option, a choice, as to what to be.

Make a choice, in favor of humility.

It is not very honest to say, “One is nobody.”

Questioner: But the choice will be made out of some reason.

Acharya Ji: Yeah!

Questioner: So, there must be a reason to choose humility.

Acharya Ji:

You have already made all the other choices.  So, when you say that there has to be a reason, there is only one reason – suffering. All your other choices, all your choices in vanity, arrogance, bigness, smartness, cleverness, have already been tried, and they brought you suffering. So, there is one choice left. And that final choice is – humility. If you still want to try out, the various choices that you like, you may still try them. The result would be – more suffering.

And that suffering would ultimately push you, to humility.

Questioner: So, you mean to say that humility is forced.

Acharya Ji:

Yes.

Humility is a forced choice.

It comes either to the very intelligent ones, or to the very experienced ones.

Either you are so very intelligent, that you quickly realise, that arrogance doesn’t help. Or, you are so experienced in getting beaten up by life, that life beats all the smartness out of you.

So, either intelligence, or experience.

But, ultimately, humility has to come.

The ego has to see it’s small place.


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

Watch the session: There is nothing as one’s True Self || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Who is God, and why should one strive for Him? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Who is God, and why should one strive for Him

Question: As I read couplets of Kabir Sahib, he talks of God in them. Who is ‘God’, and why should one strive for ‘Him’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why should I answer your question? You don’t strive for God, I will not answer your question?

Next one.

How do you feel, when I do not answer your question? That is exactly how one feels, when he is godless. Because you want God, Abhishek (questioner), that’s why you want the answer to this question.

‘God’ is the answer to all questions.

Why does anybody, ever want anything?

Because he actually wants ‘God’.

‘God’ is the end of all the things that you want.

And therefore, all those, who have gone, a little mad, have said, “God is everything that you want.” As they say, “Love is all you need.” They have said, “God is all you need.”

The thing is, you are a man of need. You need, you need, you need, and you keep needing, you keep needing, you keep needing. So, there must certainly be something, that you are asking for. That is ‘God’.

You don’t ‘have’ to strive for ‘God’.

You ‘are’ striving for ‘God’.

Read more

In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom?|| Acharya Prashant, with students

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In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom

Question: Acharya Ji, every thing that we develop, comes from conditioning, how do I then, find my real identity?

Acharya Prashant Ji: (Addressing the questioner) Pallavi, had everything been coming from outside, then this question could not have arisen.

If everything comes from outside, then we are a system, like a machine. A machine never has the urge for self-enquiry. A machine will never feel uncomfortable, or befuddled at the fact that it does not know it’s true identity. In fact, the question of identity itself, is not relevant to a machine.

So, what happens, yes we realise that a lot what constitutes our psyche comes from what we have read or heard, assimilated directly-indirectly, consciously-subconsciously. We realise that. And the more we realise, the more we become free of that which is just an external layer upon me.

How do I know?

Just by enquiring.

Just by seeing.

And this ‘seeing’, is very simple, very straightforward.

“The environment is noisy, and I find it difficult to concentrate.”

“In the morning, I get a few compliments, and my mood cheers up.”

“My favorite team loses a match, and I feel down.”

These are the simple, routine, everyday events, which if observed, give freedom from the power of the outside to control us, from the power of the outside, to become our identity.

Are you getting it?

So, no real action has to be taken. You know, you do not really need to ‘do’ something, or go anywhere, or actively negate your thoughts. You just have to be little more thoughtful, conscious, and it becomes very clear that – “O! It happened there, and it is effecting me ‘here’.”

The more clearly you see this, the more frequently you see this, it starts becoming awkward then, to let your control remain somewhere else. It won’t be very nice, right? Every second minute, you are realising, that the world is controlling you, through a remote system. Does it remain pleasant? Would you feel nice that way?

But we all, the people around us, the entire world, allows that to continue, only because, we are not present to that fact. We do not realise that. That realisation itself, is liberation. Nothing else needs to be really ‘done’. It is kind of a slight, kind of an insult, to frequently keep on seeing, that my strings are being pulled by the world in all directions. And whosoever pulls my strings, succeeds.

One does not feel good with that fact. This ‘not feeling good’, is your freedom. Because, after all, there is no real string. The string is only mental. The string is ignorance. You realise and you are free.

In a physical sense, however, that mental freedom, may take time to show up, time to materialise. You might have a physical location, you might have a concrete timetable, you might have a certain routine. Realisation does not mean, that immediately your physical whereabouts will also change.

One might be there, trapped in some kind of enclosure, practically a jail, without ever knowing that he is trapped, that he is a de-facto slave. And then, he starts seeing that, where he is, every single thought and action, is commanded by somebody else.

At the psychological level, this is instant freedom. You see that you are being commanded, and you are free from the command. However, that does not mean, that physically too, he will become instantly free.

Whatever is physical, is a result of time, comes from a process, that extends over time, and hence, the physical manifestation, also takes time.

So, do not be worried, and do not start doubting, what I just said, if you do not see your freedom, expressing itself in a very material way. That material expression may take time. For example, you might be with somebody, since years. And now, because you are with that person since years, the company of that person is meshed in your daily program.

You go and catch the bus with him, you take your dinner with him, you watch movie with him. Probably, you have a joint membership with that person, in some club. It is a result of your long standing association. Then one day you realise, that the fellow, has actually been domination you, controlling you. That does not mean, that the next day, he will disappear from your life.

There is a long past. And that long past has its own residue. It will take time to be cleaned away. But rest assured, that the process starts. And then, it also expresses itself materially.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant, with students: In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom?

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Why blame social media? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Why blame social media

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Question: Acharya Ji, Namaskaar. My question is not related to Spirituality. I am sixteen year old, and many of my friends who are of my age, are stuck to social media. They are lost in the visual world, and it is affecting their personal lives. How can they get rid of this? Is social media good or bad?

Acharya Prashant Ji: How to get rid of their personal life?

Questioner: No. All youngsters have this same problem.

Acharya Ji: So you want to get rid of other’s problems.

Questioner: No, it’s my problem too.

Acharya Ji: So why are you talking of others? In the spirit of philanthropy?

(laughter)

This is how we are. You are talking of your own Facebook account. It’s as particular, and as personal, as that. It is so personal that you would not share the password even with me.

Questioner: I will share the password with you.

Acharya Ji: And then change it.

(laughter)

But I will talk as if I am talking of a global menace. “Oh my God! You know, it is affecting the American elections you know. The Russians got Trump elected by interfering. And therefore I am concerned.”

Why must you put it this way?

So, what is wrong with Facebook then?

Questioner: There is nothing wrong, but it is addictive.

Acharya Ji: So what’s wrong with being addicted?

Questioner: It wastes time.

Acahrya Ji: How does it tell you that time is being wasted?

Questioner: We are continuously opening the app and checking notifications.

Acharya Ji: That’s okay. But how does it tell you that time is being wasted?

Questioner: Our parents say that.

(laughter)

Acharya Ji: So now you bring the Global Parents Association in the picture. So you are saying that on one hand, Facebook attracts you, and on the other hand, parents stop you. That is your condition.

It is as simple as that. Why don’t you put it this way? That would make it easier for me and you. “I want to do a lot of Face-booking, but Mumma tells me that it is bad habit. And I do not know what to do. Though I know what to do. That is what I do everyday. I tell Mumma to go away. But still she keeps bugging. That is the problem.”

So, the question boils down to – how to keep pestering parents away?

Questioner: No, how should we minimize our time on Facebook?

Acharya Ji: And still get as much satisfaction.

(laughter)

More bang for the buck. Yes. Small packet, big return. Yes.

Do we know what we want? Do we even understand what our wants are, and where they are coming from, and what do they actually mean? Do we even articulate them rightly? Do we?

Alright! Let’s go into it. So you say that time is being wasted on social media. When do you call something as ‘wasted’? When do you call something as ‘wasted’?

Questioner: When one doesn’t gain anything from it.

Acharya Ji: (Holding a mug) There was tea in this mug some time back. If the tea would have spilled from this mug, would you have called it ‘wastage’?

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Why would you call it a ‘wastage’? If I sip the tea from the mug, it would be emptied. And if I spill the tea, then also the mug would be emptied. So, sipping it, or spilling it, in either case the mug would be emptied. So, would do you call it a ‘wastage’ when the tea gets spilled over?

Questioner: Because it didn’t serve it’s purpose. I couldn’t use it.

Acharya Ji: It didn’t serve it’s purpose. So when is time called as ‘being wasted’?

Questioner: When it doesn’t serve the purpose.

Acharya Ji: When it doesn’t serve the purpose. But for that, you must know what the purpose of time is. What is the purpose of time? Before you say, “I am wasting time,” or, “He is wasting time,” you must know what is the purpose of time. Only then can you rightfully claim whether it is wasted or utilised.

So what is the purpose of time?

‘Time wastage’, ‘Don’t waste time’ –  all these are very popular phrases. Aren’t they? So how do you use them then, if you do not know what is the purpose of time? How do you call something as ‘wastage of time’?

Listener 1: When you are not doing, what you are supposed to do.

Acharya Ji: What are you supposed to do?

Listener 1: (Referring to the questioner) He is supposed to study usually…

Acharya Ji: Why is he supposed to study only. He is also supposed to login to Facebook. What do you mean by ‘supposed to’? Which scripture will tell you what you are ‘supposed to do’? Please tell me where one can find that Oracle. Where is that Oracle which would would determine to us, what we are ‘supposed’ to do? Yes.

How do you know what is the purpose of time? What is the purpose of time?

Questioner: It must give me satisfaction.

Acharya Ji: If Facebook is satisfying you, you cannot call it ‘wastage of time’. Full stop.

If the purpose of time is your satisfaction, and if doing all kind of this or that, and non-sense, satisfies you, then you cannot call it as ‘wastage of time’. And I am leaning upon your own premise. You said that purpose of time is – satisfaction. If that be so, then do whatever fetches you satisfaction.

If it satisfies me, to spill this tea on this table, then you would not call it as ‘wastage of tea’. Or would you? If it satisfies me to abscond from this session, it would be a great use of my time. I may be running around on the beach. A gala time on the beach.

What is the purpose of time?

Listener 3: It can be different from person to person. So, as a body, if one is a student, the purpose of time is to study. As a seeker, if you are seeking something, to get it to the next level, is your purpose for the time being. So it is different…..

Acharya Ji: With what purpose are you a student?

Listener 3: For academic qualifications, and all.

Acharya Ji: Because you are ‘supposed’ to that. So that brings us back to the Oracle. So, either you use common sense, or you fetch the Oracle. Otherwise, you are stuck.

Whenever I ask you that what is the purpose of this or that, you say, “This.” And when I ask you, “Why?”, you say that because you are ‘supposed’ to do this, because you are ‘supposed’ to be like this.

Now I cannot proceed with that. Who is the one, who brought all these suppositions into your mind? How do you ‘suppose’ so much, and continue to live on, based on suppositions, assumptions? Or, please bring the Oracle here, so that I may have a frank word with him, it, or her, or whatever.

How do you know that you are ‘supposed’ to be a student?

What is the purpose of time?

Of special note are those, who have been with the Courses and Camps, since long. At least theoretically, one may explain this.

Listener 4: Practically, it is for liberation. And in the course of getting that liberation, if something is stopping you, you get rid of that, and finally reach it!

Acharya Ji: So, is Facebook good or bad?

Listener 2: Depends on what we are using it for.

Acharya Ji: That is the answer.

The only thing that determines whether time, or money, or any other resource available to you, is wasted, or properly utilised is, whether it aided your liberation.

Anything that contributes to your liberation, is a thing, well utilised.

Anything that impedes your liberation, is a thing, badly wasted.

If Facebook can contribute to your liberation, Facebook is great. But if on Facebook, you are just adding to your non-sense, to your conditioning, then obviously, it is very wasteful. And the blame does not lie with Facebook, the blame lies with the use you are putting Facebook to.

Amongst you, there might be a few, who might have found me on Facebook. Facebook is wonderful for them. Or, you could also access all kinds of trivia, and non-sense, and rubbish on Facebook.

You know what, social media is so addictive, so addictive, that half the volunteers of the foundation, are only watching YouTube for fourteen hours a day. Thank them for that. Thank them for their addiction. Otherwise, these videos would not reach you.

Now, is YouTube good or bad?

It depends on what you are doing there. Half of the foundation, I repeat, is only watching YouTube fourteen hours a day. Is YouTube good or bad? Even as I say this, thousands are watching the videos on YouTube. Is YouTube good or bad?

Good or bad?

Depends on what you are using it for.

Depends therefore on, who you are.

Now, remaining who you are, if you de-activate your Facebook account, that would still not help you.

Addicted to Facebook, you are a slave to all the content on Facebook that you watch. And if, due to pressure from some quarters, you de-activate your Facebook account, then you are still a slave. Slave to the direction from where the pressure came. Facebook might have gone, has your slavery gone?

Influence came from one direction, and you opened an account. Influence came from another direction, and you closed or suspended your account.

Have ‘you’ really changed?

Have you?


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

Watch the session:  Why blame social media? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay…

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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay….

I will miss you so much,
Pardon me, I will have to die.
We played together for long,
Now I’m going home to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I’m going to where I belong.
It breaks my heart to leave you,
I tried hard to bring you along.

I will miss you so much,
My time has finally come.
As a friend I could not help you,
So a stranger I must become.

I will miss you so much,
But now the Sky is pulling me.
All the glorious stars are here,
I’ll miss my silly games with thee.

I will miss you so much,
Body is cold, faint is breath.
The mission I failed in my life,
Maybe will succeed in my death.

I will miss you so much,
My pain will make the stars cry.
I’ll come down in some other form
To bring you one day to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I am departing to settle my due.
When in doubt, you must remember,
I had to die because I love you.

~ 31st May’19


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Gems from Articles, April’19

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1.

The condition you have come to, is not sudden. It has taken millions of years of evolution, for you to come to this state. It’s a very, very old habit.

It is like dust, that has settled over something, since centuries, millennia, aeons.

Time has brought you to your current condition.

And that which time has given you, takes time to go away.

2.

The one whose dissolution you are talking of, is he the Truth? Obviously he cannot be the Truth. Why would one demand the dissolution of the Truth? Why would one think that the Truth can be dissolved at all?

So you are demanding the dissolution of the one, who is not the Truth. Who is he then? He is a product of time. Truth is not a product of time, and therefore Truth does not bother you. And therefore, you are not demanding the dissolution of Truth.

You are demanding the dissolution of that which is, false.

Now see, now see. You are demanding the dissolution of the false. Just as it is silly to demand the dissolution of Truth, isn’t it equally silly to demand the dissolution of the false?

Truth cannot be dissolved, because Truth is timeless. And false cannot be dissolved, because the false does not exist at all. But surely, you are asking for the false to be dissolved, which means you take the false to be…..Truth.

Because you take the false as Truth, therefore you stumble, and get deceived, and get hurt.

3.

If you identify with the false, is a quick movement into the Truth possible? No. It will take time. ‘Sadhana’ is the way. You will have to be constantly embattled against yourself. And you will have to be constantly engaged with the ones, who appear closer to the Truth. These are the only two ways of ‘saadhana‘. There is no third way.

Fight against yourself, and side with the Saints, both are needed. In fact, just proceeding on one leg of the saadhana, without bothering for the other, is more dangerous than not beginning with saadhana at all. You have to both – fight against yourself, and side with the Saints.

If you side with the Saints, without fighting against yourself, then you will use the Saints, to fatten yourself. And if you fight against yourself, without siding with the Saints, then you will go mad, because you will keep destroying who you are, what you are, without finding anything.

4.

You need to have both – a determination to defeat yourself, and devotion to be with the lovers of Truth.

And both these things take time, because you are firmly convinced that you are a product of time.

Not that time is a necessity in the process.

It’s just that you have declared yourself at a position, that makes time a necessity.

5.

Invest that time in two things: in fighting against yourself,  and in being in the company of Saints and lovers of God, Truth.

6.

It is very difficult to break away from the Truth, and habituated as we are to ourselves, it is probably equally difficult, if not more difficult, to overrule ourselves, and leap directly towards the Truth.

So ours is a funny situation.

Can’t go away, can’t directly come close. And at the same time, we want to tell ourselves, that we are busy and occupied, and doing something constructive. So we start with the merry-go-round, maintaining a safe distance from the center, as if that safety is any less discomfiting, than a total separation from the center that invites us.

This is complexity, and this is dishonesty – the in-between-ness, the safe, middle path. The position, the movement, the locus that convinces us that we are not totally dishonest.

7.

You see, without a love for honesty, there can be nothing called ‘dishonesty’. Obviously, we love that which is real, that which will not deceive us, that which we eagerly want. But in spite of our love, in spite of our deep, and true desire, we still deny ourselves, we defy ourselves.

We defy the command of our own hearts.

8.

Dishonesty is – to not to see what you are seeing, to not to get what you want, not to be what you are, not to live by what you know.

If you don’t know, you cannot be dishonest.

If you don’t love, you cannot be disloyal.

9.

It’s absolutely fantastic, that we know, we want, we love.

And it’s equally tragic, that in spite of, knowing, wanting, loving, we somehow still choose to remain deprived.

Complex!

10.

The more certain you are, that you are approaching the person, with the only intention to show him the light, the easier the process will be.

If the intention is pure, then the process is quicker.

And this empowers you a lot, because now you have something to work upon.

If you just say that the other person does not listen to you, then you are helpless, because you anyway have no control over how the other person thinks, and responds, and reacts, and lives.

But once you know, that the other person’s response, is dependent on purity of your intentions, then that enables and empowers you, because now you can work upon yourself.

And by working on yourself, you can cause a quicker change in the other person.

So work on yourself.

11.

in the mind, there is nothing without a purpose, or a reason.

And as that reason or purpose gains purification, the place of that person in your life, that is your mind, changes. And then, working becomes far easier, with respect to that person.

12.

You have to be absolutely certain, that it is only because of love, and only because of kindness, that you want to bring the light to the other.

13.

The world is a habit, but drugs are a worst habit.

At least when you are free of drugs, then you can look at the facts. Under the influence of drugs, you cannot even know the facts. And I have repeatedly said that – the facts are the door to Truth.

If you do not know even the facts, then you are one step further away from the Truth.

The one who is finding refuge in drugs, is fed up of the usual stuff of consciousness. That is certain.

But, he is taking a very wasteful route.

14.

See, what do most people feel?

They feel a particular type of universe, just because they live in a particular type of consciousness.

They feel the universe, in a particular way, all the time. So, they start taking the universe, as Truth.

After all, what is Truth? That which does not change.

15.

Dedicate your time to something sublime, and then you will not be available to get hurt.

You are hurt. because you are available.

Why are you walking around with free mental space, and spare time?

Be fully dedicated to something worthy, then all these little bruises, and wounds, and rubs, will not bother you.

Life hurts, and wounds, only those who are jobless.

Why are you jobless?

16.

To be born, is to be born into one great job.

What is that job?

The life-long mission of liberation.

You have to be fully employed there. It’s a full-time job, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three sixty five days a year.

But you do not do justice to real occupation, you steal time.

And then your punishment is, that the world will hurt you.

Your theft costs you very dearly.

17.

Be fully consumed in the one, great, divine mission.

Otherwise, life will beat you down, very badly.

You have been entrusted with time, not so that you while it away.

You have been entrusted with your fifty, or eighty years, so that you make the best use of every second. Your time is not your personal property. It has been entrusted to you.

You better use it for the designated, and assigned purpose.

18.

If you are suffering, there is nobody, but you, who is responsible.

Unless you fully accept this responsibility, there is no freedom.

If your suffering is just incidental, then how can there be freedom from it, because incidents can happen any way, any day?

You have to first of all clearly realise that suffering cannot come to you, without your consent. Not only your consent, but your active participation is needed in your process of suffering.

Not only your participation, but your active doership is needed, for you to suffer.

Otherwise, you cannot suffer.

19.

Any bit of suffering, is a clear indicator that you have been messing up with somebody’s trust.

You know whose trust I am talking of? The one who gave you time.

He gave you time, trusting that you will use time piously.

He didn’t give you time to smoke it away.

20.

You don’t have to ‘do’ anything, to escape from body.

You ‘do’ a lot to stick to the body.

21.

I say, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the result.”

I am saying, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the results.”

But to those, who are not doing the right things, I say, “Look at the results of your actions.”

22.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’ – is the utmost and final condition.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’- that condition is possible only to someone, who is already liberated of the future.

But those who are not liberated, those who have even an iota of doubt, about the center from where their actions are arising, must use the results of the action, to know the source of the action.

23.

The source of the action, and the result of the action, correspond with each other.

If the action comes from the center of holiness, then the results are bound to be – holy.

If the actions come from the center of nothingness, then the results are bound to be – nothing.

Similarly, if the actions come from the center of vice, or deception, then the results are bound to be distressing.

24.

An action which has led to peacelessness, could not have come from the right source.

An action that leads to lovelessness, has definitely come from a loveless center.

So, do mind the results.

The results will tell you where you are standing right now.

Much later will you come to a point, from where you will not need to bother about the results.

That is liberation!

25.

Man is really not born to go beyond.

Going beyond, is the highest, and the most exquisite pursuit.

If you don’t pursue that path, you are not a sinner.

You are just, normal.

If you not spiritual, you are not a sinner.

You are just normal!

26.

Spirituality, is a most exquisite pursuit.

It is only for those, who are not at all contended with, what the world can maximally offer.

Not only are they not contended with what they already have, they are not contended even with the best, what the world can potentially offer.

Those are the ones, who must take the spiritual path.

Others must satisfy themselves, with the worldly beauties.

27.

Most people are condemned to, almost succeed in the world.

The misfortune of most people is, that they never get beaten up so soundly, that they will see the futility of the world.

So they should remain well-adjusted and compromised. They should continue with the worldly life.

They should not, unnecessarily, invite the spiritual trouble. You know, for the sake of it, just because some great names have talked of spirituality, you too start dabbling.

And then, you burn your fingers.

Spirituality, is for the ones, who are ripe enough.

28.

The first thing that is needed is, viveka (discretion).

The second thing that is needed is, vairagya (dispassion).

The third thing that is needed is, shad sampatti, the six qualities (shama, dama, uprati, titiksha, shraddha, samaadhaan).

And finally, and most importantly, you need, mumuksha(desire for liberation).

When you see that you have all these, only then must you turn, a seeker.

29.

Science is fully contained in spirituality.

Spirituality, that does not contain science, is superstition.

However, science is too small, to overlap with, all of spirituality.

But one thing is certain, when you are scientific, you are spiritual as well.

However, all spirituality, is not science. Spirituality goes, way beyond science.

Spirituality begins, when you have a strong feeling, that things are not the way they must be.

30.

The effect cannot be dimensionally, beyond the cause.

Which is to say – the fruit of the action, cannot be dimensionally superior to the action.

Which is to say – the fruit of the action, is actually just the quality of the actor.

The result is dimensionally the same as the action, and the action is dimensionally the same as the actor.

Therefore, the result is in the same dimension as the actor.

~ Excerpts from ‘Shabd-Yoga’ sessions.

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Quotes, January’19

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1.

Love is a vast sky, it has no opposite.

It is so vast that it has space enough for hatred.

In Love, one hates as well, and that doesn’t reduce love.

Do not feel guilty. Provided your love is vast enough.

And you can have love so vast, only for Vastness.

A Vastness called Freedom.

2.

By reasoning out

your situation,

you try to remain

what you are.

All reasons are

hidden justifications.

Realise, don’t rationalize.

3.

Having lived rightly for long, one becomes incapable of living wrongly.

Having lived rightly for long, if one even decides to live or act wrongly for a while, he will face failure in his chosen wrong action.

The reward of living rightly: failure in one’s attempts to live wrongly.

4.

Enlightenment is a series of endless enlightenments, each one being complete and final.

5.

Being so enamoured by the Sun,

You keep watching the moon all night!

That’s Love.

6.

What is the way to Liberation?

Suffering.

An honest acknowledgment of suffering,

Without trying to hide or colour or glorify or rationalise it,

Is the way to Liberation.

7.

The great Intelligence that is never touched, spoiled, created or destroyed is not personal.

The person can decide to follow that impersonal Intelligence. And the person can also withdraw from the service of Intelligence.

That choice is always available and that choice is Maya.

8.

The spiritual pursuit faces humongous obstacles. It sometimes appears the entire world is lined against you.

We all are in a big holy war.

We will definitely lose some battles.

The trick is to not to mind the defeats, and quickly get ready for the next win.

9.

Questioner: What is the definition

of ‘Stupid’?

Acharya Ji: Knowing what is right,

doing what is wrong.

10.

Your interests, your welfare, don’t depend on things.

Witnessing means not seeking interest in anything. Not attaching your self-interest, self-worth, to anything. When you are not interested, you are the knower and the master.

Here, kingship comes only to the reluctant king.

11.

She troubled him for being awake at nights, “Your eyes are full of someone beyond.”

Helpless, he kept mum.

One night a mysterious tune woke her up. Since then, she dances all night to music.

And he laughs. He has had his revenge.

Love is so foolish it knows only one revenge: Love

12.

In the mirror, he saw many faces.

One wanted food, air, water, sleep, sex.

The second one wanted prestige, power, money, happiness.

A third one just looked on sorrowfully, sometimes at the two, sometimes at the distant horizon.

13.

If not religion, who will teach you secularism?

Secularism is a new religion; just that it isn’t yet deeply religious enough.

The development of secularism depends on its ability to learn from religion the value of meditativeness, devotion, and surrender of ego to the Beyond.

14.

The new, the happiness that you are looking for,

will not come through experience.

It will not come to you via time,

It is not contained in the future.

It comes when you are a little less

insistent upon cheating yourself.

15.

You had a dream,

you came to me,

and I have not helped you

reach there.

But tell me,

are you not glad

that now you are not

what you were?

~Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait

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How to unburden the mind? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

How to unburden the mind

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Question: Acharya Ji, I just keep feeling burdened most of the times, and to escape this burden, I keep racing all day long. But I find myself feeling heavy again. Please help me unburden myself.

Acharya Prashant Ji: You are burdened, that itself is the proof of the burden. The burden surely does exist, otherwise, why would there be a burdened one. So, you are burdened, and you are moving. That movement, you are describing as a race. Great!

If you are burdened and troubled, then surely you must move.

But if you are burdened and troubled, but your movement has to be, with the intention of, and in the direction of, un-burdening. 

If I am burdened, and as a result of the burden, I run, then the purpose of the run should be to un-burden myself. So, it’s great that you are running everyday. Now, what remains to be asked, is the question, that whether your race is helping you to be unburdened.

You wake up in the morning, and the entire day you have been running, has this running helped you by the evening? If it has helped you, congratulations! Again tomorrow, run more, run faster. Running is exactly what you need. But, if it has not unburdened you, then all your running has been in vain, and it has been a stupid thing, to run without knowing the destination, or the purpose.

I am a great supporter of movement. If one is at the wrong place, one must move, and one must move fast. One must run indeed. And one must energetically run. I seriously support action. But action ought to have a purpose. The purpose is decided by the state of the actor. 

If the actor is in bondage, then the sole purpose of the action has to be, the liberation of the actor. Now, are you acting towards your liberation. Look at your daily actions. Are they contributing to your liberation? Or are you rather acting to enslave yourself, even more deeply?

Action is good, action is inevitable. But what is your action leading to? Run, run fast. But run in the right direction. Sometimes we run so fast, and in such scare, and with such blindness, that we become incapable of knowing where we are going. Then, a second of rest, helps. A bit of a pause, brings in some sanity.

You can even ask yourself, “What am I doing? What am I expending precious time and energy towards? While it is a matter of celebration, that you are capable of running, capable of energy, it is an equally serious concern, how you are expending yourself? Because time and energy won’t last forever.

Today you are able to run. Tomorrow? As long as you can run, make good use of the running. A day will come, when the running will anyway cease. Is it too much to enquire into? “Am I getting any better, by doing what I am continually doing?” Is this too difficult a question to ask.

“This is what I am doing everyday. The same pattern, the same repetition. Is it taking me anywhere, or I am just feasting on blind hope?”

Today, somebody quoted me on one of the groups. I was told. Many years back, maybe five, six, or seven years, I had said that had Kabir Sahib been alive today, and looked at the railway station, and the railway engine and the train, then he would have spontaneously uttered something. This was long back.

So, jokingly I had said, that Kabir Sahib would have said, “Dhak dhak dhak engine chale, chalta chati phod. Sahib maarg jaane nahin, jaayegaa kis or. (The engine is running, and running, making a lot of noise, and moving with so much power. It has no clue of route to God, where will it lead itself to.”

So you are a very powerful engine, and you are running your heart out. “Dhak dhak dhak dhak engine chale, chalta chati phod.” That’s probably the state of most middle-class hard-workers. See how hard they work. Look at the roads at 8:30 a.m. every morning, congested with all the hard-workers. And then look at the roads at 8:30 p.m. every night. Again congested with all the hard-workers. Obviously they are working very hard.

Had they invested even a quarter of their time and energy towards liberation, they won’t have needed to congest the roads anymore. Our energy is going towards self-destruction. And our energy is going towards fattening our slave masters. You work so very hard, and who reaps the benefit of your labor? Some fat man sitting at the top of the food chain, right?

Sometimes you don’t even know of his name. And it would be extremely rare, if you have ever met him. And he is real recipient, of the fruit of your labor. What you get, by way of salary, a profit, is so meager. But still you do get something. That is sufficient to meet all your expenses. You are also able to save a bit for the rainy day.

And given the kind of life that you are leading, obviously cancer is not very far away. Everything that you are doing every day, every hour, is an invitation to cancer. But don’t worry, you will have savings.

In your last six months, you will duly transfer all your savings to the hospital, the fruit of your hard work, all your life. And you will feel vindicated. You will say, “See, I knew I will have cancer. And therefore, with great responsibility, like a good citizen, I kept saving every month. And all those savings, are standing by me now. Otherwise, what would have I given to the hospital?”

And not even once do you realise, that your cancer, is nothing, but a product of your hard work – the kind of life that you have lived. Look at your statement – ‘I get up every morning, and I feel burdened, and then I race through the entire day, and I repeat the vicious cycle the next day’.

Do you really think that this kind if lifestyle will spare even your physical health?


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

Watch the session:  How to unburden the mind? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Past life karma, goal of life, and liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Past life Karma, goal of life, and Liberation

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Question: Acharya Ji, do you believe in past life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: That is irrelevant. Will I find you after your death? Will even you find yourself after your death?

Listener: I may be in a different body.

Acharya Ji: In a different body, will you have the same psyche, the same identity? You are a ‘person’, and a person is driven by identities. Forget about having a new life after death, even in this life, if I give you the option that your personality will be totally wiped out, your memory will be totally wiped out, your body will be totally changed, and you will be taken to a different place, a different planet, will you still say that you are ‘you’? Will you still say that you are ‘you’?

Even in this life, if your memory gets wiped out, do you remain what you are? Then why do you talk of ‘past life’, and ‘future life’?

Even in this life, if somebody strokes your head with a hammer, and your memory is totally gone, which means your identities are totally gone, you are as good as dead. You are no use to anybody then. You do not remain. You have disappeared, because you are a man of identities, because you are a personality. You live in a personality. And once the personality is gone, once the ‘person’ is gone, you are no more.

‘Eternity’, and ‘continuity’, is a word for those, who do not live in the personality.

If you live in the personality, you need not wait even for your physical death. You are dying continuously. Even tomorrow, you will not be who you are today, then how will you continue to be the same, in your next birth?

Even today you are not, what you were, fifteen years back, are you? Then how will you continue to remain, two hundred years from today? But, it is such a stupid thought, still very common. Do you feel one, or identified with, the self that you were, when you were ten years of age? Go into this!

You, as you see yourself, were once ten years of age, right? Today do you find much in common with that ten year old kid? Today, in fact, ninety percent, is not common, with that ten year old kid. Right?

In the same life-time, you are almost a totally different person, are you not? Then how will you remain the same after death, even if there is a rebirth? So what is the point in talking about this and that?

Listener 1: So, thirtieth birthday means, thirty years of death?

Acharya Ji: Yes, nice. Good.

Listener 2: Acharya ji, we said that memories being wiped out, is equivalent to you not being there. Now, this is a bit confusing, as we talked about we not being the body.

Acharya Ji: But, are you the Atman. I said that ‘Eternity’ and ‘Continuity’ are words applicable only to those, who live as the Atman. Do you live as the Atman? If you live as the Atman, then you will not talk of this birth and the previous birth, because the Atman never really dies, so how can it take the next birth?

To take the next birth, something must firstly die. Atman is eternal, it does not die. How can it take a new birth?

Question: Acharya Ji, many religions like Hinduism, Jainism, they talk of past lives and rebirth. You do not want to be consistent with them.

Acharya Ji: What do you want?

Listener 3: I just want……

Acharya Ji: Those who just want anything, do not get anything. Talk of one thing that you want, and then don’t talk of anything else.

Listener 3: I want the Truth.

Acharya Ji: Yes. So, Truth is – freedom from the false. See what all is false, in the way you currently live. Currently live. Currently live. Two things – ‘currently’, and ‘living’. Go into your life, right now.

How do you spend your day?

Where do you eat?

Where do you earn your money from?

These are the questions that should bother you. Not fancy intellectual questions.

Listener 4: Is it part of spirituality, the worldly matters – what I do, and all that?

Acharya Ji: What do want to do with ‘spirituality’ and ‘worldly matters’? The one who is in trouble, wants freedom from trouble. If the name of that freedom is ‘spirituality’, fine. If the name of that freedom is ‘worldliness’, fine. What the person wants is – freedom.

If I am thirsty, I want want water, you want to call it ‘jal’, ‘ambu’, ‘waari’, anything, I do not mind. Give me that, which will quench my thirst. Full stop.

Question: I have the same question related to thoughts. He said that thoughts increase the level of concentration. How can we manage that level of concentration?

Acharya Ji: Goal.

Listener 4: How to magnify and amplify that goal?

(laughter)

Listener 2: I am not even asking about amplifying the goal. In the example that you gave, when we were playing football, you mentioned that there was a clear distinction, that each team knew where their goal post is.

In real life, there are ten goal posts being shown, and each one is trying to instruct that this is where you have to reach. Unfortunately, sometimes the goal posts look similar also, and one gets confused.

Acharya Ji: Who is suffering?

Listener 2: I am suffering.

Acharya Ji: So who will know, whether or not you are getting freedom?

(silence)

Who is suffering?

(silence)

It is like this – “I am thirsty, one guru tells me to put water in this hole(the ear). Another guru tells me to put water in this hole(the mouth). Another one talks about the other holes of the body. Who is thirsty? You are. Don’t you know when your thirst is going to be quenched. Why are you acting so ignorant?

Don’t you contact with your own thirst, with your own suffering? Don’t you know when it is being quenched?

Listener 2: I have not even reached the level where my thirst is being quenched.

Acharya Ji: At least you know when it is not being quenched. This much, at least, you know?

Listener 2: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Next time, don’t put water in your ear. Reject the guru who teaches you to put water in your ear. At least this much you can do? Do this much.

Listener 2: But the problem is, I will give a parallel example. When one is thirsty, it is the water that one needs. When one gets a cool drink near by, one is tempted to take it.

Acharya Ji: Try it, immediately.

Listener 2: You are already thirty or forty years old, or may be, twenty-five. How many more trials do you need? Have you already not given everything a shot? Are soft drinks, or ice creams, or petroleum, new things to you? You have already tried them a thousand times. Are you still not fed up?

If you are not fed up, give them one more chance. And then, be absolutely fed up. But please, at some point, learn to be honest. Learn to quit. Learn to honestly face the mirror, and tell yourself, “I have been cheating myself all my life.” If you don’t do that, there are thousand kinds of fluids in the universe.

You will keep trying them endlessly.

Water is simple water – pure, direct.

I have no issues, if you want to give various things, various methods, various means, various books, various teachers, a chance. Please do that. But do that with all honesty. Having given the chance, ask yourself, “Is the thirst being quenched?” If ‘yes’, then stay put. Then don’t budge at all. If ‘no’, then you have no business looking at that face, ever again.

Man is strange creature, you know. He develops a stake, even in thirst. If you have conditioned yourself, to find pleasure in thirst, in suffering, in non-sense, then…

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the significance of sleep? What really happens in sleep? What is the spiritual significance of the sleep?

Acharya Ji: Are your problems in your sleep time, or are your problems related to your waking state? Just don’t be interested in miscellaneous knowledge. Focus on the goal. Any kind of knowledge that does not lead you directly towards the goal, is merely a burden. Disregard it.

If you have genuine problems, sleeping disorders, then talk to me about sleep. But if your problems are related to your life, stuff that you think of in your waking state – your relationships, your transactions, then why be interested in sleep?

I can speak for fifteen minutes on sleep, but that will not help you.

Be direct, be honest.

Question: Acharya Ji, why is mu mind constantly trying to become something?

Acharya Ji: Everybody is trying that, because nobody is contended with the current state.

The only problem is – you want to change, but you want the changed state to be a derivative of current state.

You want the changed state, to be organically linked to your current state, which means that you really don’t want to give up your current state. So, all ‘becoming’ fails. All change is defeated.

It’s like just changing clothes. That will not cure you of your lung cancer. It’s like wearing make-up. That will not fundamentally cure your any skin disorder.

Change is wonderful.

When you want change, see what you really want.

Don’t change halfheartedly.

Change fully.

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

Watch the session:  Past life karma, goal of life, and liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)


Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here

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Market, Money, Food, and Liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Market, Money, Food and Liberation

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Question: Acharya Ji, which are the industries I should invest my money in?

Acharya Prashant Ji: There are two industries those are not going to fail. First one, that thrives on kids. Second, that thrives on sickness. And the two are one. The school industry is never going to starve, and they will always make very big bucks. What else do we earn for? To pay to the schools. And the hospital industry is always going to prosper, and they will make very big bucks. What have we earned for? To pay to the hospitals.

You can avoid spending anywhere else, but these two places, you will not only spend, you will always overspend – kids education, and health.

And it should be obvious to you, that these both have to do, with your deepest vrittis (latent tendencies). We began this evening, talking of what this Prakriti rely on. It relies on continuation of this body, and procreation. This body should continue, and more bodies should keep coming. So, these two are also the two ways, to loot away your hard earned money.

I recently found out, the apparels of a fully grown-up man, are only as expensive as apparels of a two-month old. If you purchase something for yourself, for two-thousand rupees, and that thing is this big, size forty-four, rest assured, if you buy something for your infant who is one month old, that too will cost equally the same.

Look at the margins. And you will not be able to question it. It’s a matter of love, you know. Don’t you love your child? Can you question the fees that the schools charge you? It’s preposterous.

Listener: It’s a matter of pride now-a-days, to say that our kid’s fees is higher than the fees of your kid.

Acharya Ji: You are being looted in broad daylight, in the name of your kid’s fees. And you will accept it, even if you happen to be the intellectually strongest person in the world. The fellow is IQ 140, emerging from the best institute of the world, a post-graduate in Astrophysics. But the moment he gets a kid, he can be looted in broad daylight. And he won’t be able to resist it. Because he is hitting you, where it hurts the most.

You might be very, very smart, but you can still be looted, because now you have a kid. Same with the doctor. It doesn’t matter who you are. If he says, “Twenty lakhs,” twenty-lakhs is ‘twenty-lakhs’. You don’t argue with him.

It’s actually not the doctor, it’s the hospital. Just as it’s not the teacher, it’s the school. If the hospital says, “Twenty lakhs,” it is twenty lakhs. It’s all spiritual, if you can see.

This is what tells you, how Prakriti fails you. Man gets attached to continuation, and in the name of continuation, man is robbed-off the precious resources, that should have gone towards his liberation.

Your precious resources, that should have been invested towards your liberation, rather go towards your, continuation.

To hell with such continuation.

I don’t even have an insurance. I have no medi-claim. I am very clear, the day she comes and says, “I have to take you away,” I will say, “Why wait? I don’t even have to pack up. Come, let’s go! I am done.” I neither have life-insurance, nor medical insurance.

For my small medical needs, I have enough. And if a giant medical need comes up, I will not meet that need. I will not allow Prakriti, to rob me, of my real occupation.

My real work is not to save, for the furtherance of my physical life.

My real work is: this.

My real work is not to fill, and bloat my bank account, for the sake of my physical security, and physical continuation.

My real work is – liberation. My liberation, your liberation.

I must work for that.

Getting it?

Listener: There is no point in living on, if you cannot live for liberation.

Acharya ji: Wonderful! There is no point in living on, even for one day more, if liberation is no more possible, or if you have no desire for liberation. Kabir Saheb has put it so succinctly, in so many verses. “Jaa tan prem na sanchare, so tan jaan masaan. Jaise khaal luhaar kii, saans letu bin praan.” (If you do not have love for Him, then your body is just a graveyard. You are breathing, but you are really not alive).”

Life should either be a great rhapsody in love, or otherwise it is just a spell of irritating noise. Who wants to tolerate it? There is no valor, or pride, in continuing to live. Finish -off your work, and retire. Go away! Go to sleep. 

There is no great virtue in living for a hundred years, and living like a maggot. Turtles, crocodiles, they all live longer than men. So what? 

Question: Acharya Ji, does poor food habit become an obstacle in the path of liberation?

Acharya Ji: In general, you eat badly, only when only food starts becoming meaningful to you. The body knows it’s food. Does it not? Do you have to teach the cow to take grass, and not flesh? Do you see any animal species, that needs to be tutored on the topic of food? Monkeys, mosquitoes, they all know the kind of food that is right for them. Why does this question become pertinent for ‘man’? Because man identifies himself with, just about everything.

Man is different from mosquitoes, in the sense, that man has more heightened desire for liberation. So he searches for liberation, everywhere. Even in paani-puri, he searches for – liberation. In titillation of taste buds, he assumes liberation.

If paani-puri becomes liberation for you, then your kidney will complain. So, rather than regulating your food habits, you should rather ask the question: Who am I? Once you know, that you are the one who can never be satisfied through paani-puri, you will lose all fascination for paani-puri. You don’t need to be tutored on what to eat, and what not to eat. All that is largely useless. 

Why do you get attracted to mithai, or pizza?

Listener: Because of desire.

Acharya ji: And desire is really for?

Listener: Liberation.

Acharya ji: And that has to be realised. “That that which I really want, will not come to me, through mithai.” And then mithai will lose its charm.

Listener: That is known, but for now instant gratification is demanded.

Acharya ji: That you have to remember, at that moment. As you said that, one has to be constantly reminded. That is why ‘ing’ is needed. You will have to create mechanisms, that will keep constantly reminding you.

Have somebody by your side, who shouts into your ears, right when you are about to pop in the next puri. This is not That. That’s the mantra that you need. What?

Listeners: This is not That.

Acharya ji: This is not That. So, you will just spoil the body, and get nothing in return.

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

Watch the session:  Market, Money, Food, and Liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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In all that you want, Liberation is all you want || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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In all that you want, liberation is all you want

Question: Acharya Ji, only sometimes do I consciously know that I really want Liberation. How to increase one’s quality, so that this want is continuous?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Only sometimes do you use the word ‘Liberation’. At other times, you use a lot of other words for Liberation. So the mistake is mostly, semantic. You just need to expand your vocabulary, and remember that every word in dictionary is a synonym of ‘Liberation’.

Right now, when you think of Liberation, you say, “I am thinking of Liberation.” But when you think of having a Pizza, then according to you, you are thinking of something other than Liberation.

The desire for food, and the desire for Liberation, are according to you diverse things. And from that divergence  is arising your question. You are saying, “Only for let’s say an hour a day, am I consciously thinking of Liberation. For the remaining twenty-three hours, I am thinking of miscellaneous things. A, B, C, D……And L is for ‘Liberation’.”

And the other twenty-five letters are all for various miscellaneous things in the world, that occupy and attract us.

So you just have to tell yourself, and deeply-deeply remember that A=B=C=……X=Y=Z. And all of them equal L. L is for – Liberation.

You cannot think of anything, but Liberation. All thoughts are thoughts of Liberation in disguise. It is the limitation and constraint in language, that only sometimes do you call Liberation as ‘Liberation’. At other times, you name the desire for Liberation as a pizza, or money, or clothes, or relationships, or a book, or something else.

Man moves for one central purpose.

And that purpose is…?

Listeners: Liberation.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Liberation.

It’s just that he does not consciously know, rather admit and acknowledge, how Liberation thirsty he really is.

We keep denying to ourselves that there is just one thing that we want. We think that we want multiple, various things. No. We want just one thing. The various things that we go to, are nothing but mediums to go that one single, final thing.

If this much can be remembered, then all the mediums will become useful. Then all the mediums will become Godly, Divine, because they will become a medium between you and the Divine.

If you can remember, that this is a medium, then it is Divine.

But if this becomes the end, if this becomes a purpose in itself, then this becomes an obstruction.

Why do you breathe? Breathing is for the sake of Liberation.

Why do you see? What are these eyes looking for?

What is this mind anxious, and waiting for?

Why do you think that these eyes are constantly looking out at the world? What are they searching for? Have you never thought of this?

You come to a crowd, and have you seen how your eyes scan the faces of strange, unknown people?

Listener: Yes.

Acharya Prashant ji: You want to see that one special face. We all are looking for that one, final thing. These eyes are always scanning-scanning. That’s why these ears are always….But that one, final sound is not heard.

That one, final experience remains elusive.

We exist for the sake of That.

That which is liberation.

We breathe for the sake of That.

We come to tomorrow, so that tomorrow That may come.

So, it is for the sake of That, that time exists. 

It is for the sake of That, that all future exists.

Do you see how liberation-minded we are? We eat, breathe, live Liberation. And then innocently we say, “Why are we not liberated?”

The mistake has to do with linguistics, not with reality. And man’s language and man’s thoughts, go together. Thoughts are diverse, so is language. Language means separation and diversity. This is ‘this’, and that is ‘that’. ‘This’ cannot be ‘that’, and ‘that’ cannot be ‘this’. Every word points at one particular object, which is not the next object, so no Liberation.

In the world of thoughts, there is no Liberation.

In the world of remembrance, there is Liberation.

Remember, all the thoughts are from and for That.

That which is – Liberation, and That is – Liberation.

If you try to find Liberation in thoughts, it is not there.

———————————————————————————————————

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

Watch the session video: In all that you want, Liberation is all you want || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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

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Does spirituality enable one to predict the future? (Clairvoyance) || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Does spirituality help predict the future

Question: Acharya Ji, does spirituality enable one to predict the future?

Acharya Prashant: In this issue, there is no jewel, and no hidden diamond that carries any value. Doctors predict reasonably well that this fellow has two or three months to live. In that there is application of intellect, not the promise of freedom.

And if you are watching a thousand people die over the course of your career, a lot many of them, fifty or hundred, you will be able to reasonably, accurately predict how many days or weeks they have left with them.

All this is: numbers, statistics, chance.

None of this is in the ambit of Spirituality.  None of this knowledge will help you in Liberation.

This is sheer curiosity.

When you say that your grandfather was able to accurately predict that he would die ten days hence, you should also go and collect more representative data. Let me collect it right now.

Anybody sitting here, who has not ever had premonition that he is going to die? Over the course of your life, have you ever not felt that you would not live for long? It happens. And with many people, it happens multiple times, right? At some point or the other, you feel as if you will die.

And obviously, all these speculations, premonitions, instincts, are proven false. In a thousand such cases, one or two, are going to be proven accurate, merely by chance. That is just statistical randomness.

So, when you quote one person as having succeeded in his speculation, you should also quote first of all, how many people failed in that speculation. Nine hundred failed, nine succeeded – simple randomness.

Don’t draw conclusions from there. And even if you draw conclusions from there, I am asking you, “How many conclusions help you with your Liberation?” These things will not help you. There is nothing of value in these things. Nothing at all!

You also mentioned that your grandfather had a particular kind of shift in his consciousness, he became nice and such things.

Consciousness in itself is something which can never be still. It is always shifting. Right now, is it still the same, as it was an hour back?

Shift – thy name is consciousness.

Consciousness – thy name is movement.

Consciousness is changing constantly, so what’s the great surprise if it changed ten days before the physical demise? It is anyway always changing.

Every piece of knowledge, or experience, or instinct, or conclusion, causes a shift in consciousness.

So, if someone has become assured that he has only a week or two left to live, you would find his behaviour definitely changing. Obviously!

You are standing outside this door, and this happens to be a doctor’s cabin, you are in a particular frame of consciousness, are you not? Now, you enter this room, and the doctor tells you that you are terminally ill, and you have only three months to live. Within five minutes your consciousness has undergone a sea change. Has it not? You are no more the same person at all.

Outside the door you are one person, inside the door you are suddenly another person. One piece of knowledge has changed your consciousness so much. So, all that is alright.

My question to you again is: Does all this information help you with your Liberation? It does not. So, let’s rather come to the core questions.

The really important questions of our life, let’s come to them!

—————————————————————————————————————-

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

Watch the session video: Does spirituality enable one to predict the future? (Clairvoyance) || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is luck? How to get lucky? || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

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What is luck How to get lucky

आयहू हर रस कर्मी पाइआ सतगुर मिलाई जिस आय

~तिलांग, पहला महला, शब्द हज़ारे ( नितनेम)

The Essence: Name of the Lord, His love, is obtained by good luck, good deeds,

when the True Guru: the True Master, meets and tells you to recite the Name of God.

~ Tilang,1st Mehla, Shabad Hazzare (Nitnem)

Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Can you please help me understand what does ‘luck’ mean, and what role it has in our life?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The use of the word ‘luck’, merely means – something that is beyond cause-effect chain.

When you do something, and you get something as a result of your doing, then you do not call it ‘luck’, do you? Then you claim ownership, and therefore is ‘Ego. The ego loves the cause and effect paradigm. The ego says, “The effort is preceded by a cause. So, if I can cause something to happen, I will get the desired result.”

“I can cause the effect,” says the ego.

‘Luck’ or ‘Grace’, or as some people may call it, ‘randomness’, lies outside the cause-effect framework. 

Therefore the word ‘Grace’ has been used here.

The Ego will not get it, using its doership.

That which a thing brings, cannot be of a quality dimensionally superior to the thing itself.

Please understand this.

The effect cannot be dimensionally beyond the cause.

Which is to say, “The fruit of the action, cannot be dimensionally superior to the action.”

Which is to say, “The fruit of the action, is actually just the quality of the actor.”

The result is dimensionally same as the action, and the action is dimensionally the same as the actor.

Therefore, the result is in the same dimension as the actor.

But the ego does not want to believe that.

The ego wants to believe that all the possible dimensions, are contained in its one little dimension. So it keeps hoping its entire little life, that it will be able to obtain something of the beyond, while just remaining itself.

It feels that it can remain, continue to remain, in its own lowly dimension, and yet through its actions and cleverness, and manipulations, obtain something of the beyond.

That’s the false hope of the ego.

But the ego does not see it as ‘false’.

The ego says, “I can remain earthly, but through my clever tricks, I can attain the Sky.” The ego does not want to leave the Earth. It is scared and attached. But, it also has the longing for the Sky. It is stuck. The ego says, “I would remain on Earth, but I will devise a trick through which I can also have the Sky.”

That is not going to happen.

Now you see, why the word ‘luck’ is used?

Your actions, your plans, your cleverness, your manipulations, all will fail in getting the desired result, because That which you truly desire, is beyond you. Whereas, your actions, and your plans, and your thoughts, would always be..? Just like you.

Are you getting it?

You want to get Him through your actions, but your actions are just like you.  And what is it that you want? A beyondness from your self. You want to go beyond yourself, being yourself. That won’t happen.

“How does it happen then?”

“Who knows. Let’s call it – ‘luck’.” It’s very difficult for the ego to submit to this statement.

“How does it really happen?”

“Neither do I know, nor can I ever know. It is not merely unknown, it is unknowable.”

The ego does not want to accept that. So it continues with its blind efforts, gets tired, and expires. And expiry does not mean liberation. For the ego, the expiry means – re-birth. Re-birth not in the sense of assuming another body, re-birth in the sense of just coming back, as another type of ego. Ego in another name.

Old wine in new bottle, that’s what re-birth is all about. Re-birth is not about the Atman in a new bottle. People often say that this(the body), is the ghat, the bottle. And the Atman moves from bottle to bottle. No!

The Atman does not move from anywhere to anywhere.

It is achal, it is unmovable.

Re-birth is – the rotten old wine, in an apparently new bottle. And then, another cycle of effortfulness starts. The ego again says, “I will cause the effect.” What is the effect that it wants? Liberation. What is the effect that it wants? God. But how does it want to have that effect?

Questioner: By  doing something.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It does not want to surrender to that effect. It wants to cause that effect. In other words, the ego wants to cause God. Whereas God is the one, who is utterly un-caused, unborn.

The ego in wanting to attain Liberation, is wanting to give birth to God. If you can cause something, you are it’s father, aren’t you? If the ego can cause Liberation, then ego becomes the…? Father of liberation. Such is, the ego of ‘ego’.

(laughter)

Such is, so deep, the egoistic darkness. It wants to cause Liberation. It wants to cause Godliness.

Can it be caused? No. It just happens. And therefore, it is referred to as – luck.

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

Watch the session video:  What is luck? How to get lucky? || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

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