How to test whether your wisdom is growing? || Acharya Prashant, on Yoga Vasishta (2017)

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How to test whether your wisdom is growing

All the arts acquired by men are lost by lack of practice, but this art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.

~ Yoga Vashishth Sara

Chapter 1, Verse 13

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the litmus test to determine it’s wisdom rising, or new clothes on the old self? How to know whether I am on the right path of Spirituality?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It becomes very self-evident Shilpi (addressing the questioner). Forget about having new clothes on old-self, even the old-self is not permitted to remain as it is. Even that starts appearing foolish.

Assume that you now weigh 50 kgs, and three years back, you wore a lot of flab, and you weighed 80 kgs. How do you feel looking at those old photographs? Big, unshapely, fat woman, having a lot of unnecessary stuff. And you juxtapose these two photographs, the eighty kg one and the fifty kg one. How do you feel? Would you ever allow yourself, to go back to the 80 kg days?

That’s what a saint means, when he says, “This art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.”

The very fact, that you have known what it means to be ‘foolish’, will not allow you to be foolish once again.

Foolishness is not merely a concept for you.

You have been through it.

Been there, done it.

“Yes, I know idiocy. I have been the most stupid one, and I don’t want to be there again.”

The growth of wisdom, is a parallel aversion towards stupidity. Not only personal stupidity, also the stupidity of the world. When you look at others, and you see them caught in the same tangles, as you once were, you quickly identify the situation. You say, “I know that.”

The moment you say, “I know that,” two parallel things happen. One – you are full of disdain towards what is happening currently with the other one, and you are full of gratitude that you could be rescued.

Are you getting it?

A fellow who knows what it means to experience drowning, and has been saved, ask him, “Would you want to go through that, ever again?” he will tell you what it means to be rescued.

No relation, no compassion, no identification, with the old self, remains possible anymore. Not only that, the change that has happened, keeps you vigilant, and keeps you open to receive more change.

You say, “If I were blind once, it is possible that my eyes are still not fully open. When I was blind, even in those days, I had a lot of belief in my vision. So, belief is such a danger. Even right now, I cannot allow myself, to believe too strongly.”

That keeps you open, that keeps you prepared to change. And that is how this verse is saying, “This wisdom keeps growing.” In the sense, that you keep open to change, you keep growing.

You keep growing, stupidity keeps reducing. 

Beauty is not merely a happening. Beauty is a a parallel fascination for the happening. Beauty is the love for the happening. Who wants to return to ugliness? Who can un-see,  what he has seen? Beauty is a very stubborn thing. It makes you resistant to ugliness. You can no more be welcoming, you can no more be tolerant.

You dis-identify so completely, that you are no more shy of talking of your old days. You talk of yourself of the old, as if you talk of another wisdom. That’s wisdom. You do not hide your shortcomings. You mention your faults aloud. And mentioning your faults aloud, you do not even say that now you are perfectly free of faults.

You say, “Some of them, might still have remained. One must always be alert towards cancer. Even when the tumor has been removed, it’s quite possible that a few cancerous cells are left behind. And then, there can be a re-lapse. Those few cancerous cells, can not only multiply, but move to different places of the body. And in fact, the whole organism.”

One remains alert, like a cancer survivor. One starts valuing his life, even more. This life is a gift now. “On my own, I had destroyed it. By virtue of grace, I got a new birth. I can’t squander it anymore. I can’t go back to my old ways.”

The more this feeling remains, the more this realisation remains, the more your life gains in beauty. The more your life gains in beauty, the more you despise ugliness. You cannot have a relation with ungodliness now. You can’t even force yourself.

It’s a dynamic departure. It is not some kind of marginal, incremental change. The rowing away, away, away, and gone. You are not wandering here and there, nearby.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: How to test whether your wisdom is growing? || Acharya Prashant, on Yoga Vasishta (2017)

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Life is not that tragic

The mind is like that. It has no independent existence of its own. It lives only in relation. Only in comparison. If it cannot relate something to the past it will not be able to make any sense of it.

It derives its very existence from a relationship with knowledge. The thing must already be there in the mind by way of knowledge for it to make any sense to you. So that’s all the mind can do.

Life is not that tragic. The new is there, every moment is new. We are leaving continuously in the new but the faculty that will know the new is not the conditioned.

The only way to come close to the happening is by way of direct approach. Comparison is indirect approach and you have the capability to approach rife directly.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Why does the mind compare everything with the past?

Acharya Prashant: Why does the mind compare everything with the past?

Listener: Why does my mind compare everything with the past?

Acharya Prashant: What else can it do? Do you want to think without having a benchmark? That’s impossible.

The mind is like a ‘businessman.’ It weighs everything. And have you seen weighing scale? It always has two parts that are weighed against each other. Have you ever seen a weighing scale that does not compare? That does not have a standard or a benchmark?

The mind is like that. It has no independent existence of its own. It lives only in relation. Only in comparison. If it cannot relate something to the past it will not be able to make any sense of it.

Assume I utter word right now that you cannot relate to your past, will your mind make any sense out of that word? If you have never heard that word before. Would that word be meaningful in the language of the mind? Yes? So, that is the all mind can do. Compare.

It derives its very existence from a relationship with knowledge. The thing must already be there in the mind by way of knowledge for it to make any sense to you. So that’s all the mind can do.

If it says something is good it is because it has been made to believe in the past that such are the benchmarks of ‘goodness.’ If it says something is moral or ethical then it is because it is made to believe that such are the standards of ethics otherwise it hardly knows anything.

So if your question is why does my mind compare anything and everything with the past? Then the answer is because that’s the only thing it can do nothing else is possible for the mind.

The question now needs to be broadened. The question must now be – “Do I need to know everything by way of comparison?” Alright!  the conditioned mind will only know something by comparing it. Right? The conditioned mind will only know something by comparing it. But will I also know everything by comparing it?  Is that an obligation upon me as well? No, that’s not really an obligation upon you. That is an obligation upon the conditioned part of the cells. But not really upon you. If that is an obligation upon you then, Life will become very terrible. Because it would imply that there is no possibility of any ‘newness.’ Only that will come to me that has a relation to the past. So, nothing new then can come to me. That is a terrible thing to happen.

Read more

The past, first of all, raises a future, then directs the mind to chase that future.

Without any self-inquiry, we claim that we are a product of our city, a product of our economic situations. And, when we say that, are we not using that statement just to hide our fear, just to remain what we are? You let yourself to be defined by your past, by your experiences, by your gender, by your religion, by your money, by your knowledge. And you will have to look at the future, the next big thing.

You will have something unended continue in your mind. You will have scores to settle. You will have an unfinished task. The past has no intentions ever of remaining a past. In fact, calling it as past is a mistake. You know what past means? Past means left behind. You say you have gone past something. The past is never left behind, you never go past it. If there is one thing which can never never be left behind, it is the past. It will continue. In fact, it will jump ahead of you. Not only will it stay with you, it would be running ahead of you.

It would be running ahead of you like a guide. A very deceptive guide. Nevertheless something, someone, that claims to be a guide. Most of us think that the past is there behind the back. No, the past is there in front of the eyes. Not only it is in front of the eyes, it is actually guiding the eyes, guiding the mind, guiding the feet. The past decides what our future would be like.

The past, first of all, raises a future, then directs the mind to chase that future. Is there anything that you think of, anything that you feel happy about, anything that you feel disappointed about that is not coming from your past? Are all our disappointments not cultivated disappointments. Had you not been told by the movies, by the novels, by family, by all the mythological stories, that this is something that you need to feel bad about, would you still have felt bad about such things?

Read the complete article: There is nothing called a new beginning

There is nothing called a new beginning

SR Generic_ English

L: Can we begin from Nowhere?

AP: Can we begin from Nowhere?

L: Yes.

AP: Actually you always begin from somewhere. If you begin from nowhere, you also show no movement and you also do not go anywhere. Nowhere is not a point of beginning. All beginning implies a change in state. All beginning implies that there was no movement and then there is a movement. This movement you call as beginning. One is not moving, then one moves. And this change in state one call as the beginning – I have just begun.

In Nowhere, in that nothingness that you are terming as nowhere, there is no beginning and hence no end. And that’s a great relief. Remember, whatever begins is definitely going to end. And whatever is going to end always carries expectations and fear with it. Hence, a beginning is not really such a nice thing to have. We keep on saying, “Let’s begin. Let’s start. Let’s change. Let’s reform. Let’s improve.” All of which are names for just the same thing. The thing is Activity, “Let’s do something.”

Are we all not fascinated by the idea of changing, doing, improving, moving, reaching, attaining, achieving? All of these involve beginnings. All of these involve an apparent change in state. What is remarkable however is that, what we call as the mind, its nature is to keep changing? More correctly put its tendency its habit is to keep changing. When the very habit is to keep changing, what is new about another change?

Read more

Ambition is nothing but the great granddaddy of the desire.

Ambition is nothing but the great granddaddy of the desire.

So, desire is small, ambition is large.

There is nothing wrong with ambition except that it is not new, not fresh. Being ambitious is like asking for repetition of the past. That is the only thing wrong with ambition. You believe that you are ambitious and you want to create a new future for yourself, but that can happen only in intelligence, that cannot be a product of conditioning. That cannot be a product of conditioning. And the one who is living intelligently, anyway gets a wonderful future. He doesn’t desire, he doesn’t plan it. He just gets it as a surprise gift. A beautiful and wonderful future he gets. But not a future that has been pre-planned for him, that has already been scripted for him by others.

Ambition, firstly understand that these words belong to the same family. Ambition, Goal, Purpose, Target, Desire, they all belong to the same family. They are very closely related.  You could just say that they are just one word, Desire. And all desire comes from the past.

Read the complete article: What is ambition?

What is ambition?



Acharya Prashant: What is this thing called Ambition?

Its simple, really simple. The brain only has past, correct? And the future that the brain projects is nothing but a reflection of the past. You can dream of no future except that which is already present in your past in some way.

Now, that will come as a surprise to most of us because we dream of fresh and new and beautiful future. All of us want a new future. But there is a bad news that you can never want a new future, the brain will only want that which it has already experienced. What it has not experienced, it cannot know of. It is impossible for the brain to know of something, to dream of something, to desire something that it has no experience of from the past. Are you getting it? Read more

One way to resist the change is to allow superficial change

Question: I find that, which are everything in the society, is an action of the conditioning and all those conditioning are based on some spiritualism or some morality and all those things. After watching all your videos, the light came to me and I could understand that what is happening. After that, I started rejecting everything. Wherever I went, I told people these are false things; I don’t want to do. I am not coming.

Whenever my friends called me, I told I am not coming. Then, finally I felt that each and everything has a reason. Without any reason, we don’t move to any place. So just sitting like that and doing nothing; even then, thoughts of past and future and all kinds of things that are suffering in the memory, is always haunting. Even though I am not much affected by those things now, but I cannot get rid of that. I cannot just be like thoughtless, something comes to my mind, I feel like watching some video of yours; that gives me a good feel.

Acharya Prashant: See, when you are being called by the Truth, you must always remember that there will be something deep within you which will resist the change – be cautious of that. One way to resist the change is to allow superficial change.

Let’s take an example.

You are saying when your friends call, then you say, “No, these things are false.” How are they still able to call you? We want to change the doing and maintain the doer! We want to modify the friendship, yet remain the person who was friends’. How can you be the same person, your erstwhile friends feel free to call? If you are really transforming, then they would either transform along with you, or they would simply go away. But this kind of a situation, where you manage your old friend circle, where you retain your old friend circle and you want them to understand your new position; is just an attempt at a compromise.

Read more

To change your relationships, let yourself change

Acharya Prashant (AP): One does not live with family, one lives in relationships.

Please understand this.

The son or the wife — as physical entities — can remain the same, yet the relationship can be different. So, one need not physically move away from them but the relationship has to be changed. Otherwise, the anger will not go.

Till the quality of my relationship with the world is the same, my quality of anger will remain the same.

Listener 1 (L1): But, my question is: the moment I am deliberately trying to change the relationship, just for example, somebody you think is a burden on you and that gives you anger. Now, one way of looking at it is move away from that, which you said that’s not the solution because you are seeing him as a burden in the relationship, that’s what is making you angry. There are many burdens in my life which I basically look forward as a pleasant experience, for instance when my child wakes me up in the middle of the night, I don’t get angry. It’s also a burden but I wake up with a whole lot of concern, good feeling and a fatherly love. So one way is changing myself from an old man to old man, to a man looking at an old man as a child, and changing that relationship. Maybe that is one way of doing it but then in that case, again, I am actually taking the help of another illusion to get out of it.

AP: No, not really.

L1: I am just thinking aloud.

AP: Yes, I am getting the gist of it.

Nobody will sustain a burden without getting something in return from the burden. One never gets angry at the other because he is a burden, it feels as if he is a burden on me, so I am getting angry at him  — it never really is the case.

One gets angry on himself for tolerating that burden.

And why does one tolerate a burden?

Because one is expecting something in return. There is some kind of a hidden greed. And, one gets angry at the greed. If the greed is not there, then the burden will also not be felt and the relationship will take a more healthy color. Why am I going to tolerate a burden? If something is a burden, I will drop it. But I never want the company of the person, I want something from him which I may not be getting, then the person becomes a burden. In a loving relationship, obviously, there can be no burden.

Now, what does it mean to change a relationship?

It does not mean to change something in the other person because the relationship is my relationship. So, my relationship cannot change without me looking at my mind. When I look at it, then my quality of relating with you changes. When I see that even as you are sitting here, somehow I am planning to get something from you, then I cannot continue with that kind of planning anymore. Are you getting it?

Being aware of oneself, one is able to bring about a mysterious change in oneself, an unplanned change, and that brings about change in relationships. What we always forget is: every relationship is my relationship. My relationships will only have the quality which is the quality of my mind. If I am violent, the fact will be that all my relationships will have a taint of violence in them — explicit or implicit.

First of all, I have to look at the quality of my mind, then the relationships change. Have you not seen this: ‘violent people are violent towards everybody’? They are not only violent towards their neighbour; they are also violent towards their dog or kid. And loving people have a quality that fuses out love not only to their wife but also to the entire world. You already know that. Right?

We have seen that and heard stories about that. We have also experienced it in ourselves at times, have we not? When occasionally you feel light and joyful, then don’t you feel like hugging even a stranger? Has it not happened to you?

L1: The world lits up!

AP: Yes, beautifully said. And when you are gloomy, then the entire world is dark. Even the most decorated places are simply dark. And that is spirituality — To look at oneself.

L1: It is a continuous twenty-four-hour self-correction.

AP: No, not self-correction; just a faint impersonal awareness. You cannot be doing it actively. If you say it’s a distillation, then one feels as if there is an entire system of process at work; it has to be very subtle.

L1: But that subtleness has to come from somewhere. How?

AP: That is a matter of Faith. That ‘somewhere’ is already sitting in our heart. It will come from there.

L1: So, this violence will go?

AP: This violence will get dropped. Not only will this violence go, the entire family of other attributes related to this violence will go. For example, there can be no violence without expectation. So the entire family of mental diseases related to violence will just become ineffectual. You will lose interest in them. You know, violence stays because you clutch to it. You lose interest in clutching to violence.

L1: What you are saying is that there is an analysis, which every time is releasing me from the clutch.

AP: It is not analysis; it is just a direct understanding; it’s like just seeing the Truth of it without analysis, without comprehension.

L1: Then how can I practice that? How can I be that? If Truth comes on its own and hits me, it depends on the Truth and not on me.

AP: That is very very accurately put — It depends on the Truth and not me.

You know how peaceful this statement is? Let Truth do what it wants to do, let it not depend on me. So I can only surrender to the Truth. It depends on the Truth and not on me. So I can only just surrender. And that is Peace. What you are thinking of as a statement of misery is actually a statement of deep liberation.

L1: Every word of yours is very disturbing; it is neither giving me peace of mind, and it is a very elusive thing. Ever since I sat for the first session without even hearing properly, not engaging myself, then automatically some engagement happened! I was feeling sleepy.

AP: It happened without your wish. So it depends on the Truth and not you.

L1: Only in the second half, I started asking you questions.

AP: And now we have the third half, so to say. So it depends on the Truth and not on us. It is not our deliberate desire that we are sitting here. There is some other grand plan at work. Has to be.

L1: I wanted to go home!

AP: And I didn’t know I would be sitting under this tree.

Worries. Huge worries. You talked about anger, I really do get angry. It’s not that intense anger; it’s just that, there is something that remains even when the anger is there and that is everything. I am very sure of this: even in the deepest anger there is something that remains.

That is good.

Then anger is alright.

There is that untouched spot which anger cannot really spoil.

Anger is not an expression of That. In fact, anger is purified by its touch.

L1: What I have realized is that: ninety per cent of anger is really helplessness.

AP: Personal helplessness.

L1: It’s basically insecurity.

AP: What will happen to me? Why didn’t my desires get fulfilled? And there is another anger.

There is another anger: Someone is sleepwalking on the road and trucks are approaching him. And, with great energy and intensity, you shout out. You actually don’t shout out, you go and punch him in the face. That is another quality of anger. And you are angry but this anger is not personal. Nothing of your self is at stake. This anger has a different quality altogether.

L1: The Guru’s anger is a corrective anger. How can somebody be so stupid so as to not see that this is good for them? So Guru comes and hits and he hits deliberately sometimes.

AP: The Guru can be angry at himself also. How could I forget? How could I get displaced? Even that is possible; there can be a disappointment but whatever is happening is happening in a different space; not in a personal space full of personal insecurities, ambitions, and such things.

The entire story is being played out somewhere else. It is a story. It is a story played out by greed, anger, lust, envy, jealousy and the rest of it. Everything is there but the entire environment is a little different.

Spirituality, rest assured, may or may not bring about directly perceptible changes in somebody’s life; it does happen with some people that either they begin with something new, or drop something old, so it is quite dramatic. With some people, nothing really changes on the surface. They continue living, working, sleeping the way they were doing it earlier as well. But something else happens, minor tweak.

And that minor tweak changes everything.

It is a juice of life!

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: To change your relationships, let yourself change



Further Reading:

Book of Myths:


This is the most challenging book one can ever come across. It will questions all the popular beliefs one harbours. Never imposing itself on the reader, at the same time the book facilities a thorough enquiry of popular knowledge which is blindly accepted as an obvious fact. It demolishes our so called holy concepts.

If you are someone who has read anything on self-help or on spirituality this book is a must for cleaning of spiritual information.




New comes from here

Everyone is trying to create a future for you. They all are trying to take you somewhere, and whenever there is talk of progress, of betterment, of G.D.P growth, and such things, you are always being pulled away from what you are. But if you have a political leader who win votes by offering you a better future; then don’t you see what you are doing?
But you love those leaders — don’t you? — who offer you a better future.
Maybe, you need a totally different kind of mind; a totally different kind of politics; an entirely new way of living.
Maybe the shopping mall, and the ashram are part of one rotten system, and both sustain each other. Maybe the office, and the weekend retreat are part of one system, and both sustain each other; maybe both have to go together. The commercial centre and the spiritual centre both have to go together because both co-exist, and both can ‘only’ co-exist. Maybe you need an entirely new world; a totally new humanity. But the new comes only from that which is immediate.
The new will not come from a distance, the new comes from here.

Further Reading:

The Flying Kiss to the Sky

cover_fksA Flying Kiss to The Sky, is a collection of excerpts from various discourses of Acharya Prashant, arranged in a special order which makes it the ideal first book, for all who want to come close to the facts of their own lives.

The book is divided into three parts, each part helping the reader to appreciate the working of his own mind and hence, the world in more clear and precise terms. Its unique one-page-one-chapter format, makes it even more simpler. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a book for all: Reader, or non-reader; Professional, or Spiritual.

Paperback: Advait Publications Page

How to get success in whatever you do?

Question: I want to do a few things, but I find myself enslaved in my habits and patterns, I fail again and again in doing what I want to do.

Acharya Prashant: So I say that I am failing again and again and hence I want success.

Who is it that is failing? You are saying that it is due to habits and patterns that the failure is happening. I am asking, “Who is it that is failing?”

“Is it not the patterns themselves that are producing both the cause and the effect?”

“Is the so called failure not entrenched in the mental pattern itself?”

The pattern is working, the pattern is producing a certain output and then the pattern itself is not satisfied with the output. Tell me, is dissatisfaction going to lead to any kind of progress?

It is a commonly held belief with so many of us that if you are dissatisfied with the status quo, then some change happens. We think that, don’t we? But I am asking, name the entity that is dissatisfied? The dissatisfied entity, is it not the same as the entity that works and fails and works and fails and is repeatedly dissatisfied? Is dissatisfaction emerging from looking at the failure or is it just the continuation of the same pattern of failure?

Please understand this, most of us thinks that it is because we failed that we are dissatisfied. Failure is followed by dissatisfaction, right? Is it not so? And when you have a target and you don’t achieve that target, you fail; you feel that it is because you failed that you are now dissatisfied.

I am asking you to consider whether is it really so? Are you dissatisfied because you fail or are failure and dissatisfaction necessary accompaniments of each other? Like fruits of the same tree, is one fruit giving the birth to another fruit or do they have common root? When you have two fruits of a tree, is one fruit responsible for the other fruit? Or do they have a common root? Now when you fail, there is an urge to improve, right? Is that not just a third fruit of the same tree? Or is it a result?

Things happening within a particular system will not radically transform that system. Things happening within a mental pattern, are not going to dissolve that pattern. And it is a nice pattern- desire, work, fail, dissatisfaction, desire to change, work again, fail again, feel dissatisfied again, have another desire to change things, work again – and it is within this pattern that our entire life is spent. It is within this pattern that most human activity takes place.

You do not realize that the entity that wants to improve is the same entity that failed in the first place. The urge towards progress is coming from the same root from where the reasons of failure came. In other words, the same factor that caused you to fail, is now asking you to improve.

This is quite funny – there is something within you that first brings failure to you and then brings in a hope of improvement to you. And it’s the same fellow, it’s the same entity sitting in your mind that first brings you failure and then brings you the hope that you can change and improve and succeed. And because you do not know this entity, so you listen to this fellow and the cycle continues.

 I am saying that, “Whatever be your chosen field of work, whatever be your location in life, whatever be your status in society, whatever be the direction of your endeavor, there can be no real progress if you just keep working in that field.”

A student has 65% marks and is not satisfied; a scientist is getting particular results in his laboratories and is not satisfied; a politician is getting some amount of support in the electorate and is not satisfied; an athlete is performing to a particular standard and is not satisfied and all of them want to put in more effort, all of them think that they can change through their effort and hence improvement and success can come. And remember, that in all these fields, area of work, the life activities are very different. Or it could be a relationship – two people are in relationship and they are not satisfied with the quality of the relationship so they too want to bring in some change so that there can be some progress. Nothing can happen whatever be the field, till first of all, the mental pattern is thoroughly changed.

The fellow who is getting 65% marks is not getting 65% marks for no reason. There is something within him that binds him to 65%. This 65% cannot radically change till the fellow radically changes.

Being what you are you cannot get anything very different from the figure you are already getting. Yes, 65 can become 68 or 70 or it can probably drop to 60 but if you think that you can become a 90% scorer that cannot happen. This 65% is a reflection of your being and your personality because you are preserving your being, your personality, so this 65% will also be preserved.

And that is why you would see that in overwhelming, large proportions of cases, your academic percentage in first semester will be almost the same throughout your academic career. What you get in the first semester will be maintained in the coming semesters as well with a little bit of change. Because, you are the same, your effort is not going to help.

If you put in more effort that would be like a dog trying to chase its tail or a man trying to lift himself up using the power of his hands. He is saying, “I will lift myself up from the earth using my own power.”

It is not possible because you yourself are the fellow who will cause resistance to improvement.It’s like having one foot on the accelerator and the other foot on the brake. You have two footy for no reason! The reason is duality. (Smiles)

So, you can console yourself and feel good about yourself by saying, “See, I am trying to improve.” And you conveniently hide the fact that right next to the accelerator, you are the one who is also not allowing the improvement. You will not allow.

Before you go in any kind of progress in any field of life, remember, only a little bit, marginal improvements can come through your efforts.

Your efforts will not bring about real change;  

real change in work, real change in activity comes,

when the mind really changes.


You are an athlete, you belong to particular category of performers, if you want to improve within that category then work hard. But if you want to rise above your category and rise to another dimension all together, then work on your mind.

You are a businessman, you are doing 10 crores, you want to rise to 12, then work on your marketing, finances and distribution, but if you want to rise from 10 to 500 then forget marketing and finance and HR, work on yourself. Because being what you are, you will not take the quantum jump from to 10 to 500. 10 to 12, you will manage and you feel very happy “20% improvement has resulted due to my hard work”. You will feel very happy and you will celebrate, “20% improvement!” but 10 to 500 cannot come due to your hard work, it can come only in a wake of utter dissolution of your personality.

A new self has to be born.

Only a new self will produce totally new results.

Does that explain why most of us struggle within our narrow brackets? But that’s a good comfort also, because the bracket, while ensuring that you cannot rise above the bracket, will also ensure that you cannot fall below the bracket. So from 65 you will not be able to rise above 70 but you will be also not fall below 60 and that’s a great comfort.

“Being what I am I will at least get 60.”

Yes, of course you would, because you would not allow yourself to not to study less than a particular limit. Being what you are, you will be so terrified, that you will go and study and you will end up getting 60. Even if you try not to get any marks, you will get 60. It is very very difficult for you to get 80 but it is impossible for you to get 40. Try!

Anybody here who says he can manage a 40? You cannot, it is beyond you. It is as much beyond you as getting 85.

Do you see where you are trapped?

In that small narrow bracket and that small narrow bracket is you. That’s what you are – the four walls of your house. That’s not where you live; that’s what you are. Your brackets are your boundaries.

And please remember, those wall have not come due to some accidents they are not there out of sheer chance. Those walls are just a reflection of your mind.  If you are just entertaining yourself with the thought that, “One day, I will be able to break away and fly free” then you are just deceiving yourself.

The world is like a mirror – it reflects what your mind is projecting.

If you see walls around you that only mean that your mind is full of walls. Your mind is projecting walls. And if the mind has walls, then even if it is forcibly made to fly away, it will carry the walls with itself and soon you will find that in the external world also new walls are surrounding you.

It is a peculiar situation. Even if your old walls are forcibly brought down you are the one who will raise new walls for yourself. So kindly do not come up with the excuse that, “You know, right now what can I do? My flight is hindered by these walls.”

Your flight! What do you mean by that? It’s just a good idea- your flight!

There is nothing called your flight; there is only something called your walls.

You are the walls;

unless there is complete demolition of who you are,

you will remain where you are.

But you are hopeful, you are carrying a dream. You think remaining what I am, the rest of the stuff of my life can change and there can be joy, there can be progress there can be freedom.

Even small kids know something very basic- good things don’t happen to a bad man. That’s a very primitive, almost crude way of putting it, but that’s it. Good things don’t happen to a bad man. And if bad things are all the time happening to you, should you feel good that “I am a nice man and the world is a bad place and the world does not know how to value and honor its variant knights like Don Qiote — the real people — the world does not value them. Or should you simply admit that if so many bad things are happening then may be the bad rests within me.

Before you forget, I am repeating one central thing — that the voice that leads you to failure and the voice that urges you to improve are one and the same voice.Both are fake; both are your enemies.

They are not different voices. Forget about them being opposite voices they are not even different. The voice that indulges you in desire and then the voice that ask you to repent are one and the same voice. But you feel that they are opposite voices, right? There is one voice that pushes you in indulgence and after you have had your way and your desire is satiated for a while then you hear another voice which says, “Bad man! You indulged, you went for self-gratification and that is not right, now you must repent.” These two are the same voices.

One of these voices is never going to cancel out the other. One of these voices is not at all standing in real opposition to the other.

There is one voice within you which says “Oh my God, I am so helpless” and there is another voice within you that says, “I want to improve, I want to change my current situation.” Both of these are the same voice. Do not think that the voice that urges you to become free is any different from the voice that tells you how helpless your situation is – they are the same voice.

But you have a wonderful notion about yourself. You think you are two selves. You think on one hand there are the external situations that are responsible for your bondage and on the other hand there is something else about you which is pushing you towards freedom. No! What keeps you in bondage is not at all your external situation, it is your own pattern and the same pattern urges you to become free. This urge is false and fake urge. This urge is just a consolation; this urge is just a method so that you continue being bonded.

Hope promises change, but is the agent of continuity.

By hoping you allow the rubbish to continue.

By hoping that one day I will be able to clear the rubbish, you are allowing the rubbish to continue. So, hope is a very deceptive thing. We all hope for change. But in hoping for change, we only allow the rubbish to continue; not change; to continue, persist.

I find it funny when you come up to me and say that, “This is wrong with me and I want to change it.”

Or, when you come up to me and say that, “I made all these mistakes, now what can I do?”

Or when you come up to me and say that, “This is the problem I am facing, how I can get rid of it?”

Because, you are the same fellow who is raising those problems, who is creating those problems and asking for a solution to those problems is a part of creation of those problems.

There is a complete algorithm of problem creation and maintenance and you are trying to co-opt me within that algorithm. You know what the algorithm is?

Create a situation.

Name it a problem.

Try to find a solution.

Go to that fellow to get a solution.

Thank him.

Do not let the solution work.

Land into another problem,

Go back to that fellow,

Get another solution,

Do not let that solution work,

Create another problem,

Go back to that fellow.

And this pattern allows your mental activity to continue. This is all that the mind wants – having something to continue; having something that extends in time.

You could say the mind is always looking for a time pass. So, this whole pattern, gives you a very convenient time pass. And you are able to spend your life with some kind of purposefulness.

“What did I do my entire life?

“I was fighting problems and I was genuinely fighting problems. See, how sincere I was. I took all the steps to improve, to make progress. I was genuinely fighting. So I am a respectable fellow. When I die, then you should offer me some tributes – he fought problems all his life; all his life he was trying to bring down the walls around him. He was a valiant soldier who kept failing.”

When you come to me, are you not the same fellow who did not listen to me the last time or have you radically transformed in the meanwhile? Last time when you came to me I said something to you, right?  You didn’t listen or you pretended to listen. You ignored it; you didn’t take the opportunity that I gave. That is what happened last time. And now you have again come to me asking the question. Are these two fellows not same? One who ignored my advice or failed to live up to it and this fellow who is again coming to me for advice are they not the same?

I am asking, “Has there been a radical transformation in the meanwhile?”

There has been no radical transformation. Then what you did to my advice last time, you will do to it this time as well. But you come up with such a genuine face, you look so innocent.

“Sir, please sir, I am again in trouble and this has happened.”

Are you in trouble or is trouble in you?

So, that is why last week I asked, “You keep asking all these questions, first of all, you tell me what happened to the answer that I gave the last time. First of all, you explain that to me. What did you do with the answer that I gave last time? And will you not do the same to the answer that I give today?”

Being what you are, you will do what you have been doing. But today your face is different. It’s just the face that is different. When you are not listening to me, you have a particular face and when you say that, “We are sorry, we are attentive; we want to listen.” then you have a different face.

These are two faces of the same bad coin. Can the coin give itself up? It probably can. But it cannot give up one particular face. Both faces will have to go.

Those who do not want to face failure again and again must give up the quest for progress.

And when you do not want to improve,

then genuine transformation occurs,

not just marginal improvement.

Please understand the enormity of what I am saying right now. When you do not want your little bit of improvement and given what you are, can you want much? Can you want the immense? You will only want a little bit, right? You will want a movement from 65 to 68. The day you stop wanting to move from 65 to 68 a radical change from 65 to 95 become possible. But you will have to stop wanting. You do not stop wanting, thinking that if you stop wanting then no progress will happen.What you do not realize is that your desire itself is preventing you from fulfillment.

The desire for improvement is an obstacle to real improvement.

It is because you want to improve and I am repeating, when you will want to improve, you will want only a little improvement. Because you are little and a little mind cannot want much.

The day you will stop desiring to improve you will not see improvement within the brackets, you will see an explosive, disruptive improvement. It will be beyond your expectation, actually beyond your expectations, because your expectation cannot be bigger than you. Are you getting it?

Your efforts will not bring about real change in you.

Your desire will not bring about real change in you.

The real change comes when you see the futility of your desire and your efforts.

When you see that the agent that is desiring and working is the same agent that is bringing you the repeated failures and suffering again, again and again.

But you are smart people. You say that, “If change has to come then it must come through my efforts, so that I can stake my claim over it. You see I improved due to my mechanisms and my efforts.”

You want to take the credit – that will not happen. As far as you are concerned, you are already getting the best that you can get. You will not be getting more than this from Existence. Existence is a very fair operator. It is already giving you what you deserve. You will not get anything more than this from existence. If right now, you are getting misery, suffering, failure you will keep getting misery, suffering and failures because that’s what you deserve.

The world is not an unjust place. There is nothing here that is oppressive or unjust.  There is nothing here that is kept pending. You have very quick transactions.

A better future is not possible for you.

The future, if at all it comes, will be just the same as your present.

You are not rising up a hill.

There is no peak that you are climbing towards.

You are already at the peak.

You cannot get any higher or any better than this. You are not going to improve. The rest of your life is going to be spent at the same level. It’s less of a mountain and more of a plateau. You can keep running on the top of the plateau, you a are not rising any higher. Are you getting it? There is no hope for you. And you better realize this – there is no hope. And it’s a fabulous thing to realize that. Because when there is no hope there is also no need for useless efforts.

 When you know you are on plateau, you know you cannot fall down. You may as well relax. The fellow on the plateau running around thinking that he can ascend the mountain; there is no mountain – so, sleep! You cannot ascend but you cannot also descend, so sleep! Your 65 will remain 65 even if you sleep. You know that, right?

The moment you realize that your effort is useless, the very agency from where your system operates changes. Now you have lost your trust in your self made system. When you loose trust in your self made system then another system takes over. It’s a miraculous mad system. And when it takes over, strange things happen. But for that system to take control of you, you must completely loose trust and hope in the system that you have made for yourself.  You must totally disown, disregard it and disrespect it. You must be able to clearly see how inadequate it is, how much of suffering it has given you and how it is deviously leading you towards more and more suffering.

You should not only be able to disregard it, you should actually find it abominable, condemn-able, a fair deal of repulsion and wonderment at how you could trust it in the first place. When you come to that point where you are wondering that, “How could I trust this system so much and for so long?”, then there is complete dissociation from your own system. Now something else takes possession of you. The man returns to his house, the tenants are out.

Let that something else take possession of you. You do not know yourself. You simply do not know your real face.

See what you are capable of, see what heights you can scale but first of all vacate the house, and first of all get rid of your self belief.

Get rid of your confidence in self.

If self respect means respecting your hollowness and ego, I am teaching you to disrespect yourself totally.

Disrespect yourself; go to the extent of humiliating yourself that even small remnant of old system does not remain with you.

It terrifies, right?

You don’t want to feel small in your own eyes, you want to feel good about yourself but this urge to feel good about yourself is the urge to feel good about the system and it comes from the system itself. You will have to see the inadequacy of your entire life; you will have to admit that you have been an unexceptional failure. You cannot even say that some part is good and the rest is bad. You will have to accept that you have been a total, complete, absolute failure because if you console yourself by saying that somewhere I succeeded then you will feel that using the same means may be you can succeed more. If success was possible once, then it can be possible again by using my same methods and mechanism.

You will have to see that whatever you call as success,

whatever you call as the shining jewels of your life, are either just deception

or stuff that Grace has given you in spite of you not deserving it.

And what has come to the system through grace is not an output of the system so kindly don’t take the credit. If by chance something nice has happened to you, it is not because you are clever and smart and effort-ful, it has just happened in spite of you. Had it been in your power, you would have done everything to prevent it. Just as we do everything to prevent ourselves from coming here but still if you land here it is not to your credit, somebody else is pulling you here. What is happening in this room is not within your system.

L2: Sir, once we know this thing that to make a real change, mind needs to be changed, how can we work upon this mind and how can we create that new self?

AP: I am asking you the same question I started off with, “Who will work upon the mind?”

And have I said that mind needs to change?

Change is such a gentle, peaceful and small word. I have not said that mind needs to change; I am saying that the mind needs to be dynamited away.

There is difference between the changing facade of a building, changing the porch or the portico and bringing the building down. I am not asking you to change the building; I am asking you to blow up the damn thing.

L3: How can the mind blow itself?

AP: For that you have to ask yourself, “How the whole thing came up in the first place? Who raised the building?”

Once you realize how the building is raised, then there is a chance of it not being raised again. Form where did the building come? Have you had it since eternity? Were you even born with it? From where does this entire system come?

Yes, I can blow it up here right now and it is being brought down brick by brick; but you repair it. If you can see who are the people and the forces, who are hell bent upon protecting your system then you will not allow them to repair the thing.

From where did it come in the first place?

It came from the surroundings and it will come again come from the surroundings, but once it has been brought down then you have greater power to defend yourself from surroundings. Use that power.

Do not just remain a nice and gentleman. Do not let your morality tie you down. You come here and coming here is like taking a complete bath. Not only the clothes, not only the body, the entire mind is being cleansed and you go out and somebody again spoils your clothes and your mind, why should you forgive him? Why should you allow him to touch you? And actually you do not.

You are wearing a white shirt and somebody puts his greased hands upon your shirt, do you take kindly to this? You do not allow him, right? You make faces, you push him away. You object to this action, don’t you?

But you go out and somebody completely spoils your mind, you do not object to this. You are receiving that phone call and that phone call is nothing short of a poison. The fellow is injecting poison directly in your ears. But because you are a gentleman enslaved by his own sense of morality, you will allow the phone call to continue. You will allow your so called friends to sit in front of you and corrupt your mind. Why must you act nice towards them? Why can’t you just get up and walk away, why can’t you walk away? That’s the question.

Bad enough, that you allowed them to sit in front of you in the first place, but worse is the fact that you don’t have the guts to walk away. But rest assure, the more your building is demolished, the more fearlessness you will have. If you just keep sitting here, if you keep being with me for sufficient time, you will find that the fears that make you kneel down in front of those who corrupt you, those fears will no longer be there.

The fear itself is the part of the system. As we will bring this system down, you and me together, when we will bring the whole thing down, then you will find it has become easier for you to not to allow the system to be raised again. Are you getting it?

It is only because just a little dent is made. It is only because just a little demolition takes place, that you are able to repair it within a week but if we can bulldoze the whole thing, raise it to the ground, then you will not be able to bring it up within a week. It is almost mathematical – Is the pace of destruction greater than pace of repair?

Destruction happens twice a week, repairing happens every moment. If you can allow the pace of destruction to be higher than the pace of repair then soon you will find that the destruction is complete. But remember, that repairing is happening every moment and destruction is happening only once or twice a week and if, even that is skipped, then there is no chance.  Repairing will be complete. You will be back to your old ways. We have people here, who are coming after 20 – 25 days, they are fully repaired. They are completely social models now.

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

Watch the session: How to get success in whatever you do?

Further Reading:

Milestones To Success


While innumerable books have been penned down by contemporary motivational speakers and writers on success, ambition, motivation, positive thinking and accomplishments; very few books, if any at all, have talked of what success actually is and how it is different from a socially-defined set of parameters.

Author’s genius lies in the fact that he has very simply answered the most intricate and complex questions that arise in the mind of every student and working professional, giving clarity on success, a topic that haunts them perpetually.



At least, commit new mistakes

There is an Arabic proverb that says,  “Even a donkey does not fall in the same hole twice.”

And look at your life!

Every six hours, you commit the same mistakes.

There is nothing new in your life, not even your mistakes.

Like everything else about you, your mistakes are also stale and repetitive.

At least, commit new mistakes.

Even existence is bored of you.

The same mistakes, same patterns; again and again.

The same restlessness, the same prevarications, the same energy-less-ness, the same attention-less-ness!

Just one thing you don’t have – selflessness. There you are quite full, full of the self.

Books are totally useless for the one who is not disturbed

Questioner: Are spiritual scriptures useless?

Acharya Prashant: All these books are totally useless for the one who is not disturbed. In fact, the books themselves say, “After you have gone through us, just burn us, throw us away, treat us like excreta.”

Books are only for the one who is obsessed with books. Books are knowledge. Now, if you are one who feels that she needs a lot of knowledge, then books are for you. But these are special books. You go to them in search of knowledge, and you know what they will tell you? They will tell you, ‘Knowledge is nonsense’.

So, you have gone to the book searching for knowledge, and you open the book and the book reads, ‘All search is nonsense and knowledge is also nonsense.’ They are very special books. That’s what scriptures do. All other books, they are full of knowledge and they say, ‘Knowledge is important and meaningful.’

That’s the special thing with a religious scripture.

Religion is young

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

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

Not at all.

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

Religion does not consist of rituals.

Religion means, ‘I will live my life with honesty and Truth’. And are honesty and Truth outdated things? Are honesty and Truth something that belongs to the seventh or first centuries. They don’t. Right?

Is love something that would be taken as primordial?

And without religion what love are you talking about?

So, religion is cool, religion is young, religion is vigour but not the religion that is touted, not the religion that is being publicised.

To read the complete article: How to read the scriptures?

You can never avoid, escape, or be free from the mind


Question: How to escape mind?

Acharya Prashant: You will never be able to escape mind.


In fact, all these things –  freedom from the mind, escape from the mind – are touted in the spiritual market but they all are very fantastic nonsense.  Read more

The new is waiting to come

It is certain that you are not quite contented with what is. You want change.

You want change.

On one hand you want the change; on the other hand, you won’t let change happen,
you just keep repeating.

Life is repetition with no observation of the machinery.

The machinery keeps operating in the auto-mode.

So what happens when you observe the machinery? Something new emerges from it?

Something new emerges from it?

No, the machinery would remain machinery. The observation is the newness.

The observation is the newness.

Your glance, your sight won’t change the machinery as such, but there is something about the observation which will give you a taste of the really new.

The new is waiting to come.

Do not resist it. Only then life is worth celebrating.

Let work be celebration

Let work be celebration, let work be life.

You wake up, and you want to work.

You wake up, and you do not want to run away from work.

You wake up, and you want to straight away reach out to something.

Now work is holy, it is sacred.

It’s your breath, it’s your heartbeat.

Let the FIRST be the first

This is the right moment, and this is the right point.

Wherever you are, is the gate.

There can be no bad time to do the only thing that deserves to be done.

For all your worldly affairs, there are right times and wrong times; opportune moments and inopportune moments.

For wisdom, how can there be any inopportune moment?

Let the FIRST be the first.

Take care of THAT, and then do whatever you want to do.

The only way to clean yourself is to immerse in the ocean of the Self

Speaker: Is there any freshness possible to somebody who is beyond corruption and fatigue? If you cannot get stale, how will you get fresh?

Who gets stale? The mind.

And who gets fresh? The mind.

The very usefulness of going to one extreme of duality is that it makes the other extreme possible. When you sleep in deep fatigue, you’re deeply tired and you go to sleep, you have guaranteed that you will wake up fresh. Is that not so? If you are feeling restless and you are having insomnia, it is great if you go and run for five kilometers. You come back, you fall asleep and you will wake up very fresh. Whereas if you push yourself to sleep, then you will keep waking up intermittently, and finally when you do get off the bed, you will keep feeling tired.

Deep tiredness ensures good freshness. So, freshness is nothing great. Freshness is nothing of the beyond. The freshness that you are taking of is just the opposite of tiredness. Real freshness you do not know. Your freshness is just a consequence of being fatigued. Real freshness is something transcendental. Real freshness is creativity. Real freshness is when you look at the world with fresh eyes. Real freshness is when you look at yourself freshly. Real freshness is to be reborn. That is Real freshness.

Read more

What is the difference between thinking and realisation?

Question: What is the difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘realisation’?

Speaker: Realisation is never one thing. Realisation is never a particular sentence. If I ask you: “What are you thinking?,” you can very clearly tell me, “These are my thoughts.” Thoughts can always be captured in words, because thoughts come from the world, and whatever is there in the world can be put in words.

Do you see anything around you for which you do not have a name? There is always a word available for it. Right? There is the pillar, there is a window pane, there is a fan, there is the light, there is the floor, the building, the birds, the trees. Everything has a name. So thoughts, because they come from the world, they can always be put in a sentence, or in a word.
Read more