Man is losing religion, and the Earth is losing forests || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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

Man is losing religion, and the Earth is losing forests

Question: Acharya Ji, you often discuss that just as species are getting extinct at a very fast rate in the 21st century, certain qualities of the being of the mind are also getting extinct – qualities like patience, care for others, compassion. Probably these are the manifestations of de-religionisation, that might show up later on.

The mind of the average person, does not have certain qualities that used to exist earlier.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Deforestation of the earth, and de-religionisation of the man’s mind, are proceeding hand-in-hand.

And there is a great correlation between the two.

Questioner: Just as in the former, we need to plant trees, in this we need to…….

Acharya Ji:

And both are being brought about by man’s burgeoning greed, and self-centeredness, and lust for consumption.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

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

Watch the session: Man is losing religion, and the Earth is losing forests || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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How to cremate the dead in today’s age? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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How to cremate the dead in today's age

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the importance of rituals that follow after death? How to cremate the dead in today’s age? How to adopt eco-friendly measures while cremating the dead?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously, electric crematoriums are there now. It’s not even a relevant question. It has been recognised since decades now, that the wooden pyre was not meant for an age, where there are eight billion people, and more than a billion Hindus, and Sikhs, and Jains, and Buddhists, and others who want to cremate their dead, by burning their bodies.

The method of burning the dead body on wooden pyre, was not conceived for today’s age. When that practice took shape and form, the world was full of trees. Trees were numerous and men were few, so it was alright to cut down trees and use them as fuel to burn something.

Now trees are few, and men are numerous. And it’s obviously, both stupidity and criminality, to cut down living trees, for the sake of dead people.

And what I am talking of, is not a revolutionary thought either. I suppose many sensible people already choose the electric crematorium. It’s hassle-free, and obviously eco-friendly.

One of the best methods, of disposing-off the dead bodies, is one of the Parsis – they have their towers of silence. The dead body is put there, and vultures and other birds, come over and feast themselves over the dead body. Obviously with changing times, such rituals have to adapt.

Truth is unchangeable, rituals are not.

The mark of a living religion, is that it stoutly defends it’s core, and remains very flexible about everything else.

And dead religions, who have lost their core, become stiff externally.

Do you get this?

The living religion will be very, very flexible. It will have a certain elasticity.  And dead religions, because they are dead, will become outwardly very stiff. They will not allow any changes to come with time, because they are afraid. Being dead, they are afraid. They think that if changes are allowed to come, then religion itself would die. No!

A great religion is very, very dynamic.

It responds to the demands of the time.

And what renders it, it’s dynamism?

The Truth that is at the core of the religion.

Where there is Truth, there is dynamism. Where there is falseness, there is stubbornness, rigidity, orthodoxy, and resistance to change.

Truth gives you a certain confidence.

Being inexorably with the Truth gives you the confidence that you can play around with everything else. You know that you are not going to lose the Truth, so you become very free in playing with this, putting that up, putting that down, changing things, changing arrangements. Changing forms, shapes, colours, names.

“All those things can change, you know, because the unchangeable is with me” – that’s what you say.

It does not require much to comment on various other rituals, that you might have observed in Varanasi or Gaya. They are not the essence of the Sanatan Religion. Do not give too much value to them.

When you go to Varanasi, go for Shiva, not for the men of religion, sitting by the Ganga. The banks of Ganga, are all polluted. Go right to the Source of Ganga.

Varanasi is a great city, provided you know what you are really looking for. Otherwise, you will get lost.


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

Watch the session: How to cremate the dead in today’s age? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here


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God, Love and Gratitude

God Love and Gratitude

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Question: Acharya ji, how are Gratitude and Love connected with each other?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Love is the urge to move towards That.

Gratitude is the lightness you keep experiencing, as you move towards That. 

Love is what brings Sudama to Krishna.

Gratitude is what Sudama feels, as he keeps coming closer to Krishna, and as he returns, after meeting Krishna. 

Out of these, obviously, love will come first. You love Him, you move close to Him, He showers his bounties on you, Gratitude arises. But obviously love cannot be in expectation of bounties. 

And that also explains Gratitude. Gratitude says, “I did not even want it, or dream of it, and I am still receiving it. How fascinating! I don’t even deserve it, and yet I am being blessed with it.

Question: Acharya Ji, how to show Gratitude?

Acharya Ji: You distribute it.

Gratitude is the realisation, that you have something beyond your capacity, beyond your eligibility.

Once you are grateful, you stop measuring others, on the eligibility scale. Just as you received something, irrespective of your eligibility, similarly, you start distributing it to others, irrespective of their eligibility.

Question: Acharya ji, why are there so many forms of God as Krishna, Ram, or Shiva?

Acharya Ji: Because you are so many. Even here I have to speak in two languages. You are so many, that different words, different names are needed. And if there are eight hundred crore of you, currently alive, then how many names and how many definitions and forms will be needed?

God is one, but you are many, therefore gods are many.

Listener: So, there is no difference between…

Acharya ji: For you, there is a lot of difference.

Listener: Yes, they were different for me. Now, should I try to understand the commonality and singularity that all of them represent?

Acharya Ji: The singularity is there, whether you understand it or not. I wanted some normal Dal, and my hotel waiter tells me that a normal dal, with a bit of spinach in it, is ‘palakura pappu’.

(laughter)

And I have been so fascinated by this word, ‘palakura pappu’, while driving the car, I was singing of it, – “Palakura pappu..” It is just dal. Dal-palak. Just little bit of distance, and ‘dal-palak’ becomes ‘palakura pappu’.

And God is so very distant from the common egoistic human being. Obviously, there would be a great diversity in names.

Question: Acharya Ji, are there any simpler and direct ways of Remembering?

Acharya Ji: The Zen way is there, but it is very direct. It is as direct, as a stick- straight and forward.

Zen teachers had very great respect for time. They would not even waste time in explaining. So many of them, would simply beat up.

That is the way of instant remembrance, for the forgetful mind.

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

Watch the session:  God, Love and Gratitude || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)

The relation between religion and spirituality

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Question: Acharya ji, my sister believes in Christianity, and she has also changed her religion. Now, she says that I am on a wrong path. What is the right path? How are religion and spirituality connected?

Acharya Prashant:

When the subtle becomes gross, rather the subtle is turned into gross,

then all these religious prejudices are born.

So, when someone says, “Jesus,” then someone must ask, “Who is ‘Jesus’? What do you mean by ‘Jesus’? The son of Mary? Who is ‘Jesus’?” When somebody says, “I have found my path,” the question to be asked is, “Whose path?”

From the gross, the inquiry must move to the subtle.  And that is also the relation between Religion and Spirituality. The Truth is subtler than the subtlest.

Spirituality is subtle, Religion is gross.

We get attracted to names, forms, conventions. Jesus is not the name and form of ‘Jesus’. Who is ‘Jesus’? And if you look at the Bible closely, then there is enough in the Bible, to clearly see, and demonstrate, that those who are ardent evangelists, are the ones, who have probably missed Jesus the most.

There are two kinds of missionary zeals. One is – when you have really dissolved, really found, and then what you have found, disseminates itself from your being, or rather non-being. This is Love. You are like the Sun, you must radiate. This first form of zeal is Love.

And then the second form of zeal is, when you have not found, and you know that you have not found, and because you have not found, you are insecure, and to cover-up your insecurity, you want to gather numbers around you. Because insecurity requires a crowd. Insecurity requires that there must be more like you. Insecurity has a need to prove itself.

So, to convince yourself, that you are not as much in a debauched state, as you really are, you turn outwards. This is ‘evangelism’. You are trying to convert the other, because you are yourself not converted. And there is a great difference between love and evangelism.

In Love too, you bring something precious to the other. But, in Love, you bring something precious to the other, for the sake of the other. In evangelism, you bring something to the other, for your own sake, because you know fully well that you are insecure. Because you know that you are stuck somewhere, and are lonely.

“I am the only one who follows a particular religion in the family. So, won’t it be great if I have some support? Won’t it be great if my numbers multiply?” The question to be asked is, “Do you have the real thing?” And I am not saying that one has to follow only path to get to the real thing, or for that matter one has to follow any particular path to get the real thing.

So, it’s not the question of paths, it’s the question of whether you have IT. If you have IT, then your approach, then your relationship with the entire family, would be very different. And if you don’t have IT, then you are just acting as an enemy, by trying to convert someone to your side. 

It’s not then about Christianity, or Hinduism, or Theism versus Atheism. It’s simply the question of whether one has it. Do you have it? And if you have it, then please tell me what does ‘Jesus’ mean to you. Who are you? Who are you?

When you say you have found your path, whose path? This question of identity, will befuddle and anger, many a zealous evangelists. When they say that they have found God, the only question that you have to ask is, “Who has found what?” And this will irritate them so much.

When Jesus says, “I am the life, the light and the way,” what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? Does Jesus mean, the body of Jesus? Then what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? In fact, the best way to tame a Christian , is to read the Bible. The best way to show to a Hindu, that he is ignorant, is to read the Gita. 

Chances are, the Christian would be the one, who has no relationship with the Christ, whatsoever. The Hindu would be the one who has no relation with Krishna, in any way. So, when they say, “Come to Jesus,” say, “Yes, I will come to Jesus, directly, through the Bible.” And go to the Bible, and meet Jesus.

And I assure you, Jesus is tremendously beautiful. But when you will really be with Jesus, then Christians will not like you, because they do not want you to be with the Christ. They want you to be a Christian.

And there is tremendous difference, in being with the Christ, and being a Christian.

So, how to deal with your sister? Go to Jesus, he will tell you. Your sister wants to take you to Jesus, I too am encouraging that. Kindly do go to Jesus, but go directly. Go to the Bible.

Yours truly too has spoken a lot on Jesus. Why don’t you share one of those videos with her? Support is available. Fire!

Listener: Some say that even Christ was not a Christian.

(laughter)

Acharya ji: Jesus is beautiful, Krishna is beautiful. Go to them.

Listener: Are they not same?

Acharya ji: In form and name, obviously not. In essence, obviously yes.

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

Watch the session:  The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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What is secularism? How to become secular? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

What is secularism How to become secular

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Question: Please tell us how we can keep a fine divide between the religious and the secular, and grow holistically, as an individual and as a society?

Acharya Prashant: There is no divide between the religious and the secular. True religion is about eliminating all divisions. How are you trying to have a division between religiosity and secularism?

What do you mean by ‘secularism’? You mean that no person should be blinded by his creed or belief. No person should just turn unjust, or biased, or prejudiced, because of his ideological or religious inclinations.

But that which you are trying to achieve through secularism, can actually be never achieved through secularism, because this, that you are trying to achieve – an unbiased and just mind – is exactly what religion and only religion can deliver you. So, secularism is self-defeating.

You have to understand this.

When you say that you want a secular person, or a secular state, what is it that you want? You want someone, who is not prejudiced, not blinded by belief, who can keep a distance between his duties, and his conditioning, who must know what the right action to do is, in spite of what his religious condition is, right?

You want a person who does the right thing, irrespective of whether he is a Hindu, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or whatever. Right? That’s what you want to achieve through secularism.

When you say that X is a secular person, what you mean is, that he is prepared to read the Quran, even if he is a Hindu. And that he is prepared, to respectfully go to the Upanishads, even if he is a Muslim, right? When you say that a country Y is a secular state, what do you mean? You mean that in that country, people are not discriminated on the the basis of their professed religious association, right? If this is what you want, then you should be deeply religious.

Who teaches you equanimity? Religion.

In secularism, you want to be equanimous. But who teaches you equanimity? Religion.

In secularism, you want a certain detachment. But who teaches you detachment? Religion.

In secularism, you want to be respectful towards divergent opinions. But who teaches you, to be respectful towards divergent opinions? Religion.

In secularism, you want not to hurt the other, even if the other is holding beliefs, that go against yours. But who teaches you ahinsa (non-violence)? Religion.

So, truly religious person, and only a truly religious person, can be secular, in real terms.

In other words, if secularism is dear to you, you will have to turn to religion.

If secularism, is in strife with religiosity, it means, both are misplaced. The religiosity is fake, and the secularism is shallow.

You need not teach, a truly religious person, to be secular. In fact, ‘secular’ is such a small and shallow word, in front of religion.

If one is deeply religious, truly religious, then one is not only secular, one is way, way beyond secular.

Secularism only wants you to tolerate differences.

True religion, celebrates differences.

So, when you will talk about secularism, to a truly religious person, he will laugh. He will laugh, not because he opposes secularism. He will laugh because he has gone..beyond secularism.

There is communalism. Higher than communalism, is secularism. And much, much higher than secularism, is religiosity.

So, obviously you see, that communalism and secularism are at odds with each other. But, not secularism and religiosity. It is naive to say, that secularism, and religiosity, confront each other. No! Shallow belief, shallow communalism, that is what, is at odds with secularism.

Secularism is a, short-term treatment. You have bigots on this side, you have bigots on that side. None of the sides, is prepared to listen to the other. It is in this kind of an environment, that secularism is irrelevant. Only in this kind of environment.

So seeing that there are just bigots all around, you say, “Alright, keep religion, to your houses. On the street, everyone has to follow secular principles.” So only in a very, very poor quality environment, does secularism has some place. In a truly religious environment, secularism has no place.

In fact, a truly religious environment, is so much better than secularism, that if you impose secularism on a really religious place, it would be a deterioration of that place. So, it is great if you are not communal. If you are not communal, you are probably, secular.

Now if you are secular, and you want to do still better, then move into religion. Then you would forget everything about secularism. you would have transcended secularism.

You would have entered into something far more joyful.


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

Watch the session:  What is secularism? How to become secular? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love

T24

Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?

Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?

If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.

Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.

But that is not the true meaning of religion.

Real religion cannot be changed.

What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.

Because there are no different religions.

True religion is just one.

How will you change it? There is no second religion.

Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Is it possible to be spiritual and eat animals?

Blog-24

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Question: Acharya Ji, is it possible to be spiritual and eat animals?

Acharya Prashant: No, it is not at all possible.

It is just not possible.

Because to be spiritual, is to simply know, the spiritual one would know who he is and what is happening through him. He would not be blind to what is kept on his plate. To be spiritual is to be not-fragmented. One would then really know, what is this thing called hunger, what is this thing called food, and what is thing called food-chain.

One would just not open the can, take the flesh and munch it. One would know where the whole thing is coming from, both in a physical way and in a mental way.

When you know where the entire thing is coming from, it simply does not happen. You see, a spiritual man does not relate to the other, in terms of body. It is something of the eye.

I often ask those who consume meat, instead of proceeding with a packaged product like meat, why don’t you slaughter the thing yourself, and when you slaughter the animal yourself, why don’t you know it fully?

Even as you slaughter it, after all, even from a perspective of self-interest, if something is going into your body it makes sense to know it fully.

Why don’t you look into its eyes as you slaughter it? Read more

Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Various religions, and their view of animals

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Question: How to understand religions, the treatment of animals and the role they play in religions?

Acharya Prashant: When you say religions, just for the sake of the conversation, I would want to divide them into two streams:

1. The Abrahamic stream

2. Indian.

So, the Judeo-Christian view is that God has dominion over man and man has dominion over animals, something similar also comes up in the third Abrahamic religion, Islam, which talks about Allah having created all the animals, fish, insects for the sake of man.

And, then there is the view of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism which talk of Ahimsa, Ekatva, which is non-violence and oneness.

But I am not really convinced that when we use the word religion, we must really talk of the view that organized religions take of this matter. The moment religion is organized, it becomes something man-made.

So, I will take your question to mean, that we want to talk about religion as such.

Man, animals, man’s inner world and man’s relationship with the so-called outer world including animals.

So, there is man and man lives according to himself in this so-called universe, this universe that appears to him through his senses, there is no other way a man perceives universe, he perceives it through his senses and he interprets it through his reason, through his intellect and through his knowledge and memory.

Now, how does man relate with the world?

How does man know what to do, how to approach, how to touch, how to live, how to eat, how to talk, how to connect, that to me is the essence of religion.

Man’s relationship with himself and the world, that is religion and that is also the essence of all the organized religions.

Hence, I find it more beneficial to talk about religion itself than the various organized religions.

I have named just six in the course of this talk. But as you of course know, there are hundreds of them. It would be more useful to directly go into the one rather than the hundreds and get lost in the maze, that is not very useful.

So, man’s relationship with the universe; see, how do I look at anything or anybody, depends on how I look at myself.

If there is a pool of water and I am playful, then the pool of water is a sport for me. If there is a pool of water and I have a phobia, then the pool of water is danger for me. If there is a pool of water and I am thirsty, then the pool of water is physical sustenance and survival for me.

So, depending on who I am and what my self-concept and self-worth is, I take a view of the world.

Now, If I am someone who is always feeling incomplete within himself, if I am someone who exists in order to take something, snatch or extract something from the universe in order to fulfill himself, then my view of the universe will be very utilitarian, rather exploitative.

So, as there is that little squirrel there.

Even as we talk she is there with her tail up. How do I look at her?

I could look at her as food if hunger is what I most identify with.

I could look at her at as a companion too.

Whatever is the form she takes for me is very intimately related to the form that I have assigned to myself. The squirrel will disappear in a while, and she has indeed disappeared. She is no more there. She is all by herself somewhere. The squirrel will disappear but that which I carry as myself will not. I will carry it, I will keep carrying it.

If I am feeling incomplete, that incompletion will remain irrespective of the temporal presence and disappearance of anything outside of me.

If I always feel hollow and hungry, then everything in the universe is but a resource for me. I will want to exploit the man, the woman, the tree, the rock, the child, the animal, just everything.

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Acharya Prashant on Brazil Elections

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(Following is an excerpt from an interview conducted by a Brazilian Journalist just before the last round of voting of Brazil’s Presidential Elections, from here onwards the interviewer is being addressed as Marcos, his first name)

Marcos: So, Brazil will be voting for who will be the President, on Sunday.

Acharya Prashant: On the 28th, Yes. And that would be the final round.

Marcos: Yes, the second round. We have, on the one hand, a candidate from the worker party. The left party of Brazil. And on the other hand, we have an extreme rightist guy, who is very aggressive and who is using the ancient tactics of causing fear to give a solution. And as the leftists have been making some mistakes in Brazil – they are accused of corruption etc – a lot of people are voting for this rightist guy. So, there is a very aggressive scenario and people are beating each other on the streets. Some people have died unfortunately. And I would like to give a message, or be the translator of the message from you, of consciousness, of peace, of better understanding, of the importance of this moment for Brazil, because there is a lot of anger, a lot of chaos and a very hazy consciousness and analysis of what’s really happening.

AP: You see, rightist tendencies are gaining prominence in all parts of the world. It’s not merely Brazil, we have seen that happen in the Americas, in Europe, in West Asia, in India. And, we must go into the reasons behind this surge. When the center, or the left of the center, promises a great deal, but that great deal does not include a true sense of identification, a deep peace of mind, then there is disenchantment from the left. To understand what is happening, we must go into the mind of the human being, for the human being is the voter.

What does the human being want? Does the human being want merely bread-butter, sustenance, houses, cars? Yes, obviously we need all these things, but we also need something beyond all this. So, beyond the material, does the human being want the grand concepts of equal opportunity, liberty, fraternity, secularism, justice, and other great concepts? Yes, these principles are all needed, but even these principles are not sufficient.

The human being in his totality obviously needs food for the stomach, and shelter and education. And going ahead, human being obviously also needs a secure society. Secure, in terms of providing employment, taking care of old-age, providing medical facilities and such things. Now, obviously we all want to live in societies where there is justice, where there is no oppression, where there is no racism or misogyny. So, these are definitely needed, but, let me ask again, do they suffice? That is one question that leaders, politicians, thinkers, well-wishers, the world over, must ponder upon.

The material alone does not suffice, and what do I mean by the material? By material, I mean houses, cars, air-conditioners, jets, and bread and butter, obviously. So, not only does the material not suffice, even great intellectual and social concepts and their realisation do not prove to be the final fulfillment.

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk

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Question: Acharya Ji, there are people who quote the Vedas and say “A Hindu is a good Hindu only if he drinks milk from the mother cow.” What is your take on that?

Acharya Prashant: See if you have named the Vedas, what is the central teaching of all the Vedic literature?

If you want to really know what the Vedic teaching is, you will have to go to the Upanishads. The Upanishads are called the “Vedanta”, which means the summit or the climax of Veda. And they go into the reality of man. What is the reality of man? The Upanishads are very forthright and unequivocal about it. They say, “Man is the Truth itself (Aham Brahmasmi).” Nothing else except the Truth. You are the ultimate finality. You are the total.

Now, if this is the position that the Vedic literature takes, then one cannot operate from a point of incompleteness, hollowness or desirousness. A lot of what we do, please see we do just in order to gain fulfillment. We say that the purpose of human Life is progress, don’t we? And we asses a human being according to how much he has been able to progress and contribute to progress.

And what is progress for us?
Knowing more; collecting more.

I’m not trying to unnecessarily be simplistic. Please go into it.

When you know more, when you collect more, is it something that happens only on the outside or does it also affects your self-worth? When you know more, your self-worth rises; when you collect more, again your self-worth rises. The Upanishads say, that your self-worth, that which you are, is any way infinite, you are anyway total. Now, go out and play. You are anyway perfect and complete. Now, do whatever you want to do. But do it from a point of perfection. Do it from a point of completion.

Do not do in order to gain something. Do not do in order to rise.

Act as if you are already there as if you are already complete.

That is what Vedas are all about.

Now, around this center, a lot has been said. Just a whole lot.

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Don’t imagine solutions

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it. This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

Don’t imagine solutions. Don’t imagine that if I do like this, then that would happen. Do it first.

This is what you need to observe. While walking, roaming, eating, whatever is happening, just observe that and you will understand! Truth is not far. Just that is what you have to see.

As a boss, if I am sucking Life out of my employees’ life, is that not violence all the more.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask


 

Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask

Acharya Prashant: Ask absurd questions. People would say, he has gone mad. But, ask absurd questions.
Why should something like a ‘home’ exist? Have you ever asked this question? You go back home everyday, have you ever asked this? Why should anything like a home exist? I mean, why can’t we just be, wherever we are! Why do we always need to go somewhere in the evening? Why can’t I just be? You are there, I am there. And we are enjoying. We are here the whole night, spend the rest of the day, and we will leave when we feel like, then we will go another place. The whole world belongs to us! What is this concept of a home?

Ever thought? Ask. This is called Inquiry. What is this game about Mummy-Papa? One male, one female, sitting together in a home. What exactly is going on? And these people are supposed to be special. And the whole of religion, and the whole of society, and everything telling me that I must respect, Love them. What exactly is going on? Let me understand it, let me understand it. What is this thing called siblings? What are brothers and sisters? What is this thing called society? What is this thing called religion? What does one mean by religion? What is this thing called a normal life?

What is this thing called progress and growth? That one must progress in life! What is this thing called progress? Have you ever asked yourself, about this thing called progress? Papa, why do you keep chanting, progress, progress? What is meant by progress? A little more money? Why do you need more money? What would you do with it? Are you using all the money that you have? You are using only ten percent of the money you have, rest all is in the banks! So, what will you do with more progress? First, finish the money that is there in the banks! I already have so much, first let me finish it up. What happened to the money in the bank? Is it all finished?

These are absurd questions but ask them. Understand, how the minds of the people function.

When you see the roads in the mornings, full of traffic; Ask, what is this going on? Where are these people going? Why? Look at their faces! People are coming back home in the evening time, in traffic, look at their faces. Ask them, is this what life and work are supposed to be? That they have made faces like that! People who are returning back around 7.30 – 8pm, have you ever focused on their faces, expressions? They are driving a car, there is peak traffic hour, and they are stuck in long traffic jams! Have you ever looked at their faces? Look. Look closely, inattention. And ask yourself, is this what I am preparing myself for? I am paying fees in Lakhs so that my life becomes rubbish like this? I am paying to get assaulted?

Listener: Acharya Ji, asking questions, will we be getting the correct answers?

AP:

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it.

This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

L: But when we will inquire, won’t we be thinking?

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Truth is not the thought of truth

Who is a sage? A sage is the one who is extremely sensitive, who is able to catch even that which we normally ignore.

The saint is one who has realized that life is not also hell but just hell.

Because in thinking and concluding thus, you’ve missed the happening.

Gratefulness is not the thought of gratefulness. Joy is not the thought of joy. Truth is not the thought of truth.

Gratefulness means not having any sense of like or dislike.

The spiritual man is neck deep into action. He is not an escapist.

Because all your imagination proceeds from the centre of what you currently have made yourself to be, what you currently are.


Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?


 

Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?

Question: Explain ‘bad.’

Acharya Prashant: OK. Let’s take something which you call as ‘bad.’ We will begin with that. Tell me anything which you call as ‘bad.’

Listener: Inadequate idea.

AP: Too abstract. I’ll then have to make it more abstract and Do you call a disease as bad?

L1: Yes.

AP: OK. A disease is bad only when you experience the pain and suffering associated with it. Only when a disease shows up in medical report. Let’s say there is a wound here. The wound has become infected and it is oozing puss. Now, you’ll say this is bad. Won’t you say that? Don’t be so guarded as if you want to block my next step.

L1: I just…one might say it’s bad, yes.

AP: What would you call as bad? Because I have to start from there. What do you see all around that you would call as unacceptable? Is there anything that you dislike?

L1: I’m just grateful.

AP: Then, then everything is alright. You are home.

L1: I’m celebrating.

L2: If I see somebody beating a child, I call it bad.

AP: Yes, yes. I like honest statements. He’s saying he’s grateful when somebody beats up a child.

L1: I’m not saying this, I never said that

AP: Then, why not say that when you find somebody raping somebody you don’t like it. Do you like it?

L1: I don’t like it.

AP: Yes, just say that. See, living in the fact means an honest acknowledgment of what life for you really is like. Do you really like it if you’re beaten up? Then why not simply say that. Why put it in abstractions?

So, you don’t like it when somebody beats a child right, Okay? Now, beating the child is a gross act. It is visible. Let’s say somebody is carrying a cane and spanking the child with it. It is visible. Stay with this…so, it is visible when the child is being beaten and these eyes can look at that visible, material act. Something goes up, something comes down, somebody cries. You can look at that, it’s a gross thing. It’s very difficult to miss it. Now, make it more subtle, bring it down a level. Suppose the violence is not so gross. It’s a more subtle violence. What happens in a more subtle violence? Come on, speak.

L3: Shaming.

AP: Shaming. So, now he’s not beating. He’s just accusing. He’s making the child feel ashamed using words. Now, words are also gross. A little less gross than action but the words are also gross because sensory mechanism can catch them. So you still call it violence. If you’re sensitive enough you still call it violence but somebody might say that no… no… no, beating was violence, this is just counseling. Right? You make it even more subtle. Now, the violent one is neither using a cane nor is he using words. He’s just using..?

L2: Ignoring.

AP: Ignoring. Wonderful. So using nothing or just using a glance. Now, it’s very subtle. Now, only the sensitive mind will say that it is violence. If you’re not sensitive, you’ll not even know that it is violence. But violence is continuing. Violence is continuing. It is just that now you are not calling it violence. Only 1% people are now calling it violence. What have you done? You’ve done nothing. You have just been apathetic to the child. Make it even more subtle.

L4: Thinking.

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

Where the light is, there the lamp is.

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

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

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

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

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



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


 

Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop

The Lamp Post

One dark night two men met on a lonely road.

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

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

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

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

‘Just talking.’

‘So, you want company, not directions?’

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

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

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

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

‘That is so.’

‘Have you any other aim?’

‘No, just to find the Lamp shop.’

‘May I ask why you seek a lamp shop?’

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

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

‘What are they?’

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

‘You cannot prove that!’

‘Certainly not on a dark night like this.’

‘What is the “piece of information”?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idries Shah, Tales of the Dervishes

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

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

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Pure giving

The ego is interested in its own nourishment.

Because the ego wants only that what the ego values, not which is absolutely valuable.

Getting tired of getting hurt is a rare happening. Man is extremely resilient. We keep on getting hurt again and again, at the same place and yet we are hardly ever tired of repeating the same processes, the same actions that bring us to hurt.

You can call it a stage of demolition. The old patterns are seen as worthless and hence given up.

In the first level, the ego gives, and this giving is of a nature that strengthens the ego. In the second level, the ego gives up its trust in itself and hence gets diminished.

In the third stage giving up does not happen. The third stage is of pure giving.

You just give. Meaninglessly, purposelessly, reasonlessly. You don’t even give, you are just being what you really are.

And when you just start giving, since you are giving to yourself, you start receiving a lot.

Tremendously bored we are with everything, that even an invitation to get rid of boredom sounds boring.

Your mind is already afraid of death, and Rumi is just exposing, or at worst exploiting that fear.

Given the way we are, fear is our reality. Wherever there is body identification, there would also parallely be the fear of the loss of the body.

Everything is done for a purpose, for a reason, with the expectation of gain. And where there is the expectation of gain, there is also the parallel fear of loss.

Because an action that arises from fear can never eliminate fear.

Take care of the ‘first’ in the ‘first place.’ Do not let the disease guide your actions. Rather, the first action should be to eliminate the disease. And these are the only two ways of living.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: The three levels of giving

Ego likes to conclude too soon

The ego likes to settle matters too soon, the ego likes to conclude too soon. Wherever there is a conclusion, wherever there is a settlement, wherever there is an ending that thought can grasp, it is a false ending, it is a false realization. I have no interest in talking about what true realization is like. True realization is anywhere not a subject matter of this course. We should rather warn of that which is false.

The ego can never be restful with loose ends, with uncertainty, with ambiguity. With things that are not beginning and not ending, with matters that seem absurd in a sequence of time, with issues that apparently do not have a cause, with actions that apparently do not result in anything, the ego will be restless with these. So, it will try to close matters, it will try to conclude, it will try to assert.

The assertion cannot be, “I do not know.” Because that is a very unstable assertion. If you do not know then responsibility upon you is to know. Sooner than later, after passing through a series of ‘I don’t know’, the ego would quickly like to come to…



Read the complete article: The mind is not your own

The mind is not your own

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Acharya Prashant: Yes, the topic is the infectiousness of boredom. Not only is boredom infectious, anything and everything that the mind experiences is contagious, infectious.

You experienced it with respect to one particular way of the mind, one particular move of the mind right now. That does not mean that only boredom is contagious, that rather means that right now there is a particular environment in which you could observe this particular infectiousness that affects the mind. It is happening at every moment.

Mind you, it has happened 300 times with you since this morning. But, you couldn’t notice it in the previous 299 occasions. So, the question to be asked is not whether boredom is infectious. Mind itself is an infection and acquisition, an import.

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