The real meaning of Vipasana || Acharya Prashant, on Mahatma Buddha (2017)

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The real meaning of Vipasana

Question: Acharya Ji, does meditation help?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What you call as ‘meditation’ does not help. What you call as ‘God’ does not help. What you call as ‘religion’ does not help.

Meditation helps, God helps, Religion helps.

But, God is not what you think God to be. And mediation is not what you think make of meditation. And Religion is not what you ideated it as.

Whenever you say ‘meditation’, you are so badly conditioned now, you start thinking of a man sitting on some pose with eyes closed, ‘trying’ to be silent.

Meditation is about opening your eyes, not closing your eyes.

Do you get it?

When ever you see a man meditating with his eyes closed, rest assured that he is fooling himself. If you cannot meditate with your eyes open, how will you live in this world? With eyes closed? Whenever a life situation will confront you, what will you do? You will close your eyes?

Meditate with your eyes open, meditate when you are driving, meditate when you are eating, meditate when you are talking – that is ‘real meditation’.

(Referring to a portrait of Goddess Kali hanging on the wall in front) The deity has her open, surely she does not meditate, according to your benchmarks. Kali has her eyes wide open. Have you seen the eyes of Kali? Wide open. Surely she does not know meditation, according to you. Can you imagine Kali, sitting peacefully with her eyes closed, while Mahishasur (the demon) is prowling around? Kali’s meditation lies in the trouncing of Mahishasur. When she is killing Mahishasur, she is meditating. That is ‘meditation’.

The right action, the right center of operation- that is ‘meditation’.

Kali would never waste herself with her eyes closed, learning some trick at your Yoga ashram.

Questioner: So, Acharya Ji, what is that, which Patanjali explains, and Lord Buddha used talk of as ‘vipassana’?

Acharya Ji: All that Lord Buddha is saying is, “Watch your breath.” He says, “Watch everything that is in motion.” One must have intelligence to decipher the code.

There are idioms in language, there are metaphors. Things are said figuratively. You must know their real meaning. Buddha is saying, “Watch your breath.” He is saying, “Watch your relationship with the world.”

What is the breath? Your relationship with the world. See how things are going in and coming out. See how you are absorbing the conditioning and see how you are shaping the world. That is what is meant by ‘ watching the breath.’

‘Vipassana’ – ‘passna’ means watch. ‘Passna’ means – watch. Watching is the real thing, not breath. Watch everything. Breath is a useful thing, because it is always with you. Therefore, easy to watch. But the breath is not at the center, watching is at the center.

‘Vipassana’ – watch.

But watching is out, breath is in.

(laughter)

If you learn to watch, would you watch only breath? Breath is a reminder. Breath then becomes a token of the Guru. Breath is like then an alarm clock, somebody by a side to always nudge you – “Are you watching? Are you watching? Are you watching?”

You might do something, or not do something. But what is certain is, that you are always breathing. So the breath is a reminder. And it’s not only Buddha, Kabir constantly talks of  watching the breath. Have you not heard of him constantly talking of ‘Saanson ki maala'( The necklace of breath)?

Have you not heard him say that one day will not only the ghar ki nari (the wife), but also the shareer ki nadi (the body), will desert you? ‘Shareer ki nadi’ means the nadi in the body – breath. So these are things that every master says. He hopes that you are intelligent enough to decode his words. And his words are simple. There is no great codification or mystery there. But we are so stupid that we take everything on face value.

The Buddha says, “Keep yourself clean,” and what do we do? We wash our body. What’s going on?

The Scriptures very clearly say that the biggest fools are those, who try to practice Samadhi. These are the words of very wise ones. These are the words of Rishis. And some of these words are directly attributed to Shiva. Now, what would you do? Where would your entire city go? That city (the city of Rishikesh) is built in the name of Shiva, and Shiva is saying, “The biggest fools are those, who try to practice Samadhi, who try to come to Samadhi through certain practices.”

Now what will you do?

All the holy massage is gone!

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

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

Watch the session video: The real meaning of Vipasana || Acharya Prashant, on Mahatma Buddha (2017)

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The pitfalls in the practice of mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: You are holding a rabbit in your hands. What else is there except sensory perception? Why must there be anything beyond sensory perception? Just look at the creature, look into his eyes. Let the perception be total, and you will realise what is beyond perception. But that comes as Grace.

I am not able to see the difference between this example, and the philosophy of being mindful towards activities like eating, walking etc. In one of your talks, you have discouraged the practice of mindfulness, and mentioned that observation means – ‘Am I with the Beloved or not?’

It is observation of the inside. Please help me understand this better.

Acharya Prashant Ji: I have said repeatedly, that you cannot be purposelessly mindful. Consciousness is anyway very-very burdened. Man’s mind is a storehouse of all kinds of stuff. Man’s mind is already full. You do not want to load it with more sensory objects.

So, when you do look at something, when you do admit something into your mind-space, there must be a strong and valid reason.

In other sense, mindfulness has to be very-very purposeful.

Nobody should be allowed to gain entry into your mind, unless the entry serves a clear purpose.

That’s why I talked of the ‘rabbit’ here. I didn’t talk of anything in general. I said, “Look into the eyes of the rabbit.” Now, there is a purpose there, there is a gain there. I am not talking of admitting just anything into your consciousness. I am talking of admitting that ,which will you insight. Insight about what? Insight about your own situation.

When you will look at the rabbit, you will know who you are. The eyes of the rabbit specifically, will tell you of your own longing. When you will look at that animal, you will see something that will tell you – who you are- and will not allow you as a bonus, to kill and consume the rabbit.

So if there is something that really benefits you with insight, then be mindful of it.

Then allow it entry into your consciousness.

Otherwise, just being conscious of every little, trivial thing and object that is in you, around you, will leave you nowhere.

There you actually have to be dismissive, regardless, oblivious.

Contemptuously oblivious!

Purposeful, purposeful. You must know why you are looking at something. And the question then is, if you have listened to those videos carefully: ‘Am I with the Beloved or not?’ That is the only question that must constantly occupy your mind-space.

So, be mindful of stuff that helps bring back this question to you, and be totally dismissive of other stuff.

Just randomly and purposelessly counting the number of steps that you take from the kitchen to the washroom, is no good. It’s a random and dull practice. It will further burden and dull down your mind.

And when the mind becomes dull, then there is temporary relief from suffering. Active and searing pain, turns into dull ache. And many people prefer that. But the pain has not really gone anywhere. It has just become subsided, hidden, more palatable.

You are troubled by something as most people, most of the times are. You can occupy yourself with any random activity, as a solution. And you will see that when you occupy yourself, then your troubles fade away for a moment.

But is that a solution?

You have to ask the important and central question. “Given who I am,” and who are ‘you’? The longing consciousness. “Given who I am, why am I doing anything including observation?” That’s the thing to be asked.

“I am somebody who is in need of healing. Given who I am, why am I counting the steps? Why am I watching and counting my breath?”

Nothing can be just a mindless practice.

Otherwise, it becomes the absurdity of mindless mindfulness.

So when you say, “Mindfulness is good,” I will say, “Fine. But be mindfully mindful. Don’t be randomly mindful. Because there is just too much filth that can fill up your mind. Why must you allow it?”

The art of living is – to not know a lot. There must be really a lot, that you must not know at all. And when I say, “Know,” I mean knowing in a way, that affects you. And we do get related to the knowledge we have. Don’t we? And then the knowledge becomes burden.

Before you count something, ask yourself, “Why am I counting it?” If the man who is counting currency notes all the time, does not ask himself, “Why am I counting it?” then he is condemning himself to deep suffering. And if you do not know why you are counting, then there is not much difference between counting currency notes, and counting the number of steps that you take as you walk from point A to B.

We are quick to point out the fault with the man, who is busy counting notes all day. But we do not see that the man who is counting his steps all day, is guilty of the same fault.

Saints have constantly pointed at this trap.

They have said, “Be cautious.” There are people who use the rosary, it’s beads, as a method of meditation. There are people who keep counting the number of times they have recited a particular mantra.

And if you will go to Kabir Sahab, Nanak Sahab, or other saints, they will all tell you, “What is the point in counting till hundred and eight? What is the point in counting the number of times the rosary has gone through your fingers?” Do you really know what is going on? It is all dead practice. And it is further turning your mind dead.

What is meant by – ‘Knowing why you are doing it’? ‘Knowing why you are doing it’, is to answer the question, “Given that I am, a longing consciousness, is this activity taking me ‘there’?”

“If it is taking me there, I will count not till hundred and eight, but till hundred and eight thousands. No problems.”

“But if is not taking me ‘there’, why am I doing this silly thing?”


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

Watch the video session: The pitfalls in the practice of mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is Tapasya? What is concentration? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is Tapasya What is concentration

Question 1: What is ‘Tapasya‘(austerity)? Why is ‘Tapasya‘ necessary?

Acharya Prashant Ji: In the cold areas of the country, it becomes important, especially in winters, to let the sunlight in. Quilts etc. are kept out in the open, so that they receive the Sun treatment. The Sun must beat down on them.

The ‘taap'(heat) of the Sun removes, a lot of impurities.

That is ‘tapas’.

Feel the heat. Feel the heat.

Questioner: Still I don’t get it.

Acharya Ji: You know where the heat is. You know where the Sun is. Face it! There are many ailments for which you require heat treatment, or you require UV rays emitters. What do you do? You just bring yourself to the heat emitter, and stand in front of it, naked. You allow the heat to bake you, roast you, cleanse you.

There was a man, who once had few microbes, you know little germs, bacteria, on his skin. The doctor told him that sunlight kills these germs, or at least makes them run away. The germs overheard the doctor’s advice.

So, when the man was gleefully returning to his house, preparing to try the heat treatment, the ‘tapas’, the germs said, “You know what, the heat would do bad things to us. But the heat would do bad things to you as well.”

“Remember that you have not been exposed to sunlight since long. And we live in a tender part of your body, which is usually not exposed to harshness, to harsh Sun. If you will subject us to heat, you will be subjecting yourself as well to the heat, because you and we are very closely associated, attached now. And not only the two of us, are very closely attached now, it is some very weak part of you, it is very tender part of you, that is attached to us. You could even say that it is your weakness, which is attached to us. So, do not try what the doctor just advised. We will suffer, but you too will suffer.”

So declared the germs.

What did the man reply?

The man said, “I will merely suffer, but I will survive. And if I can survive that suffering, I would emerge healthier. But you, would not survive that suffering. I am a man. I have something in me, that can survive the Sun, because it is related to the Sun. I will suffer a lot. But, I will suffer brighter and stronger. The suffering will help me. But as far as you are concerned, you will not come out alive, out of that suffering.”

“The same heat, the same Sun, that is life-giving to me, is life-threatening to you. So I am prepared to go through the suffering. In order to avoid the suffering, I cannot give you an extended life. It is true that you will suffer, and I too will suffer. But that suffering is a blessing to me. That same suffering, is your end.”

This is ‘tapas’.

In killing your germs, you too suffer. In killing your germs, you too suffer. You willingly take that suffering, because you know that, that which kills the germs, makes you stronger.

So the suffering, has utility.

It is very difficult to defeat someone, who is prepared to give up everything, for victory.

This is ‘tapas’.

You defeat someone, not because he is weak.

You defeat someone, when he wants to protect his weaknesses.

Understand this.

It is not your weaknesses that defeat you.

It is your fondness towards your weaknesses, it is your protective attitude towards your weaknesses, that defeats you.

If you are  prepared to give up everything, if you are prepared to give up all your tender spots, your weaknesses, you would be very difficult to be defeated.

The final fulfillment, the final victory, that we had been talking of, would then be yours.

It is therefore, no crime, to find yourself weak. Biology and society, leave no stone un-turned, to keep you weak. Therefore, it is never surprising, if you look at yourself, and discover, a hundred weaknesses. It is normal.

It is normal to be weak.

But it is not alright, not acceptable, to be protective towards your weaknesses.

Finding them is alright. protecting them, is not.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, you have made it very easy.

Acharya Ji: If at the very first step, you declare it difficult, then there is no second step. Remember, what the germs said? “It’s going to be very difficult for you.” Do not buy into what the germs speak.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, can you give clarity in ‘concentration’? How to concentrate?

Acharya Ji: To concentrate, is to allow something worldly, to occupy you fully. To concentrate, is to allow something worldly, to occupy you fully.

Does concentration have a role in spiritual process? Yes, and No. Concentration can have a very beneficial role, and a very deleterious role as well. There is stuff in the world, that can take you beyond the world. If you concentrate on that, then you move into ‘dhyaan’(meditation).

Concentration has something worldly, as your goal.

Meditation, or ‘dhyaan’, is to have ‘the Beyond’ as your goal.

Now, ‘the beyond’ as the goal, is beyond the capacity of the mind.

Therefore the mind, has to necessarily start with concentration.

But, we said that concentration, is both – a boon and a curse. Concentration is a boon, if you have discretion, if you really know what to concentrate on. If you really fall in love with the right object, to concentrate on, that is ‘Ishq-e-majazi’, then concentration will lead you to meditation.

Therefore, in Patanjali’s path, concentration is one of the steps. But if you concentrate, on something stupid, it will take you deep into itself, and far away from meditation. Therefore, concentration, is a double-edged sword.

Come to the right object, and concentrate fully. Along-with concentration, discretion is needed. Discretion is needed, so that you concentrate on the right object.

Concentration, plus discretion – a good recipe for meditation.

Concentration, without discretion – devastation.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, does Vipasanna help?

Acharya Ji: It totally depends on the person. You have to hold the hand of something, or somebody, that is evidently taking you to the beyond. And, you have to hold the hand tightly. This ‘tightness’ of the hold, is called ‘concentration’.

But, before you hold someone’s hand tightly, do determine, who he is.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session:  What is Tapasya? What is concentration? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation||Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir(2016)

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Question: Why do people practice techniques like ‘Yoga’ and ‘Meditation’? Do you think they are necessary?

Acharya Prashant Ji: They have their own place. But, one should be very clear about the place that they have. What you usually call as ‘Yoga’, the kind of Yoga that is prevalent in this city(Rishikesh), is good for the body.

But do not take it as a means to salvation. If it is being sold as something mystical, or spiritual, then it is not. In fact, to try to achieve salvation through Yoga, is just an exhibition of the ego. The ego is saying that-  “By doing this or that, or by stretching my limbs, or sitting in a particular posture, I will reach God.” You sit in whatever posture you like,  you do whatever you want to do with the breath or the body, you will not get God.

Questioner: But, as I can see, one can calm the mind, by doing these asanas, these postures?

Acharya Ji: You can calm the mind, and believe that ‘you’ calmed the mind, you can calm the mind, and believe that ‘you’ calmed the mind, and in the process, cause greater agitation to yourself.

There is no method, except ‘surrender’ – direct, unconditional surrender.

If you know that your mind is calm, because the body is feeling better, and ‘you’  are the one who did something to make the body feel better, then that is just an extension of the ego.

The real happens, never, due to your planning, or your effort.

Because the real never ‘happens’.

It is already there.

It does not need to ‘happen’.

It is the only ‘happening’, how can it happen anymore?

But we are all, intent upon, somehow making the real ‘happen’. “I will go and try so hard, that I get the Truth.” Is Truth an apple or something? You don’t often get even apples due to your efforts. You can’t even get apples when you want, how will you get the Truth?

But yes, it has a certain value. When the body is fit, there is no doubt, that the mind has to think about it. So, in that space, it has a certain value.

Questioner: Does it mean that it is out of man’s control – the matter of Truth?

Acharya Ji: Yes, and the ego does not like this statement. The statement is – “This proves that it is out of your control, the matter of Truth, whether you get Truth or not.”

Yes. Please realise this, as soon as possible.

The Truth won’t come to you, because you tried this way, or that way.

It comes to you, because you see the futility of all your actions.

From morning to evening, whatever you are doing, when you see the futility inherent in them, that is the Truth.

That Silence.

And mind you, from that Silence, great action emerges. It is not as if, no action would happen. Your heart would come to ‘no action’, and the body and the mind would act vigorously.

A ‘Spiritual man’, cannot be a saint, who does nothing but eats all day, and keeps getting fat. And then everyday in the morning, he lectures for two hours. A ‘Spiritual man’, is an intense actor. He does not live as somebody, who has nothing to do with worldly concerns.

Kindly get rid of the image of the saint. In fact, if you come across any such person, who does nothing, except lecturing, and is getting fat, out of lecturing too much, then avoid him.

The ‘Spiritual man’ is a warrior.

He is one, who belongs to this  world.

He is one who partakes in the concerns of this world.

He lives life fully.

It is not that he has shed all experience. In fact, he has become more open and sensitive to experience – this happiness, this sadness, this pleasure and pain.

He is the man of the earth.

You will not find him on some great throne, somewhere. He must be someone, who moves through the streets – a commoner. He is not a general who hides in the castle. He is a foot soldier, out there in the battlefield.

Are you getting it?

Truth is not about renouncing the world of something. The man of Truth, I repeat, is a man of great action. And if you see someone, whose life is dull, lukewarm, incapable of action, then you should just know that his life has not been touched by the Truth.

Truth makes you go wild.

It does not allow you to sleep.

The dance of Truth, is a mad dance.

It is a dance of the destruction.

It is a dance in which you come alive!

You do not just sit in saffron, and say, “Hari Om.”

Kabir Sahab, never made preaching, his profession. He was a weaver, and he remained a weaver. You must ask, all the so-called spiritual ones, “What do you do, except wagging your tongue? And how do you know, anything of life, if you are not living it anymore?”

“You do not meet the commoners. You do not earn anything. You live on donations. You do not go to the markets to sell anything. You don’t but anything, because all is bought for you, by your followers. You don’t mingle with women anymore, because that destroys your reputation. Now, how do you know anything about life?”

If you are a man, and if you are not meeting women, as a man anymore, what do you know about life? From where else does anyone know about life? Does some great Truth descends from heaven? One knows the Truth, only in these simple, daily experiences of everyday living. And if you have blocked-out these everyday experiences, then how are you in touch with the Truth anymore?

How? 

Kabir’s life is a message. In continuing his life as a weaver, Kabir Sahab is saying, that professional preachers should be rejected, precisely because they are professional preachers.

You must ask the so-called spiritual ones, “Is there anything else that you do?” Your words must come out of your life, not out of some book or something. You should have gone have gone to the market, you should have seen something there. And then you should be talking, from there. 

You should be able to say that yesterday, this is what I saw, and hence we should talk about it. When Kabir Sahab talks, he makes the entire world, his instrument. He uses ‘thread’ as a metaphor, he uses the ‘loom’ as a metaphor. He uses the ‘color’ as a metaphor. He uses the ‘selling’, as a metaphor. 

There is nothing in this world, which Kabir Sahab does not use as a metaphor. Even dogs. This means that – he is a man, who is living really, intimately, with life. He is not just talking, some great high-flying theory.

Deep Awareness, Pure Consciousness – Kabir Sahib will never talk of all that. Because he is a real. He is not coming from a book, or tradition. He is not coming from rote learning. Whatever he is saying, it is arising from his heart, and hence so practical. 


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation

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Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape

The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape

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“Love is a state in which there is no ‘me’; 
love is a state in which there is no condemnation, no saying that sex is right or wrong, that this good and something else is bad.

Love is none of these contradictory things.

Contradiction does not exist in love.”

~ J. Krishnamurti

Question: Krishnamurti says that one craves sex, because in that, one finds no ‘me’, ego, and hence no conflict. And one uses it as an escape. Why does one not use, meditation too, as an escape? Is it because that one lacks understanding, energy, or is it because that the outside influences and inherent tendencies, acquired and hence biological, are too strong?

Does this call for an inner strength stronger than the outer influences? How would one describe this inner strength in words, if it exists?

Acharya  Prashant Ji: The basis of the question is, that one probably does not use meditation as an escape. But one does use meditation as an escape. One uses everything, as an escape.

One uses meditation, in precisely the same way, as one uses sex, or any other means of getting away.

Of course, Krishnamurti is spot on, when he says that, in the experience of sex, there is no ‘me’, no ego, and hence no conflict. So, there is a great peace, a silence, a touch of the beyond.

That peace, that silence, that touch of the beyond, is one’s ultimate desire.

But, is one ready to go beyond the touch? The ego is so afraid, and so stupid, that it is terrified of the one, it loves. That it wants to run away, from the same healing touch, it so craves for.

One will have ‘a little’ of it, one does not want ‘the whole’ of it. A little of it, ensures continuity of the ego. A little of it implies that one could have the healing touch, and yet remain what one is, yet continue with one’s ways. That much, is acceptable to the ego. But only that much, not beyond that.

The ego says, “My first priority, is to remain, exist, and after that comes everything else. Even the Truth must be subservient to my first priority.” So, liberation is alright, as long as, it is a second of liberation. Peace is alright, as long as, it is five minutes of peace. But, if silence threatens, to take over the entire life, if peace starts dominating noise, to the extent that noise might be completely annihilated, then the ego rejects.

The ego wants Truth, but only a modicum of Truth.

The ego wants peace, but only a sliver of peace.

The ego is foolish.

It’s first priority is always, it’s own sustenance.

So when, the ego will enter meditation, it will enter false meditation, it will enter limited meditation.

People meditate for five minutes. People set a particular time to meditate. I would ask, professional meditators, people who have been practicing meditation for so long: if you love meditation so much, why do you get up from it? If you love meditation so much, why do you limit it to half an hour of the morning time? Why don’t you let meditation, your entire life? Why can’t you live meditatively?

They would not have an answer. The answer is clear. The answer is: if you start living meditatively, rather than limiting, just isolating, relegating meditation to a corner of your daily schedule, then your daily schedule itself, would be threatened. You do not want to allow that.

The ego does not want to allow that. The ego says, “Meditation is good, as long as it is for half an hour. Then it will serve my my ends. I can become a little peaceful. Mind you, just a little peaceful. I can become a little peaceful, and then go about doing my usual, daily tasks.”

“Even if meditation has to be there, it has to be there as a servant of my daily priorities. I want to go to the same office, and continue with the same humdrum business, and to be effective in the same humdrum business, and to perform more efficiently in the same office, I want to be meditative.”

“I will not let meditation overpower me. I will not let meditation, become a canopy, over the space of my life. I will not let meditation become, a complete solution, that dissolves me away.”

“I will use meditation as a tool. I will use meditation as a tool, to remain more of what I anyway, and already am” – that is how the mind uses meditation, that is how the mind uses sex, that is how the mind uses Truth and God.

Because you are disturbed, dull, restless, after the entire day’s soul-sapping routine, in the night, you use sex as an entertainment, as a relief, as a getaway. Using sex as a relief, enables you, to wake up the next morning, and again continue with your routine, and then again hit the bed in the night, again use sex as a dissipator, again use sex as a temporary healer, and then again go back to the same shop, same work, same office, same society, same people, same routine, that disturb you.

Sex, Meditation, Prayer, God – in that sense, all of them, just are used by the ego, as enablers.

They enable the ego, to continue, as it is.

One returns to his shop, and then goes to the temple. Going to the temple, enables one, to return to his shop.

One does, what one does the entire day, and then in the evening, one wants to atone. One goes and confesses. It might be an evening, or it might be a Sunday in the church. One goes and confesses. Or one would write a letter of guilt, confession, admission, to a teacher. One would say that I wasted the entire day. One would say that I am a lousy man, an evil man. And all that confession in the evening, enables one, to conveniently again embark the next morning, on the same beaten path.

That is how we work.

We exploit even the highest.

If a prophet would come to us, we would use him to serve our petty purposes. Don’t you see, what people do when they go to holy places, to pilgrimage, to a Dargah, to a Guru? They go there, and they ask about their little things. That is all the relationship that they have, with the Guru, or the Pir, or the Granth, or the temple, or the Gurudwara.

Let everything exist, to allow me, to even help me, remain as rotten as I am. That is the world view of the ego. That is how we look at the entire universe. Unfortunately, that is also, how we look at the one, beyond the universe.

The ego is an exploitative being. The ego is a stupid being. It exploits the one, it ought to surrender to. It goes to the ocean, and asks only for two drops. And it thinks it is being quite clever, in asking, just as much as it can hold.

Can you look at the mind, the psychology of the person, who has the entire ocean available of him, and is instead asking for only as much, as his limitations would allow? Can you see that?

Sex is a window. Organised meditation too, is a window. Every moment in life, is a window. But the ego is scared of free, open, unlimited space. It would have only as much of the sky, as the window would allow. That is why one is so agreeable, to the five seconds of peace that orgasm brings, but one is not agreeable to Samadhi, because Samadhi is infinite peace.

One wants customised Samadhi. One wants temporal Samadhi. One wants Samadhi that can be used and exploited. One wants Samadhi, that would not be a total and final dissolution. One wants Samadhi, that one can be on the top of. And that is why, one never gets Samadhi.

And that is why, that which is so easily available, and one’s innate nature, remains elusive.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The ego uses both sex and meditation as an escape


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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Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Does positive thinking work

Question: What is ‘thought’? Why is thought dualistic? What is ‘positive thinking’? Does positive thinking work? Why is positive thinking, a hype?

Acharya Prashant: Positive thought is never fully positive, negative thought is never fully negative. That is the meaning of the uncertainty, that always tags any thought.

What is ‘uncertainty’? ‘Uncertainty’ means, that when you are positive, you cannot be certainly positive. The doubt, that positivity is flanked by negativity, always remains. What do you call as a ‘positive thought’? A thought that makes you happy. A thought about your well-being, a thought that – you would be alright or better-off. A thought of hope.

But hope is not ever certain. Hope is always accompanied by fear. You hope that you might win, but somewhere you are also afraid that you might not. So, uncertainty is there. Similarly, when there is a negative thought, yet you keep hoping that the negative might be averted. Even in matters of despair, you are not fully certain. You keep clinging to some hope, howsoever unreasonable. This is what is meant, when it said that – thought is dualistic.

Total certainty is non-dual.

Non-duality is possible, only when the other side, any kind of otherness, totally ceases to exist.

When there is no ‘other’, there is no duality.

But where there is thought, there would always be the other side of the coin.

When you are being ‘positive’, then you are looking at one side of the coin, but deep within you know that the other side also exists, and is just waiting to show-up. A little flip, and everything would change, right?

So, thought never gives you total assurance. You remain a bit iffy. Everything remains dicey. You cannot fully relax. You cannot just go to sleep. It always remains important, therefore, to carry your defenses.

With thought, therefore, fear always is there. First of all, fear is there. And second, a continuation of thought is there. When something has not been concluded, it would continue. And with thought, there is never any conclusion, and therefore, an indefinite continuation is there.

You keep thinking. It is like an infinite snakes and ladders game. Just when you think that you are about to reach the conclusion, you land in the mouth of a giant snake, and you are back to square one. And now again you continue with your long, arduous journey. And back again, to the same old point, and then again, a resumption, and then again despair. But all this helps you to while away life.

Thought serves a great purpose, it eats away your time. Otherwise, time will become such a burden.

Thinking, thinking, you continuously think, and you comfortably let days, months, years, decades, slip away.  And then you are so thankful when the death arrives. Otherwise, living eighty years, and that too in awareness, would have been such a pain.

You will have, had to go through the rigors of right action.

Thoughts facilitate an avoidance of right action.

Thought is helpful. Someone comes to you and demands, “Now is the time to climb up the hill, are you ready with your trekking gear?” And you say, “No, I am still thinking.” So, all the effort and the pain, that would have come with climbing the hill, has been successfully avoided. You are still thinking.

Thinking is nice, scaling the heights is arduous.

Have you ever asked yourself – if positive thought is really ‘positive’, then why are there ever any negative thoughts, after a positive thought?

If positive thought is really ‘positive’, it should have ended even the possibility of any future negativity.

But that possibility remains, and vice versa.

————————————————————————————————————————

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

Watch the session: Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is Meditation? || Acharya Prashant, on Vivekachudamani (2018)

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Meditation

Just as gold, by thorough heating and fire gives-up its impurities and gains its own lustre. So too, the mind through meditation sheds its impurities of sattva, rajas and tamas and attains the nature of Brahma.  

~ Vivekachudamani (Verse No.: 362)

Questioner: Dear Acharya Ji, is meditation the understanding? That’s what the talk is about? What is meant by -purifying the mind through meditation?

At many places, is mentioned the practice of meditation. So Acharya Ji, what is this practice about? Is there any method-less method to attain the unchanged  understanding or meditative state?

Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: I will repeat the verse, ‘Just as gold, by thorough heating and fire gives-up its impurities and gains its own lustre. So too, the mind through meditation sheds its impurities of sat, rajas and tamas and attains the nature of Brahma’.

The question is about meditation: What is meditation? Is there any method less method? Is meditation about understanding.

Let’s begin from, already you know of. You know of thought, right? So, begin with thought.

What is thought?

There is you and there is an object, you are thinking of and then the relation between you and that object. You just don’t think of anything. You define the object, you are thinking of. The object that you think of, depends on you. And the relationship is always of either fear or greed.

That which you are, either ‘wants’ or ‘repels’. That which you are is either greedy  or afraid. He knows no other state. That is thought. You want something. What is meditation then?

Meditation is, when you want the highest alone.

Meditation is, when you are fed-up of looking at the small. Meditation is, when you look at the small and you say, “If this is all that I can look at, then it cannot be small. It has to be very-very large.”

Meditation is, when nothing but the Truth is therefore the object you aim at – “I want the Truth.”

You can say, then that your sole focus is the Truth. But the Truth, as we know, is not something to be thought of, because one is too small to think of the Truth. Therefore, if one stubbornly insists that nothing but the Truth is to be known, then either one fails, or one bursts.

Please understand. There is balloon, it can only hold a limited quantity, limited volume of air. You try to inflate it beyond its permissible limit. Either you will fail in inflating it, and the balloon will not grow beyond a particular size or the balloon would burst. Meditation is the bursting of the balloon. The balloon is saying, ‘I want to hold the infinite. I want to hold the sky. Just holding a little bit of air is no fun. I want to hold the sky.” So, the balloon bursts.

Meditation is a special kind of thought, in which the thinker bursts, because the thinker is trying to achieve that, which cannot be achieved. You are aiming at that, which cannot be aimed at, which is alakh (beyond comprehension). When you are aiming at the deep-deep Truth, then your faculty keeps becoming subtler, and subtler; and finer and finer. And ultimately, it just disappears.

This disappearance is meditation.

You are looking at something, and you are contended with the looks, you are contended with the form, you are contended with the label, then meditation is not for you.

Meditation is, when you look, and you are not contended. You say that you want more. You say, “It is just not, what it appears to be”. You want to be sharper, you want to be finer. You are hungry and you don’t want to suppress your hunger. You express the hunger.

Boldly, you move towards the danger area, the abyss, and  you know that it’s dangerous, mortally dangerous but still there is something that calls you, lures you. You keep moving. And then, you are no more.

That’s meditation.

Therefore, meditation is not for those, who are easily satisfied. And therefore, meditation is not for those, who just want to practice methods.

Meditation is for those, who have taste for the mystical.

Meditation is for those who have the knack for the unknowable.

Unless you are a little crazy, unless you are a little off-center, a little mad by wordily standards, meditation is not for you.

The world looks at something and says, this is how it is. Its definition has already been supplied to me. A woman is a woman, a man is a man. A sunset is a sunset, and sunrise is a sunrise. A lake is a lake. A vehicle is a vehicle, a job is a job. A kid is a kid, a cub is a cub.

Mediation is for the eccentric ones, who say, “No, a kid is just not a kid. There is something within that tells me, that the kid…”

And silence.

That’s meditation.

And therefore, there can be no ‘one’ method of meditation, because the universe is always all around you, so say your senses.

Meditation is the honest way of looking at the universe, and that includes yourself.

When you are honestly looking at anything, you are meditating.

When you are committed to the Truth, you are meditating.

And when you say, “Even the half-truths and lies are acceptable,” then it is beyond you to meditate.

Meditation is for the daring ones, who say, “That we are prepared to die, we are prepared to disappear. But we will not accept the stories. We want to go into the deep, dark caves and figure out for ourselves, what lies within.”

Entering the caves, is sure shot death.

But then, there are some crazy ones, who do meditation.


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

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

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Acharya Prashant on Saint Lalleshwari: Who needs devotion and who does not?

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Life is given. Nothing is earned.

So, learn to serve others, not your own desire, greed and ego.

They steal your energies.

Whereas devotion builds your strength and protects the intelligent flame that leads to the Truth within.

~

Saint Lalleshwari

Acharya Prashant: So, Kamlesh is asking, ‘Is the intelligent flame vulnerable? Does the strength fade away too? Is Truth a by-product of devotion, intelligence and strength? Can I not be in Truth prior to it? Are devotion and serving others necessary stepping stone?’

Kamlesh, it is not a question of whether and if and assumptions. If one is firmly established in Truth, then one does not need devotion. The establishment is devotion.

If one is Lalleswari already, to the extent that one has given up identities with all sheaths, just as Lalleswari had given up her identification with the social regiment, clothing, then obviously serving others as a tool is not needed, then serving others is just an expression of who you are.

But one is not there. One is at a distance from one’s own heart; and therefore tools and methods are needed.

The distance is both an illusion and a reality. Absolutely seeing, no-one is ever at a distance from Truth; because Truth is the only reality, where else will you go? But relatively speaking, looking at oneself from one’s own eyes, from one’s own deluded eyes, one is obviously at a distance.

One does not look at himself as the absolute Truth. One looks at himself as a limited person. This limited looking and subsequent conclusion that I am this person, leading this life, mired in such responsibilities, troubled by such fears, hoping for such gains. This limited person needs that flame of intelligence. Needs the help of devotion. The limited person needs all the help possible.

Yes, later on a point may come when the transformed person may say, Oh! All that was not really needed! Oh! All that was just a game! But the fellow who says is not the fellow who is deluded right now. For the deluded one, help is needed. Methods are needed.

~ Acharya Prashant speaking at a Shabd-Yoga Session at Advait BodhSthal Ashram, Greater Noida on 1st October 2017


Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Saint Lalleshwari: Who needs devotion and who does not?

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The scripture’s final aim is to bring you to the living scripture

Where the light is, there the lamp is.

The Self and the Ego are not the two ends of duality. It’s non-duality talking to duality.

That is what happens when a teacher exposes the falseness of one’s existing religion. When the teacher exposes the falseness of one’s existing motivations! The teacher says you know, the route that you are taking will lead you deeper into darkness. And what is the immediate conclusion that the mind draws? The mind says, he does not want me to go there, it means that he wants me to come to him. He is telling me that all those shops are false. And that surely proves that he wants me to come to his own shop. That is a quick suspicion, rather conclusion, that the mind jumps into.

You will not have your lamp, where your forefathers found their lamp. You will have to find your lamp using your own eyes. And the only mark of lamp is, Light. Don’t disregard the Light. The Light is the only proof of the lamp.

Searching for Truth, but in the wrong way, and at the wrong places, and from the wrong center. That is what the ego does. It wants light. The ego too wants light. But it won’t get it.

The scripture’s final aim is to bring you to the living scripture.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop


 

Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop

The Lamp Post

One dark night two men met on a lonely road.

‘I am looking for a shop near here, which is called The Lamp Shop,’ said the first man.

‘I happen to live near here, and I can direct you to it, ‘ said the second man.

‘I should be able to find it by myself. I have been given the directions, and I have written them down,’ said the first man.

‘Then why are you talking to me about it?’

‘Just talking.’

‘So, you want company, not directions?’

‘Yes, I suppose that that is what it is.’

‘But it would be easier for you to take further directions from a local resident, having got so far; especially because from here onwards it is difficult.’

‘I trust what I have already been told, which has brought me thus far. I cannot be sure that I can trust anything or anyone else.’

‘So, although you once trusted the original informant, you have not been taught a means of knowing whom you can trust?’

‘That is so.’

‘Have you any other aim?’

‘No, just to find the Lamp shop.’

‘May I ask why you seek a lamp shop?’

‘Because I have been told on the highest authority that that is where they supply certain devices which enable a person to read in the dark.’

‘You are correct, but there is a prerequisite, and also a piece of information. I wonder whether you have given them any thought.’

‘What are they?’

‘The prerequisite to reading by means of a lamp is that you can already read.’

‘You cannot prove that!’

‘Certainly not on a dark night like this.’

‘What is the “piece of information”?’

‘The piece of information is that the Lamp Shop is still where it always was, but that the lamps themselves have been moved somewhere else.’

‘I do not know what a “lamp” is, but it seems obvious to me that the Lamp Shop is the place to locate such a device. That is, after all, why it is called a Lamp Shop.’

‘But a “Lamp Shop” may mean “A place where lamps may be obtained”, or it could mean “A place where lamps were once obtained but which now has none”.’

‘You probably have an ulterior motive, sending me off to some other shop. Or perhaps you do not want me to have a lamp at all.’

‘I am worse than you think. I want to find out if you could read at all. I want to see whether a lamp shop exists where you are going. I want to see whether you can have your lamp in another way suited to you.’

The two men looked at each other, sadly, for a moment. Then each went his way.

Idries Shah, Tales of the Dervishes

Acharya Prashant: To make things simpler at the outset itself, let it be clear that the one coming to seek the lamp shop, is a seeker full of knowledge. A seeker from a distant land, who does not belong really to the land of meditativeness. Knowledge has brought him to the boundary of the land of meditativeness, but cannot take him any further ahead. On the boundary, he meets this second person who is a teacher, who is the resident of this second land, who belongs there.

So, one of the first things that this teacher asks this knowledgeable seeker is, that, ‘you have come so far, having read some book that told you that you must search for lamps in a lamp shop that is thus located. But has the book also told you, how to find the one who will take you to the lamps? And if your book does not tell you ‘that,’ then your book is useless. He says, ‘‘has your book taught you, whom to trust? Has your book given you the eyes to figure out the real teacher?’’

Read more

You are a man of patterns

You are a man of mind. You are a man of reactions. You are a man of patterns. Who wants to talk to such a man?

An ordinary man in the name of learning from failures, Just tries to react differently. The second time a similar situation arises. And this he labels as learning from failure.

Zen is your essential core that reacts not, that it’s his own master. Has it’s own way of living.

Two or three years are needed so that all the pre-existing answers get clear. Not that the new answer is needed but the old answer need to go.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?


 

Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?

Acharya Prashant: Joshu went to Hermit and asked, “What’s up? What’s up?” The Hermit lifted up his fist and Joshu said, “Water is too shallow to enter here and went away”. Joshu visited the Hermit once again, a few days later and said, “What’s up? What’s up?” The Hermit raised his fist again then Joshu said, “Well given, well taken, well killed, well saved” and he bowed to the Hermit.

A few things Right-living, Wisdom, Spirituality, Zen are all about a non-reactionary way of living. A non-reactionary way of living. So, Joshu asks the hermit, “What’s up?” He isn’t parlance as indicated. It means, “Have you any Zen?” Now, Zen is not an object. Zen is not a part of ‘duality.’ The answer to the question that asks, Have you any Zen, can neither be ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ as such. When Hermit raises his fist. It is inferior to remain in silent. It comes across as a reaction to Joshu’s question.

The situation become such that Joshu’s question becomes actually a provocations, a stimulus to which the Hermit reacts this is not really the way of Zen. The question demanded no answer. The question demanded rather the stillness of Zen or the silence of Zen. The question, “Have you any Zen?” is aching to the questions — “Are you God? Is the universe same as or different from it’s source? Are you in God or God is in you? Have you any Zen? Have you any God? Have you the Truth? Have you Love?” All these are questions in the same dimensions. To such questions ordinary answers don’t suffice.

So, upon seeing the response of the Hermit, upon seeing the raised fist of Hermit. Joshu says, “The water is to shallow to enter here.” Zen is still an intellectual thing for you, ‘shallow.’ It is not yet reached your depth. Zen has not yet reached your depth. It has still not yet penetrated your heart. No point talking to you.

You are a man of mind.

You are a man of reactions.

You are a man of patterns.

Who wants to talk to such a man?

Joshu walks away. Who wants to talk to a monk? For whom, Zen is a matter of questions and answers. Then comes another day, Joshu goes to the same Hermit and asks the same questions.

Now, see what happens. The first time the Hermit has had an experience. The experience say that when somebody asks you about Zen and you respond by raising your fist, you get an insulting answer and the questioner walks away. That is what the experience of Hermit has been, right?

In one situation, the Hermit has given one particular answer and that answer has ostensibly not sufficed. The questioner has walked away dissatisfied. Not only has he walks away dissatisfied. He has blatantly on the face of the Hermit said, “The water is to shallow here.” Now, what would an ordinary man do then when faced with the similar situation again?

Read more

The more you think about love, the more you remain just a thinker.  

The more you think about love, the more you remain just a thinker.  

Is love a product of thought? Will more and more thinking bring you to love? Chances are, it may actually block love. Thought, by nature is insecure and aims at self-preservation. Love by nature is care-free and does not bother for security. These two just do not go together. Why don’t you see? The very function of thought is to maintain the status quo. Thought can aim at superficial change, peripheral change but it would always maintain the center it springs from. Thought is never going to challenge its own center. And the center of all thought is the ‘I’ feeling, the ego. That’s where the thoughts spring from.

The nature of love is to go against the ‘I’ feeling. The nature of love is to challenge the ‘I’ feeling, the very validity of it, the very presumptuousness contained in saying ‘I’; Love challenges that. Love not only challenges it, love actually mocks it, laughs at it.

Sex, love and meditation

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Acharya Prashant: First question reads, “What are your views on sex, love and meditation?”

What exactly do you want to know? I have no views really on any of these. Neither of them is something to be thought about.

L: What is the role of meditation in realization?

AP: None of these has any role to play anything. None of these are means or methods. There is the body and the body breathes. There is the body and the body bleeds. The body asks for food and digests, assimilates. And then there is the mind. The mind is driven by instincts, desires, conceptualizes, fears, analyses, projects, forecasts; that’s what the mind does. And both of these can pretty much remain independent.

Read more

Liberation is nothing but your ‘yes’ to Liberation

 

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A monk asked Seijo, “Daitsu Chisho Buddha did zazen (meditated)

for ten kalpas in a Meditation Hall, could not realize the highest truth,

and so could not become fully emancipated. Why was this?”

Seijo said, “Your question is a very appropriate one!”

The monk asked again, “Why did he not attain Buddhahood by

doing zazen in the Meditation Hall?”

Seijo replied, “Because he did not.”

 

AP: Not believing that you are a Buddha has causes and reasons. Being Buddha, has no cause, neither has it any reason. The reasons and causes that make you feel that you are what you are and not a Buddha are obviously false causes. Just as false as the belief we know about ourselves. About ourselves and about Buddha! So when somebody is asked, “Why did he not attain to Buddhahood?” The first thing is, does one need to attain to Buddhahood? For so many kalpas, he was practicing meditation in a hall doing zazen and yet he was very… Read more

Sushupti is the final frontier of Maya

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अविवेको मायासौषुप्तम्

(Unconsciousness and lack of self-awareness create the illusion of deep sleep)

~Shiva Sutra (1.10)

Acharya Prashant: Tenth Sutra, अविवेको मायासौषुप्तम् – Unconsciousness and lack of self-awareness create the illusion of deep sleep. That which we called as ‘deep sleep’ is the final frontier of ‘Maya’ because it gives the illusion that, no objects remain.  So, it appears so much like Samadhi.

Sushupti is the final frontier of Maya. You know what is ‘Maya’? What is ‘Maya’? –Illusion.

Why is Maya mentioned only in the context of ‘Sushupti’? Because only in ‘Sushupti’ do you feel that ‘Maya’ has vanished. If the objects are illusory then you feel and see no objects in Sushupti. So, only in Sushupti, can you be assured that because objects are not there so ‘Maya’ too is not there. Read more

Does meditation lead to a passive life? || Acharya Prashant (2017)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here

Question: When we meditate regularly, we start losing let’s say the desires, or I want to do this and goals and everything. But, than it’s kind of equal to, to become passive in life. So, can you say something about that? Because being passive also it feels like…

Acharya Prashant: You see sir, had you not been told in advance that the so-called meditation will turn off your desires. Are you sure, you would experience a diminution of desires?

I repeat. Even before you entered the process of meditation, had you not been told what the fruits of meditation are? Would you still have experienced those fruits? Read more

Being non-resistant to anger

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Question: Well how to be in a crowd but not get lost in maintaining yourself in a crowd?

Acharya Prashant: There is very little that you can do, when you are already in the middle of a crowd. Stimuli are raining upon you from all sides, responses are demanded. Every sound, every touch, every situation is a challenge asking for an adequate answer. So at that moment, you just have to be immersed in the happening.

It is just so that the whole life must be soon that you have a deep affinity for peace. And when you have a deep affinity for peace, for silence, and even when you’re in a crowd the taste of silence keeps calling you. Which means that if the noise becomes too much then you know that it is time for you to move. But how do you know that the noise has become too much, what is it within you that determines that it is now beyond an inner permissible limit, it is your affinity to peace.

Unless you are someone who loves peace and has been living in peace, you’d be very easily activitised to the crowd, you would be very easily co-opted by the crowd, taken by the crowd. You must have a certain point within which is not crowded, which is not a thing of the crowd and that point within is something that you have to remember and nourish, and what I’m saying is a little paradoxical here because neither can it be remembered really nor is it something that requires nourishment really.

Yet you have to nourish that part of yours which moves towards silence, yet you have to remember that it is important to move towards silence. So live a life of peace and silence. When you have been living a life of peace and silence you would also know what to do in a crowd. 

There is no method or formula that is applicable directly to specific situations. Right response is not a matter of tricks, formulae, methods or mantras. Right response comes from right life. So when 24 hours you are living rightly, then you also know how to respond rightly to specific life situations. They are not in isolation.

Often, we make this mistake of compartmentalizing life. We ask, “what to do when life poses challenges, when life gives us pain?” But you will never be able to respond rightly to pain if firstly you have not been responding rightly to pleasure. So don’t divide, don’t compartmentalize. Living rightly is one integrated whole, one single unit. If you can sit rightly on this terrace right now, then you would also know how to walk down the street, then you would also know how to sit watching a movie in a theatre, then you would also know how to sit in a stadium, you can also know how to sleep, how to live and how to die.

The desire to compartmentalize is the desire to protect. We say we don’t want to touch certain sections of our life because we are attached to them, because we are identified. Because that’s where our identities find nourishment, so we don’t want to touch those parts. They give us pleasure but then there are certain parts which are a cause of pain and we want to eradicate them.

All ends of duality go together. Live rightly at the grocery shop and you would also live rightly with your kids. Live rightly in the kitchen and you would also live rightly in the bedroom. Live rightly with animals and you would live rightly with human beings. 

Listener2: Sir, what you say, how do you define to live rightly in a few words?

AP: Living rightly is not a matter of set principles or images. It is easier and more useful to ask what is living wrongly. Just be alert and sensitive to living wrongly and that is sufficient. What is it that you do not like? Fundamentally what is it that you dislike? What is it that any human being dislikes? Does anybody like being disturbed? Does anybody like being hated? Does anybody like being afraid?

So living rightly is to not to promote, encourage, energize a life which involves fear, hatred, insecurity, division, violence, bondage, lovelessness, complexity, and that is so obvious to sense, because whenever that happens, whenever there is fear in life, complexity, insecurity, you get a headache, don’t you? Forget the mind, even the body feels heavy. 

So you don’t even have to try to identify whether it is wrong or not. The body, the mind, your entire personality cries hoarse. You know that it is not right and when you know that it is not right, don’t support it.

If it involves fear, it cannot be right for you. If it involves greed and ambition, it cannot be right for you. If it involves losing your freedom, it cannot be right for you. So when you tick all of these off, what you are left with is the right life. Strike out whatever is wrong, be intolerant towards whatever is obviously wrong and the right is available at all times. Just don’t patronize that which is unworthy of being patronized. Don’t stand by it, don’t take its side.

Does it require a great trick to figure out that you are afraid? Does it require a special skill to see that you are acting from insecurity? Does it require great insight to see that you are being calculative? When you see that happening, don’t let that happen. That’s all.

L3: Sir, practically I understood what you said, practically if I feel some ego problem because the more I spend some time to observe myself on my faults, and the more I see when some people are a bit, I got some kind of jealousy, I feel things like jealousy, envy, anger, even if I don’t want to, it does not come under my control..

AP:  yes.

L3: So you say, do not accept it?

AP: No, I am not saying that, I am saying not to energize it. You energize it by rejecting it, a bit strange but it must be understood. When you do not resist it, then it comes and passes away but when you resist it then the energy you lose to resist it becomes the energy of the anger. When you’re angry and parallely you are also resisting the anger, then the anger gains in energy. Apparently it will be suppressed but it will find expression in many other ways.

It will appear as if you have been able to put a lid to the anger, as if you have been able to bottle it. But you know of that Genie. You put it in a bottle and sooner than later it emerges from the bottle and it is this large. So when anger comes, you let anger come and you do nothing with anger.

Whatever you do with anger would only give fuel to anger. You don’t condemn anger, you don’t support anger, you don’t accept it but you also don’t resist it. You’re all right with anger, you’re alright with it.

Whenever as an angry being you want to do something about anger remember that you are furthering the actions of the angry one.

You are angry and now you want to do something. Now all your actions at this moment are coming from anger. Whatever you will do will carry the imprint of anger on it. Even if you talk softly, it would be soft anger. Even if you talk peace, it would be an angry peace. So at that moment just be, just be. There is no need to commit yourself to any action because any action from that point, I repeat, will be a furtherance of that state.

You’re angry, alright yes, there is anger, there is anger and anger gets burned down, it gets exhausted in its own little energy. All that you have to do is to let it be exhausted by itself. You don’t need to participate, you don’t need to do anything about it. I repeat, if you say that anger is bad then you are again acting from the point of anger. You don’t say it is good, you don’t even say that it is bad, and this, remember is applicable not only to anger but even to delight and pleasure.

It is only a point of silence which is a worthy point of emergence of action. Any other mental state if you act from it, would get continued and extended just by the virtue of the action. When you’re silent then act vigorously and when there is vigorous movement in the mind, then stay silent.

L4: But on this one, sometimes particularly with anger, trying to think, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what is letting go and what is  suppressing, you know what I mean? Where is the line that?

AP: Neither do you suppress nor do you let go. Anyway anger is doing what it wants to do. You don’t have to do anything more. When anger comes, it is coming with all its waves, disturbances, this and that. It is already creating a whole cyclone in the mind. With so much of movement, why do you need to add to the movement?

L4: There is the thing, because sometimes I don’t really know, am I suppressing it by thinking I’m not acting, you know what I mean? It is not always easy to distinguish between the ‘not acting’ and when I am suppressing. It is not always easy to see.

AP: Whatever you can think of, here is a certain hint, whatever you can think of is always an action. A non-action is also a non-thought. If you can think about something, you may think about not acting, but if you can think about not acting, then even this not acting is an action. Whatever you can think of is always an action.

So, if you are able to think of suppression, suppression is an action. If you are able to think of letting go, letting go too is an action, and whatever will come out of your thought in the moment of anger, remember, will be coming out of an angry thought and hence cannot be right. So whether you call it suppression or whether you call it dropping or renunciation or letting go or calming down, all of it will just be a manifestation of the angry one.

The angry one can act respectable and cover his actions in beautiful names. He may shout and say, ‘no no this is just catharsis. You’re angry and you slap somebody and when he says, ‘What are you doing?’ You say, “No, this is just catharsis, an internal cleansing of the neurosis, this is a kind of meditation’. You can drop a hammer upon somebody’s head and when he asks ‘What are you doing?” you may say ‘I am just letting go of the hammer’, that it is nothing but a spiritual activity. Whatever name you give it, it will just be anger and violence in fancy names, violence in acceptable and respectable names.

So, be cautious of anything that you feel like doing in any mental state. The only mental state which is worthy of giving rise to full action is not a state all. It is an emptiness, it is a silence. When you are in that state, then there is the complete freedom to engage in whatever you like to. Otherwise desist, hold your energy. Don’t support yourself so much.

When you are light, peaceful, joyous, then enter into whatever you want to. Initiate a new action, carry on an old action, meet somebody, do not meet somebody, walk, climb, write, design, play, swim, eat whatever you want to do. All your desires are then beautiful desires. But when there is agitation in the mind, then do not give more energy to agitation. Hold yourself. Do not actively get into anything in that state.

The funny part is, in that state you will feel the most like getting into something. You will have a great desire to jump into something or the other and in silence there will be no such great desire, yes, there will be playfulness which is a gentle urge and not an overwhelming desire. It is only in anger and other kinds of mental excitations, that you have overpowering desires.

L4:  Then there is feverishness, vindication too, just to let go.

AP: Yes, but in that feverish state you will find that you have a great inner urge to do something.

 L3: Okay, if you are acting in anger, what happens then?

AP: Nothing, the anger continues. The anger gains validation, nothing else.

L4:  And you will become easily angry again.

AP: Anger gets your support, it gets your gratification, it gets the identification and ultimately you become attached to anger. Ultimately you start defining yourself as the angry one.

L4: I know such people.

AP: It becomes their personality: Who am I? The one who is always angry. In fact the build an entire lifestyle around anger. Their photographs will be angry, even their kids will be angry, they’ll find a way to make anger their blood stream, which is all very destructive.

L4: Are you doing some karma because of that, is it karma?

AP: Whenever you will act in furtherance of incompleteness, the incompleteness will be furthered into time, into future.

L4: Whenever you react, in fact I think then you’re doing karma.

AP: Which means that the incompleteness of today will remain incomplete even in future and hence keep demanding completion, and that is the law of karma.  You’re carrying forward the past, you were angry today and you didn’t let the anger get exhausted so it is still burning. It is still burning and ten years later it is still demanding that somebody extinguishes it. So the past is being carried forward, asking for completion.

Whatsoever is not complete in the past will keep sticking to you. The residues have to be burned down. In fact it is the residues of the past that become our mind stuff. Whatever is complete get dissolved, disappears. Whatsoever is incomplete remains, persists, nags, troubles and asks for completion.

L2: When I feel anger, I just like to observe it in silence.

AP: When you feel anger, allow yourself to be angry. Hold no position with respect to anger. Have no opinion about anger, honestly and bluntly just say I am angry. Completely act as the angry one. I am angry and when you allow yourself to really act honestly as the angry one you find that there is not much action possible. It is only when anger masquerades as morality, as duty, as responsibility, as righteousness, that anger gets the energy for action. When you say I am the angry one and I want to manifest my anger, then you find that the anger is exhausted.

Remember anger feeds on your resistance. Anger is so helpless that it can’t even walk on its own legs. It requires the legs of something else. If you are shouting at someone you can’t even tell him directly that you are shouting because you’re angry. You would say, “I am shouting because I’m hurt. You would say- I am shouting because you did something wrong.” You would say, “I am shouting because it is my responsibility to guide you.” You never simply say that I’m shouting because i am angry. Such is the lameness of anger. It can’t even call itself by its true name. It always takes on the name of something else. Getting it?

So the moment you say I’m acting because I’m angry with nothing against anger, neither support nor condemnation, then you are allowing anger to run its course and evaporate. But if you hide, deceive, give it a more beautiful sacred name, then you are extending the life of anger, then you are extending the unfulfilled state. Most people don’t even admit that they’re angry. First thing when anger comes, admit that you are very angry. Admit that there is anger that you can see and there is anger that is hidden. Admit it, acknowledge it, bring it in front of your eyes honestly.

Don’t be afraid that by acknowledging it you would be accepting yourself to be a sinner or something. No, it is there, now, how can you not acknowledge it is there, so acknowledge it. Like a wave it comes and like a wave it will pass away.

L2: So from where does this anger appear?

AP:

Anger comes from frustrated desires. You have a mental model of the world. You have your expectations and you want the world to act as per your expectations. You have a set of beliefs and you want existence to abide by them. It doesn’t turn out that way. Existence has its own plans that don’t necessarily correspond with yours, and when there is a mismatch, then you’re angry.

L2: So you must be free-falling?

AP: yeah.

L4: Today a small situation with anger, when I was in a cafe, I was trying to login to see my bank account and it didn’t work because of the changes in site and it was hard to find the login. Sometimes these small things can bring more anger out in need and big things like when somebody obviously. And you know anger came and then I did, like this, I mean I cannot scream in the internet cafe right, it hurt. I was feeling relief. So what do you think about like let’s say let’s call it spontaneous breathing techniques, techniques dealing with anger, what do you think?

AP: Even those techniques will be applied for you firstly if you acknowledge that you are angry if you have an attitude towards anger, if you consider anger as sin then even applying those techniques will become difficult.

L4:  Yes, I had this issue for some time like, “Oh I’m meditating, I know I should be wise.”

AP: Now you have been meditating since years. First of all it is a kind of internal shame to accept that you’re still angry. Now if you cannot accept that you’re angry how will you apply any method?

L4: I had to, I needed time to realize. My intellect knew this but you know my emotions were- ‘Oh you have to be a meditator’. I read one.

AP: Yes, so acknowledge that you’re angry and then a lot of methods are applicable, a lot of methods. You can look here and there, gaze at the stars, breathe out, breathe in, play with a puppy, play with your palm, log on to  a different site, play a video game, get some fruit juice for yourself, anything.

L2: Aggression is about the fears. It’s about the fears we have inside and how to act in that situation and solve our fears?

AP: Then again, the same thing as fear, as anger rather. When fear is there, any decision that you make at that moment will be a decision in fear. So what will be the quality of that decision? It will involve fear and it will further fear, it will have fear written all over it. That fear can take different names, I do not deny that. We require to give decorated names just to hide fear. But essentially all those names will just be fear. So it is important to not to get engaged with fear.

Let fear come, run its course and dissolve away. Even if you say that you’re observing fear, there is a catch there because observation requires a hands-off approach in the name of observation you never know how you would suddenly become a participant. It’s like you go out to a shopping mall saying that you’re just there to observe the people, the  shops, the wares, the merchandise, all the decorated windows and what do you find  yourself doing very soon?

L4: Planning what to buy.

AP: Planning what to buy and actually buying. So observation is a very tricky thing. You set out to observe and very soon you become a participant. So don’t be too insistent even upon observing. What do you want to observe? It is there, it is obvious. Now does it need any special observation? It is there, it is there now let it be there and have faith that if you do not add your energy to it then it does not have  much energy of its own. Yes it creates a lot of noise, but it’s like, that’s like the thunder of clouds. Don’t we say that clouds that roar the most are the least likely to rain? Same case with fear, anger and the rest of them.

Watch their energy, watch their movement and for a while their energy and their movement  is so intensive that it does appear as if a lot is about to happen, but it’s precisely because they exhibit a lot of energy that their energy gets burnt out  to soon. Anger displays so much energy that very soon it loses all its energy, provided you are not providing energy from behind, you do not conspire against yourself. Anger is like fire, it requires fuel and the more fiercely it burns, the more quickly it exhausts. So let it burn fiercely.

More important is to ask the question – ‘How to live a life in which there is not much need for anger?’  People mostly ask, “what to do once you are angry, what to do once you are angry?” Why don’t you ask why must one be angry? What kind of life would it be in which anger really finds very little space? Why not live that kind of life? Why ask a small question? Why ask a divided question?

L2 :  Okay, what kind questions need to be asked?

AP: What kind of life would it be in which anger finds little space? You tell me. If you can ask a question that comes from me then I can repeat an answer that comes from you. We just discussed from where anger arises right? From where does it come?

L4: From unfulfilled desires.

AP: So what kind of life would it be in which anger really finds little space?

L4: Or if all the desires are fulfilled which is impossible and insane.

AP: So either all desires are fulfilled…

L4: Or they are not important because you are already fulfilled from inside.

L2: Have no plans, be flexible.

AP: And that is far more important than countering anger; that is far more important.

L2:  Okay so if we take not anger but fears?

AP: I am again asking, do they exist independent of each other?

L2:  yes.

AP: Are they?

L2: Maybe I am wrong.

AP: Can you be angry without being afraid? Are they not two names, two expressions of the same unfulfillment?

When you feel that something has been taken away, you are angry and when you feel something will be taken away, you are afraid.

L2: I am talking about fears like, you know of wild animals.

AP: So the wild animal will take away your life. Somebody comes and hits you and gives you a cut here, you’re angry. Some physical damage has already been done and that is anger and the wild animal may cause such damage in future and that is fear. The wild animal may cause a similar cut in the future and that is fear. Both involve anticipation or confirmation of loss, both take loss as real, both are validations of unfulfillment, are they not?

L4: But I would say this kind of fear you’re talking about its useful I mean nature gave us this kind of fear for our protection. This animal in the jungle could kill me, so don’t go in the jungle too far, isn’t it? I mean we’re talking about psychological fear about things you don’t really have to be afraid but yeah.

AP: Mostly when you are afraid of wild animals the fear is for nothing. How many times have you found a dog really attacking you and how many times have you been afraid of dogs? How many times have you been afraid of cows coming towards you and how many times have cows really attacked you? And how many times have you experienced fear? So mostly even this fear is just psychological and has no real basis to it.

I am repeating this – when you get the knack, the taste, the hang of living in fulfillment, the more you encourage and promote that life. The more you live in surrender, the more you become allergic towards unfulfillment. The more you become intolerant towards mental agitation, you immediately recoil. You find yourself stuck in a place that agitates, excites, and disturbs. You won’t be there for long, you won’t punish yourself, push yourself, persuade yourself to continue to be there. You will not call it a responsibility or obligation to please anybody by continuing to show up in such situations or at such places.

You will then know that your primary obligation is your own peace, but for that you first have to fall in love with peace. You will have to give yourself the opportunity to live in peace. If peace remains a stranger to you, even if an intimate stranger then you’ll have not much problem living in disturbance and which is a big problem. If you do not find disturbance, problem anymore and if you have become so habituated, so adjusted, then you are in trouble. Have you not seen people who become so habituated to noise, who become so acclimatized to violence that it does not mean anything to them?

They might be living in a din, and corpses might be falling all around them and for them it is life as usual. Don’t become one of them. Have a great sensitivity. Reject falseness, reject agitation and pay the price. Sometimes you have to pay a price for rejecting all that. Pay the price whatever be the price. If your workplace is full of chaos, you don’t have an obligation to be there. If your social circle is full of disturbed people, you don’t really have to become disturbed by living in midst of them.

Only if you secure your peace, that you can bring peace to others, but all of that firstly requires that you get in love with peace, a hang of peace which means that you should lie down and watch the stars, or play with animals, do all kinds of unreasonable things, waste your time by the river, allow yourself to be called a useless wanderer, a loafer and all that will  bring you in such touch with peace that now you’ll say, “Oh no, disturbance? Who wants to take it? I’m too much in love with peace to accept any disturbance now. I’m too much in love with peace to go back to noise now. It is irreversible.” Come to that point where it becomes irreversible, where there are no U-turns possible anymore. Close all the exit doors.

L4:  I found you said something very interesting, when you said sometimes you have to pay a price, I was feeling that about two years ago, I noticed some, let’s call it part of my personality  that resists the change you know. The part of the personality that wants to be unhappy, that wants to be agitated, now I want to be angry at this and that, and then I had to consciously let go and it took time. Sometimes I had to go through some suffering, if you can call it that but this part of me are now much more and not so powerful anymore. I would call it a sacrifice.

AP: See there is pleasure in anger and that is why we sustaining anger but when you recognize that there is a much deeper pleasure of an entirely different dimension in peace, then you prefer that pleasure over the pleasure of anger. One gets into anger not for the sake of anger. Even in anger we are searching for joy.

L4: Yes, like excitement.

AP: Yes excitement. So instead of searching for joy through anger, why don’t you go directly to joy? And when you go directly to joy then you do not require anger as an intermediary. Then you say, “Oh! This middleman exacts too much of a price and also does not bring me the real thing. He promises joy but brings only agitation. So, I would rather now go directly to joy, to peace.”

L4: Some Buddhist schools of thoughts are saying that the desire to be happy and fulfilled should be dropped at the end to come to the real thing. What do you think about it?

AP: See as we are talking right now, I really do not have a desire to be fulfilled and this in itself is quite fulfilling. As I’m speaking, I’m speaking out of fulfillment so there is no question of desiring anymore fulfillment. You have all the right to be as fulfilled as your deepest desire of fulfillment. You in fact have a right to be fulfilled beyond your deepest desire of fulfillment and when you are that fulfilled, who wants fulfillment anymore?

To want fulfillment is to be unfulfilled. Fulfillment is an infinite cup from which you can drink as much as you want to and then one sip more.

Now who wants to crave.

Still we keep craving.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Being non-resistant to anger

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 coverpage

Spirituality is not an isolated activity

The distinction between spiritual life and worldly life is a false distinction. That which is called as Truth is not to be attained in isolation or abstraction. It is found in the middle of life, not in the middle of some special spiritual life, but in the middle of our everyday life.

Spirituality is not an isolated activity. You do not say that these are the things that I do and then the next thing that I am engaged in is, spirituality. If you do not do what you are doing, then how will you ever come to the facts of what you believe yourself to be.

Spirituality is not morality, it is not a set of commandments, it is never instructive. It does not tell you, do this or do that. And if you are ever told that in the name of self-inquiry or spiritual progress, then just be very cautious, it must be somebody who doesn’t understand.

Your condition at this moment is the sum total and complete representation of all your life, not only this life of the past 30 or 50 years, but your entire evolutionary life as well. What you are, this moment is a total expression of the collective flow of the whole stream, the whole evolutionary process, for each of us. Now, why do we need to go elsewhere and read a book? Here is the book, our life is the book, so close and so unavoidable.


Read the Complete Article: Spirituality is basic honesty

Spirituality is basic honesty

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Question: I want to seek the Truth, for me service to the humanity is my means to serve the Truth. This is what excites me and am drawn towards. I have been attending Satsangs, and they say it is about dropping your identity and exploring who you are as the greatest. So, I am confused if I am avoiding the Truth by attachment to my passion.

Acharya Prashant: Let me put something very emphatically.

The distinction between spiritual life and worldly life is a false distinction. That which is called as Truth is not to be attained in isolation or abstraction. It is found in the middle of life, not in the middle of some special spiritual life, but in the middle of our everyday life.

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