Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Consciousness is just physical

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

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

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

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

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

You cannot have anything called ’empty consciousness’.

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

Consciousness, does not like a vacuum.

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

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

That is consciousness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you getting it?

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

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

(laughter)

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

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

Or, as Awareness.

The foundation of consciousness, is awareness.

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

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

No.

Being aware implies – not identifying with consciousness.

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

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

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

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

Close your eyes, and take a step backwards.

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

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

Now, you see why He is so inaccessible?

Where is He?

Just one step behind.

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

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

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

So taking that one step backwards, is impossibly difficult.

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

But if you move backwards, everything changes.


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

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting|| Acharya Prashant

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

Question: Acharya Ji, how to attain stillness of the mind?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘Stilling the mind’, or ‘Stopping the mind’, are very popular and lucrative catchphrases. There is a small problem. The problem is – for the mind, everything is a verb. Everything is a verb. Everything denotes action. So when the mind says, “Stop,” even that means – ‘do’ the act of stopping.

Mind only knows movement. Mind does not know anything called ‘stillness’, or ‘stopping’. So we may find it tempting, to talk of stopping the mind. But the moment yo usay, “Stop the mind,” you have started a new action.

Do you get this?

The moment you say, “Stop the mind,” you have just started a new action. Now it doesn’t matter whether you want to make the mind ‘do’ something, or whether you want to make the mind come to a pause. Essentially, you are doing the same thing. You are ‘doing’. Essentially you are doing the same thing, which is that you are ‘doing’.

In making the mind run to a particular place, you are ‘doing’ the running.

In making the mind stop, you are ‘doing’ the stopping.

So, this stopping is no stopping, and hence all attempts of stopping the mind, or stilling the mind, are necessarily going to go waste.

For the mind, even ‘silence’ is something, even ’emptiness’ is something. Even ‘nothing’ is something. So, language is not very useful here. Language may lure us into believing, that we are stopping the mind, but all that we are doing is that, we are still ‘doing’.

That is why, methods that aim at stopping the mind, tricks, techniques, that all fail, because they are all actions.

And no action is going to lead to non-action.

It is not possible, to run harder, to stop. Yes, you may get exhausted and fall down, but the tendency to run, will remain. It is possible to keep chanting a particular phrase, for hours and hours, for many years. And that may make the mind, so exhausted and bored, that when you enter into that activity repeatedly, it just stands in one place, out of frustration and boredom. But that does not mean, that it’s tendency to run around has stopped.

The moment it gains favorable conditions, it will again start running. That is why effects of traditional meditation, do not last. That is why you have to repeat the practice, over and over, and again and again.

One must ask a basic question: what kind of peace it is, that comes and goes? Is it peace at all? That which comes and goes, necessarily has to be a movement, a  wave, an action. Only ‘something’ can rise and fall.

How can peace rise and fall?

Peace, by definition, is an absence, a nothingness.

If you have to exert yourself, again and again, in order to retain your peace, it only proves that it is not peace at all.

It is some kind of enforced silencing, of the mind.

Like kids, that hush down on seeing the teacher. Would you call that silence? That is mere temporary wordless-ness. Out goes the teacher, and out goes the so-called silence.

Do you get this?

So, first of all, one has to drop this belief in one’s capacity to silence the mind, or even in the concept of a ‘silent mind’. There is nothing called ‘a silent mind’. There is something called ‘Silence’ which is beyond something-ness, which is an absolute, which cannot be used as an adjective, to describe something else.

Are you getting it?

You cannot have a ‘silent mind’. Mind, when silent, dissolves in the Silence. All that remains is Silence. What do you mean by a ‘silent mind’ then?

But we want to believe, and we have a stake in believing, that just as we, the ego-sense, try to control its destiny, through a thousand ways, through ten kinds of efforts, through multiple attempts arising from doership, it would also attempt to, and succeed in, controlling the mind, or silencing the mind.

What is the mind? Some kind of an object? Who would control the mind? Who are you who would whip the mind in submission, or trap it, or seduce it, or counsel it? Who are you, who is stalking? When you say, “I will silence the mind,” who is this ‘I’? So, even after silence, this ‘I’ would remain. What kind of silence is this?

Is it not obvious?

Silence and Mysticism, Spirituality and Mysticism, they are one.

They go together.

And Mysticism, is about being comfortable, with the unknown.

Not having that urge, to be in control.

Not trying to be a master of your destiny.

“I do not know whether the mind can be silent, I do not know whether any method will succeed. I do not know whether there is this thing called ‘silence’. But I will honestly know that, which is in the purview of knowledge. I will know that which can be known. And beyond that, I will not venture. It is not my province. Why should I dare enter forbidden areas?”

“And it is not even about forbidden. It is not as if I have the capacity to enter it, and I have been just outlawed from there. I do not even have the capacity to enter it. I do not even have the capacity to imagine entering there. I do not even know what lies there. I do not even know whether actually, there is any place called ‘there’.”

This, crudely, is the beginning of Mysticism.

There, you do not claim to be knowledgeable.

There you do not claim to be the doer, or the master.

There you just submit yourself.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

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One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)

One day, we will have such a Temple

 

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Question: What is a ‘Temple’, and what purpose should it serve?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A ‘Temple’ must definitely, have elements, that elevate your consciousness.

Being at a place, being with elements, being with people, being with structures, being with sites, scenes, sounds, that remind you of the beyond, that take the lowly consciousness to a high point, where it becomes receptive to signals from the sky.

That’s a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, a ‘Temple’, first of all, must have those elements. Secondly, wherever those elements are present, that place is a ‘Temple’, even if, you call it by some other name.

So look at the effect, the whole situation, the arrangement, the whole architecture is having on you. Is it taking you beyond, the mundane things that keep circulating in your mind?  If ‘yes’, then it deserves to be called, a ‘Temple’. If ‘no’, then it is just another place – entertaining probably, imposing probably, but not elevating.

The aspect of elevation, is central.

‘Temple’ is a place, where you are elevated.

If you are not being elevated, the place is not a ‘Temple’.

And, if you are being elevated, in some place, that place is most definitely a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, ideally, today’s temples must be great centers of learning. Temples must be spiritual universities. A ‘Temple’ cannot be just a place, where there are some stone carvings, and such things. Real Education must have to be imparted in temples. That’s elevation of consciousness.

Temples have to be centers of, not only scriptures, they must also be centers where education is imparted in arts, and sciences. Because, unless you are scientific, it will be very difficult for you, in today’s age, to be really spiritual.

In fact, I have this vision. Vishranti (Monthly Spiritual retreat) was organised in Udaipur, in the month of February. I was with Anshu (one of the volunteers), on one night, till 2 a.m., and we saw a temple on a hill-top. And I said, that one day, it is possible, that we will raise a Real Temple. Not the one where we go, ring the bell, and get the prasad. Not a temple where all kinds of superstitions breed. But, a temple that would be a center of real scientific research, a place where fine arts find great expression. A place where human consciousness is refined, broadened, elevated, in all possible ways.

I remember, I said to him, “In a temple, there must be a center of contemporary studies, where one is taught about all the current worldly issues.”

A ‘Temple’ must really be a university, in purest sense of the world.

Great creativity, must arise out of a ‘Temple’.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place where great ideas must be discussed.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place of great conversations, and healthy debate.

Great scholars from all directions, and dimensions, must converge in the ‘Temple’.

When people go to a ‘Temple’, they must return enriched.

You are able to listen to a profound lecture, or to an animated debate. You come to know of things, that you anyway do not know. Economics is being discussed, geo-politics is being discussed. The recent, cutting-edge research and advancement, are being discussed. There are physicists, there are medical-researchers, there are geologists, there are cosmologists.

And, they all are present in the ‘Temple’.

That’s what a temple must really be like.

And, obviously, when I say that, the foundation of the temple, has to be mystical.

I am only talking, of those things, that are currently missing in temples. I must correct myself. Actually, mystics too, are currently missing in temples. So I must talk of them as well.

So when consciousness is raised, only then it becomes capable of transcending into the mystical dimension. Consciousness, under the burden, with all its shackles, cannot fly away, cannot gain freedom, from the worldly entanglements.

First of all, it must gain clarity, with respect to the world. When there is clarity and knowledge, with respect to the world, only then there is a possibility, of going beyond the world. So, a temple, must first of all, be a place of knowledge, then a place of learning, and then a place of mysticism. It has to be a composite thing.

One day, God willing, we will come up with such a ‘Temple’.

Let’s see.

How would it be, to find a lab of nuclear physics, in one quarter, and an aggregation of the world’s best dancers on the other side. Both in the same campus. How would it be?

Live long everybody, to see that day!

I hope, I also live long enough, to see that day.

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

Watch the session:  One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Man’s world is one of stories

Man’s world is one of stories:

myths, morals, codes, institutions, money…

Man is an animal that weaves stories.

Animals live in objects, man in stories.

Why does man weave stories?

Because man is a story.

To defend his inner story, man is compelled to dream external stories.

What is mysticism?

The story that ends the inner story.

~ Acharya Prashant

Read more

Why did Osho say that he is the rich man’s Guru?

Slide1

AP: So, you are asking, “Why did Osho say that he is the rich man’s Guru?” Two important words here will have to be understood. The first is ‘rich’, what is richness? The second is ‘Guru’, what is Guru? When you usually say richness, what do you mean? It’s a very frequently used word, what do we mean? We usually mean a feeling of having a lot with us. And equally frequently we also use the word ‘poor’. What does poor refer to?

Listener 1: Lacking something.

AP: A feeling of lacking something. Normally we would take richness and poorness to be opposites of each other. And that gives us a hint, wherever opposites are to be found, the matter is just dualistic. And in any dualistic issue, both sides of duality are not really true. So what is the poor man saying? The poor man is saying “I have sized up myself, I have taken my measurement and I find this measurement to be small”. And what is the rich man saying? “I have sized up myself, I have taken my measurement and I find this measurement to be large, big!” Now small and big both are very subjective terms and hence, rich and poor too are subjective. Read more

When God is the Lover, to be kissed is to be killed

Question: The old Tibetan scripture says the spirituality will shift from the east to the west. That was written centuries ago. It was kind of predicted.

Acharya Prashant: Of this I too feel a little sure that the center of spiritual yearning has already moved to west from the east. East has relics, east has remains, east has the old devastated buildings but the new grass is taking root not in east, I assure you. East has a lot of remains, so if you are interested in archaeology, in historical wanderings, then east has a lot of history but if you’re looking for living spirituality, if you’re looking for spirituality that breathes, you will find very little of it in the east.

When I’m saying east, I’m referring to India. I don’t know of other countries. In fact I know of other countries; nowhere. About the west, even though again just as I don’t know other countries, I also don’t know any western country but about the west I’m reasonably sure because the kind of mind that is needed for a spiritual pursuit has to be first of all a mind that is not averse to order.

The western mind at least knows how to follow an external order; they know how to drive in traffic. The inner order — it is such a huge authority, it is such a dictator that it does not listen to any of your wishes. The external order is a very gentle order in comparison. Now, the one who cannot even follow an external order; an external order, in the sense, just as you said, ‘When Indians say thirty minutes, you never know what they mean’. So somebody who cannot follow even an external order, how will he tolerate the immensity and the utter authority and the unreasonableness of the internal order.

When the traffic policeman is telling me to do something, and that something is quite reasonable, he’s not torturing me, that I cannot follow. I cannot think straight. I cannot think two plus two four and the inner commander will say two plus two is five. When I cannot appreciate two plus two four, how will I appreciate when that unreasonable order comes from within?

Are you getting it?

Take it like this: I tell you something which will save your life and you cannot follow that. It is a simple and reasonable order. I’m telling you something which will save your life and you cannot follow that even though it is logical, simple and reasonable. Then, how will you follow when the inner order will tell you to take your life? You cannot follow the instruction of a doctor — here in India if a doctor gives you pills, you think the doctor is an idiot.

When you cannot follow instructions that will save your life, how will you follow instructions that will take your life?

Spirituality is about taking your life.

L2: You said, I think yesterday, we have to forget or overcome our differences but only one thing is important and that is the difference between the essential and the non-essential.  How can we manage that? Inner order, this is really strict.

AP: The inner one is a little too difficult to be tolerated.

God is a really finicky husband and autocratic father.

He gives you orders that you can never understand.

He gives you orders that are impossible to execute.

He’ll always tell you to do something that will put you in trouble.

“Don’t go home!”

He’ll never give you something that will make you feel warm and comfortable.

“Go out. Midnight. Dance there. Naked.”

Oh God! Where is the fire?

“No fire. Keep dancing and keep dancing to my tune.”

That kind of a fellow this God is. What to do?

How to follow the inner order? You don’t know.

When He (God) will beat you black and blue ,you will follow. When He will love you madly enough then you will follow. There is actually no recipe. Even, I’m desperately looking for that formula. But not getting it. I know there is no such formula but when you see all the madness around, you desperately wish to find some formula that can be applied on everybody. There is actually no such formula. That’s His unreasonable, unacceptable behavior. He should be tried for bad behavior — no manners, no etiquette, just commands!

He ties your hands and then asks you to fight. What to do?

And after you’ve won, He declares that you’ve lost. What to do?

And when you are an absolute winner, He gives you death as a reward.

He is, I assure you, not the loving father you hold him in Christianity.

That image is a totally false image — God, the provider; God, the supplicant.

Sorry.

L1: There are quite a lot of Christian mystics who’ve gone through that.

AP: I know. Of that I can be very-very certain because I’m going through that every day, Dusan (listener).  God is not kind at all I’m telling you. He is very lovable but he is a kind of lover you keep loving and He responds in His own idiosyncratic crazy ways. You’re sending out kisses to Him and He comes back with a slap. When you say why are you slapping me, He says that’s my definition of a kiss. I just kissed. What to do?

But rest assured, God is not like that. He doesn’t have a long white robe, He’s not old, He doesn’t have a flowing beard and He’s not merciful. Not all that, seriously not all that.

That does not mean that He’s the opposite of all that. I’m just saying that He’s not what Christianity has made Him out to be. He’s not that! He seriously torments. He seriously makes you suffer. Sometimes what you think of as Joy is just suffering. In the form of Joy, He has sent you suffering. I’ve personal experience of that. You feel happy that Joy has come to you but then you know what appears auspicious (Shubh) is the worst thing that can happen to you. You think that the emblem of auspiciousness (Shubhankar) is coming but God has his own way of giving.

One has to learn to live with His moods — a very moody and autocratic being. And the worst part is after doing all the rubbish that He can, after appearing to be conclusively unjust, tyrannical, ultimately, He delivers you the worst humiliation. The worst humiliation is that when you were thinking of Him as tyrannical and unjust, He was actually displaying kindness to you.

That is His last slap on your face!

First of all He keeps slapping you, when you think He’s slapping you. And then His last slap is that you learn that when He was slapping you, He was actually caressing you. That is the last slap! Net result is: All you get from Him is slaps. When you discover that these were not slaps, that is too late. You’re gone. Some idiots call that Enlightenment.

(Laughs)

But you’re gone, too late to know.  

It is not for the small-hearted. If you don’t have raw beastly courage, do not get into this. He really shreds your heart, makes you play with your own blood and then when you’re all in red, totally gory, he says what stupidity is this?

Aghast! You’re looking at his face. But I just followed your orders.

“Come on! You should know better than that. Why did you follow my orders?”

If you have any weakness, if you have even a single point left uncovered, undefended, if even on a single front you’re weak then God will exploit that.

L1: But it is his duty. That is his duty.

AP: Not a likeable fellow at all.

Sometimes you feel disgusted towards yourself for being him!

(Laughs)

I am you!

I Am That is such an impersonal thing. When you talk to God, all that you ask is, “I am you!” Of all things possible, “I am you!”

You know that’s what they say, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely!’

There is only one who has absolute power. He’s totally corrupted — follows no discipline, does not listen to your wishes, plays around with men as toys and keeps giving random twists to your life stories. Today you meet some random woman on a boat, tomorrow she is your wife and he’s giving high fives to himself.    

Another one made an ass.

When you’re about to meet Him,

He himself becomes the barrier and then,

He says, “Such a fool, he cannot come to meet.”

The evil is God’s secret agent.

After we all have retired to sleep then God holds a secret meeting with him. What do you think? The evil is evil? God will tolerate evil? He’s such an absolute autocrat, why will he tolerate evil or devil?

The evil is nobody but God in forms that we dislike.  

L1: Evil could be the final rising.

AP: The final rising, yes.

L1: He does the dirty job.

AP: One thing is certain: That dirty job is being done with that fellow’s consent. I’m sure He’s behind all this, whatever is happening. One just has to trace His hand. Maybe ,one of the secret services – CIA or something like that, they should shadow evil and figure out from where He gets his ammunition and resources from? What do you think, evil could have survived without God’s patronage?

Not only can the evil not survive without the patronage of God, even God cannot survive without the patronage of evil.

L1: Yes.

AP: Remove evil and? (Asking the listeners)

L1: There is no God anymore.

AP: It’s not conforming to the image — the word Patronage. Right?

L2: Patronage is a bit too much for me.

(Laughs)

AP: God turns into Gods. One of them is an evil God. And these Gods together keep up the God.

God turns into Gods.

One of them is an evil God.

And these Gods together keep up the God.

L2: I don’t agree but I respect your views. You have more experience.

AP: I wish experience could speak all this.

All this while we’ve been talking of God; you just said you disagree which means that your God differs from my God.

L2: I don’t know because I have no picture.

AP: Seriously? Can you differ without having a picture? Is it possible to differ at all?

L2: Because in some aspect I don’t agree with your approach.

AP: Again, I’m asking, how will you disagree if you don’t have a picture? Look into it.

L2: A picture means something clear, crystal clear for me at least.  

AP: You may have a vague picture. There are clear pictures and there are vague pictures, nonetheless both are pictures.

L2: In a very rough sense, yes.

AP: In a very rough sense, right?

So we are talking of God and you do not agree with my God so surely we’re talking of Gods because your God is not my God.

L2: Yes.

AP: So all this while we have been talking of Gods. Not God; Gods.

So that’s what God does: gives rise to Gods that we can talk of and we keep talking of them.

Meanwhile, time is wasted and God remains elusive.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: When God is the Lover, to be Kissed is to be Killed

Further Reading:

THE BEAUTIFUL HEART

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The Beautiful Heart, a paragon, will introduce you to an extremely different way of living, not professed by many before; a way that is far away from calculations and manipulations and calls for a fearless venture into it.

Living by the Heart is a harmonious way of living. Author has extended an invitation through this book to come close to the beautiful heart of yours and see how enchanting it is to live by it.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/Yk3OVP

Kindle: https://goo.gl/QhmpB7

Joy lies in your capacity to take hurt

Joy lies in your capacity to take hurt. The more hurt you can take, it proves that you are still on top of the hurt. The moment you say, ‘I cannot take anymore’, the moment you start blocking hurt that is the moment when hurt has won.

The reward of the one who is capable of taking wounds is that he gets more wounds.

I once met a young girl and she had a crystal in her palm and forcefully, almost violently, she was again and again, banging it against the floor, throwing it at the walls. I asked her, ‘Why are you doing this?’ She said, ‘Because I have been told that it cannot be broken.’ When you are somebody who cannot be broken, your reward will be that you will receive more and more banging against the floor and the wall. The whole existence will know that you are unbreakable. So, you can take a little more of thrashing, pounding, beating.

The more thrashing you are able to take, the more pounding you are receiving, the more it is certain that you are capable of taking it. Hence, the more it is certain that whatever the world is throwing at you does not really affect you, bother you.

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

Question: Is the mind a product of duality?

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

Listener: Duality in oneness?

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

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

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

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

AP: … non-dual.

L2: So, nothing is dual?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

L3: Wisdom you can say…

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

There is only one guru — the Super Boss.

Go to That.

And that Super Boss does not tolerate middlemen.

He can only be approached directly.

That is one of His commandments — Middlemen not tolerated.

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

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

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

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

Closer than the closest.

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

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

You can be in it;

you can play in it;

you can have fun in it;

you can exist in it;

you can dive in it;

you can swim in it;

you can breathe in it.

But you cannot reach it.

How can you reach it? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All guru! Life is a guru.

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

Wonderful!
Only then you are the guru.

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

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

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

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

Listeners: The source.

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

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

AP: Why to bother about that?

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

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

L3: There is some effect?

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

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

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

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

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

AP: Always, yes.

L4: Right perspective, right direction?

AP: Right and wrong, both.

L4: Both?

AP: Both.

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

AP: (Smiling) No. It’s not somebody.

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

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

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

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

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

L4: Combined?

AP: Not combined; not not combined.

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


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

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


 

Further Reading:

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Commentaries on Ashtavakra Gita

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

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

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

Kindle: https://goo.gl/T3GGnP

On J. Krishnamurti: Know Him, without His names

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When you teach a child that a bird is named ‘bird’,
the child will never see the bird again.

~ J.Krishnamurti ~

Acharya Prashant: Beautiful quotation.

Because naming comes with a total bundle of association, references, memories, past, prejudices. having named something, having tagged or labelled something, you are no more in direct touch with that thing. Now, you are in touch with the name and not the thing. Getting it?

It takes a beauty; beauty that lies in mystical unknowing. Now, you know. We have 4 rabbits here (at AdvaitBodh Sthal), deliberately we have refrained from naming them, one of them carries a name but the other 3 do not have names. And it is beautiful and we often do not know who is who? They are all white, alike.

What else are identities, what else are relationships?

Names.  Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus
~ Sermon on the Mount ~ Read more

On Krishnamurti and Osho: You cannot reject the world while holding on to yourself

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Listener: In one of the discourses by Osho, he was asked, “Why Jiddu Krishnamurti could not get people Sanyas?” And he answers it like this,  “Krishnamurti is on my side. We are both saying the same things. Krishnamurti was against dogmas, beliefs, organized religion and all that which is ‘symbolic’, which is not real. But he said the egoist man will find Krishnamurti on his side because he cannot surrender to anyone. An egoist mind is not likely to be able to transcend or be a spiritual man because he would not find it easy to surrender to anyone. I don’t understand what he is trying to say by that.

Somewhere I see a connect with what you are trying to say but I am not reaching somewhere.

Acharya Prashant: Let me put it very clearly.

It is not true at all that the egoist mind does not surrender to anybody. It is not at all true! Where does ego come from? The ego itself comes from somewhere and somebody, the so-called surrendered man and the so-called egoist are just the same, the difference is only in the expression and this has to be very meticulously listened to.

The man who goes and surrenders to the priest is conscious that he is surrendering to the priest. He is conscious that he is allowing the priest to dominate him, to dictate his mental activity and consciousness, and then there is the egoist, the egoist says, ‘I am resisting the priest.’ Read more

Go mad, but go really mad. Don’t just pretend

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When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them

~Rumi

Acharya Prashant: Insomnia is a restlessness. Insomnia is a breaking down of the regular pattern of consciousness. Consciousness exists as the waking state, as the sleeping state, as the dreaming state. Insomnia here refers to a breaking down of the regular patterns of mind, which is a kind of madness. To a mind which thrives on patterns, a breaking down of patterns appears so much like madness.

Read more

The Mystic has no religion, his religion is Truth

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Question: There is a nice story on a Master, who said that everything has some value, is good for something. Then someone asked him, “What is the good in atheism?” He said, “Everyone must be atheist. If you are in deep prayer and somebody comes to you for help, you forget your prayer, forget the god, and help him.”

Acharya Prashant: In fact, this is not only a smart answer, it is actually the only answer that there must be. What he is saying is that God for you is a concept. Whereas the fellow who is coming to seek help is a fact, and the fact must always be placed higher than the concept. Read more

You are not missing the secret; you are missing the obvious

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Acharya Prashant: I want to begin this morning by talking of ‘living in facts’ versus ‘living in thoughts’.

Is not the whole system, the being, the personality, even the face very different when you are there, connected to the fact? You visit a shopping mall. Have you observed our behaviour when we are there? Have you observed the expression on the face, the whole drive, the whole energy? You want it. Now you are not looking lost, wandering, assuming. Have you ever seen somebody maintaining a safe distance from the goods while standing in a shopping mall? You go to buy clothes. What do you do? You stand at a distance and look at them? What do you do? You go and touch them, right? You go close. You want to know what the whole thing is about. You want to know the price; you want to know the quality. Or do you stand five metres away? Read more

You are wonderful, beautiful, awesome, simply as you are

Speaker: Virah wo aag hai jise parmaatma swayam fuunkta hai. Parmaatmaa ke liye hai, aur use phuunkta bhee wahi hai. (Longing is the fire which is stoked by God Himeslf. It is for God, and is stoked by God.) Read more

The simple, continuous, ubiquitous call of Truth is easy to miss

He may be here, and he may call her.

But like many others she may not hear.

-Khalil Gibran

Question: Why can’t he hear? What stops him from hearing?

Acharya Prashant: He is asking, “When there is the Call and the Caller, why can’t the Caller himself make the Call heard?”

How do you know that you are not hearing?

Is it possible that the Truth calls and the sons of Truth refuse to hear? Is it possible?

How are you so sure that you do not hear the call of Truth?

I am asking you, “How do you know that you are not hearing his call?”

Read more

Respond to His call and He will take care of the rest

“I didn’t come here of my own accord and I can’t leave that way.

Whoever brought me here, will have to take me Home.

~ Rumi

Speaker: Now, Rumi is saying, “I didn’t come here of my own accord and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here, will have to take me Home.”

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So, “I didn’t come here of my own accord”. The mind is a machine and no machine drives itself. The mind cannot know who is driving it? So, Rumi is just being honest and saying, “I don’t know, why is all this happening? I didn’t come here on my own accord.” And because I didn’t come here on my own accord, look at the man’s simple, innocent intelligence; he is saying, “For sure I cannot be the one who can achieve salvation for myself”.

Read more

To understand something, observe without concluding

Question: Sir, in your blogs it is explained that the mind goes behind what it values, which is what ‘I’ value. But sometimes it happens is when I restrict it not to do certain things; there is an even greater temptation to do those things.

I was reading the Bible and it said that, “The forbidden fruit was eaten by Eve out of temptation”.

Why is the mind so tempted?

Speaker: The mind cannot really be understood by itself. The mind can at most observe itself. It cannot understand.  The mind can at most go close to its functioning and note the details. That is the maximum the mind is equipped to do. No machine is blessed with power of understanding. But yes, the mind is a very nicely designed machine that can observe, register, make notes, store and compare. These are the things that the mind can surely do. The mind should be utilized to these purposes and nothing more should be expected from the mind.

Let us understand a few basics here. Understanding is the dissolution of all observation, comparison, analysis and conclusion. These are the things that the mind does. When these activities of the mind either reach their climax or come to their eventual defeat. That is called dissolution of mental activity.

That dissolution of mental activity is, understanding. Read more

Who is really a wise man?

prakṛtyā śūnyacitto yaḥ pramādād bhāvabhāvanaḥ
nidrito bodhita iva kṣīṇasaṁsmaraṇo hi saḥ.

(Ashtavakra Gita 14.1)

Translation: He indeed has his recollections of worldly life extinguished – who becomes void-minded spontaneously, who thinks of sense objects only by chance, and who is, as it were, awake though physically asleep.

Question: Why is it being said that the wise man thinks of sense objects only by chance?

Speaker: Only by chance, not by memory. Only by chance, not by memory. Not by a compulsive tendency to ponder. We do not think by chance, we are slaves to our compulsive tendencies to keep brooding. Read more

How do I get rid of my bad habits?

Question: I want to get rid of my bad habits. I have tried all the things to get rid of them, but I am still unable to do that. What is the reason?

Speaker: How do you know whether a particular habit is good or bad? How do you decide?

Listener 1: It has been told to us earlier, that what is good and what is bad.

Speaker: You have been told earlier that what is good and what is bad. That is the way we go about deciding everything – what is right, what is wrong, what is fair, what is unfair – on the basis of criteria that has been given to us in advance. That this is good, this is bad.
Read more