Quotes, May’19

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1.

Life is sacred,

the living are sacred,

the conscious are sacred,

the unconscious are sacred,

the subject is sacred,

the object is sacred.

All sacred

just because they are false.

Falseness is false.

They are not what they appear.

They are where they come from.

The Truth. The One.

2.

The storm kept raging.

The Sky didn’t utter a word.

3.

You’ve one life

and you must

spend it rightly.

4.

Restless are those who do not have answers.

Dead are those who do not have even questions.

Better to be restless than dead.

Most people appear lifeless.

Not because they do not have answers, but because they do not have questions.

Doubt, Wonder, Ask, Question, Find.

Come alive!

5.

Gratitude is not about uttering thanks when you receive a pleasant gift.

Gratitude is about remaining thankful when you are being destroyed.

6.

Live on with the patterns of your life.

Know the patterns as patterns. Don’t attempt to change them.

The pattern is tied to you by your own resistance and attachment.

Resistance is attachment.

Leave it, it will go to where it came from.

So what to do with patterns?

Nothing.

7.

When you feel incomplete,

Kindly don’t fill yourself with rubbish.

8.

Fear is useful.

One must have the right fear.

Right fear

is when one is afraid

of losing the one thing

that cannot be lost,

and yet man loses it

again and again.

Afraid of this one thing,

now one can be fearless

about all else.

This is the key to

fearlessness.

9.

Here is the method:Every small action will tell you of your centre.

You fondly said: Come.

Whom did you call?

You dryly said: Busy.

What are you busy with?

You sorely missed something.

What is it?

You dreamily thought of someone.

Who is he?

The real one has just One in mind.

10.

Acharya ji, who is a friend?

Whose friend?

Mine.

Who are you?

(Mute)

A squirming consciousness are you, desperate for its Destination.

Who is a friend?

Who rids you of all else, and points you to the Destination alone.

Who is a foe?

Who stands between you and the Destination.

~Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait


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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

You are a man of patterns

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

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

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

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



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


 

Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?

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

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

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

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

You are a man of mind.

You are a man of reactions.

You are a man of patterns.

Who wants to talk to such a man?

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

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

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

Read more

You must see the True in the false also

Truth is that which is independent of everything.

The World determines you, the mind; and you determine the World. It’s the same. And when you know these two together, then you have exceeded them both.

What will we do with awareness? Awareness is already doing what it has to do.

False is not a word that you can use carelessly. Only in deep contact with Truth, do you call the projections of Truth as false.

When you go to the root of desire, you find that your ultimate desire is just one. And that is Truth.

Condemning anything is to condemn the Truth. Because nothing but the Truth exists.

You must see the True in the false also.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The world is you, you are the world

Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The world is you, you are the world

Question: Acharya Ji, what does J.Krishnamurti mean when he says, “the observer is the observed”?

Acharya Prashant: As you are, so you see the World. Simple.

That there is no objective reality about the World. The ‘subject’ and the ‘object’ are intrinsically linked; they are One. The subject and the object are linked; One.

You could further it, by saying, the observer is the observed, an honest observation dissolves them both. Or, the observer is the observed and both are false.

We lay a lot of emphasis on the World, assuming it to be the Truth. If the World is an entity independent of everything, then has to be the Truth, right? That is the definition of Truth.

Truth is that which is independent of everything.

Time, space, people, processes, situations, events; nothing can change it. And if something is totally unchangeable and independent, then it is the Truth. Now, we assign the same status to the World. We feel as if the World is independent of everything, right? That’s our normal perception. We say, this building was there before I went to sleep, and this building is still there when I woke up. Which means that this building is independent of me. In saying that, we have taken this building as the?

Listener: Truth.

AP: Truth. Because now, we are giving all those qualities to this building that rightfully belong to the?

L: Truth.

AP: Truth. When Krishnamurti says, “the observer is the observed.” he is saying, this building is you; it’s not Truth. You change, the building changes. So, it is not the Truth.

L: So, the observed is the observer.

Read more

Consciousness is a ‘kite’

Question: How was the Ego created? 

Acharya Prashant: Ego was not really ‘created.’ Ego is being created all the time.

Ego is a belief in ignorance and hence knowledge.

Consciousness is a ‘kite’ that feels it is flying freely. It does not know that it is being controlled by the Master, sitting deeper than its flight. The controller of all thoughts is the ‘deep mind,’ the ‘latent tendencies.’

Why do different people have different thoughts upon being subjected to the same stimulus? It is because their ‘deeper patterns’ are different, it is because their ‘deeper tendencies’ have been differently created.

What is it that determines our actions, our thoughts? What is it that determines the whole movement of activity that we see around? Whenever action happens from where does it arise?



Read the complete article:  How was the ego created?

How was the ego created?

Question: How was the Ego created? 

Acharya Prashant:

Ego was not really ‘created.’

Ego is being created all the time.

Would silence ever ask this question? So ego has been given a fresh breath of Life, when one professes ‘ignorance’ or ‘knowledge.’ If you ask something about ego, if you say what is ego? The answer would be this, “the one who is asking.” The question itself is ego. How was the question created? By asking. How was the ego created? You tell me, you asked.

How did you come to believe? How does you continuously keep believing that you do not know and secondly the knowledge is important? In this moment from where did, this thought arising you that you did not know? And this beautiful moment of Silence, what makes you think that something additional in form of knowledge needs to be added?

If two people are sitting together in intimacy. Is the moment not already complete? Do they further need to beautify the moment by adding questions to it? Ego is this that which feels that knowledge is needed, that which feels that the world is incomplete, that which feels that it needs support. A beefing up, a furtherance, that is Ego. If you are silent there is no ego because you will not be asking about the genesis of ego. And remember that any question you ever ask is ultimately a question about the Self.

You may ask a question about nuclear technology but if you go deeper into it, you will discover that it was the question about the ‘Self.’ Ego is that which feels that the Self is not yet fully revealed. So, knowledge must be further used to know it, explore it, to reveal it.

Ego is a belief in ignorance and hence knowledge.

If it is not there, it is just not there. Then even the question that from where did it come is just not there. Moment this question, springs up in the mind, that is the moment the ego is born. The moment when that question receds goes off to sleep, is the moment when the ego to is put to sleep.

Read more

The difference between ordinary and common

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Question: Sir what is the difference between being ordinary and being common?

Acharya Prashant: Commonness is social, commonness is what you see all around. What is very very prevalent is common. Ordinary is that which may not appear to be very prevalent, but is all-pervasive; which is the essential; that to which nothing has been added.

We usually use these two words — ordinary and common — as synonyms but they are not synonyms. Read more

What is meant by oneness of mankind?

Listener: We are all one…

Acharya Prashant: In what sense?

L1: Connected to each other…

AP: But I see you as distinct. How are we all one?

It is often said, and it sounds nice to hear that we are all one. But I want us to not just accept anything because tradition has it, or because wise men have talked of it, but really go into it ourselves, and figure out what is meant by oneness?

What is it implied by the unity of mankind? You’ve heard this often, right?

“We all are one.”

What does that mean?

L1: We can say something is there in all of us which is common; which is central…

AP: What does it mean?

L2: Kindness and emptiness.

AP: Yes, but we are all one, what does that mean? How are we all one?

L1: We can describe it according to the material concept that we all start from the same place and come back to the same place.

AP: Let us start from where we are, what we see. Do you see one being sitting here or different persons?

L1: Different persons.

AP: What do you see?

Different persons. Not one being, right?

Do you see many posters here or one poster?

L1: Many posters.

AP: Do you see many lights here or one light?

L2: Many.

AP: We live in a world of many-ness, right? Not oneness.

So, when you live by the eyes, by the senses, all you see is differences and diversity. If you believe your eyes, they will only tell you that things are different. In fact, the senses can communicate the existence of things, only when things are different; only when things have a limit and a boundary. One thing is different from the other because it stops somewhere and then the other things starts, right?

See, if you can perceive this wall, it is because this wall has a boundary, it starts and ends. Had this wall been infinite, you wouldn’t have been able to perceive at all. So, senses are limited and all that they perceive is limitation. Eyes are limited and if you go by the eyes then what you will see is limitation and hence differences and hence diversity.

Do you see this?

Now, instead of being a blind believer in eyes, one goes a little deeper. One says that, “Is it not true that if I am seeing four posters there on that particular pillar, the other one too, is seeing only four?and then you say, “Now, there is something common between the two of us.” Earlier we were seeing only differences, and now we are seeing something that is not different, and that is common.

What is it that is common between the two of us?

That we perceive in the same way. We perceive different things, but we perceive in the same way, alright?

Then, you also see that everybody has a tendency to over perceive that which appeals to him, which suits his conditioning and to under perceive or ignore that which does not mean anything to him. Do you see this? And you will find another commonality.

The deeper you keep going into the mind of man, you find that more and more is common amongst us. Happiness is common amongst human beings, so is sadness and sorrow. We all are conditioned alike. We all have a deep yearning for peace. We see that since thousands of years, man has lived, psychologically, in the same way.

It does not matter to which country you belong, it does not matter to which time you belong. Wars have been fought, then agreements have been made, then conflicts have again arisen, then again wars have been fought. And when you see that, then you see that essentially, the mind of mankind is one — it does not matter what your gender is, it doesn’t matter what your nationality or ethnicity is, it doesn’t matter what your religion is, it doesn’t matter what your education is.

The fact is that fundamentally, the mind of man behaves in the same way. And then, you also see that it is not only the mind of man, not only the mind of human beings, but also the mind of all sentient creatures. When you go into their very impulses, in to their basic urges, you see that we are all one.

An animal wants to reproduce so does a human being.

When death approaches, a tree shivers in the same way as a human being shivers.

So, all consciousness is one.

Do you see this?

Fundamentally, it is not about only the unity of human beings, it is then, about the unity of all sentient, conscious beings. Do you see this?

But all these statements of unity, of oneness, can be made only when you go deeper and deeper into the fundamental nature of the mind. I repeat, if you remain only at the surface, all that you see is differences.

It is extremely easy to say that this is violet, this is red; he is old, he is young; here is a man, there is a woman; here is an Indian and here is a European — it is extremely easy to see and claim differences. That is when you are living at a sensory level, but the deeper you go, you say, “Ah! Are we not all one? Is the woman not striving for security in the very same way as the man? Is the dog not wishing to further his existence through his progeny in the same way as the wisest man? Is the tree not enjoying fine weather as the whale?Now you have reached the root of ego and that is where we are all one. 

We are all one in that sentient, conscious thread which binds us together.

Unfortunately, that sentient conscious thread which holds us together is also the thread of sorrow.  

We are all one in our misery.

We are all one in our fears.

We are all one in the type of wars that we fight.

Can we be one differently?

Yes, it is possible to be one differently. Man does not need to be like man only in his sorrow, only in his suffering.

Can we be unified in joy as well?

Now, is joy merely the absence of sorrow?

Is joy happiness?

Yes, we are one in the fact that we are all happiness seekers, that we pursue pleasure but is there something else which brings us totally together? You know, even when we are pursuing pleasure, still we are a little different, why?

Because, as divided beings we seek pleasure in different things, so, still there remains a modicum of a difference.

Is it possible to be absolutely one?

OK, let me elaborate through an example: We are talking, right? And we are together, and it has been a beautiful evening — we have read, we have discussed, and soon we will be coming to the closure of the proceedings. We have been very close, I have spoken, intermittently, you have spoken and we have spoken in harmony. Yet there always remains a difference when you speak and when I speak; when you speak and when she speaks. The words themselves create a boundary.

When can we be absolutely together? Now, I could say, “You know, you are my brother and I love you.”

And you could say, “Yes, you are our brother and we love you.”

And still there would remain a difference – what I mean by Love is not what you mean by love.

It is a love that we have declared. It is a love that is a product of man’s mind. It is a love that we have announced and hence, we have reserved the rights to withdraw. So, in spite of saying that we are one; I am saying, I am announcing here that, “We are all one.” And you too do that and like a mantra, a chorus arises, “We are all one”, and still a great difference remains.

When would we be really one?

L1: When the barrier of language transcends and we would be able to understand.

AP: And that is what you call as Silence. It is in silence that we are one. Is silence something material? Silence is the absence of that which creates differences. We are one when we are silent. We are really one, when we are not what we have assumed ourselves to be.

Till the time you think of yourself as a European and I think of myself as an Indian — we cannot be one. Till the time you carry a distinction and so do I — we cannot be one. Till the time you are knowledgeable and I am ignorant — we cannot be one.

Till the time you and I are anything or anybody — we cannot be one.  

Oneness is possible only when you are nobody and I am nobody. 

So, oneness is actually zero-ness.

Hence, your question that what is meant by oneness of mankind must now move into zero-ness. Oneness of mankind does not mean that you and I together are commonly one something. No!

Between human beings, oneness is possible only in nothingness. Only when you stop taking seriously whatever you believe or assume yourself to be, then you and I really can be unified, that is also called as Love.

Believing in your identities, carrying with yourself the load of all your education, your qualifications, your ethnicity, your religion and all else the mind carries and matters to the mind, carrying the load of all that, it is impossible to harmoniously relate to the other human being. You may say that you are a Hindu or a Christian and you are trying to be kind as a Hindu or a Christian but the fact is, as a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, you would only be kind in a Hindu way, or a Muslim way or a Christian way, which is no kindness at all. Do you see this?

Kindness is possible only when you are not;

only when you are nothing;

only when you are empty and zero.

You are trying to be a loving husband to your wife but this love would be the ‘love of a husband’ as a ‘husband’ and hence it would be no love at all. It would be just an image of the love which would be called a ‘husband’s love’.

Love is possible only when you are not a husband and she is not a wife. It is only then that two free beings are relating to each other. Only when you are nobody and she is nobody then there can be love. Do you see that?

As long as you operate in memories, you approach her with the burden of the past, you approach her with the knowledge that you already know her — there is no real relationship possible. All that would happen between you and her is a role play based on a preset script, a role play that is carried forward by experiences and memories.

The more you are something or somebody, or anybody, the more divided you are. The more divided you are, the more violent you are.

We need peace. Don’t we? That is what we are all deeply craving for. The mistake that we often make is that we want peace as somebody. 

You can never be a peaceful somebody; you can just be peace.

If you say, “I am a peaceful X or Y”, and that X or Y could be anything – your gender, your ethnicity, your nationality, your religion, your qualification, your age — anything — all you have created is a boundary. It is like crying from within a boundary that, “I am free.”

How much sense does that make?

You raise walls and then from within the walls you say, “Freedom, Freedom!”

Does that make sense?

We are all one only in the open sky. It is the open sky that bears no distinctions only that is undivided. From within boundaries, you cannot ask for oneness. And the matter is that, without oneness we will never come to relax. Oneness is what we are desperate for. Oneness is what the poets, the sages, the Rishis have sung of. Oneness with each other is also oneness with the Divine.I am one with you when both of us are one with what you can either call as emptiness or alternately, as God.

We all are one either as the swelling sea – the full sea – or as the empty sky. 

In the sea there are no distinctions. Pick up water from everywhere or anywhere, it is the same and in the sky too, there are no distinctions. Let the clouds remain, yet there are no distinctions. You fill the whole sky up with smoke, yet the whole sky is not tarnished or stained.

My request is, kindly do not commit the mistake of having the right intentions from the wrong positions. Often, we have great intentions, but from the wrong position.

As a father I want to do good to my son.

I will never be successful!

Because the father is an identity, the father is a pre-set role, the father will remain ‘fatherly’ – which is a limitation; which is a boundary that he is setting to the relationship with his son. Now, as a father, I want to do good to my son and that is why the world is a place where we have so much of friction between fathers and sons, precisely, because fathers are ‘fathers’ and sons are ‘sons’.

I often ask my audience, I say that, “You know, if somebody knocks on that door and you have a hole available in that door through which to peep. If it is a stranger, you at least bother to look at the face of the stranger for a few seconds or a minute. Don’t you? If you come across a stranger you at least pay so much of attention; but when you go home and you meet your father or mother or husband or wife or son or daughter, do you pay attention to their faces?”

You say, “We already know them, what is there now new to look at?”

A stranger at least extracts this much of consideration from us that we look at his face for let’s say five seconds or ten seconds. The ones to whom we are already related how many time do we bother to closely look at their face as if we are looking at them for the first time. We say, “What is the need to look at them? We already know them.” We start our conversations from where we left it in the past. We do not start afresh, anew. Now, how can there be oneness? How can there be a relationship and Love?

It is knowledge that creates so much of our problem. Mankind has accumulated a lot of knowledge. Spirituality is about having the confidence to live free of knowledge in matters that are essential. Yes, in driving a car you need knowledge and skill. Yes, in working up on machines, you need knowledge. But when you become a creature of knowledge even in the essentials of life, then you are becoming mechanical; then you are losing out on your life, and the result will be implicit and explicit violence as well.

Are we together on this?

L2: Sir, people live with boundaries, with limited boundaries but they don’t understand that it is not love.

AP: Because the boundaries have been given respectable names. We continue with them because our boundaries, our limitations have been given very sacred names. That, which is a burden to us, has been given respectable names — we call it duty, responsibility, identity, ambition, growth, progress. And when you start giving your disease, beautiful names then you are ensuring the continuity and furtherance of the disease. We have given our diseases very beautiful names.

We must look at facts as facts. Often what we call as duty is just fear or is it not? Often what we call as love is just attachment or is it not? Let’s call it at least by the right name, that much of honesty is needed.


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

Watch the session: What is meant by oneness of mankind? | YouTube


Further Reading:

Joy

joy-cover-page-front-and-back-ii

The book throws light on how the search of happiness is a futile one. With utmost simplicity, he explains how freedom from both happiness and sadness is the ultimate peace.

Author’s genius lies in the fact that he does not talk of happiness and sadness as some far off terms and does not throw concepts of ‘higher living’ to the readers. Rather, he deals with issues in a very simple, personal way and through this book extends an invitation to join the ongoing existential party.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/PRAVZP

Kindle: https://goo.gl/vuOsJS

Detachment

Detachment means that the mind knows it’s Real home,
so it does not have to beg for other homes.

Detachment means that the mind knows it’s Real lover,
so it does not have to look for love here and there.

Detachment means that the mind is dependent only on the One,
so it is not dependent on the thousands.

That is detachment.

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

2

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

The Essence of Religion

If we look at our lives, and the life of the man sipping tea in his balcony, or the man out to take a walk, is there anything that we are doing and is not a product of recommendation of others? Our education, our social relationships, our very consciousness is composed of the teachings and advices and examples and experiences of others.

The more this consciousness, this mind, grows and gets filled up, the more difficult it is to return. Man is a restlessness and the restlessness keeps growing, growing. The more it grows, the more man seeks advice. Unfortunately, he seeks advice from those who themselves need advice.

The restlessness is a proof that you are being called. I’m very sure that the day you will not be called, you will not wake up in the morning.

You wake up in the morning because another day, another possibility awaits you in which something can happen. You wake up to search, you wake up to find. Your eyes open in a longing.

When you know so much, when you know that you are being called, then you surely have some connection with the One who is calling. Otherwise, how would you have felt the longing?

Instead of asking Jack and Jill, him and her, this and that, about how to go back, how to take the road back, why don’t you ask the One who is calling?

He is calling, ask Him; directly and simply. That is the essence of Religion: having no intermediary, a direct connection between you and your Home.


~ Excerpts from the article, What is religion?

If you are trying hard and yet failing, then pray!

The One who is calling you, calls you through you. Your own situation, your own condition contains all the signals and hints.

When you will look at yourself, honestly and sharply, you will realise what you have been, and what you are doing to yourself; you just have to stop doing all that. The Home is really never too far away. Even the power to have that honest, sharp look of detachment at oneself comes from the One who is calling; so, pray.

When he calls, tell him,

‘Since you have been calling, and since I have been desperate to meet you, why don’t you bless me with a little more honesty? Why don’t you make me a little more sensitive towards myself? I am so insensitive towards myself that I do not look at my own wounds. I’m indifferent to my own suffering. If I could be a little more sensitive to my own predicament, then I would have known that all the methods that I have been trying are not working. That I am unnecessarily carrying beliefs; that my confidence upon my ways is misplaced.’

And it is absolutely necessary to lose this confidence. We all are carrying this false sense of sureness. We are sure about something that is not working at all. We are confident about beliefs that are only landing us in more and more trouble.

Sensitivity means to not to be so blinded by beliefs, that you cannot look at the obvious; so look at the obvious. And if you are trying hard and yet failing, then pray!


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘What is Religion?

The Essence of Religion

 

If we look at our lives, and the life of the man sipping tea in his balcony, or the man out to take a walk, is there anything that we are doing and is not a product of recommendation of others? Our education, our social relationships, our very consciousness is composed of the teachings and advices and examples and experiences of others.

The more this consciousness, this mind, grows and gets filled up, the more difficult it is to return. Man is a restlessness and the restlessness keeps growing, growing. The more it grows, the more man seeks advice. Unfortunately, he seeks advice from those who themselves need advice.

The restlessness is a proof that you are being called. I’m very sure that the day you will not be called, you will not wake up in the morning.

You wake up in the morning because another day, another possibility awaits you in which something can happen. You wake up to search, you wake up to find. Your eyes open in a longing.

When you know so much, when you know that you are being called, then you surely have some connection with the One who is calling. Otherwise, how would you have felt the longing?

Instead of asking Jack and Jill, him and her, this and that, about how to go back, how to take the road back, why don’t you ask the One who is calling?

He is calling, ask Him; directly and simply. That is the essence of Religion: having no intermediary, a direct connection between you and your Home.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘What is Religion?

Seated already on the mountain top, why suffer dreams of climbing

Anatma-rupam cha katham samadhih 

Atma-swarupam cha katham samadhih 

Astiti nastiti katham samadhih 

Moksha-swarupam yadi sarvam ekam. 

~ The Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya (1.23)

Translation: How can a man attain Samadhi as long as he thinks of himself as something other than the Aatman? But on the other hand, Samadhi is not possible for a man who thinks of himself as the Aatman. How can Samadhi be attained as long as a man thinks that the Aatman exists and yet does not exist, and what need is there to attain Samadhi if all are one and by nature free?

Speaker: Rohit has quoted from the Avadhuta Gita: Chapter 1, Verse 23. He has been asking this question since three weeks now, and I had been unable to take it up. But it seems his enquiry is quite insistent.

Dattatreya says that if you think of yourself as anything other than Aatman, where is the question of Samadhi for you? This first sentence is just a first sentence. It introduces the reader into thinking that probably taking oneself, thinking of oneself, as the Aatman is necessary to enter Samadhi. In the very next line, Dattatreya strings a surprise; he says, “When you think of yourself as Aatman, how is Samadhi possible for you?” He starts of by saying, “If you think of yourself as anything other than Aatman, Samadhi will elude you.” He proceeds by saying, “If you think of yourself as the Aatman, Samadhi will elude you.” He now knows, that it is evident that he is out to attack the notions of the mind, so quite brazenly, in the next line he says, “For those who think that there is, and for those who think that there is not, where is the question of Samadhi?” Till this point he has only said what will not lead to Samadhi, but in the last line, he totally destroys even the remnants of mental support. He says, “What is the need for Samadhi? Who needs Samadhi? What is the point in Samadhi if all is but one?”

Opinions and TruthLet’s take it again from the beginning. A man thinks of himself as something other than the Aatman, and another man thinks of himself as (Stressing on the ‘as’) the Aatman. What is common between these two men? They both think of themselves ‘as something’. They both have a self-concept. The mind is active in the case of both of them. The mind is looking at itself and sizing itself up. A man insists that an ultimate Truth does exist, and another man insists that nothing of that sort exists. What is common amongst them? Both are talking of the Truth within the plane of existence that the mind is familiar with. After all the word ‘existence’ whether we say Asti or whether we say Naasti, the word, ‘is’, or the word, ‘exists’, has definite meanings for us. It refers to something in the time-space plane. Somebody says, “It is there in it”, somebody says, “No! It is not there in it”, but both are referring to the same plane. It’s like two ignorant people who come across something that is beyond their knowledge, their experience and their intellect. None has any idea of what he is seeing, there can be no idea of what they are seeing. What they have come across is beyond ideation. But one of them start insisting: I know what it is. And the other one start insisting: Well, I do not think there is anything to be known and what you are insisting as existent, simply does not exist. This second one simply denies the existence of what he is seeing. Is either of them any better than the other? What is common amongst them is their ignorance. One says, “God exists”, and the other says, “God does not exist.” The question is, have you any understanding of what you are saying? What does not exist and what are you claiming as existent? What exactly? What are you affirming and what exactly are you denying? What exactly are you denying? And in confirming or denying you have stirred a mental agitation which has taken the mind away from its fundamental peace. So it doesn’t matter, whether the Truth exists or does not exist, but what is certain is that in the process of asserting your opinions about the Truth, you have entered into opinions. That much is pretty much certain, that right now it is the opinions that are ruling. And where there are opinions, there can be no Truth. Your opinions about the Truth have ironically pulled you away from the Truth, but that is mind, it is more interested in having opinions, knowledge, and experience about something, than being with the thing itself. It is more interested in talking about peace than being peaceful. It is more interested in lecturing about love than being loving. It is more interested in theories about meditation than meditativeness itself. Theories sustain the mind, knowledge inflates the mind, but the Real, about which all theories and knowledge is purportedly there, that punctures the mind. So the mind has great interest in talking about it, but great resistance to approaching it. And you will find that happening at many stages of your life. It might even be a routine experience. News about something might excite you, but closeness to the thing makes you nervous. Take for example a teacher, words from a teacher appear nice, knowledge gathered from a teacher appears valuable, but the teacher himself appears a little bit of a crackpot, a little eccentric, even a little scary. So let me read his books, let me follow his methods, but I won’t go close to him, because that’s dangerous, that threatens me. Now what is this ‘me’ that is threatened? This ‘me’ is probably what Dattatreya is referring to. This ‘me’ is the thinker. This ‘me’ is the one who likes to declare: This exists, that does not exists, I know, I do not know. This ‘me’ is that. Dattatreya is the head of Avadhutas. See how peacefully we have taken his words and are discussing them. See how composed we all look. Everything is alright as long as what we have with us the words of the Avadhuta. Now what if an Avadhuta, a real one, in all his wild, natural and beautiful nakedness, comes right over here, what would happen to your composure? And chances are, he won’t be interested in lecturing. His life is his teaching. His methods are spontaneous.

He has no great regards for etiquette or politeness. Most of us might not be comfortable. That’s actually an understatement. Most of us would actually, actively avoid him. As long as it is a cosy and convenient environment, where his words are being taken up in a setting orchestrated by you, you are alright. But when the real one enters and smashes all settings, obviously not as violence, but a statement, that real one does not appear very likeable. The words in Avadhuta Gita represent some of the purest utterings on Advait. As pure as the verses of Upanishads, if not more, and I am tempted to say, actually purer than that. Most strict and uncompromising in their rejection of duality than Ashtavakra and Krishna. Such is the worth of the Dattatreya’s words. Such is the worth of Avadhuta Gita. But please see that the Avadhuta Gita never became as famous and as popular as the Gita of Krishna or even the Gita of Ashtavakra. Much lesser scriptures have been liked much more by us. The reason is obvious. The Truth is alright for the ego only from a distance. Proximity to the Truth is life threatening for us. So all kinds of miscellaneous scriptures are all right. Those others scriptures too have their worth, some value, but none comes close to matching the naked staunchness of the Avadhuta. Nobody. And that is why we have not been able to really accept and appreciate this one.

And ultimately, Dattatreya dissolves the final concepted ‘Self’. He dissolves the very concept of dissolution. He says, “When the Truth is one, where is the question of reaching the Truth?” That is how Samadhi has been classically defined – Reaching the center, settling down into the Truth. I can actually see him laughing to a fellow Avadhuta and saying, “How will you reach that from which it is impossible to escape?” “How will you reach that which you can never leave, even if you want to?” He is saying, “What rubbish is this, all this talk of Samadhi? As if you are in any other state, at any other point of time. You are already in Samadhi. There is no other Truth. If you think you are in some other state, you are dreaming. So wake up. You do not need to reach Samadhi.” There is a difference between reaching somewhere and simply waking up. You are already there, you are just dreaming that you are somewhere else. Wake up. You are already there, nowhere else to go. You are already at the pinnacle of your life. This is the climax. It can’t get any better than this. And what are you searching for? Had you been so unfamiliar with that which you are searching for, how would you have searched for it? To make matters complicated for yourself, you say, “The Truth is distant, the Truth is unknowable, the Truth is unapproachable, mind cannot think of It, man cannot reach It.” If that is so, then how is it that you are incessantly on the lookout for the Truth?

All you want is peaceIf Truth is such an unknown entity to you, why are you so restless? One doesn’t desire for something one is very unfamiliar with. Does he? And you are desiring for that one, all the time. In your various desires, in your various movements, ultimately all you want is Peace. Whatever you may say that you are chasing, at the end of the chase lies the promise of Peace. The promise is what gives the chase its energy. Right? And you are chasing all the time. You are convinced of the promise. From where does this conviction come? This conviction comes from the fact that you know Peace. You know that the promise is real. You know that Peace is your natural state. And that is why in whatever you do every moment, and whosoever you meet, all you look for is peace.

Seen anybody who wants anything except Peace? Even when you are chasing excitement, you are chasing Peace through excitement. Even when you are being violent, you want Peace through violence. Ultimately you want nothing except Peace. Would it not be then foolish to say that you do not know peace? Had you not known it, how could it have been echoing inside you constantly? Not only do you know it, you remember it without break. It is a continuous music, an incessant resonance within you. You don’t even need reminders. If you are going in some direction, you are going in the direction of Peace. If you are trying out something, you are trying to get Peace. If you are entering something new, the objective is Peace. Even in taking a position against Peace, ultimately you want to feel Peaceful. Dare we say that we do not know Peace? That which is the central attraction of our lives, we want to fane unfamiliarity with it? Seriously? Dattatreya is saying that you are just pretending, you already are there. If you know it so clearly and intimately, it is impossible that anything can stand between you and it. You see, the first thing is to realize and see clearly, that you know it clearly. The first thing is to see that peace, which you may also call as Truth or God, is the center of all mental activity. The mind may be going in miscellaneous directions, but it wants to reach that particular center, even in going hither and thither and randomly flying around.

An Indian sage has given a very apt image for it. He says that it is just like a bird on the ship. A ship sailing in the seas, the bird is on that ship. The bird flies from the ship and goes in various directions, but ultimately it returns to the ship. The ship is where the bird starts from. The ship is where the bird has to return to. Now can the bird fane ignorance of the ship? Without the ship, there is no bird. The bird’s very own existence is a proof of the ship. Otherwise, what are you doing in the middle of the seas? The very fact that you, the bird, is to be seen here – Where? In the middle of these turbulent seas, is the proof of the ship. Had there been no ship, how would you have been here? You hence are the Truth. No need to search for it, you are it. The search assumes a separation and in assuming a separation, the search actually creates a separation. Dattatreya is saying that see that this is it and there is really nowhere to be reached. All talk of Samadhi is just talk. Stop talking and there is just Samadhi. There is just Samadhi either way, but you can either talk about it or straightaway enter it. Even in talking, you are ultimately talking about Samadhi. So it’s Samadhi either way. But it depends upon you.

Talk about it and if you are talking about it, then too, the center is Samadhi, because all talk ultimately is about Samadhi. But you have an option, you can either keep talking about it, and it’s nice to talk about it. It’s so nice to talk about it that Kabir says that he can even reject the invitation of Ram. There is a great pleasure in talking about Ram. In listening to Ram’s story. Such a great pleasure that I can even reject the invitation of Ram.

राम बुलावा भेजिया, दिया कबीरा रोए |
जो सुख साधू संग में, सो बैकुंठ न होए ||

(Ram is calling Kabir. Kabir is weeping. For he says, the Joy that I find in the company of this Truth and in the company of the seekers of the Truth. That joy is greater than the Joy of heaven.)

Do you see what this is? Samadhi runs in your veins. Just talking about it brings joy to you, does it not? That is the attraction of SatsangSamadhi is so close and so dear to you that when somebody talks about it, your heart just opens up. You feel a depth of pleasure that no other occupation can give you.

जो सुख साधू संग में |

And then there are others who say, “Well we have had enough of talking now, let me just enter it.” There is not much difference between these two. Samadhi is complete Freedom. On one hand Samadhi is choiceless-ness, because there is nothing but Samadhi. On the other hand, it is the power of absolute choice. You can decide to talk about it and that’s wonderful. In Samadhi, you can decide to sing, talk, act, run, and work. Or in Samadhi you can dissolve. In either case it is Samadhi.

Listener 1: Sir, how has Satsang become so dear?

Speaker: There is no reason. It’s just that one has unlimited freedom in Samadhi. You have never gone away from it. Your freedom is so absolute that you are free to even forget your freedom, and then start clamoring, “I am not free! I am not free!” Your freedom is so absolute that you even have the freedom to forget your freedom and then like a madman start yelling, “I am in bondage! I am in bondage!” Even in your yelling that, it is a proof of your freedom.

Listener 1: Can this become a barrier itself? The last barrier?

Speaker: A barrier towards what? You have decided something and you are not accountable to anybody for the decision that you made. You have decided something in your absolutely free will, where is the question of a barrier? The moment you will really want, you will change your decision. Where is the question of a barrier? Barriers are external. Here all decisions are internal, there is no barrier. You have made a decision to forget. It’s your decision, it’s your sovereign expression of your absolute power. Remember, you never forget anything. As long as you are, that remembrance is there. Do you ever forget yourself? So there is no question of forgetting, reminders and remembrance. You anyway always remember. You just have to decide to proclaim that you remember. You don’t have to be reminded. You have to make a decision, and that decision will be your decision, a sovereign decision. Nobody else can be a participant in it. You are the ultimate authority. Yes of course depending on the situations you have chosen, somebody might push you a little, prod you a little, nudge you a little, but all of that is of no value. What are you reminding him of? Yes? The student is sitting in front of you, what are you reminding the student of? The student already knows. When I talk to you, there are only two kinds of faces. One that are exclaiming “Yes! We know what you are saying and we’ll go with it.” And the other “Yes! We know what you are saying but we won’t go with it.”

(Laughs)

There is no third face. There is nobody here who doesn’t understand what I am saying. Everybody does. In fact you understand what I am saying even before I say it. You already know everything, it’s just that, ‘your decision’. Nobody here is ignorant. There are only two kinds of faces. How else can you resist me? And you know how deeply you resist. How can you resist me without knowing what I stand for? Your very resistance is the proof that you understand. You very well know what I am saying and that is why you so stubbornly raise your armors and defend yourself. You know from where the arrow is coming and you know it is aimed towards your heart. That’s why you are able to place your armor so accurately. “Place it nowhere else. He aims only the heart. Defend that and you are safe.”

Listener 2: Sir you say that ‘you’ have the absolute power of freedom. Who is this ‘you’ here?

Speaker: This ‘you’ is the same Peace that we are continuously referring to. The Peace that manifests itself sometimes as itself and at other times as the mind. What is mind? Mind is the power of the Self to manifest itself, nothing else. Or do you think that the mind is something separate from the Self, from the Truth? Then mind is the Truth itself, expressed in space-time. They are one.

Listener 3: Sir, suppose there are a number of birds who have floated away from the ship, then why are only a few number of birds able to return back to the ship? Why only some of us are able to remember? To go back to the ship?

Speaker: No bird can float around in the sea for too long. It has to be perched somewhere. It has to go back to the ship. ‘ जैसे उड़े जहाज़ को पंछी, फ़िर जहाज़ पे आवे | ‘

Listener 3: Right, but that duration is too long?

Speaker: Even in the duration of the flight, where is the bird coming from? Where is the bird going to? Who brought the bird here? Are we saying that the bird has forgotten the ship? You are coming from the ship, you will go back to the ship. You have no other resting place. Yes, it is a part of your freedom to fly around a little. Go and fly around. Depends on your mood.

Listener 4: Sir you say that by our every action we are seeking Peace. But I made out that this Peace is very temporary. So do we keep on looking or is there any continuous flow of Peace which exists?

Speaker: See, you can either have Peace or you can have seeking. A child is with the mother and they decide to play hide and seek. In playing hide and seek, what have they done? They have become invisible to each other, they have become hidden from each other; but even in playing hide and seek they know very well that they are with each other. When you are so intimately with each other, you feel like playing hide and seek. That’s Maya. A loving expression of the Truth. We are so close together, we can anyway never be separated, so let’s be separated. (Chuckles) Otherwise what’s the fun in always being together? Now that we know that we are destined to be together, we are one, we may appear like infinite varieties and diversities but we know, we are one, there is only that One, let’s play a little bit of hide and seek. Deliberately we blindfold each other for the sake of some ‘divine’ entertainment. That’s it. So sometimes you have peace and other times you have the seeking. ‘Seeking peace’.

~ Excerpt from a Shabd-Yog session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Seated already on the mountain top,why suffer dreams of climbing

Read more articles on this topic: 

  1. Agree with freedom for freedom is your nature
  1. The saint is not obliged to conform to your expectations
  1. Peace is not happiness; it is freedom from both happiness and sadness

Once you have reached the destination, you can begin the journey

Only when you drink from the river of silence,

shall you indeed sing.

Only when you have reached the mountain top,

then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs,

then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran

Acharya Prashant: “Only when you have reached the mountain top, you can begin to climb.”

When we refer to mountains and their tops and climbing, we refer to them as we are. We live in a deep unconscious state of identification with material. Even if an example that may point towards our essential nature beyond space-time is given to us, we interpret that example as we are.

For sure any example that is given would be given in words or atleast this much may be said that any example that is given would be preserved in words. We do not really have examples of how teachers help and guide their students.  We have stories of how they help and guide their students. The teacher’s guidance might be his instantaneous touch, but that touch cannot be captured or replicated later on.

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When you chase something, you will get its opposite as well

Drunks fear the police but the police are drunk too.

~ Rumi

Speaker: We are prone to thinking that a ‘thing’ is cancelled or neutralized by its opposite and our superficial experience in the world supports this kind of thinking. When cold water is mixed with hot water what you get is water that is neither cold nor hot. When a force toward the left meets a force towards the right, what you get is equilibrium. So it is no wonder, that we think that the opposite of ‘something’ neutralizes it, finishes it, dissolves it.

If the day is hot, we wait for the night. We say, “The day is so hot, the night might bring us some relief.” And when the night comes, we are glad to say, “The night brought us relief from the heat of the day”.

For us, a ‘thing’ finds its end, its deliverance, its solution in its opposite. If the day troubles me, then my deliverance lies with the night. If white threatens me, then my succor lies with black. If going upwards, I find suffering then the correct way for me is to go downwards. That is the way of the Samsara (World). That is what our ‘normal’, everyday experience has taught us.

But the wise man looks attentively at the world. He asks, “Is really a ‘thing’ finished by its opposite?” He probes deeply into life and what he sees is that the deeper is the pain, the more is the search and the memory of pleasure. And the more is the pleasure, the more is the urge to consume the pleasure out of a fear of pain.

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The real meaning of renunciation in devotion

तस्मिन्ननन्यता तद्विरोधिषूदासीनता च

~ नारद भक्ति सूत्र: ९

In the Lord whole-hearted, single-minded devotion and all else that are contrary to it, complete indifference.

This is the nature of renunciation.

~ Narad Bhakti Sutra: 9

Question: How is this sutra relevant in daily life?

Speaker: The man whose mind is centered and devoted, walks, moves, and eats being with the One, to whom he is devoted.

He might be walking on the earth, he might be living amongst men, but it is obvious that his Heart is somewhere else. The mind will never really know in terms of particulars and specifics where his Heart is, but one thing that the mind will surely know is, that he does not belong here.

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Ignorance is to believe that you are someone separate from the One

तवैवाज्ञानतो विश्वं त्वमेकः परमार्थतः।
त्वत्तोऽन्यो नास्ति संसारी नासंसारी च कश्चन॥

It is through your ignorance alone that the universe appears to exist.

In reality you are the One.

Other than you there is no individual self or supreme Self.

Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 15, Verse 16)

Question: What is meant by “your ignorance”, when it has been said, “In reality you are the One”?

Speaker: For the one who is asking this question, “The One” means nothing. For the one who is asking the question or for the one who asks any question; there is the world, there are appearances, there are things, places, knowledge, lack of knowledge. For the one who is asking the question, there is only all this. This, that is called as the world or the mind of the one who is talking, eating, breathing, asking; this is called as ignorance. Read more