Drop knowledge and know; win by losing

Presentatio1

 

 From The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

“A learned ignorance is the end of philosophy and the beginning of religion”

~Sir William Hamilton

(Scottish Philosopher)

 

Acharya Prashant: What is Philosophy? Though Philosophy means the search for Truth, but it ends up becoming just more and more concepts about Truth. With Philosophy, you get not the Truth, but words about Truth, opinions about Truth. With philosophy, you want to capture magic and logic. And it is so impossible. That’s what every philosopher has been trying to do. He has been trying to apply logic to magic.How will you ever understand? How will you ever succeed?

“A learned ignorance”, its a beautiful phrase. The wise man, is deeply ignorant. He is free of concepts and knowledge. The moment you drop the arrogance that you will ever reach there through arguments. The moment you drop your assumption that you, the logician, can understand that great magician then you are clean, clear. Your eyes, do not have the stain of cleverness anymore. You are no more trying to argue it out. And when your approach is not through arguments and sentences, then your approach is simple and direct. Read more

How to tell the truth to parents

img_2761Question: When I used to ask questions to my mother and father, we would have conversations, and our conversations often ended on a bad note. My brother and sister would say, “You better not talk to them like this, because if you are right, then they are wrong; and if they are wrong, all these years which they have lived through will be wrong.”

Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, and they have invested a lot in those years, so it proves that all their investment has gone waste, which means all their life has gone waste. Read more

Do not meditate for peace, meditate in peace

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Listener: Is meditation required?

Acharya Prashant: What is meditation?

L: It’s like concentrating on the breathing.

AP: Have we not already talked of concentration?

To concentrate is to force the mind to a particular object, and the mind doesn’t like being forced. So, if mediation about concentration then the mind will never agree with meditation. Or, is meditation something else?

What is meditation?

The very action of a peaceful mind is called meditation.

Whatever you do in peace is meditation.

This is meditation. That is meditation. All is meditation. Read more

THE WAY

THE WAY

‘The way’ is not for those who think about it.
‘The way’ is not for those who want to walk ‘the way’.
‘The way’ is not for those, who approach it through their intellect and knowledge.
‘The way’ is a resistance-less movement, and hence it is no movement at all.

It is not for those whose mind resists.
It is not for those who do not surrender to it.
It is not for those who want to look at it with open eyes, because they want to size it up.
It is not for those who close their eyes, because ‘the way’ does not demand that.
It is not for the idiots, because they are ‘idiots’.
It is not for the intelligent ones, because they are ‘intelligent’.

What to do, to at least get a glimpse of it?
If you do anything in particular, you will resist the flow,
that is already available.
The moment you resist, ‘the way’ is lost in resistance.

After learning this much about ‘the way’,
for sure you are farther from it, than you were, before you heard.
‘The way’ is not for those who prefer hearing over walking.

Had you really loved ‘the way’, you would have been walking ‘the way’,
instead of talking about it.
Attachment, inclination towards discussion about ‘the way’is a good indicator that
‘the way’ is yet far away.

Self-awareness is not self-stalking

Question: I seem to be moving from the so-called liberal, open to a highly moralistic type of woman. It is a movement from one end to the other. But nothing has changed actually. I may just be repressing myself, and keeping more watch on myself. What is happening to me?

Speaker: Do you want to ‘know’ what is going on, or you want to change what is going on? What is the intention?

Listener 1: Both. Read more

How do I get rid of my restlessness?

Question: Restlessness doesn’t really leave me. Why am I so restless? How can I get rid of my restlessness?

Speaker: Cars these days come with the auto-pilot feature. You can put the car on the cruise mode, especially on long drives, and the driver can relax. There was a research conducted on the vehicles that have this auto-drive feature.  It was found out that people who buy cars having this facility do not really use it. Read more

Intentions don’t matter; Awareness does || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: What we get from outside especially in the childhood, is the love, affection, care of our parents, family. How can that contribute to our ego?

Speaker: There is a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People’s intentions are good, but they end up doing a lot of harm. People’s intentions are good but they end up doing a lot of harm because they are not aware. Even their love can only cause harm to the loved ones.

Intentions don’t matter, awareness matters.

I may have all the intentions of helping my son, my friend, somebody. But how can I help if my notion of help itself is misplaced.

Read more

Looking attentively at the world, one enters the Truth beyond world

तदा बन्धो यदा चित्तं सक्तं काश्वपि दृष्टिषु।
तदा मोक्षो यदा चित्तम- सक्तं सर्वदृष्टिषु॥

                          – अष्टावक्र गीता (८- ३)

Translation: There is bondage when mind is attracted towards any of the visible things and liberation is when mind is not attached to anything visible.

Question: It is bondage when the mind is attached to any of the sensory perceptions. It is freedom when the mind is detached from all perceptions. Everything is sensory perception. So what is freedom from sensory perception?

Speaker: When the mind is not divided, then there is a quality about it. Then you call that quality ‘one’. Somebody has said that the sum is greater than the total of the parts, or probably that the total is greater than the sum of the parts. What he has said is that two plus two is five. I want to talk about this extra ‘one’. The sum is greater than the total of the parts. Two plus two is actually five.

If you talk about this extra quality when the mind is undivided, when the mind is total, then this extra ‘one’ comes into being. When you are not divided, then two plus two fetches an extra ‘one’, and this extra ‘one’ is the juice of life. You will not get it in two, you will not get it in another two, but you will get it when there are no two’s left; when there is unity, when the fragmentation has seized. This ‘one’ is the gift. This ‘one’ is grace. But for this ‘one’ to descend, you have to ensure that two is meeting two. When two meets two, then one is given as a complimentary gift. When you are total, then mind experiences that extra-ordinary peace, that extra-ordinary sense of realization and relaxation. Words are a very poor way of communicating it or even hinting towards it.
Read more

No ritual is spiritual

Question: Sir, could the people of India be enslaved for long because they were spiritual people?

Speaker: If India was enslaved for so long, if the people here could be conquered and banished, and be made to live against their will, it was not because they were spiritual people, it was because they were not at all spiritual.
I ask you a simple question. What is the most fundamental tenet of spirituality? It is to know what is this game called ‘the world’ and ‘Who am I?’ Right? That is the foundation. ‘What is all this going on?’, and it’s a most obvious question that any intelligent man must ask. Right? Only if you are very stupid, then you will be not spiritual otherwise you have to be spiritual. What else can you be? Spirituality is common sense. Don’t you want to know what all this is? That is spirituality.

Read more

What is sweet at first, is poison in the end

Question: ‘What is bitter at first is sweet in the end, What is sweet at first is poison in the end. To everyone is given the choice. It all depends on the effort put in, and the unflagging determined will; for whoever strives must soon arrive at the city of his choice.’

Please give us clarity on the words, ‘effort’, ‘determined will’, ‘striving’ and ‘choice’.

Speaker: ‘What is bitter at first is sweet in the end, What is sweet at first is poison in the end. To everyone is given the choice . It all depends on the effort put in , and the unflagging determined will; for whoever strives must soon arrive at the city of his choice.’ Read more

Only a Godless mind will be petty

यदि देहं पृथक् कृत्य चिति विश्राम्य तिष्ठसि।

अधुनैव सुखी शान्तो बन्धमुक्तो भविष्यसि॥

– अष्टावक्र गीता (१.४)

Translation: If you detach yourself from the body and rest in consciousness, you will become content, peaceful and free from bondage immediately.

Question: How to detach oneself from the body? Read more

Freedom from compulsive slavery|| Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: The topic of ‘Compulsion’ and ‘Free-will’ is what we are concerned with. When do you call something a compulsion?

Listener 1: When I am not interested in doing something and I am forced to do something.

Speaker: At a superficial level compulsion is when the mind does not feel interested. And according to you, when you feel interested, then it is not a compulsion. Correct?
Listeners(everyone): Yes.
Read more

Others taught you to hesitate

Question: Sir, my question is that why are we often so afraid of putting our thoughts in front of others? Why do we care? Many times we care about others, about the people around us. Why is it so?

Speaker: You have been wanting to ask a question from the very first minute. Right? It is there in your eyes, but you have been unable to ask. Why does that happen? (Laughingly) I don’t look particularly like a monster. Do I? I do. 

(Somebody in the audience makes some noise) Heard him? Do I emit those kinds of sounds? This would not have been the case, had this hall not been full of people. It is not ‘your question’ which is blocked. It is about the others. Do not think that there is something in the question, it is the ‘presence of others’. Had you been alone in this room, there would have been no barrier at all. You would have just simply, spontaneously said what you wanted to say. Right now you are worried about what the others might think. It is a simple thing.
Read more

Of Confidence, Falseness and the Idea of Perfection || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: The question is, “How do I know whether I am confident or overconfident? One is considered positive, the other is considered negative.” I ask you again. How can I declare a quantity ‘x’ to be positive or negative if I do not know that quantity. I must know something about it in order to understand it as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. Do I understand what is ‘negative’ or ‘positive’?Do I understand what this confidence thing is? You will go back to your home, most of you, after few hours. When you are with your parents, let us say with your mother, sitting in a very relaxed way, do you really require confidence to speak to her? Do you really require courage to speak to her? It’s a natural, smooth, free flow. You do not require any confidence. Right? But when you have to speak in front of an audience, when you are standing on the podium, then you require a lot of confidence. Right?
Read more

Love scares the ego || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: The question is a very significant question, provided you see how deep it is. It is a question about love. What is meant by love? What is its relationship to ego? The issue of sexual attraction is also asked.

Now, what do we know love as? Is love fulfillment of a physical or mental need? Is love, ‘I am needy, so I approach somebody’? This is the language of a beggar. ‘I am feeling insecure or lonely, so I go to somebody. I am in search of somebody, a desperate search.’ Is that love? No. What I call as the object of my love, I possess it. I say, ‘This is my pen, or my wife, or my bike, or my house, or my career.’ Is this love or possession? What is love then?

Listener 1: Love is that which makes us feel good.

Speaker: What will make a terrorist feel good?

Listener 2: Killing people.
Read more

Stop thinking, just relax, and understand || Acharya Prashant (2012)

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Speaker: Now as I am responding to this, did I plan to respond? This is attention – to be completely alert and wakeful. And out of that alertness comes a spontaneous response. This is attention. This spontaneity is attention, and spontaneity is of great benefit. What is that great benefit? You need not think. Read more

How to overcome the ego? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: Avinash is asking, ‘How do we overcome ego?’ Avinash, you do not overcome anything if you don’t understand it. You don’t overcome anything without understanding it. No problem can be solved if you don’t understand the question. Am I right?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: If you don’t understand the question, can you get the answer?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.
Read more

Awakening begins with suffering || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: The question is that why good people have to suffer the most? How many of you think that it is so or how many of you have seen this happening in your surroundings that good people suffer?

(Few in the audience raise their hands)

Alright, so there are few others besides her.

Kirti, man can exist, all of us can exist in three distinct states. The first state, the lowest state is that of a stone that has zero consciousness; absolutely no understanding of what is going on. It understands nothing, none at all. And it does not suffer at all. Are you getting it?
Read more

The ecstasy of random aimless wandering || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Listener: Sir, I could not understand the motive of not setting a goal in my life. If I do not have an aim or goal in my life, I do not think that there is a reason or spark in my life. If I have my goals, I will put all my energy to get them. If I won’t have any, I would go through different phases, and my energy would be dissipated in different ways.

Speaker: What goals did you have when you were 3 or 4 years old?

Listener: Anything like may be getting a chocolate.

Speaker: Why did you not stay firm on that goal?

Listener: Sir, because I got it.

Speaker: So, the chocolate was achieved, yet the goal remained. Anything beyond the chocolate, that remained, constantly.
Read more

The personality is not your essence || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: Sir, how do I respond when someone asks me to describe my personality?

Speaker: This question is the gateway to the mind. Let us understand this.

Why must I ask this question? Because I am concerned with what others think of me. So, you see, you lost the battle at the outset itself. You are so bothered about what others would be thinking of you. Do not ask me that how should I respond when someone asks me to describe my personality. Instead, you should ask, ‘What is personality?’ That is sufficient.

Do you understand the difference between these two questions? The first part of the question, the way she has put it, is other-centric. ‘Sir, what should I tell him when he asks me about my personality?’ Forget about ‘him’! The more genuine question would be, ‘Sir, what is personality?’ If you know what is personality, then it is obvious that you can tell it to anybody when asked. But you see that’s the way we have lived; other-centered.

We do not really bother whether we know, even when we claim that we want to know. We want to know so that we can tell it to somebody. Look at the way you study. You don’t study because you want to know. You want to study so that you may write in examination paper, so that the examiner can read it. You study for the sake of others. You don’t ask this question because you want to understand the term ‘personality’. You ask this so that you can listen to this answer and quote it in front of somebody else. ‘Sir, how do I respond when somebody asks me that what is personality?’ Why is that ‘somebody’ so important for you? Your own understanding is far more important. If you understand, then of course you can tell it to anybody, if needed.

020815-1Why is it so important to you that what the examiner thinks of you? But that’s the only thing that is there. You don’t study out of love, you study out of fear. The examiner can fail me. That ‘somebody else’ may not approve of what I am writing. And then there is no life in that knowing.

So, first, we are inverting your question from the point of view of the self. The question now says, ‘What is personality?’ Now, what is personality? We have talked earlier that how we borrow our sense of self from outside, how we borrow our very identity of who we are from outside. The expression of all those identities is called ‘personality’. So, the personality is anyway a borrowed thing. Anybody who is interested in your personality is anyway not a wise fellow. It is like meeting somebody and becoming too interested in his clothes. This fellow is either a clothes merchant or a mad man. This fellow either runs a garment shop or is a lecher.

Personality is like your clothes, an outer covering, an outer layer that has come from the outside. Personality is not what you are, personality is what you wear. Wear, not in the sense of clothes. Wear, in the sense of putting upon yourself.

Personality is your external layer. Why must I be interested in your external layer? Why must anybody be interested in the external rather than the internal? A person who is interested in external has surely no eyes to look into internal, to look into what is essential. But that is the way we live. And that is the way we have been taught to live. We have been told that the man is judged by his appearance. We have been told that all that is, is by appearance. We have been told that ultimately what counts is success. We have been told that you must have it by hook or by crook. ‘Get it, wear it and display it.’ That’s the way we have been brought up. That’s the way we have been taught. So, personality has become very important in this blind world because this world has no eyes to look into the essential. All of you are young and you have life to live. How can you spend your life like a blind man?

You must know the essential, and the personality is not the essential. Are you getting it?

Personality is what you wear. Be more concerned with what you are. And what are we? Move a step behind. As far as we know ourselves, we are just thoughts. Be very-very mindful of your thoughts.

An obsession with personality means that I do not care about what is going on here in my mind, because it is not visible. Expressions are visible, my clothes are visible, facial colour is visible, words are visible, my way of walking is visible, but my thoughts are not visible. So, I won’t bother about them. That’s what an obsession with personality does. It makes you forget what is more important than your personality, the content of mind.

So, first thing: become more concerned with what is going on in your mind. We think that nobody knows what is going on here(pointing at the head), so we think that this mind is our kingdom. Anything goes. We think that we are thinking but nobody knows what we are thinking. ‘Let me think, let me roam around anywhere. Let me harbor any kind of thought, let me be worried, let me be lustful, let me do all that which is otherwise permissible to be done in action. If I kill someone then I will be arrested, but at least I can think of killing that person and derive pleasure out of it.’ Now, nobody can see the thoughts so its alright. Keep thinking about killing that person and that gives us a certain satisfaction.

Law surely cannot punish you for your thoughts but life and existence will surely punish you for your thoughts because all your thoughts become your mind itself. They cause a permanent change, a permanent deformation of the mind. Are you getting it?

Please have some sensitivity towards yourself and be much more bothered about what you are doing to yourself. Your thoughts punish you. Or we can say that to have thoughts is a punishment itself. You do not require any external agency to punish you. Look attentively at your beliefs. See how you have allowed yourself to borrow the idea of success from others, the meaning of career, and so on and so forth. These are the deep-seated beliefs in the mind. How come I have just borrowed and accepted the meaning of the word ‘life’? How come others have written a script for me and I have internalized that script? Be much more concerned about that.

Look at the contents of your mind, forget the personality.020815-2

‘How am I living my life? I sit just as the way others are living? Why is my life so predictable? Why am I afraid, desirous? Do I know love?’ Be much more concerned about these questions and when these are taken care of, then intelligence shines. That is the very function of intelligence. And in that intelligence, personality is automatically taken care of. An intelligent man will know by himself what is the right kind of clothing and appearance for an occasion. He will not need to be told. That is a very minor thing or secondary thing. Be concerned with what is major, what is primary.

I repeat: You are the content of your mind. Personality is just an appearance that you wear.

Be bothered with what you are, not what you wear.


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

Watch the session video: The personality is not your essence || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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