Zen is the final flowering of all religious ascension

43

Listener: Spiritual way tends to be more direct and I feel Zen-Buddhism actually misleads from the direct path.

Acharya Prashant: Zen never imposes any rule. Or does it? Is that your question that Zen imposes rule?

L: Yes

AP: What kind of rules?

L: Rules of the way of living, thinking.

AP: Zen is the simplest, purest and most direct way of living. Almost living like a plant, living like winds, and stones and animals. So, that could be said about many other traditional practices but not at all about Zen. Read more

Artificial intelligence and Real intelligence

42
First Question: In the age of artificial intelligence, where does man stand in front of machines?
Second question: What kind of personality development does man need?
Acharya Prashant: Computation and information technology has been, and is, evolving rapidly. Machines bring with them the benefits of efficiency, scalability and predictability. Everything that a computer system, a mechanical arrangement, can take care of will be sooner than later assigned to the machines. Which means that all pattern based jobs – work that involves repetition and adherence to procedures – will go to machines. This is happening, and will happen, not only in engineering and management fields, but in all fields of human activity.

Read more

What is celibacy?

40

Question: Tell us, why Jesus pray celibacy for his followers?

Acharya Prashant: What is meant by celibacy? When Jesus or any other teacher talks of celibacy, what is meant by celibacy? What is the meaning of celibacy?

AP: That is the only meaning of celibacy.

One point commitment; only one lover—that is celibacy.

To be committed only to God.  To be determined in one’s loyalty towards the Truth.

For celibacy, India has a beautiful word – Brahmacharya, to operate in Brahma, to operate in Truth; to live in Truth. Do whatever you want to do; go here, go there, wander, roam, eat-drink, rise-fall, left-right, whatever you want to do, but within Truth – that is Brahmacharya – celibacy. It has nothing to do with one’s physical activities or sexual orientation. Read more

To fight the smallness around, I will now have to fight the big names

Shri Prashant: (Continuing conversation with one of the listeners) In fact, just a few days back I was saying to somebody, that the first leg of the battle I have been fighting has been with the commoners.

I have talked so much about the society, I have talked about what happens within the family, I have talked about the forces of conditioning, media, this-that, social forces, your uncles and aunts, your neighbors, the education system, the school teachers, the college teachers –  these are the people I have been talking about a lot. Read more

No action in continuation of restlessness will take you to rest

Question: Sir, as you said right now that when I am really here, then there is no opportunity for restlessness. But when I am really here, a restlessness, an inner thirst, is there. And this thirst is unbearable.

Shri Prashant: No, you call that restlessness. It is never there on its own. You call it. Let nobody say that desire conspires against him – desire or restlessness, they are the same thing. Let nobody say that he is restless. You have to say that you choose to be restless.

And then you must answer, “Why do you choose?” I have no solutions to offer. You must tell that why do you invite restlessness. You invite restlessness because you have a false belief that restlessness can take you somewhere, and all those things that you have been fed on since childhood. You have been raised on those things. Nobody just becomes restless out of nothing. All this is concocted restlessness.

Try this. You do not call restlessness, do not send it invitations. Your restlessness will feel uninvited. Its power will subside.

Read more

The Present gives rise to time, it is not a point in time

1. Present

  • The Present is the Source, Present is nothing but the Truth.

 

  • The Present is that from which everything emanates. The Present is all, there is nothing but the Present and the Present is not this moment where you are sitting and doing something. All this is sheer memory and movement in time.

 

  • Present is not a moment at all and to say that, ‘Live in the Present’ does not mean that do what you are doing right now and think of this and that. All that is a very limited way of looking at things. The Present is ‘what is’ . It is the Truth itself, the Source itself.

 

  • The Present never changes. Mind changes and time changes. The Present is always there at its place. It has nowhere to go. There is only the Present.

 

  • Present is a mystical experience in itself. Present is not a sensory experience that if you can see it with your eyes, then this is the Present.

 

  • You can take the Present, as an image, as a huge container, in which lot is happening. The container goes nowhere, it is there. Within it everything is happening, within it is time. So, things appear like changing. Within the Present lies the whole of time.

 

  • Nothing is moving. Only your mind is moving. Nothing happens and that is the Present. You are in the Present only when you realize that nothing is happening, otherwise you are not in the Present. Its not so easy, “Okay, come in the Present, lets all be in the Present moment”, it’s not that easy. It’s not that.

 

  • In the Present, ‘you are not you’, the Present is. So, there can be no personal Present. The Present is completely impersonal. Impersonal, unchangeable and unlimited. So the Present is not at all this moment.

 

Watch full discourse: What is the Present? | YouTube

Read full post: What is the Present? | Words Into Silence

Dropping desire is just another desire; knowing desire is fulfillment of desire

Humanness

Question: As I listen to you, I understand that when you don’t have a desire, you don’t have hope, and when you don’t have hope, you don’t have anxiety, and that leads to a peaceful life. Correct?

Acharya Prashant: No!

We have constantly been saying that you want change. What you heard is what the religions and the traditions have been repeating always. So you have not really heard it here. You have been carrying it in your mind even before you entered this hall. Read more

Self-Realisation is not the ending of the struggles, it is the ending of the struggler

Question: Is self-realisation for everyone? Many people would choose to live a life of illusion, take comfort in that. Do we really need to wake them up? And of course, the struggles of life don’t end even after self-realisation.

Speaker: It is something like that of a mountain bus driver – he has his challenges, of which passengers know nothing about.

Self-realisation is not the cessation of struggles. Self-realisation is the ending of the struggler. Self-realisation is not the cessation of troubles, it is the ending of the struggler.

Read more

What is mind and what is soul?

Questioner: The soul has a unique identity which goes through all the cycles. And that identity does not change. The soul, with that identity, keeps going through cycle after cycle, till it probably gets salvation. During this passage it adopts, or is allocated certain bodies – may be a bird, may be a human being, may be an animal or may be a plant.

Then what is mind? There is a body and we know that the soul enters the body at a particular time, and then the body and the soul have a particular relationship. Then what is ‘mind’? Is it intellect? Is it knowledge? What identity has the mind got? 

Acharya Prashant: (Addressing the questioner) It’s always so nice to be talking to you.

So you talked about the ‘transmigration of the soul’ and how it is supposed to have a unique identity and how it goes from body to body and such things. And then you said, “What is the mind?”

Let me put it very simply: whatever one can talk about, is the mind. And nothing more actually needs to be said on that. So if it can be talked about, discussed, put in language, conceptualised, analysed, defined, then it is the mind. Even if you say, “Something is beyond the mind,” then because you are talking about it, and pointing a finger at it, it is still within the domain of mind.

Read more

What is meant by being vulnerable?

Question: Sir, what is meant by being vulnerable?

Speaker: The word ‘vulnerability’ is not a very likable word. ‘Vulnerability’ to us is a consequence of the fact that there are forces outside of us that are hostile, aggressive and inimical, because we need to protect and defend ourselves against these forces. We need to have armours, protection, defences made of thought.

We do not want to be vulnerable. We want to be defended. The moment somebody says, “Vulnerability is a virtue,”  we feel being vulnerable means – exposing ourselves to attack. What we forget is the basics of duality. You are attacked only as long as there is something to be attacked. And when there is something to be attacked, you would always feel attacked, or threatened to be attacked.

It is not as if the universe is conspiring against you, it is just that the self that you have built up, lives on a diet of threats. It is not as if all the arrows and bullets are aiming at you, it is just that the armour that you have raised, is justified only by arrows and bullets.

Read more

I have been living in ignorance. How do I start living in knowing?

Question: Sir, for some time now, throughout the day, I see that I really don’t know anything. What is ‘knowing’?

Speaker: Yes, yes. This is it. This is it. This, this sincerity, this try.

Do you see that two paradoxical activities are happening right now, at the same time? On one hand, you are prepared to admit that we live our lives in total ignorance. We know nothing about what is happening but we live as if everything is normal. As if just everything that is happening, is happening with our permission, with our understanding, with our comprehension, while we know not even an iota.

So this is one part of the happening. The other part of the happening is – the confidence that you have. Were you not sure that you could know, would you have asked this question? And is that not paradoxical, for someone who has discovered that she is not knowing anything, to simultaneously, parallely, at that very moment ask, “What is knowing?”?

Are you with me on this?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: I am saying, “I am X years old,” and this X is a definite number, is a significant number. It may be twenty, thirty or seventy. “And for twenty, thirty, seventy years, I have not really known anything. And yet I rise and say…”

“On one hand, I am admitting that my life has been a colossal story in ignorance. And at the very moment of recognition, I am also saying – ‘What is ‘knowing’?’”

Listener: What is ‘knowing’?

Speaker: What is ‘knowing’? Now do see what is happening? The one who is telling you that you are a failure, is also empowering you so much, that boldly you are asking, “What is it then? I can know!”

Usually when you see somebody dejected, defeated, having received failures multiple, successive times, do you find him overflowing with confidence to try once more? Does that happen?

Listeners: No.

Speaker: No, that does not happen. Not generally. But this magic – this is ‘knowing’. To recognise that – I do not know, is the surest knowing. One can call it – the beginning and end of knowing.

Do not strain yourself. Just take your knowledge lightly.

We are full of knowledge. Once you realise that all this knowledge, is actually worthless, not really central or essential, then do not try for more knowledge, which is better than this knowledge. That is the mistake that we do. We say, “The knowledge that I have so far is insufficient or inadequate. So there must be some superior knowledge. Let me get that.” No, no, no. No superior knowledge exists. People have gone to the extent of talking about the ‘knowledge’ of Truth, the ‘knowledge’ of Brahman, the ‘knowledge’ of Atman. Stupidity!

All knowledge is just knowledge, and at the same level. Have knowledge, play with it, it’s a casual thing.

So when you say, “What is water? What is glass? What is this instrument? What is this wall?” there can be an objective answer. And whatever that objective answer would be, it would go into your memory and become more knowledge. But then you ask, “What is ‘knowing’?” then in terms of words, in terms of knowledge, it is just a cessation, a negation, a certain lightness.

To really know is to take knowledge lightly.

You will never be able to say that, “This is my ‘knowing’.” ‘Knowing’ is not to be expressed in a sentence. And even if you actually do know, whenever you will try to express ‘knowing’ in words, the expression will appear a little foolish, as is my expression right now.

You know, there is something that is not meant to be expressed in words, but you are expressing it. So whatever you say, is a little unintelligible, incomprehensible, it can be so easily shredded. Argument can defeat it. You can get up and say, “You know, all this is nonsensical, because this can be proven this way, this can be proven this way, this can be proven…” And whosoever will be trying to reject me through argument, unfortunately, will succeed.

Whatever I am saying, can be defeated by your mind and your argument so easily, because it was never meant to become words, it was never meant to become knowledge; it was never to reach you in this form. It is always meant to arise from within, not really come through the sensory route.

When it comes through the sensory route then it requires your own participation and acceptance. Then it’s just a knock. It’s just a knock. You have to do the real work. It’s a reminder. The reminder cannot do it for you. I can only just knock, and say, “It is not this way.” But I cannot really tell what it really is.

But I have to. So…

WisemanForget about telling others. Do not attempt to tell even yourself what you know. The wise man finds it wise to remain ignorant of his wisdom. He does not ever know what he knows, neither does he try. It is only when the situation arises that That which he knows, springs up – all of a sudden. He did not dial it, he did not call it, he did not summon it; it comes from somewhere. All that he knows is, that It will come, and that is called as ‘surrender of the mind’.

Are you getting this?

So I do not know what I know, but when you will ask me a question, I will respond. From where? I do not know. Neither do I want to know. In fact, it is terrible when I already know, what I know. It is even more terrible when I already know what you know, and what you would ask. And it is so beautiful when I do not know what you know, and hence what you would say, and I do not know what I would say – therein lies a certain freshness, and that freshness is rejuvenating. And then you are young, really young. You are alive, you cannot die.

So, remain ignorant. Remain ignorant. Remain ignorant – “I do not know.” Life will call for a response, and then that which you are, and that which is your ‘knowing’, will come without calling. It is so Intelligent, it arises on its own. “Cometh the moment…”, have you heard that? “Cometh the man.” That’s what it is.

I have not stocked it, not reserved it. It is not in my inventory, I do not know whether it is there or not, but let the occasion arise, let the challenge come. It comes, I am confident it comes. This confidence is called ‘Faith’.

I do not whether you are there, but I very well know that when I will need you, you will come. From where? I do not know, I do not want to know. If I think, then I’ll be afraid. If I start figuring out where you are, and whether you can reach me, then I’ll be even more afraid. I do not want to think, not because I want to avoid thinking, not because I am afraid of thinking, but because I know that ‘thinking’ is not the right instrument.

It is scary, is it not? When you think about it, it is so difficult to live that way. You want guarantees, don’t you? You want to keep feeling your pocket. You want to be assured that there is your wallet here, that there is your mobile phone here. But existence does not operate this way. There is no mobile phone here, you are totally empty. But when you need it, it comes.

From where? From where? From where?

Listener: You do not know.

Speaker: Neither do I know, nor do I want to know. All that I know is – that when I’ll really need it, it will come. This is ‘knowing’, this is ‘knowing’. You already know and all that you know comes into action, starts dancing, when the moment arrives, when the challenge comes, when the response is needed.


Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga‘ session held at Ramana Kendra, New Delhi. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: I have been living in ignorance. How do I start living in knowing?


Further Reading:

Advait in Everyday Life

final-book-cover_advait-in-everyday-life-4-copyAdvait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.

This book is a much needed and rare attempt to bring spirituality and philosophical teachings to everyday life. The author’s genius lies in being delightfully able to bridge the abstract world of theorizations and principles with day-to-day circumstances, happenings, emotions and relationships.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/GbHByV

Kindle: https://goo.gl/VXdQdA

 

Attend to the facts and your imaginations will fall in place

Question: Sir, if something bad happens, that we think will affect our future, then why do we continue to think about it?

Acharya Prashant: What is the very definition of ‘bad’ in your world? What is the very definition of ‘bad’?

Listener 1: Something that I have never desired.

AP: Yes. So, what is the very definition of ‘bad’? Let me take a live example. As you sit here, and given that your exams are closing in, some of you might be worried about your exams. For them, ‘bad’ is that the exams, which are due in the future, may be spoilt, right? What is bad for them? That, the examinations due in the future might be spoilt.

While they are worrying about this ‘bad’ event that may happen in the future, something really bad is actually happening. What is the really bad thing that is actually happening? They are sitting over here, and worrying about the future, and they are imagining certain ‘bad’ things might happen in the future. While they are busy imagining bad things in the future, something ‘really’ bad is happening. What is that?

L2: That they are not in the present.

AP: Right. The world has given you a particular definition of ‘bad’. This definition itself is related to the future. ‘Bad’ is that which spoils your future, and ‘good’ is that which builds your future. This is a junk, useless and a very dangerous definition.

You do not look at any event as it IS. You look at events from the point of view of what they will do to you. You are so worried and insecure about yourself, and your future, that you cannot look at things right now, directly, obviously, as they are. You look at an event only in terms of the result it will have sometime from today.

So, for example, if you are sitting here, one way to listen to me is to just listen – as I am, as the words are, as this place is. The other way to be here is, to constantly keep wondering – “What will I get out of listening to this? Will this help me in my job? Will this help me get more money? Will this help me secure another degree?”

Are you getting it?

So, there is a particular quality of mind which will say, “This event is good if it gives me something in the future. And if it doesn’t give me something in the future, then this is a bad event.” And then there is another quality of mind which is simply not thinking of the future, which is so immersed in what is happening right now, that it has no space for the future. Are you getting it?

Have you ever seen how you look at anything, including me? “What will this man give us which will be useful to us one hour from now, or one day from now, or one year from now, or maybe one decade from now?” I am good only if I give you something which will help you in the future. Your very definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, is such an ignorant and dangerous definition.

Have you seen how people make friends? “What will I get out of him?” When? Not right now, obviously not right now. Sometime in the future. In fact, if you are thinking of getting something, that has to be in the future, even if it is one minute in the future, but it has to be in the future. So, you walk to somebody, thinking of getting hundred rupees from him. Kindly do not think that you will get hundred from him in the present. There is a time interval between thought and the event, right? So, you are still thinking about the future.

You see a fellow and you walk towards him expecting hundred rupees. Kindly do not think that you are going to get hundred rupees from him right now. When will you get it? In the future. Two minutes into the future, but still in the future.

There is nothing that we do in the present. The proof of that is, there is nothing that we do without an expectation of results. In the present, there are no results. Results are always in the future. And there is nothing that we can do without an expectation of results, right? So, what is ‘bad’ for us? (Prompting the listeners) Quickly!

L: Thinking about the future.

AP: According to our definition, what is bad for us? That which will not give us so-called favourable results in the future. Alright! And according to our definition, what is ‘good’ for us? That which will give us favourable results in the future.

Be it good or be it bad, we are thinking about the future. Do you know what you have just come to?

Real ActionYour ‘good’ is thinking about the future, your ‘bad’ is thinking about the future. Whether you are thinking of an event as ‘good’ or as ‘bad’, you are being displaced from the present. In the present, there is nothing good, nothing bad, there are just things, there is just life and action. And there is so much that is happening. How can you ignore it and start thinking about something which is purely imaginary?

Life never leaves you in a vacuum, right? There is always something in front of you, something live, something that demands a response. How can you not respond to it and instead occupy yourself with thoughts of the future? Sometimes you think of the future as ‘good’, sometimes you think of the future as ‘bad’. But whether you think of the future as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it is actually very-very bad because in thinking of the future, you have lost the present.

Do not feel happy if the future seems bright, because if you are thinking of a bright future, then surely the present is dark. And do not be sad if the future is dark, because the present is equally dark. Why? You are thinking of the future. The future cannot be darker than the present, right? So, you need not be additionally sad. You are already quite sad.

What is a ‘bad’ event? There are no ‘bad’ events, there are just events. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ come in context of only your desires. “What will I get out of this event?” And all ‘getting’, is in the future. All results are in the future.

Whereas life and the responses that life demands, are always right now. You may have met a bad accident. You were returning from a place yesterday, and there was a bad accident. Now, what do we do? Think about what will happen two days from today?

Well, there are two cars lying toppled, and there are around twenty people, a few of whom are injured, demanding immediate attention. And because it is an accident, it is a police case, and so the police needs to be called, and the formalities need to be completed. Do we think about the future? Or are there enough challenges, and opportunities, and occasions right now for action? Tell me.

L: Right now.

AP: Or should one run away from life and climb a tree, and sitting on top of a tree start thinking about the future?

You are sitting in the middle of the rubble. A man is lying shattered, a car is lying shattered. And there is the mobile oil, the engine oil, and somebody is crying, and somebody has been hit on the head. And there are ten things to be taken care of right now. How do you have the space to call it ‘a bad event’? Who has the time to call it ‘a bad event’? But you will have enough people who will just keep saying, “O my God! Something terrible has happened to me.” In saying that something terrible has happened to you, you are losing out on time, precious moments in which something precious should have been done.

If there is somebody who is hurt in the accident, lying in front of you, what do you do? Call it ‘a bad accident’, or immediately rush to that fellow and do what needs to be done? And if you are totally immersed in doing what needs to be done, will you have the mental space to say, “Something bad has happened”? Will you have the space to say? ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are thoughts, and when you are totally devoted in action, there is no space for thoughts. What will thoughts do? Or, you could say that when you are totally devoted in action, then thoughts are just like slaves to action, you have only as many thoughts as are needed for the action, which is very little.

Real action does not demand too many thoughts, because if you are still thinking a lot, then that thinking will impede the action. If you are really acting, then thoughts will keep going down and down and down. As action becomes vigorous, thoughts get subdued. It is only with a calm mind that one can enter into right and energetic action. Who has the time and who has the space to label life as ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

Action-ThoughtsLife is so profound, rich, so all-encompassing, and rushing at you from all sides. Every moment is full of possibilities. It is loaded with this and that. Take it. Be immersed into it. Do not stand away, and apart, and keep crying, “O something bad has happened!” And do not stand away and keep labeling, “Now this is something good.” Neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, just events. Now respond. If you have it in you to respond, then respond. And if you don’t have it in you to respond, then label, “Bad, bad, bad”, or “Good, good, good”.

Does life ever leave you free? There is always something in front of you. Is there, or is there not? Then tell me, from where do you get the time to worry, and ponder, and feel bad? From where do you steal this time?

L3: From the present.

AP: You steal time from the present, right? And that is such a theft. And because you have been an expert at stealing, you are no more mere thieves, you have become full-fledged dacoits. You steal time from the present for all kinds of nonsense, right? Somebody is suffering all the time. From where do you get the time to suffer? Where? Where are you stealing that time from?

L: The present.

AP: The present.

And it is a good way to steal time from the present. “I am thinking about the future.” And obviously you cannot think about the future without labeling the future – ‘good things’ and ‘bad things’.

“Good things are those that will preserve and protect me, that will continue my ego. Bad things are those that are likely to hurt me.” And whether it is a ‘good’ thing or a ‘bad’ thing, the fact is that it is just a method of continuation of the self, it is just a method of protection of the ego.

“I am thinking about myself. Oh! No, no, no. I am very selfless. I am thinking about my family. I am very selfless.” Whose family? “My family.” You really are selfless. You are really selfless. You are thinking about your family. “No Sir. When I am thinking about the future, I am worrying about the prospects of humanity.” Ah! Humanity! Are you also worrying about all the insects that are there?

You need some excuse to run away from the present, don’t you?

In the present, I know there are challenges. And those challenges are no ordinary challenges. They demand your complete attention and complete energy. But remember, in those challenges, is also the deep joy of life. The one who runs away from life’s challenges is also running away from life’s joys. And thinking about the future is a great way of escaping from challenges.

I assure you there are enough challenges right now. I am calling them as ‘challenges’ because we are used to looking at everything in terms of good and bad, opportunity and challenge. And you find the present quite threatening. So, it’s a ‘challenge’.

There might be challenges, but rest assured, without these challenges, there can be no joy. If you are running away from challenges, you are running away from life itself. There is no Freedom in future. Whatever is valuable is always right now. Joy, Freedom, Reality – they are always here. Are you getting it?

See how clever, smart, rather, cunning and stupid you are, when you worry about the future. All of you do that, right? All of you do that. And all of you are very devoted to building you future, aren’t you? Just see how stupid that is. It is like trying to raise a tree without roots. The root is always right now – the root you want to ignore, the root you want to escape away from. And you are imagining a tree laden with lush leaves and luscious fruits – a rootless tree with ripe mangoes! The root you don’t want to look at, because that will demand action, that will demand energy, that will demand that we shun away our laziness.

There is enough to take care of right now. First take care of it. And when you feel that you have totally taken care of the present, then think of the future. Is that a fair deal? Good enough for everybody?

Listeners: Yes, Sir. 

Speaker: Whatever there is, the maximum that there can be to do right now, first finish it, and then whatever time you are left with, think about the future.

Calm mindFuture is important – I can see that from your face. So, let’s come to this, alright? We will first see what all is waiting for us right now. We will respond to it, we will take care of it. And whatever we are responding to, is changing all the time. And then whenever we find that now life has left us totally blank, free, and in vacuum, then we can utilise our time and energy in thinking, alright? Do that, and then tell me how much could you think.

The fellow does not have two rupees and he is very worried about where he would park his next billion. He has written all the names of the banks, and he is busy researching, comparing, striking out one name, adding another name. “After I have a billion rupees, where do I bank them?” How much does he have?

L: Two rupees.

AP: Two rupees. And while he is busy planning about the banks and the parking and the accounts, those two rupees are slipping away. Grand future! But everybody is happy.

“See such a forward-looking boy.”

“Such a wise girl, she has everything sorted out. She even knows the name of the branch. Forget about the bank. And it is not a national bank that she has chosen. It’s a Swiss bank. Such a smart girl.”

(Laughter)

If thoughts could fill stomachs, nobody would go hungry. Nobody is ever short of thinking.


~ Excerpts from a ‘Samvaad’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi: Attend to the facts and your imaginations will fall in place.

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Why am I worried about the future?

Article 2: Rejection of the false and living in the True are inseparable and concurrent

Article 3: To go for goals is gloom, to fantasise a future is frustration

Another ‘New’ year

Acharya Prashant: Another ‘new’ year is approaching, and we have a great desire for the ‘new’. See how we are eager to celebrate anything that appears new. See how desirous we are to change the old and get into the new. Surely, we aren’t quite contented with the old; surely, we want something new. Really new.

The desire for the new is the desire for becoming, is it not? Do you understand why we keep looking forward to dates, “The next important date! The next important date!”? Because there is a great need to become, because we are yearning for change, and there is a hope that may be the next date might bring that change in one’s life.

Is the new going to come because you desire it, and need it? Wherever there is need, there is dependence on time. You say, “Something will come and provide me with the new,” don’t you? You are dependent then on the future. The New will not come to you via time; the New is not contained in the future. Look at what is there, currently, rather what is here currently. You will find the eternally new here; you will find the ancient new here.

No ‘new‘ year will give you the New, so many new years have come and gone and become old years. What is Happy New Year’ today becomes sad old year’ very quickly, does it not? And they have come and gone, and still you don’t see. Another one comes like a deft salesman, who has been duping you since centuries, another one comes, and he is confident: “I’ll nail this customer once again. I did that on the thirty-first of last year. I will do it again on thirty-first…”

L: This year.

AP: This year, again. He is so confident, and you will again buy that ‘Happy New Year’, yes? The ones who keep parroting ‘Happy new year. Happy new year,’ ask them, “What happened to all the years gone by? Who will look at them? And how much happiness do you need that thirty, forty, fifty new years could not supply it to you?

And if fifty years could not give it to you, how would the fifty-first year be any different?”

The new, the happiness that you are looking for, will not come through experience, will not come through time; it comes when you are a little less insistent upon cheating yourself. Look around, look at your relationships, look at your mind, look at your thoughts and maybe you will suddenly cry out, “The New! Yes, it’s New! Quite New, very New!” The looking is new. Looking is new, so new. “I never looked, and it’s so damn new that every time I look at it, it’s again new.”

A newness that replenishes itself; a newness that is like a fountain, like a river, that has an inexhaustible source that is replenishing the flow. Yes, every time you put your hand in it, all you get is fresh water. The same spot, the same hand but the water is fresh, new.

You don’t have to move an inch. Yes, you don’t have to wait for the next ‘Happy New Year’; just jump into the river. Every single drop of water that will come to you is fresh; New.

You don’t have to say, “You know, the next fresh stream will come only next December.” No, every moment. Those who will try to place and locate the new in time, the new in future, the new in specific events, will forever remain the clown of existence.

Maya is quite fun-loving. She loves clowns.

If you could be just a little more meditative, you would ask, “What was I doing the same time last year?” Instead of fancying about what you would do the next year, why can’t you go into the facts of what you have been continuously doing? It was the same you, yes, a little bit has changed on the surface, but your central tendencies have not changed. So, it was the same you last year as well. Yes, you have gained two kilogrammes, but still, you are pretty much the same.

And you are hopping and jumping and squealing; and what did you get last year? –punctured tyres, false relationships, an ugly new job, one more EMI, more dependence on hope; and see how you are hoping!

Remember the woman you rushed to kiss when they switched off the lights, sharp at midnight, last thirty-first? That was supposed to be a ‘Happy New Year’ kiss; and then you spent the entire year cringing at the sight of that woman.

And it is not as if all this doesn’t matter to you. All this is eating out your heart; it is gnawing at the roots of your mind. And again you are ready to repeat the same tomfoolery – ‘Happy New Year’?

The kid that you were desperate for last year, is in your arms today. And it hasn’t helped. You are still as hungry and as hollow as when you were dying to have a kid. The kid is there; your wish has been granted. But you are equally distraught. Your eyes are so poor. Last year you were poor without a job; this year you are poor with a job. Jobs have come and gone, but poorness, your internal poverty has remained. (Sarcastically) Happy New Year!

And there would be a particular Happy New Year after which there would be no more new years for you. Who knows, this one might be that, and then? You shudder to think of that; you do not even want to look at this possibility. You say, “Why must I listen to this crap? Let’s think positive; let’s rather have happy thoughts.” You wince, “It’s an auspicious day, we are commencing a new year, and this fellow is talking of death!”

Yes, I am talking of death. Some of us might not be there to say ‘Happy New Year’ again. I must talk of death.

Is there anything thing that this new year can give you? You being what you were, always, throughout all these years, what will this new year give you? And this New Year might be your last. And if this one is not the last, one particular year will come, which will be your last. How do you know that you would have been redeemed even partially by then? How would you know that your soul-sapping thirst would have been quenched even a little by then? How will it feel to die having lived a wasted life? You are just repeating your routines, and when you are repeating your routines, how can you ever get anything new?

All these new years will keep coming and going, and there would be no newness. And then there is death of the body. No more new years. On one hand, you say, you want something new, on the other hand, you are constantly repeating the old, by just saying, “Happy New Year, O happy New year.” Don’t you see the deep contradiction between your desire and actions? You want the new, don’t you? And if you don’t want the new then why do you always put up such an exciting show whenever something even remotely new happens?

If you want the new, why do you stick to the old? See how you are so deeply attached to the old, to the past, to your stolid habits, to your stifling relationships.

It is certain that you are not quite contented with what is; you want change. On one hand, you want change, on the other hand, you won’t let change happen; you just keep repeating. Life is repetition with no observation of the machinery. The machinery keeps operating on the auto mode. So what happens when you observe the machinery? Something new emerges from it? No, the machinery would remain machinery. The observation is the Newness. Your glance, your sight won’t change the machinery as such, but there is something about the observation which will give you a taste of the really New.

The New is waiting to come. Do not resist it. Only then life is worth celebrating.

~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session at Advait BodhSthal on 30th December, 2015.

Edited for clarity.

Listen to the audio at: Shri Prashant: Another ‘New’ year

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Ideas are never new; Intelligence is now and new.

Article 2: How to take right decisions?

Article 3: The real meaning of spiritual inquiry

Rejection of the false and living in the True are inseparable and concurrent

Question: In the western philosophy, I have heard about ‘Nihilism’, which says, “Whatsoever is there right away, will always be there.” So, if I have to frame it in a way, I would say, “This is it. It will always be like this.” And that is also why philosophers in the west have committed suicide, saying that there is no worth in life.

I have also heard you say, “This is it.” So I would like to know how this is different from what they have said because your words are more life affirming.

Acharya Prashant: Affirmation of the True and negation of the false are not two separate things. In fact, one cannot happen without the other. How can someone talk of something being empty of substance, empty of meaning, just an illusion, without first having a pre-intuitive, experience-less understanding of the Truth?

If only false exists, and you are asserting that only the false exists, then ‘who’ is asserting that the false is there? Are we saying that the false is interested in declaring itself to be false?

Yes, it is a sign of your discernment that you come up and say that something is not real, that something is simply dualistic, having no independent existence of its own. Or you may talk of ‘impermanence’, like the Buddha did.

But can you talk of impermanence while being seated in impermanence? Will the dream declare itself to be a ‘dream’? Will lack of awareness show itself up, in its true colours, on its own? So, on one hand, it is obvious that what we call as ‘existence’ is meaningless, on the other hand, there is a point equally meaningless, yet not meaningless in the sense of being devoid of meaning, but meaningless in the sense of being beyond meaning.

You know, if I am an intellectual, I use my eyes and I look at this vast world, and I say, “Here is this world.” Of course, with my eyes, I can only see the natural world, of materials. Materials – whether natural or man-made. So I look at these things, and then I say, “What is their worth? They are there today, and tomorrow they will not be there. What is their worth? Whatever is happening here is repetitive, conditioned.” And then I say, “There is nothing left for me because there is this great infinity, the expanse of material, the expanse of space, outside me, and it all offers me nothing.”

Then you go one step ahead. You look into your mind, and there is another expanse here. Just like the expanse that you see when you open your eyes, there is another expanse of ideas, thoughts, and your entire mental world. And here too, you do not find much consolation. Thoughts are conditioned, identities are borrowed. What one perceives in one state of consciousness, disappears in another state. Memory drives the mind.

And having come to see this, it is obvious that one will become a little disillusioned. One becomes disillusioned precisely because one perceives it to be ‘big’ and ‘everything’. Just as an almost unfathomable, infinite stretch appears before your eyes when you wake up, similarly, an unfathomable depth of mind is there, when you look at the mind. Is that not so? Is there any limit to thinking?

So mind is infinite. Thoughts and ideas, they are again huge, big, never-ending; like space. That is precisely the reason that the philosopher gets disappointed. You talked of suicides. The philosopher says, “No hope for me in this concrete world; and no hope for me in this abstract world either. And these are big worlds. One says that these are big worlds, the biggest possible. “If there is no hope for me here, where can I hide? Where is my refuge?” There is an infinity beyond infinities. The infinities that we take to be large, are large, yet defined by mind.

Listener 1: Hence they are limited.

AP: Hence they are limited.

You know, you close your eyes, and where is the infinity that you were looking at when the eyes were open? You go to sleep, what happened to all the grand ideas? Gone! The infinity is gone! And that is the source of such great disappointment. “Nothing means anything, even the most beautiful conception that I can have, is memory dependent. The best of relationships that I can have, are time, space and situation dependent.” It really shreds your heart.

The thinking man, the intellectual, is unable to take this load. It is like permanent impotence and worthlessness, being stamped on your face. And it happens only with the man who thinks, who ponders, dwells; to the unthinking man, it doesn’t happen.

Refuse to call that as ‘infinite’ which is dependent on something finite. Refuse. These are pseudo infinities; these are fake immensities. There is nothing immense about them at all.

Stop giving them importance.

Beyond what the senses tell you, and beyond what brews in the mind, there is an immensity, and I affirm that. You may call it ‘life-affirmation’, or whatever name that you want to give it. But what is obvious is: to see that something is limited, I must surely and firstly be touched by the unlimited. No system ever declares itself to be a system. No machine ever declares itself to be conditioned.

When one loses all hope in the little, that is the point when he has been totally possessed by the Grand.

Are you getting it?

L1: Sir, here I would like to ask a question again. If you have lost all hopes of the world, and that I probably think is the time, that this concept of ‘nihilism’ comes. You are not left with no hope. And that is why now you are saying, “When nothing is there, why should ‘I’ exist? Why should ‘I’ continue?” How does one move to the other plane?

AP: You know, that is what. How can you lose all hope in the world, and yet talk so seriously about the ‘I’? Talking seriously about the ‘I’ only demonstrates that you are still tied to the world. Because what you call as ‘I’, is simply a manifestation of the world.

The world seen differently, the world seen imperfectly, becomes the ‘I’. The ‘I’, the ego has no existence separate from the world. This happens with many people, that on one hand we say, “I have seen the falseness of the world. I have seen that it is all so worthless, meaningless, substance-less.” And then we say, “Having seen this, ‘I’ am suffering.”

Now this is very strange. Having seen the worthlessness of the world, how can you continue to suffer? Won’t you see the worthlessness of your suffering as well? Won’t you? So, the seeing has been imperfect. The fact is, secretly, one still has a lot of hope from the world. Secretly, desires are still finding nourishment in our tendencies. And what is really happening is that, because I see that what I desire will not be obtainable, so I act, as if the world means nothing to me. The same world will start meaning a lot to you, if it becomes pleasant. The same world will become heavenly, if today it starts delivering you satisfaction, and happiness, and all kinds of gratifications. All this talk of ‘nihilism’ will totally evaporate. You will say, “This world itself is heaven, what nihilism?”

How can one commit suicide? Even to commit suicide, you have to take the body very seriously. Do you go around killing things that you have nothing to do with? Do you?

L1: So this brings us to this that the whole concept of ‘nihilism’ is actually an illusion.

AP: No, it goes to some distance, but misses the Centre. It misses the Centre, and that is as good as having gone nowhere at all. Except the Centre, everything is anyway false.

See, understand this. Just because one is a loser in the world, one is not qualified to declare himself a ‘dropout’. These are two very different things. There are so many people who desperately want to win. They want to reap the benefits of this system. They look at the system, and see an opportunity for themselves. They really don’t have anything against the system. They really don’t have anything for or against anything. They are only for their gratification, and against their dissolution. That is their position, standing.

Now, I desperately want to win, yet I am a loser – for lack of skill, for lack of competence, for lack of effort. Or simply because the random situations don’t favour me. Sometimes the random situations need to be very propitious. They are the biggest factor. So, for some reason, I am not winning, so what do I declare myself? “I am not interested in winning, I am a dropout. Look at me, I have nothing from this system. ­­Look at me, my hands are empty. Look at me.”

L2: It’s more like, I have an exam tomorrow, and a day before I declare, “I am dropping out.”

AP: Or you may declare, “I am not going to write any exams today onwards.” It is not because you have seen the falseness of exams, it is just that situations have brought you to the point where you have started believing that you will not succeed in exams.

You know there is a great difference between a man who has really-really let go, who is no more a part of the social, or economic, or political man-made orders, who is not even greatly influenced by the nature-made biological order. And hence he has really nothing that the world can give him. He is contended with the Self. There is this man.

And then there is another man who is equally poor, in terms of possessions. But who strives from morning till evening. Desires and ambitions are still burning in his heart. When the right moment comes, he will gather ‘the goodies’ with both hands. You cannot compare these two men.

We often make this mistake. Just because a man has not been able to obtain anything from the world, we often think that there is something special about him. No. The fact is, you are eager to obtain. And the day situations will turn favourable, you will collect all the rewards that the world has to offer. You will not abstain.

Yes, today, compared to the man who is consuming all the benefits of the world, and all the pleasantries, you may look forlorn, you may look empty-handed. But that’s not what you want. And such a man will need to justify his life situation to himself. And he may tell himself, “The world is immaterial, the world lacks meaning, the world is not true, and hence the truthful suffer in it.” He can entertain himself with such consolations, “These are worthless things.”

rejection of false-001 (1)I will come back to the point where we started. Rejection of the false, and living in the True, are not at all separate happenings. They happen absolutely together. It is just that when you look at it from the side of the false, you see rejection; when you look at it from the side of the Truth, you see positive affirmation and acceptance. They are not separate at all.

Neither are they separate really nor are they separate even in time. And if they are separate, then it means that both are missing. Not that one is missing. If they are separate, and somebody says, “One is happening, the other is not.” It means that neither is happening. Getting it?

So if you come across somebody who says, “I have dropped everything, abandoned everything. I am detached from everything, yet I cannot get peace, yet God alludes me,” then for certain this man has not dropped much.

Had he really dropped everything, then with everything, he would also have dropped the hope of Peace or Truth or God. The world’s religious and spiritual literature is full of such examples. Somebody goes out to the hills, to the forests, and his claim is, “I have come here leaving everything behind.” Really? Had you really left everything behind, what would you be doing here? For sure, you have not left one thing that you were carrying even the moment when you left your home – what is it? Your goal.

Aren’t you still carrying the same goal that you had, when you left your home? Same goal implies the same mind. And if you are carrying the same mind, then what have you dropped? That is the only thing to be dropped – the mind. What have you dropped?

The day you left home, you had a goal. Now you say you have been dropping everything, yet twenty years later you have that goal. You are the same man, what have you been dropping? A man drops nothing, but himself. What have you dropped?

Real renunciation, when it happens, it does not confirm to your images. It is not as per a particular plan. I am repeating – a ‘person’ does not drop ‘things’. Dropping things is so easy and immaterial. You drop the ‘owner’ of the things.

Understand this difference.

Renunciation2Real renunciation is not about dropping ‘things’. It is about dropping the ‘possessor’ of things. Man has been doing this mistake very often. You drop a ‘thing’, and you preserve yourself.

L3: And that makes you all the more loaded, because now you say, I have dropped something.”

AP: “I have dropped something, so I am more of myself now. Till yesterday I only used to think that I am a great man. Today in my eyes, it is established that I am a great man.  Now this ‘great’ man must get his dues. He must be honoured and rewarded by the world. Where is the honour and the reward? Why does this world not understand that I am the next Buddha?”

“See, what all have I dropped. Respect me. Give me medals, garland me, for I have dropped fame. Come and become my followers, because I have dropped relationships. Give me a grand ashram, because I have dropped my small house. You know, I deserve that return on my investments.”

It is a very cheap kind of renunciation or detachment to say that – the world is empty. What is the world, except ‘yourself’? Do you see that as ‘empty’? No. That, you never see as empty. That, is always meaningful, “My sufferings always mean a lot. My desires are always to be taken seriously.” But the world? I will say, “I am a nihilist. Regarding the world, I am a nihilist. Regarding myself, I am what I am. Oh, the world is nothing; all of these are shadows, Maya. The world is Maya.” And who are you?

L3: Sir, so true nihilism should encompass the ‘I’ as well.

AP: Only the ‘I’. Spare the world. Only the ‘I’. If you have to see the emptiness of anything, look at your own emptiness. Who are ‘you’? One influence, you become somebody else. Another gust of wind, you are blown to some other direction. Next touch by somebody, and you find another colour smeared on your face. Who are ‘you’?

Anybody can come and puncture your balloon. See the emptiness of your own balloon. Hot air, gas. That’s what you are.

That is real nihilism.

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

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Rejection of the false and living in the True are inseparable and concurrent.

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Life is sacred when you can see the true in the false.

Article 2: The material mind is condemned to suffer the pains of duality.

Article 3: Every thing is material, but not everything.

Only Silence communicates fully; let words come from Silence

Question: (Referring to a text) Sir, it is written here, “Silence is ever speaking. It is the perennial flow of language.”  How is ‘Silence’, perennial flow of language?

Speaker: What is language?

Listener 1: Language is a medium of communication.

Speaker: Communication. What is the use of communication?

Listener 1: To convey ideas or concepts, from one person to another.

Speaker: A deeper use? Why do you want to convey anything to anybody?

Listener 1: So that they can understand.

Speaker: What, if they understand something? What will happen? What will happen?

Listener 1: They may be able to do something, which they were not able to do.

Speaker: What does that mean to ‘you’?

Listener 1: They will become more useful, in some form.

Speaker: How does that help ‘you’? What does it mean to ‘you’?

Listener 1: It means that they will become more in line with my thoughts.

Speaker: What does that mean to ‘you’? Why do you want to have them aligned with your thoughts?

Listener 1: Sometimes it is because, we want someone to understand.

Speaker: That you have said. So we don’t want to run around in circles. You have said that you want them to understand you. Why do you want anybody to understand you?

Listener 1: Because there is something within us, it may be a collection of emotions or feelings, which is seeking an outlet.

Speaker: Alright. What if that fellow doesn’t understand you?

Listener 1: Then we will not feel very right about it.

Speaker: How will you feel?

Listener 1:  We will feel misunderstood. I will feel misunderstood.

Speaker: So that will keep you…?

Listener 1: In tension, or anxiety.

Speaker: So you communicate, so as to…?

Listener 1: To release that inner tension, or inner anxiety.

Speaker: So you communicate for Peace.

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: Language is communication. Communication is for…?

Listener 1: Peace.

Speaker: (Referring to Ramana Maharishi) What is Maharishi saying there?

Listener 1: Maharishi is saying, “Silence is ever speaking. It is the perennial flow of language.”

Speaker: Silence is language. And we just said, “Language is communication. Communication is Peace.” So all that he is saying is that, “Silence is…”

Listener 1: Peace.

Speaker: Clear? That which cannot be expressed through words, is expressed in Silence. And That which cannot be expressed in words, is immensely important. You require a special language, because that deserves a special language. That special language is Silence. Hence, Silence is the most eloquent expression.

That day I was saying, “If you want to say something, then use words. But if you want to say everything, then remain silent.”

Words can only communicate this much, a small portion. They can never take the totality of your Being. You are too large, and words are too small. Have you not seen this happen, that in moments when the ego is sublimated, overpowered, dissolved in tears, you find yourself tongue-tied, you can’t speak? Have you not had experiences like these?

Listener 2: This Silence is not only this – not-talking, because I can be silent, and yet my mind can totally be running around.

Speaker: Mostly it happens this way. When you are not talking to others, you are busy talking to yourself.

Listener 3: That’s why I am not talking, because I am thinking.

Speaker: In fact, usually, when you are not talking to others, the purpose itself is to talk to yourself. Don’t you say, “Give me a minute, let me collect my thoughts. Let me make up my mind”? What are all these?

Listener 2: Self conversations.

Speaker: It’s an internal dialogue. Let’s call it, a multi-logue’. Mind is a chatterbox.

Listener 4: Sir there was a statement in this statement, “Spiritual activity is will asserted, and re-asserted.” I could not understand this.

Speaker: When a saint talks of ‘will’, he is not referring to ego’s desire. He is referring to ‘free-will’. Free will is not yours. Spiritual activity is Grace shining upon you – that’s all that is meant. Spiritual activity is the will of the beyond, otherwise you can’t move into spiritual activity. You can move into lots of other activities – eating, sleeping, all these things you can do out of your own desire. But you cannot go to the scriptures, or to a Guru, out of your own will. For that, divine Grace is needed.

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

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Raman Maharishi: Only Silence communicates fully; let words come from Silence

 Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: All internal voices are from fragments of the mind, the Total calls only in Silence.

Article 2: The mark of a good word is that it takes you to silence.

Article 3: What is silence?

Eagerness to conclude is a barrier to learning

Question: Every time I come across a video, the conclusion is, that there is nothing to worry about. We already have something precious. Is that precious thing Love, Truth, Freedom, or something else?

Speaker: Dhirendra has asked three questions, of which this is the first one. “Every time I am with a video of yours, the conclusion is that there is nothing to worry, because what is precious is already with us.” Next he is asking, “Is that precious entity Love, Truth, Freedom, or something else?”

(Addressing the questioner) Dhirendra, the nature of conclusions is to change. No conclusion is ever final. If not worrying is a conclusion with you, then you will soon find yourself worrying. It happens with so many people here – they come, they talk, and they feel that their issues have settled down nicely. They conclude that they have come to a solution of their problems. And then after a few days, they find that it is back to their usual ways.

It had to be that way. Because what you tried to take away was – a conclusion. And no conclusion is ever going to stay with you, because as we said, “The nature of conclusions is to change.” Even the most final and the seemingly most secure conclusion, is bound to come apart.

Yes, conclusions can give you a feeling of happiness. Conclusions can make you feel good about yourself, and the universe. Conclusions can give you a feeling which resembles peace. But soon you will find that what you had, has evaporated. And every time that will happen you will become more and more desperate and faithless. You will feel that you got it, and you lost it. You will feel kind of cheated. You will feel that something was promised to you, but it was not what it appeared.

You will feel as if somebody has gone back on his word. You will feel that the heaven that was demonstrated to you, of which you got a fleeting glimpse, was a false heaven. And so the next time when you listen to me, it will become harder for you to listen.

What will you do then? You will try and come to a different conclusion. You will try to apply more of your mind, so that you can come to a better conclusion. You will try to be more alert, more thoughtful, so that this time what you conclude is more solid, more permanent. But the nature of conclusions is to change.

After all, conclusion is just a thought, like any other thought. You will be betrayed again, and you will not look inwards. You will not say, “I concluded, I built the statement. I wanted to come very quickly to a result, to an end point. And that is the reason why now, I am receiving this shock.” You will say that the conclusion was given to you by the speaker, or by the scripture, and you will doubt them.

When I speak, I do not intend to give you conclusions, because there are no conclusions. I intend to give you Silence. But conclusions are a good way to avoid Silence, and conclusions are a good way to feel that you know, that you understand, that you have laid your hands upon the Truth. Conclusions are a good way to feel secure, so that when you go back, when you walk out of this room, you feel that you are taking away something, so that you have ‘something’ that you can tell others about, so that the question, “What did you learn?” can be answered by you.

You want something, and if you do not have it, then you build it up in a very dream-like way. Now again you are asking, “Every time I listen to you, I conclude that there is nothing to worry about, there is something very precious already with me,” and then you are asking, “Is that precious thing Love, Truth, Freedom, or something else?”

At every point in your question, there are dangers. When you are really free of worrying, then not-worrying also loses its charm. When you are totally free of the fear of worrying, then you find that there is no more attraction left, in not having to worry, which, amusingly means that – now you are free to worry, because you don’t have a fear of worrying. Now you are free to worry. And being delighted at not worrying, only indicates, that worrying, is still a concern with you.

You come here with a particular state of mind. If you walk away with an opposite state, not much has happened. In fact, what has happened, is quiet deceptive. You came here thinking that there is a lot to worry about. You go back thinking, there is nothing to worry about. ‘Worrying’ still, is important to you. Are you able to see this?

Firstly, you said, “There is a lot to worry about.” Now you are saying, “There is nothing to worry about.” At the centre of both these statements, ‘worry’ is sitting. Nothing much has changed. It is just that some kind of anaesthesia, pain-reliever, has been given.

Is that not how the world functions? There are spots, agencies, situations, that make you feel worried. And there are other people, situations, that tell you, “Well, these worries can be taken care of. They do not mean much. You do not need to worry.”  There are some who say, “Worrying is important.” There are others who say, “No you don’t need to worry.” Essentially the second man, is also saying the same thing, that the first man is saying. The second man is saying, “Worrying is important, but you do not need to worry.” The first man is saying, “Worrying is important, and you need to worry.” None of them are deleting this word from you mind. This is how the world operates.

There is no way I am saying to you, “There is nothing to worry,” that does not mean that I am saying to you, “There is something to worry.” What I am saying is that, this game of worrying and not-worrying, is small. It’s a small game keeps on happening. It just keeps going on and on.

Sometimes you worry, sometimes you don’t worry. Sometimes you are asleep, sometimes you are awake. Sometimes it is day, sometimes it is night. What I am saying to you is that – when you are worrying, even then the game is small. And when you are not worrying, even then the game is small. There is an immensity behind the game – untouched by worrying and untouched by not-worrying.

Can you be there? That is the question. And you cannot conclude to be there. You have to be there, continuously. It is not a take-away. It is a presence. It is not a matter of a statement, it is not something that you can just write down as a quote, and benefit from it. You have to be present into it. Most of us come so far away from it, that it becomes very difficult for us to be present in it. My attempt is to give you a flavour of it, so that it does not remain totally unbelievable for you.

For most people, it is so very unbelievable, that they won’t even consider it. Or they’ll say that this is just verbiage. If you speak more, they will say, “You are preaching, this is pontification. It doesn’t happen. These things look good only in the scriptures. They don’t really happen in practical life.”

My attempt is to bring you to a point, where you can be with it, even if for a short while, so that elsewhere, when it is about to come to you, you are able to let it come to you. So that Faith does not become totally impossible for you. So that you may say, “No, no, this is not just a mirage. This is not impossible. I have had a glimpse, a flavour of it. I have been through it, and I am sure that I have been through it. So, it’s okay. I can trust.”

What do you mean by, “Is this precious thing Love, Truth, Freedom”? There is nothing called ‘Love’, there is nothing called ‘Truth’, there is nothing called ‘Freedom’ – these are not concepts. When you say ‘Love’, all you have with you is a concept. When you say ‘Truth’, ‘Freedom’, again what you have is a concept. And it is very easy to go on parroting the concepts. Because concepts are always small, and it is no big deal to prove that they are small; even experience will prove that to you. So sooner or later, you will come upon the small-ness of concepts; the smallness of your ‘Love’, ‘Truth’, ‘Freedom’. And then you will not say, “My concept was small.” Then you will say, “O! Love, Truth and Freedom are small.” You will not say, “What I thought Love to be, was faulty.” You will say, “Love is faulty.”

Have you not seeing people say, “O, Love does not exist”? They will not admit that what they thought as ‘Love’ does not exist. They will say, “Love does not exist.” That is what happens when you take your conclusions and your concepts to be the reality.

And if you are coming here to conclude, or to take away concepts, you will also find that in a short period of time you will be fed up with me. Because you will feel, that whatever I speak about, you already have it. You will say, “He speaks about Love. I know the definition of Love. He speaks about Truth, I know what Truth is. And all the time he is talking about these only. So why do I need to go to him again and again? All the time he is saying, “Love, Truth, Joy, Freedom, Peace,” and I have all the five definitions with me. In fact, now I have multiple definitions with me. So why should I go there on a hot evening? What is the need?”

After all, you have your conclusions with you. What does it mean to conclude? To conclude means –to come to an end. If you have already come to an end, what is the point in coming anymore? You’ll say, “Whatever the shop had to offer, I have already taken it, and there is nothing more left in the shop.” You will say, “I have seen the movie ten times already. Why should I have a look at it the eleventh time?”

I have no ‘definition’ of Love to give you, I have Love to give you. I have no ‘definition’ of Truth to give you, I have Truth to give you. If you can take it, welcome. And if you want definitions, we can mail them to you, you need not come. If you want conclusions, we can Whatsapp them to you, you need not come. Why take so much pain? Somebody will write down all the key points, and you will get them on your mobile phone, if ‘conclusions’ is all that you want.

You do not come here for anything. Anybody who comes here for something, will soon find that he has obtained that thing. And then, he will have no purpose left to come here. Because whatever you want, if it is a ‘thing’, it can be obtained. It will be limited, it will come to an end, it can be taken away. You can easily take it away. What ‘thing do you want? We have some bottles here, a few containers here, a few chairs here – all these are just things. Take them away.

Truth is not a thing. Truth is not an object to be concluded. All your conclusions are petty. All your conclusions are fickle. And then when your conclusions will change, you will accuse me of being paradoxical. You will say, “You know, in that particular session, he gave me that conclusion. Today he has given me an opposite conclusion. This man contradicts himself.” Did I give you conclusions? When did I do that? When did I do that? You conclude, you compare, you contradict, and then you put it upon me.

But you must be smart. You must feel that you have sorted it out. You must feel that you are on top of the whole thing. In the break, when you go out, and you stand there, you must be able to say with conviction, “You know, all that he was saying, was nothing but this,” and then you can make a very smart, pithy statement, that sums it up. And now you are the champ of the game. Now you know all that has been said. Have you not heard statements like this? “See, all that he says is just this.” And one nice, sucking statement would come, and there would be nothing wrong with the statement. It’s just that the statement is lifeless.

saying love-001 (1)Words don’t breathe, words don’t love. Keep saying, “Love, Love, Love…,” one thousand times, you will come no closer to loving. Keep parroting, “Truth, Truth, Truth, Truth,” you will still be sitting in your lies.

Catch yourself, how desperately you want to say, “I know. I know what he is doing, what he is saying, who he is, what his attempts are, what his purposes are. I know.”

Let me assure you of one thing, conclude, if you must,  come to this conclusion – all your conclusions are rubbish. You know nothing. You know nothing. If it hurts you, I am glad it hurts you. You know nothing. Nobody ever knows anything. All your knowledge is about ‘things’, that anyway are equal to nothing. All your knowledge is about ‘things’, whose value is nothing. About That which is important and valuable, anyway you know nothing. Nothing can be known, not that you are particularly at fault.

Listener: Sir, I really have the feeling that I know anything.

Speaker: But you don’t have the feeling that you can ‘never’ know any of these things. In fact, you are feeling guilty that – “It is knowable, but I do not know.” Your feeling is, “It is knowable, it is in the province of knowledge, but somehow only I have failed. And there must be something wrong with me.” You have this guilt.

Listener: Yes.

Speaker: This is arrogance. You’re saying, “Sooner than later, I will conquer you. Today I may have failed. But how long will you escape me? Truth, I am coming to mount you.”

(Satirically) “I will understand the Truth, and keep it in my left pocket. And then I will gift it to my girlfriend, nicely wrapped.”

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

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Eagerness to conclude is a barrier to learning

 Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: The simple words of the Teacher are not understood by a complex mind.

Article 2: The mark of a good word is that it takes you to silence.

Article 3: To understand something, observe without concluding.

You as a form can respect the Formless only by respecting His forms

Question: Sir, we just heard one of the couplets of Kabir, saying, “Jo sukh sadhu sang mein, so baikunth mein na hoi.” (The Joy that I find in the company of Saint, that Joy is greater than the joy of heaven).

Is this verse being used in the negative connotation? What is it referring to?

Speaker: It is referring to one of the moods of the Sage.

There are other times, when he says, “Yeh sansaar kaatan ki jhadhi, ulajh ulajh marjana hai. Rehna nahi desh begana hai. (This world is full of thorns, one gets entangled in it and dies. I don’t want to live here, as this world is a deserted and a desolate place). I want to go to Raam, I don’t want to live here.”

Sometimes he says, “I want to go to Raam. Yeh sansar kaagaz ki pudiya, bund pade ghul jana hai. (This world is like a packet of paper, a drop of water is enough to dissolve it). I don’t like this place. Saadho yeh murdon ka gaon. (O Sage! This is the village of the dead). Who wants to live here? I’m going away.”

At other times he says, “No, why are you inviting me? I’m in Satsang (company of Truth), why are you inviting me? He’s talking about You. Why are you disturbing me? See the Sadho(Sage) is singing such beautiful songs of Raam. Raam you can wait.”

It is okay. Raam here, or Raam there, how does it matter? He is saying, “Why take the trouble of going all the way? The Sadho (Sage) has brought you right here, in his words.”

That’s the freedom that you have. Sometimes Nirakar(Formless), sometimes Saakar(Form). Sometimes Nirgun(Attributeless), sometimes Sagun(With attributes). Play the game. That’s Leela. Maya, in understanding, is Leela. Nothing else.

Listener: The beauty of the whole thing is that, there is no morality in it. In saying this that –  “Raam is coming and I don’t care.”

Speaker: Yes, yes. There is no morality in it. We have a story.

A man was building a temple of Truth. And he was so dedicated to Truth that Truth itself took the form of a person, and came to the man to see what is going on. He said, “Never before has somebody tried to build a temple for me with such dedication. What is going on?”

So, Truth comes to see the man and he is labouring hard – working with his instruments, carrying large pieces of stones to the site, advising and supervising his workers, looking at the plans. Twenty-four hours a day, he is there at the site. He has forgotten to eat, to sleep. He is so committed to the Truth. So Truth approaches this man.

This man asks him, “Who are you? Why are you coming to me?” And Truth says, “I am Mr Truth. I have heard that you are making a temple for me. I have come to look at the temple.” The man says, “Alright. Now help me lug this huge stone up till there.”

Now this man, along with Truth, is carrying stones, large pieces. And he is not allowing Truth even a moment of respite. He says, “There is another task waiting for me, you keep on ferrying the pieces, go there. And quickly, I don’t like lazy legs, continue bringing this.” So the would-be priest of the temple is also there, busy overlooking all the arrangements. And he asks the man, “Who is that stranger, that just came with you?”  He says, “O! He is Truth.”

The priest gets angry. The priest says, “You are building temple of the Truth, and you have no concern for the prime deity. You should have brought him here, we should have facilitated him, respected him, and showered gifts, adulation.” The man says, “I do not know all this. All I know is this.” The priest says, “There could not have been a bigger fool than you. You are running after stone, and forgetting the real thing. You are running after concrete and forgetting the abstract. You are running after material, and forgetting the immaterial.”

But the man does not heed. He says, “I understand what you are saying, but my heart is here. This is the only way I know to approach the Truth. This is the Truth for me.” The priest says, “I am resigning. I shall no longer be the priest of this temple, and I am going to beg forgiveness of the Truth.”

So, by that time Truth arrives, carrying a huge mass on his shoulders, sweating and all that, he puts it down and says, “Why are the two of you fighting?” And the priest says, “I have never seen a bigger renegade than him. This heretic has made you work and sweat. And I apologize on his behalf,” and he falls on the feet of the Truth. Truth says, “Why are you unnecessarily making a show of this? And this man is my real friend.”

He says, “This man is my real friend.” So strange! Classically, we would be led to believe that the material is to be renounced for the abstract. But what, if the abstract itself is visible in the material? And that is the only way of really living. When Truth manifests itself in the stone, only then you are really alive. And we are talking of human beings here, aren’t we? We are talking of material bodies here.

If Truth for you is a matter of verses, and temples, and abstractions, would you live your life in verses, and temples, and abstractions? You live your life in the material. In all the games of the material, if you can see Truth, that is real Samaadhi. Building the temple of Truth, all that should matter to you, is the temple, not even the Truth, because for ‘you’, as a material being, Truth will anyway become a concept – if you think of it.

A stone is anyway material. But if you will start ‘thinking’ about the Truth, you will turn Truth too into material. So better you ‘think’ only about the stone, and give all the importance to the stone, and build a temple of Truth. And forget the Truth. Because in ‘thinking’ of the Truth, you are anyway doing yourself and the Truth a disservice.

Listener: Sir, as material beings, the point comes that the mind never stops thinking. It is always filled with objects. So it is anyway busy, and it is busy with things that don’t matter, or are not of prime importance. So what should be done? The mind is not stopping, and the Truth, if it is thought of, you are just being away from it. So, what should be done?

Speaker: There are two ways to go about it. One is – to consider the ‘thought’ and the ‘self’ as separate. Some people even consider thought as the enemy of Truth. So when thought comes, when thinking happens, they want to get rid of it. They want to dissolve it. And if they can’t dissolve it, they want to supress it.

In this approach, the inherent assumption is, that thought is separate from the Truth, and something apart from the Truth exists. The approach itself is dualistic. “Something else except the Truth, other than the Truth exists. And I have to fight it. I have to fight it.” In fighting thought, are you not negating the Oneness, the Absoluteness of Truth?

And then there are others, with the other approach. The other approach is, when there is nothing but the Truth, then thought too is the Truth, in some form. There is no need to run away from it, fight it or supress it. The need is to go close to it, because right now what is visible is just thought, not Truth. If thought is visible, it has to be the Truth in some form, because there is nothing but the Truth. So whatever is visible, has to be an expression of the Truth.

“I will not fight thought. I will go close to thought.” This ‘going close’, is classically known as ‘witnessing’. Go close to ‘whatever is’ and you reach the same place, because ‘whatever is’ is That. You want to reach That. Don’t search for it, because it is anyway present within you, and all around you. Go close to ‘whatever is’, the daily facts that occupy your life – this eating, drinking, talking, slipping, forgetting. Just go close to them, and you reach That, the Truth. There is no need to search for that.

That is what Dattatreya has been saying so long. What do you mean by searching for Samaadhi? There is nothing but Samaadhi. There is nothing but Truth. But in thinking that Truth has to be reached, you have assumed that you are away from it. The more you seek it, the more you support your assumption.

Don’t fight thought, go close to thought. Don’t be afraid of thoughts. When thoughts arise, have the courage to go very-very close to them. When you go close to thought, you reach the root of thought. And that is the Aham Vritti – the root of the ego. You’ve reached so close, so close, that you can’t go any closer. Going any closer would mean that ‘you’ are not the one who is going closer.

Listener: Sir, I still need more clarity on ‘going close’.

Speaker: You know, we all live and behave as if there is another world of Truth, as if the Real is to be found somewhere else. As far as ‘you’ are concerned, the human being, this world of facts is, the one and only expression of Truth.

Have you not heard the so-called spiritual people come up and say that they have had ‘other-worldly’ experiences? Somebody sits in so-called meditation, in some particular physical posture, and one hour later he says, “You know, I was seeing lights, and hearing fabulous sounds, and I had a meta-physical experience.” Have you not heard people say things of these kind?

Now, why is there a temptation to say such things? Because deeply within we believe that the kingdom of Truth is somewhere else, and man is condemned to sometimes just get a glimpse of it, and nothing more. So we find it some kind of commendation to say, “I could reach there, even if for a very small while. I could reach there.” Reach where?

There is no other world. Even this world that you are claiming to reach, is just mental gymnastics. Your mind is hopping around, conjuring up visions. Have you not seen people claim that they are seeing ghosts? So somebody can see ghosts, and the other one can see Samaadhi, they are one and the same. Both are just presenting mental pictures, as something Real. Just mental pictures.

GateAs a human being, you have this body and this world, and that is all you have. For you, the Truth is this. Hence I repeatedly say, “Go close to the facts, and you have reached the gate of Truth.” As a human being, all that you have is the material and the idea, nothing else.

Go close to the material, and go close to the stuff that keeps on going in the mind. Know what is happening. Don’t be ignorant of yourself. You reach there. Reaching yourself, is reaching There. And you are not away from yourself. Samaadhi is there, continuously.

It disappoints, right? You have fanciful imaginations of some dream world, and those imaginations do not let you live. They do not let you work. “How can I be dedicated to this, when all the dreams and the fairies are waiting for me there?”

It is the madness of that ‘There’ which makes this life hell.

Can’t you see that?

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

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Kabir: You, as a form, can respect the Formless only by respecting His forms.

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Witnessing is freedom from the unnecessary.

Article 2: In watching all change, you find the unchangeable.

Article 3: To go beyond yourself, come close to yourself.

In remembering anything remember what you are forgetting

Question: Sir, when you say, “Remember the One,” I can make sense of it right now. But when I go home, the same statement becomes very dry. If I go home and remember – ‘Remember the One’, it doesn’t mean the same thing, as it means now. So, is there any point in really remembering this sentence, or writing it down?

Speaker: ‘Remembering’ or ‘forgetting’ are meaningful words only with respect to the Moon (the mind), not with respect to the Sun (the Source). The Moon must remember, and the moon forgets, right? We are talking of the mind. What is it that we are asking the mind to remember? We are asking that it must remember its essence. Now, what is it that is to be remembered?

We are saying, “Remember your foundation and your being.” That is what I said. “Remember your foundation and your being.” Now is there anything apart from this? You have talked about the foundation and you have also talked about the structure. You have talked about the soul and you have talked about the body; the foundation and the being.

We are saying, “Remember it.” But it is already there, it is not really to be remembered. It is already there, it is not really to be remembered. But then wise men have always talked of remembering, remembering, remembering – Surati. Why have they talked of it? And then what does ‘constant remembrance mean?

The mind, as it is, has the faculty of memory, memory and knowledge that it acquires through senses. And it has intellect, intellect that accords value and importance to the knowledge that has been acquired. And the mind looks outwards at objects. That is from where it gathers information, the appearance of objects and then it has an intellect that accords importance to those impressions and appearances.

It accords importance to those impressions, and remembers them according to the importance granted to them. We are talking of the mind. Your eyes look at something, the appearance comes to the mind, and then memory and intellect combine to give value and importance to that appearance. And if a high value is given, then you remember it. You say, “It is of critical importance.” You remember it.

RemembranceWhen you remember that to which the intellect gives importance, that is when you forget That to which existence gives importance. When you remember that to which you give importance, then you forget that which is really important. When man-made values become important, then existential values are forgotten.

It is not really a question of remembering the Truth; it is really a question of not remembering the false. You remember the false all the time. Your senses keep on gathering appearances, incessantly. Your senses are like wild creatures, you have no harmony with them. You have never made peace with them. They do not serve you at all; they punish you.

And your intellect too is unrefined. All the wild material that your wild senses bring to you, your wild intellect attaches importance to it. So all this becomes important. When all this becomes important, then how will you remember the really important?

You say that you go home and forget. What do you mean by ‘home’? It is a physical location. You mean a collection of objects, right? ‘Home’ is a collection of objects: some things, some people, some memories. Why should that become important to your mind? Why? “These are just appearances, how can I take them seriously?”

Take an example, we have been discussing, and the elderly gentleman had to move for some reason. And we have some veterans sitting here, and I could see how when the gentleman was moving across the room, your eyes were following him. Now, you are remembering, what? The object and its movement. Your eyes had become glued to the object.

See how your eyes move. See how even when this session is going on, your eyes are so wild. And when you are looking at this and that, then it becomes important. And you remember all that. When you remember what is not important that is called ‘forgetting the important’. Otherwise the important is not an object to be remembered, it is your life-breath. You do not need to remember it, it is the beating of your heart. You do not need to remember it. You do not need to remember it.

People talk of remembering God; that is actually stupid. What do you mean by ‘remembering God’? One can only remember something that is separate from him. There is no real need to remember God. God is your heartbeat; you don’t need to remember him.

What you need, is non-remembrance. What you need, is forgetfulness towards the world. What you need, is to ignore all this that happens around.  Ignore all this, not in the sense that it is not happening, but in the sense that it cannot be taken seriously, in the sense that it is not important. And remember, you just developed this habit, this ugly habit, of giving importance to this, that, all the petty and immaterial stuff. It is just a bad habit that you developed. It is just a conditioning.

Since childhood, you have been told that this is important and that is important. And you were born with a body that was already conditioned to consider a few things, a few material things as important. Added to the conditioning of the body, there was the conditioning given by the family and society. The result is this perverted habit of considering everything as important.

Look at how you read the newspaper; look at how you watch the television. Whatever is coming to you, you keep absorbing it. You keep looking at it, you just don’t get up and walk away. You allow the appearances to enter your mind. And not only do the appearances enter by themselves, the appearances enter with the message, with the code that – ‘we are important’.

Have you noticed this? Never does a news item just say that it is a news item. It also contains a justification as to why it is important. And you allow that item to enter you. You allow all the propaganda of this stupid world to enter you. And then that becomes important.

What is spirituality? It would not be wrong to say that – spirituality means a healthy indifference to the world. Remember, I am talking of a healthy indifference. To not to be touched, to remain uncorrupted – that is what is spirituality. That is what is ‘the essence of wisdom’.

You may go home or go anywhere. As a human body, you have to be somewhere, right? Located in time and space. There would be the dance of appearances and objects all around you. Are you wise enough to know how important it is? No, you do not know that. So you give it extreme importance.

You get excited by a four percent salary rise. You get excited if the Sensex takes a three hundred point jump. You get excited if your marks increase by two percent. All these things become matters of life and death to you. You get unnerved if you hear that your daughter is going around with somebody. You become nervous if you hear that the neighbour is buying a bigger car.

The servant brought grocery, and you are now suspicious that there may be a fudging of ten rupees, and you take it so seriously. Have you ever seen people negotiating in the vegetable markets? That is the world. If you want to understand the world, go to a vegetable market, and look at people negotiating. See how intensely and passionately they negotiate for two and a half rupees.

And these are well-to-do people, gentlemen and women coming from affluent families, reasonably well-to-do families. A car and a chauffeur might be waiting for them. And she wants to negotiate right up to the bone. “Can you reduce the price by three more rupees? Instead of thirty-three rupees, may I just pay thirty rupees?” Now, look at her face at that moment when she is intensely negotiating. Look at her face. What does she remember? She remembers only one thing – three rupees. Now when you remember these three rupees with such determination and passion, how will you remember the Truth? The three rupees is all that matters to you right now.

I have advised you earlier, and I am advising you again, take it as mantra – whenever something becomes important to you, ask yourself, “What am I forgetting?” Anything, that ‘something’ could be anything.

Whenever you find yourself being too deeply engaged with anything, ask yourself, “In being engaged with this, in remembering this, what am I forgetting?” And you will find that the object of remembrance will be diverse – sometimes you will be remembering money, sometimes reputation, sometimes future, sometimes security, sometimes attraction, attachment. You would be remembering a thousand things, but there would be only one, that you would be forgetting – the One.

You remember a thousand things, but whatever you remember, makes you forget just one thing – the One. The One. That is what you forget. You might be watching T.V. in a very engrossed way, what are you forgetting? The One. You may be quarreling very intensely, what are you forgetting? The One. You may be deeply engaged in pleasures of the body, what are you forgetting at this instant? The One. You may be deeply overtaken by sorrow and suffering, you might be crying. You remember your sorrow, but what are you forgetting at this moment? The One.

There are a thousand objects, but all objects serve just one purpose – they make you forget the One. The One.

Go home, or go anywhere else, objects will be there. Don’t you have the wisdom to see that they are merely objects? “There are walls, there are things, there are people and there are ideas – these are objects. How can I be serious about them? How can I be serious about them? Alright, as a body I have to live amidst them, so I will maintain a particular level of dealing. But deeply within, its only One that I will remember. Only One. On the surface, I might keep dealing with the world, but deep within, my heart beats in remembrance of just One, just One” –  that’s the way to live. That’s the only way to live.

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

Watch the session at:  Prashant Tripathi: In remembering anything remember what you are forgetting.

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Free from the clutches of the world, you remember God.

Article 2: Remember by Heart, and let the memory forget.

Article 3: Just remember that you forget.

Only by seeing the falseness of otherness, you are able to help the other

“By oneself indeed is evil done and by oneself is one defiled;
by oneself is evil not done and by oneself is one purified.

Purity and impurity depend entirely on oneself;
no one can purify another.”

“Your work is to find out what your work should be and not to neglect it for another’s. Clearly discover your work and attend to it with all your heart.”

~ Buddha, Dhammapada

Question: I feel that I am going on the right track in my life. But sometimes when I look at my family, I get distracted – my steps cease. What to do?

Acharya Prashant: Be it family, or anything else that you consider important, there would be goodness and harmony only when your priorities are in order.

What do I mean by that?

If the family becomes your first priority, you can be assured that the family would come to ruin. If a person becomes your first priority, rest assured that you would destroy both – your relationship with that person and the person as well.

If you go and mention to somebody that you keep remembering that person all the time, then it is guaranteed that you have a very unhealthy relationship with that person.

Those who make the family their first priority, would end up destroying the family. Those who make their work and career their first priority, would end up destroying their work and career. Those who make academics, and knowledge, and scholarship their first priority, would end up using that knowledge for destructive purposes.

The Truth has to be your first priority!

When the Truth is your first priority, the Truth will set all your other priorities.

‘You’ cannot set your other priorities; you have no discretion to do that. Whenever you will try to accord importance to priorities, that importance will come from your conditioning, from your patterns, and that would be deeply destructive. So I said, “The Truth has to be your first priority,” and now I am adding to it: “The Truth has to be your first and only priority.”

You take care of the Truth, and the Truth will take care of all else. You remain steadfast in your first and only priority, and your first and only priority will take care of all your other priorities.

It is a strange thing . . . those who say that, “Because of family, or work, or career I am rejecting the Truth,” only find destruction and devastation in both family and career. It seems counter-intuitive. After all, these people wanted to give the highest priority to family and work, how can their family and work be destroyed? They are giving it the highest importance, how can it be destroyed? It will be destroyed, precisely because you gave it the highest importance. It will be destroyed, precisely because you gave it a position beyond its worth.

When the monkey is made to sit on the King’s throne, the empire is destroyed, or is it not? When the family is made to sit on the throne reserved for the Truth, then the family is destroyed. When work and career are made to sit on the throne reserved for the Truth, then work and career are destroyed.

I am repeating: ‘you take care of the One’. And when I say, “You take care of the One,” it doesn’t mean that you have to ‘take care’ of the One. It means, you take care of ‘your devotion’ to the One, and then the rest will be taken care of.

Are you getting it?

You see, today is a Sunday. And a while back, some of the students present here were having their examinations. Many did not turn up saying, “We have examinations, so we cannot come”; some still came. I want you to honestly reply, by not coming here did you actually do better in your examinations? And to those who came here, I am asking, by coming here, did you do any worse in your examinations?

The fact is, that if you are not coming here because of exam pressure, it has already been ascertained that, that exam is not going to go well.

(Pause)

There are people who repeatedly miss the camps (referring to Advait Learning Camps), citing the importance of family and career. Is it not true that their family and career are already in shambles?  The family is burning, and the career is destroyed, already. Is it not true?

And yes! When you go to an Advait Learning Camp, the family does object a few times. They will say, “There are these responsibilities to take care of. You will not be here for a week.” But ask yourself honestly, are you not more loving towards all when you return from the camp? In the real sense, don’t you serve your family better after the camp? Well, the impression may be different. It may not be so open. The family may say, “You are not quite the same person that you were before you went to the camp.” So initially it may be a matter of dislike; but in the real sense, are you not more useful to your family after the camp?

When the first priority is rightly taken care of, then the other priorities, by themselves fall in place.

Take care of the ‘first,’ and the ‘first’ will take care of the rest . . . and ignore the ‘first,’ and the rest would be turned to ashes. 

That is the sad story of man today. He wants to take care of everything, except the ‘first’ . . . except the ‘first’.

My advice is: whenever there is a conflict, or a choice between the ‘first’ and anything else, blindly, without thinking, without taking a second, go for the ‘first’. Don’t even think, don’t let calculations come into the picture.

There must be something in your life, where thought must not be allowed! There must be something in your life, which must be totally unconditional. You must be able to say, “The Truth has called, and I can’t allow myself to think now. The call has come, how can I think now? How can I ask, “Sir, how many days? Sir, how long? Where to? When? With whom?” How can I even ask this petulant, disrespectful question? The call has come . . . the call has come, and I have to respond – I can’t allow myself to think and decide.”

To think and decide in matters of the ‘first’ is blasphemy – this is the definition, the real definition of blasphemy. When you allow yourself to be bigger than the Truth, this is blasphemous: “My mind is bigger than the Truth. I will decide what to do with the call of the Truth. I will decide. I will not let the Truth decide, I will decide.” That is heresy.

Getting it?

Now this will make you feel a little scared, because you want security in thought. You feel secure when thought assures you that everything is in place. It’s a bad habit, that’s all. But that habit has become deep with you. You want to think, you want to project, pre-meditate. You want to be assured of the results of your actions. You want to ask, “What will come out of it?” You want to ask, “What if?” You want to project scenarios, you want a guarantee of results and returns.

So this leap will make you a little nervous: “In matters of Truth, am I being told not to think? But how can I act without thinking?”

Think, and you have spoiled it! When it comes to all the other priorities, you have all the luxury to think, think, and think . . . plan, plan, and plan. Let your mind display all its ammunition; let your intellect put all its wares to use; but only in the miscellaneous matters of life, not in the ‘first’ matter, not in matters of Heart, not in matters of Truth, not in matters of Love. There, thoughts have no place.

In other matters, most welcome. Use memory, use comparison, use analytics, use whatever you want to use. Then no harm will be done even if you are using thought and comparison and conclusion; because now thought would be acting as a servant to the Self – thought now would just be a servant of the Truth.

Now thought cannot harm you; it would be a useful servant. Now memory cannot harm you; it would be a useful servant.

Getting it?

If you love your family, then never give it the first priority. Give first priority to Love. Are you getting it? Understand this very clearly. If you love your lover, never give lover the first priority. Give the first priority to Love. Whatever is important to ‘you,’ must never get the first priority – never.

Don’t let the monkey occupy the throne.

Listener: Sir, what does it mean to have Truth as the first priority?

AP: It means that all the other priorities will be under the umbrella of Truth. It means that all the other priorities will be such that they send me more and more towards the Truth. That is what is meant by – ‘the Truth being the first priority’. Consider it this way. Take the Truth as a destination, far beyond. And take the call of the Truth as your very heartbeat. So Truth is both: far beyond, and deep within.

From ‘deep within,’ it calls you to reach the ‘far beyond’.

Now tell me. You have to reach a place, which is very, very distant. That is your first priority, and the only priority. Now, in the journey, you meet a lot of people. With whom do you want to keep company? Who will help you reach that place? There are a lot of choices, a lot of vehicles are standing. To which vehicle would you give priority?

L1: To the one that takes me towards the Truth.

AP: That is what is meant by – ‘the Truth deciding all your other priorities’.

Two cars are standing; to which one can I give priority? To that car which will take me towards my first priority; right? All my other priorities have to be under the umbrella of the Truth; all my other priorities have to be subservient, and surrendered, to my first priority.

What kind of friends will I make? Those who keep me reminded of the ‘first’. If he reminds me of the ‘first,’ he deserves to be my friend; but if he reminds me of something else, then he is not a friend.

A friend is not a friend if he reminds you of himself. Then, the friend is an enemy. A friend is a friend if he says, “Forget me; remember the Truth.” A wife is not a wife, if she draws attention towards herself. Neither is a husband a husband, if he draws attention towards himself. A wife is a wife, and a husband is a husband, if they take you towards the Truth, and not towards themselves. The wife who says, “Come to me,” is your enemy. If she is really a loving wife, she will say, “Go to the Truth, and I will come along. And in the movement towards Truth, let us be together.” If the husband says, “Come to me, to my body,” the husband is an enemy.

All your other priorities have to be attuned to the ‘first one’. All your other priorities have to be like small streams – all flowing towards the Ganga, which, in turn, flowing towards the ocean.

Are you getting it? Is this clear?

So obviously in your daily living, moment after moment, you will have miscellaneous priorities. You will have to decide which mail to reply to. You will have to decide what food to eat. You will have to decide whom to talk to. You will have to decide what work to do, what food to eat.

What food should have priority? That food which takes you towards Truth, by keeping the mind calm. Food that agitates the mind, is poison. When the Truth is your first priority, then you choose your food wisely. Then you say, “I will choose that food which helps keep the mind and body calm.”

Do you understand this?

When you know that the Truth is first priority, then which job do you take, what work do you do? Such work that does not agitate or disturb you; such work that is not violent or divisive.

“If Truth is my first priority, then I’ll take up work which constantly takes me towards the Truth. All other works are not to be touched by me. I cannot do anything else, because if I do anything else, then it reminds me of so many other things. My mind gets filled up with miscellaneous stuff. How can I take up other work then? I can take up only one work, the work that takes me towards Truth.”

“If Truth is my first priority, how do I choose my garments? Then I will say, ‘I will choose those garments which do not disturb my body, which do not fit the body very tightly, which do not unnecessarily call others’ attention.’” Now the first priority is deciding what you will wear.

The first priority is deciding where you would work, the first priority is deciding what you would wear, and the first priority is deciding what you would eat, whom you would be with. The first priority is deciding everything; and every moment you are making a decision. The criteria of that decision is – ‘the first’; and that is the only criteria.

“There is no other criterion that I have. You want me to give you company? I have only one question to ask you: will you remind me of the Truth or will you remind me of yourself and your body?  If your presence reminds me of your body, then you are dangerous, I should stay away.”

Let the first decide everything right up to the last. Getting it?

You see . . . referring to the family . . . in the camp you were reading The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, and one of you had posted that excerpt from Ramakrishna’s talks. In that, one of the visitors asked him, “My wife threatens to commit suicide if I move on the religious path. She says, ‘If you go to the temple, if you pursue this path of Bhakti, then I will commit suicide.’” Ramakrishna says: “Let her commit suicide. A wife who prevents the husband from moving on the spiritual path, is a very ungodly and evil wife”.

She wants to commit suicide, let her commit suicide; but you cannot allow her to usurp the ‘first priority’.

Ramakrishna says, “God has to be your first priority. No wife can be allowed to change that. Whatever be the price, pay that.”

Now does that mean that Ramakrishna is being cruel? No, he is not being cruel. This man will be able to cleanse his mind, his wife’s mind, only if, first of all, his own mind is in the proper place.

You see, this man is in a difficult situation. Destiny has given him a wife, who is very ungodly. But it is upon him, to help her now. How can he help her, if he himself is not firmly seated in the Truth? Ramakrishna is helping not only this man, but also his wife.

By giving the right advice to this man, Ramakrishna is helping this man’s wife as well.

Ramakrishna is telling this man, “You remain with the Truth; and if you remain with the Truth, then through you, the Truth will reach your wife as well, even if she resists or opposes, cries, or even tries to commit suicide.”

Now she may commit suicide, there may be a one percent chance, but then people die of several reasons. Life is anyway uncertain. You remain with the Truth. Through you, it has a way of reaching others. Even if your family opposes the first priority, you remain with the first priority.  You will find that your family too is being helped. In fact, that is the only way you can help your family – by firmly and sincerely remaining with the Truth.

L2: Sir, regarding work you said that first priority should be given to that kind of work which takes us to the Truth. Can you give some examples of that kind of work?

AP: What is the point in asking for examples of healthy food when your mind, like a fly, is obsessed only with sugar and jaggery!

“First of all, I must be clear about what is not the kind of work to be done in life. I very well know that in my current occupation, the world becomes heavy on my mind.”

Now the honest question in such a situation would be, “Do I really need to continue with what I am doing?” But no! I do not want to ask that question; because that question demands action. What do I ask? I ask, “Sir, can you give examples of works that take one towards the Truth?”

Sitting securely in the untruthful work that you are doing, you want to know about the Truth?

“If I really am serious, if my intentions are pure, then the first thing I will say is, ‘This is not right. I have to give this up. And after that, whatever happens, we will see.’”

If you are drinking poison and somebody tells you that this is poison, would you ask him, “Can you then give me examples of non-poisons? Can you give me examples where nectar is found?”

It is enough to know that what is in your hands (and life) right now is poison. Give it up! And once you give it up, a space is created, a clean space is created, in which godly work descends on its own.

When you have cleansed yourself of the impure, then a pure space is created on its own.

Give up the rubbish that you have filled your life with! Do not ask, “What would happen after that?” Do not ask, “What would the rubbish be substituted with?” It’s an improper and insecure question to ask. It shows faithlessness. You are asking for a guarantee. You are asking for an assurance that you would be preserved. The demand for this assurance itself arises from the habits that you have filled yourself with. Truth is not for those who want to be secure. Purely on the basis of faith, you have to take a step into the unknown. You have to leave yourself to the ‘will of existence,’ where there is no security and no guarantee.

Do not ask about the future; do not ask about the others. Just look at yourself and enquire, “Am I in the right kind of job? Is this work taking me towards Truth? Or, does it fill my mind with all kinds of rubbish?”

That is the right question to ask!


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

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi on Buddha:Only by seeing the falseness of otherness, you are able to help the other

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: To help others you must be free of others.

Article 2: Being close to yourself is closeness to others.

Article 3: What matters more in work – skill or love?

When life lacks the Essential then it tries to compensate with exotic experiences

Learning-004

Question: Sir, suppose I go through an incident and I take it into my stride, and I learn something from it. So then that learning becomes my experience. But, in one of your discourses you have said that the only thing that keeps us from forgetting our past is trying to forget the past. So, how does one do both the things simultaneously that is let go of the past and gain experience from it?

Acharya Prashant: We’ll have to address the issues of ‘experience’ and ‘learning,’ and see how and whether they are related to each other. Normally, what do you think learning is?

Listener: Sir, anything fruitful that we can extract from any occurrence.

AP: So what do you mean by extracting something from an occurrence?

L1: To be able to know the dos and don’ts in advance in case a similar situation happens to us in the future.

AP: So you mean committing it to memory?

L1: Yes, Sir.

AP: So you have related memorization to learning. Is that not so?

L1: Yes, Sir.

AP: Learning is the ability to respond afresh to something, to respond free of experience. Pay attention to this. Normally, the mind is clouded with all kinds of experiences, memories, thoughts, a sense of the self, all these together create a world, and the ego sits at the centre of that world. It is from this kind of a mind that we respond to the happenings around us.

Learning means the clearing away of this world. When you say that you are learning something, it must not mean that you are covering yourself with more layers of experience. Learning means that you are able to uncover your innate ability to know and respond. That is learning. Now this goes against what we usually call as learning, our usual sense of the word. When we say learning, we mean gaining something, some data, information, knowledge, a method of responding.

Contrast it again. Learning means, “I went through a particular experience and in the light of attention, by the grace of Truth, I was able to see the various kinds of falsenesses contained in the whole process of experiencing. I was able to see how what appears is just a game that the mind of the subject plays, and I was able to see how my own reactions are another game that the mind of the subject plays.”

So, experience cannot reveal to you anything new. The very idea that one gains from experience rests on the assumption that one is intrinsically poor and experience will supply to him that which he is deficient in. Experience cannot teach you anything.

If you are not careful, experience will form a layer over your psyche. And what else is psyche? Layer upon layer of experience. But if you are careful – in the sense of being attentive – then the same experience will just reveal to you its own hollowness – that is the proper place of experience and attention in living. You would be undergoing some experience all the time. So you are talking to me, this is an experience; you came here, and that is an experience; you might have spoken to a few people around here, that was another experience. These experiences are not meant to provide or supply anything fundamental to you. But if you are going through these experiences wakefully, watchfully, attentively, then you will be able to see how each experience has the power to cloud your intellect – that is learning.

You do not learn from experience, you learn about the experience.

And what do you learn about the experience? That it really means nothing: “It means nothing really, but it appears to mean a lot.” And therein lies its hollowness, and its deception. Being nothing, it promises so much. Being hollow, it appears so substantial. That is how the sharp eye looks at experience.

I am repeating: this whole assumption, the paradigm that experience makes one richer, is inherently false. Experience does not bring any richness to your life. Richness of life is given to you by something very innate to you. Something that is your life-blood, it is already there with you. But when you are taught that experience will make you a bigger, a better man, that it will bring fulfilment to your life, then what do you do? Then you do that which this entire world around us is doing.

If you see, what is the common man doing? What is the entire life story of the common man? You will see that he is running after experience. He wants one experience after the other, and behind this ‘want’ is the premise that one experience, or a set of experiences, will be able to close that yawning gap in his heart. Is that not so?

L1: Yes, Sir.

AP: What are we doing, moment after moment, day after day, year after year? Gathering experiences and running after them, right? “Let me see how it feels to travel in that foreign country. Let me see how it feels to have dinner in that exquisite restaurant. Let me experience what it means to be physically close to that man or woman. Let me touch, let me smell, let me eat, let me travel, let me reach.”

One job after the other, one relationship after the other, one house after the other. What is the common man doing all the time? He is just gathering experiences, assuming that ultimately some experience will be the final one. But the very foundation of this running around is false.  You can run all your life and gather as many experiences as you want and for as long as you want, yet, if the mind is resting upon a flawed foundation, it will never gain peace.

Are you getting it?

L1: Yes, Sir.

AP: So, am I saying that one should avoid experiences? Am I saying that one should enclose himself in some kind of a silo and insulate himself from the world? No, I am not saying that. Experiences are anyway happening all the time. A while back, we said that since you have come here, you are having experiences. This discussion is an experience. Having tea with our friend here would have been an experience. Reaching up to this place would have been an experience. Life, every moment, anyway is an experience. And there is the experiencer.

The wise man does not expect too much from experiences. The wise man does not make experience the source of his learning. He knows that learning rests within. Experience has no positive role in enhancing learning. If anything, experience can obfuscate learning.

Pay attention to this because it runs contrary to conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom says that experience can enhance learning. I am saying that experience cannot enhance learning, experience can only obfuscate learning. It can cover it.

The reality, the Truth of things, of Being, is very simple and direct, and within. One does not need an external agency to provide it to you. But what you call as ‘external’ surely has the power, in all its complexity, to not to give you something, but to take away that which is already with you.

Totally give up this notion that those who are more experienced have advanced in any way in terms of intelligence.

Look at the people who have known much, are knowledgeable, experienced, of advanced age. Do you really see innocence and simplicity shining on their faces? Or do you see them rather bogged down under the weight of experience?

You look at most people who have crossed a particular age – forty, or sixty, or eighty – you look at their faces. Have they become more open to life, have they made themselves more vulnerable to life? When they look at the simple things around, do their eyes lit up with a wondrous question, an excitement, like a child when he sees an ordinary insect, like a moth or a kite? Do you see that happening with experienced people? Do you see that on their faces, in their eyes? Or do you see a dullness, a heaviness? Now with that dullness and heaviness, where is learning? Where is learning? How can you learn about anything if your experience is too much upon you?

Are you getting it?

Do not bother about experience. I am repeating: live simply and allow experiences to come to you. They are anyway coming to you. You hold no obligation or responsibility to run after experiences. Just don’t block them and that is sufficient. And the experienced man, it is quiet amusing, blocks experiences. Because that is what experiences teach him: all kinds of morality, all kinds of precaution. Now he knows what to experience and what not to experience. It is quite paradoxical in that sense that the experienced man is the least open to experiences.

Life is eager to give you more experiences than you can ask for. You do not have to worry about running hither-thither and having experiences. You look at young people, they are worrying all the time.

“Will I get a job of that nature?”

“Will I get a social security of that kind?”

“What if I do not get a girlfriend and I die single?” Do you see, what is this anxiety?

“What will happen to me?”

“Will I get that particular experience or not?”

Now, why are you so anxious? Is there anything in the entire universe that has to worry about the next day? That has to worry about what existence will bring to it? Nothing worries, and everything gets what it ought to get. Man is the only one who is so worried about whether or not he would attain fulfilment. I am repeating: experience blocks experience; and life showers experience upon you.

Let life flow through you. It will naturally, without your asking, bring to you so many and such diversity of experiences, which you could have never even thought of. You do not need to plan and you do not need to worry. Become one with life, have the faith that whatever will happen, will not destroy you. Remain open, remain prepared to being wounded a little, and then see how you are left breathless with experience. And that experience, which we are talking of, will be fresh.

When people commonly say that they want an experience of a particular kind, do they ever want a fresh experience? You can demand something from life only if you have already heard about it. Have you not?

“My friend has been earning so much money, so I too want that much money.” Now is there anything fresh about your demand for this experience? No, not really. You are seeing this happening all around you, so you too want it. “My cousin has been smoking a particular exotic variety of weed, I too want it.” Now, what is new about your demand? Anything new? “I want to become the president of the world.” It’s a stale wish. “I want to receive the highest honors that man can give to man.” Millions of people have wanted the same. “I want the most beautiful woman on my bed.” Come on, demand something new.

But that’s the kind of ‘experience’ that one can demand, or can you demand any new experience? Can there be any newness in the experience that you demand? Ever? Think of it.

L1: No, Sir.

AP: No! Fortunately, life has no respect for your demands. What life can give to you, is brand new. What life can give to you, is really fresh – so fresh that it knocks you down. You don’t know what to do with what you have been given. At most, you can demand a kitten, or a pup; life can give you a baby serpent on your bed. Now what to do with it? You never wanted it. You wanted a cute kitten. What have you been given? You wake up and what do you find? A baby snake. That’s what life can give you. Now that’s experience – to the extent that one man can think of it, right? You can even have the egg of an extinct dinosaur on your bed – I mean, let imagination run.

But you will never ask for it really. Life can give it to you, without your asking. But life will not give it to you if you are hell-bent upon just pups and kittens. Pups and kittens are so boring. Your brother has them, your mother has them, everybody has them. Are you getting it?

You demand such boring and dull and ordinary things from life, and then you complain that life is not providing them to you. What you don’t realize is that life has something really special in store for you, which is not coming to you because you are not open to it.

Life is knocking on your door with its wondrous gifts and like a sissy baby you are crying and wimping and complaining, “Why am I not being given the same thing that Tina in the neighborhood has been given!” That is all that you know – your comparison with Tina. Life is little bigger than Tina and infinitely more wise. Are you getting it?

Stop this infatuation with experience. You see the advertisement of a new product in the market and you want it. Somebody wants to sell a resort to you and he will say, “Come over and we have some kind of an adventure store. You can have games and parties and pools.” And you become excited. Some new food? “There are so many countries in the world – two hundred odd. Have you tried all the exotic cuisines? With all their exotic names?” And you feel so small and jealous when you come to learn that somebody is having food from Rwanda or Chile. “I am so impoverished. See, all that I have ever had is food from my petty house. And that lucky fellow is having exotic meals from Azerbaijan.”

When life lacks the essential then it tries to compensate for it through exotic experience. When life is brimming with the essential, overflowing with the essential, then the craving for extraordinary experience is no more there. Because the essential itself is the destination of all experience. Why do you demand experience? So that you can ultimately reach that point of supreme peace and fulfilment. And if that supreme peace and fulfilment is anyway available, then what will you do with experience?

And this ordinary availability, this simple abundance of life, to know it, to live in it, is learning. Nothing else is learning. You make your brain a store house of information – that is not called learning. To learn is to learn about the hollowness of experience and the fullness of your self – that is learning. Are you getting it?

That is the only thing that one can ever learn. Nothing else is there to be learnt. You go to some alien location and you memorize all the people that you met and all the places that you went to and all the food that you ate, and all the other pieces of data that can be had and you come back with it. You have no right to say that you have learnt anything. Yes, you have gained in knowledge. But knowledge itself is so poor, it never gains completion. Have you ever seen anybody gaining complete knowledge? Knowledge itself is condemned to remain incomplete and what is condemned to remain incomplete, how can it give completion to you? You are demanding health from sickness? You are demanding fulfilment from knowledge, which itself never becomes fulfilled?

So be very clear about what learning really is. Learning does not mean the acquisition of anything external. Learning means to see that whatever is external is just so hollow, just so needless. One learns about the only Truth that there is, and that is the Self. That is the only thing worth learning. That is the only substance that can be learnt about. All else is false.

L2: Sir, correct me when I go wrong: by understanding what is learning, we get to know that experiences are basically hollow, that they will come and go, and that one does not have to go chasing after them.

AP: In the moment of experience, if you can remain untempted by experience, that is learning.

Remember you are not being hostile towards experience; you are not even being indifferent towards experience. It’s just that you are not placing an unreasonable demand upon experience. You see, what do we do? Understand this. We all want a certain contentment, call it peace, call it joy, or call it love. Because we have lost the understanding of where this real substance could actually be found, we try to find it in the wrong places.

We are trying to get from experience what experience can never give you. For example, immortality. Nobody wants to die. One’s nature is to be, and not be extinct. Be. Be present. But the nature of the world is to come and go. Since we do not know where really to find immortality, we try to find immortality in material. We somehow try to find immortality in the body, in relationships, in mental security, in concepts about rebirth. Are you getting it?

So experience is alright. I repeat that we are not trying to look down upon experience. We are just saying that we should not expect that from experience which experience can anyway not provide. With all the effort that you can put behind experience, experience will never give you wisdom. Similarly, we know that all experience is material, is sensual. Similarly, you can go through the process of physical intimacy a million times, yet it will not give you love.

Now to expect experience to give you that which is beyond experience, is foolishness. So go through experience but let experience stay in its place. You should know that the essential will not be provided by experience. And remaining in this understanding is learning, is wisdom.  So we are saying: let life bring all kinds of experiences to us and we will happily and willingly go through them. We will not obstruct them. We will welcome them, but we will not think that these experiences are in any way, a substitute, a complement or a proxy to the essential.

Experience in no way can touch the essential. Experience whatever life has to give you but stay with the essential. Do not confuse these two. Experience is experience and essential is essential.


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

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi: When life lacks the Essential then it tries to compensate with exotic experiences

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Does experience give intelligence?

Article 2: The only way to clean yourself is to immerse in the ocean of the Self.

Article 3: The false promise of fulfillment through experience.