If life is really going great, why do you need spirituality? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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If life is really going great, why do you need spirituality

Question 1: Pranaam Acharya Ji. I was introduced to Dhyan(meditation), through Indian Classical Music. Since then, I am deeply interested in spirituality. In the last session, you mentioned that cessation of passion, is dispassion. I think about it, a lot. And I don’t think that I am passionate towards anything in my life.

I like classical music, I like to read books on spirituality, I like listening to Masters. I like the silence. But I am not passionate about anything. I am unable to understand, where I want to go.

Life is going really great, but the inner ‘me’ is not at all satisfied with what I do. I cannot continue like this anymore. Please tell me what to do in this situation.

Acharya Prashant Ji: First of all, figure out clearly, what the situation is like. On one hand you say that life is going really great. And immediately after, you declare that you cannot continue like this anymore. What do you want?

Is life going great, or horrible? If it’s going great, why can’t you continue, as things are?

(Repeating the question)“The inner me is not at all satisfied with what I do. I am not passionate about anything.”

What is ‘passion’? In the spiritual sense, the meaning of the word ‘passion’, is pain. And you do look quite pained, Saurabh(the questioner). So, you do have passion.

‘Passion’, does not merely mean heightened enthusiasm.

‘Passion’ stems from pain.

A perception of a lack of something.

An inner wound, an inner hollow.

It is very much present. And that is what you are to observe – your passion.

You do have passion. Not wanting anything in life, not enthused by anything in life, not having love towards life, feeling miserable even when life is apparently great – all this is ‘passion’.

This is your ‘passion’.

So, do not say that you do not have any passion in life. ‘This’ is your passion. Your passion is – that in the middle of a seemingly wonderful life, you are still dissatisfied. That is your passion. Observe it.

And next time, when you send over a question, make sure you do not say that life is wonderful. And if life is wonderful, do not send over a question.

You cannot go to the doctor, and say, “You know doctor, I am in the best of health. I am the fittest around. I think I am going to live three hundred fifty years. But, why don’t you treat me?” If you are so fit and so healthy, then you are fit to treat the doctor. Why have you gone to the doctor?

Again and again, you people take me back to Sholay (an Indian movie).

“Mausi (aunt), my friend is wonderful. Just that he is the most wretched one around.”

“Mausi, my friend has all the great qualities, just that he is a drunkard.”

“Mausi, drinking is no problem at all. Drinking will stop, the day he stops going to that whore.”

Saurabh, you look like a Dharmendra fan, or a Amitabh Bachchan fan. (The two referred persons were the actors in the movie Sholay). That’s how we are, right?

“No, everything is alright. It’s just that I am living in hell.”

“Beta, how is Papa doing?”

“Papa is good, it’s just that he died this morning.”

Why can’t we be a little upfront?

Question 2: Acharya Ji, these are some lines from Rumi.

“God created pain and (yearning) sorrow for this sake:
so that happiness may occur by (means of) this opposite.

Thus, hidden things are revealed by (their) opposites.
(And) since God has no opposite, He is hidden.”

What is the meaning of these lines?

Acharya Ji: If everybody is stupid, will they ever know that they are stupid? In a village, in a room, everybody is stupid, now is anybody ‘stupid’? So, things become manifest, by the presence of their opposite.

One intelligent man walks in, and now, there is a lot of stupidity. In some sense, the intelligent man, brought in a lot of stupidity. Intelligence is – stupidity.

Before the intelligent man came in, was anybody stupid?

Nobody was stupid.

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

Watch the session: If life is really going great, why do you need spirituality? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What does it mean to be spiritual? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What does it mean to be spiritual

Question: Acharya Ji, what does it mean to be spiritual?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It merely means that you are not being stupid. Is it necessary that you must be at least be sometimes stupid? Is there such great attraction in stupidity?

If water and poison are kept in front of you, ten cups of water and ten cups of poison, and you have have to make ten choices, what does ‘spirituality’ mean? Ten out of ten times, I will pick water.

It is as simple as that.

Now, do you want to say, “Sometimes, you know for a change, we must pick poison. There is nothing absolute. And spirituality is just an incremental improvement upon worldliness”? No.

Spirituality means – make the right decision, every time.

Even if you pick poison once, it’s curtains for you. It’s like batting. How many times can you get out? Just once. Now would you say, “Must we never get bold out. You know, five out of six balls, I will play rightly. But, one ball per over, I want to see my stumps uprooted”?

You won’t get another over to face, my child. You have to play six out of six times, rightly. And even then, you can get beaten. Even when you are trying to be at your best, even when you play six balls rightly, still it is possible that you nick one, to the wicket-keeper.

Even the batsman, who has the intention to play all six rightly, can get out. And what will happen to the one, who has decided that one ball, per over, he will play a lose shot? What will happen to the batsman, who has already made up his mind, that one ball per over, he will play a lose shot? How long will he last?

Why must you ever pick the poison?

Make the right choice, every time.

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

Watch the session: What does it mean to be spiritual? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What qualities should one seek while electing a nation’s leader?

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

Marcos: When we think of qualities, what do you think one should seek in a leader, in a President, according to what you have been saying to us?

Acharya Prashant: First of all, people have to see, what kind of a person is he. Person before politics, person before policies. Policies are a function of the person and not vice versa.

Politics is about relationships. The President must truly relate to a large number of people. And the quality of one’s relationships comes from the quality of one’s mind.

If one is ambitious, aggressive, insecure, seeking to promote himself, then whatever be his stated policies be, he will end up exploiting everybody, just to further his personal goals and ambitions. It doesn’t matter which party he is contesting from. It doesn’t matter, what policies is he tom-tomming. If he is someone who has no compassion, if he is someone who knows no love, if he is someone who can use people to further his personal interests, then irrespective of his political affiliation, irrespective of his stated goals, he will be dangerous for both the country and the world in general.

What I am saying, sounds strange, because that is not the language of the political discourse. But I am saying that the voter must ask himself: Does my president know love? Does my president know humility? Is my president able to give up what shows up as false? Or is my president a very-very attached, a very possessive human being?

The President comes later, the human being comes first, obviously. And the president will not be able to supersede the human being. The president is first of all a human being.

Marcos: For most people in Brazil, it may not be very easy to understand the views that you expressed. Your approach is lovely and introspective.

Why do you think that people nowadays in the West have focussed on intellect so much, rather than meditative understanding?

AP: It is the old case of once bitten, twice shy. Just a few centuries back, religion, and tradition supported by religion, were proving to be a very depressing, debilitating, and mindless force. And that is why an intellectual uprising was needed. That is why the revolutions were needed, Reformation and Renaissance were needed. So, man has memory of all that. And that is why we are still very apprehensive towards religion. But just because a few ignorant people at one point in history misused the name of the divine, it does not mean that man can live without spirituality.

Man cannot live without spirituality. And the dangerous part, please understand, is that man will, on his own accord, usually not accept that it is the divine peace that he is looking for. Because that acceptance hurts the ego. So man will remain frustrated; man will remain restless and angry and violent but he will not admit what he really wants. Because that admission is a crushing blow to the ego.

So what will man do?

He is frustrated so he will vent his anger on the streets. He will ask for political change. He will go about bringing a fake kind of change that will not help. He will bring about radical changes in all the wrong places. And those changes are not going to suffice, so what will man do?

Man will say probably these changes are not sufficient so he will bring about more radical changes. It’s almost like having a break-up and telling oneself that I am not missing my girlfriend. It may happen sometimes: you may have a breakup and you may want to convince yourself that you were not missing your girlfriend because confessing, admitting that you are missing her makes you feel weak, makes you feel offended.

So you keep on telling a lie to yourself: that neither do you love her anymore nor do you miss her anymore. But within you are feeling angry, within you are feeling incomplete, within there is a hole now, within you are bleeding. Outside you are wearing a mask of calmness and composure; inside you are all ruffled up. So what do you do? On a small matter, on some pretence, you go and beat the neighbour up. You needed to release your frustration somewhere. That is the kind of thing that we are witnessing in the world and we are going to witness more and more.

People will clash, conflicts will grow because people are missing something. But they are not admitting what they are really missing. They are missing meditativeness, they are missing love. They are missing the surrender and dissolution of the ego. So they are trying all kind of stupid and aggressive ways to make up for what they are missing. Their ways are not succeeding, cannot succeed, but their ways will keep becoming more potent, more powerful, more destructive. That does not sound good at all.

Marcos: What is the message that you would like to give to Brazil at this moment? What do you think they should consider while voting? What do you think they should seek for their lives at this difficult moment with a word that would remind us.

AP: Reaction does not take anybody anywhere. Destruction, criticism, operating from a point of hurt, has never taken anybody anywhere. If you go out to vote as someone who has been hurt and offended and wronged, you will never cast your vote rightly. You cannot reach the right place if you are starting out at the wrong place, as the wronged one. Your very decision about the destination would be misplaced; path you choose will be misplaced. So do not operate from a center of littleness, aggression, fear.

When you decide on the one that you are supporting, see whether the arguments in his favor are the arguments of peace, understanding, innocence and love. If you are voting for someone with destructive arguments, egoistic arguments, violent arguments, then for sure your choice will hurt you.

Marcos: O, thank you very much….


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

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Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth

Question: On one hand, I want to spiritually grow towards enlightenment. But, at the same time, some side of me wants to have earthly freedom, experiences, like traveling. Even though, I know, that those things won’t bring me True Joy.

Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth?

Acharya Prashant Ji: (Addressing the questioner) Isa, there is no dissonance between Spiritual Joy, and earthly living. The one, who is not spiritually developed, may travel to all corners of the earth, but would still remain joyless.

So, what is the point in travelling?

There is, the wandering monk. Look at his Joy. There is the Fakir(Monk) who travels from place to place, village to village. Sometimes, from country to country. Traditionally, in India, Sadhus(Monk), would forbid themselves, from staying too long, at any one place. They would just keep travelling.

Buddha and Mahavir, the great ascetics, they traveled all their life. Even Guru Nanak made voyages, long distance travels – the east, to the south, to the west. That’s one kind of travelling, in which you are already full of Joy, and you are travelling to disseminate that Joy. You are travelling, so that, even others may have that Joy.

And the, there is the traveling tourist. The average traveler. What does travel give him? Some consolation. Some very feeble support, to enable him to carry on, his otherwise wretched life. Once a year, twice a year, he saves money to travel, and not much comes out of that travel, because he is not internally complete.

Even the earth, discloses it’s real treasures, only to the spiritually accomplished ones.

To the spiritually accomplished one, the earthly living itself, is heavenly.

And that would also tell you what is ‘hell’.

The one who is not spiritually accomplished, to him, the earth itself is ‘hell’.

So it is not as if, there are two different worlds, offering two different kind of joys. That is the mental model you are coming from. You are telling me, “There is the earthly joy, which is an inferior kind of joy, but still quite alluring. And then, there is a metaphysical, transcendental joy, spiritual joy. And the spiritual joy, is quite attractive, but it seems to come at the cost of earthly joy.

No. Wrong. That’s where you are mistaken.

The ‘Spiritual Joy’, does not come at the cost of earthly joy.

In fact, there is nothing called ‘Spiritual Joy’.

All joy is earthly, because all Joy is to the one, who is the product of the Earth.

No Man, no Joy.

If there is no Isa (the questioner), who is there to be joyful? And Isa, who is she? Someone who has arisen from the earth. Who are you? You are the soil, you are the water, you are the air, you are the sunlight. Without these, would there be any human being?

So, the one who is Joyful, is always an earthly one. Therefore, there is no distance, or distinction, between these two kinds of joy. In fact, if you create two dimensions of joys, then you do not know, either of these dimensions. Any of these dimensions.

It is a very common misconception, and we all need to get rid of it.

We feel that, to have spiritual joy, we have to give up earthly pleasures. And such stories have come to us, from various sources. They continue to keep coming to us. No, not at all true.

Spirituality is Wisdom.

Spirituality is deep Intelligence.

Spirituality is to give up the inferior, in the favor of superior.

That which you call as ‘earthly pleasure’, definitely has something, which is worth rejecting, worth dropping. Therefore, Spirituality, is to drop incomplete, costly, ephemeral pleasures, in favor of an ending pleasure called ‘Joy’.

Are you getting it?

You could even say that – ‘Spirituality is the art of absolute hedonism’.

The common man, he satisfies himself with bits and pieces. Some crumbs here, some crumbs there – of little bit of happiness, of little bit of pleasure. The monk, the spiritual seeker, he says, “Nothing doing. Not only I want happiness. I want happiness Absolute.” He is ambitious. He is very-very greedy, you know. Because he is very-very greedy, so he tells you to shun normal greed. Because he is absolutely greedy, so he tells you, “Do not be a little bit greedy.”

You think that he is against greed. He is not against greed. He is against everything, that is incomplete. So, he says, “If you have to be greedy, you must be not incompletely greedy, but absolutely greedy.”

Spirituality is Absolute greed. Spirituality says, “I do not want anything small. I want now, only the infinite Ultimate.”

See, what dimension of greed it is. Similarly, happiness and pleasure. Common man says, “Give me happiness. One hour a day, please.” What does the spiritual one say, “I want the total, unending, diminishing, eternal happiness.” And where does he want it? In some other world, some other planet, some other galaxy? Where exactly doe the spiritual seeker want that?

Listeners: On this earth.

Acharya Ji: On this earth. When does he want it – after seven hundred years, after death, in seventh life, in the eighteenth life? When exactly does he want it?

Listeners: Now.

Acharya Ji: After fifty years, when he turns seventy-five, and enters the last ashram of his life? Is that when he wants it?

Listeners: No. Now.

Acharya Ji: If Joy is absolute, would you want to postpone it? It would be so very alluring, that you won’t be able to postpone it. You would want it, right now.

That’s spirituality – to have the highest happiness, and have it right now.

Here.

The highest, right now, right here.

Getting it?

Now, do you want the earthly things? Are they still attractive?

If the earthly things are attractive, then that should tell you, that you have a faculty for attraction. If even, a little attracts you, it should tell you that you know how to get attracted. And if you know how to get attracted, then how would you feel in front of the Immense?

I repeat: if even the little attracts you so much, what would be your condition, in front of the Immense?

You would go bonkers.

That’s how the spiritual mind wants to live – in an absolute craziness.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Are earthly pleasures a hindrance to spiritual growth? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation||Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir(2016)

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Question: Why do people practice techniques like ‘Yoga’ and ‘Meditation’? Do you think they are necessary?

Acharya Prashant Ji: They have their own place. But, one should be very clear about the place that they have. What you usually call as ‘Yoga’, the kind of Yoga that is prevalent in this city(Rishikesh), is good for the body.

But do not take it as a means to salvation. If it is being sold as something mystical, or spiritual, then it is not. In fact, to try to achieve salvation through Yoga, is just an exhibition of the ego. The ego is saying that-  “By doing this or that, or by stretching my limbs, or sitting in a particular posture, I will reach God.” You sit in whatever posture you like,  you do whatever you want to do with the breath or the body, you will not get God.

Questioner: But, as I can see, one can calm the mind, by doing these asanas, these postures?

Acharya Ji: You can calm the mind, and believe that ‘you’ calmed the mind, you can calm the mind, and believe that ‘you’ calmed the mind, and in the process, cause greater agitation to yourself.

There is no method, except ‘surrender’ – direct, unconditional surrender.

If you know that your mind is calm, because the body is feeling better, and ‘you’  are the one who did something to make the body feel better, then that is just an extension of the ego.

The real happens, never, due to your planning, or your effort.

Because the real never ‘happens’.

It is already there.

It does not need to ‘happen’.

It is the only ‘happening’, how can it happen anymore?

But we are all, intent upon, somehow making the real ‘happen’. “I will go and try so hard, that I get the Truth.” Is Truth an apple or something? You don’t often get even apples due to your efforts. You can’t even get apples when you want, how will you get the Truth?

But yes, it has a certain value. When the body is fit, there is no doubt, that the mind has to think about it. So, in that space, it has a certain value.

Questioner: Does it mean that it is out of man’s control – the matter of Truth?

Acharya Ji: Yes, and the ego does not like this statement. The statement is – “This proves that it is out of your control, the matter of Truth, whether you get Truth or not.”

Yes. Please realise this, as soon as possible.

The Truth won’t come to you, because you tried this way, or that way.

It comes to you, because you see the futility of all your actions.

From morning to evening, whatever you are doing, when you see the futility inherent in them, that is the Truth.

That Silence.

And mind you, from that Silence, great action emerges. It is not as if, no action would happen. Your heart would come to ‘no action’, and the body and the mind would act vigorously.

A ‘Spiritual man’, cannot be a saint, who does nothing but eats all day, and keeps getting fat. And then everyday in the morning, he lectures for two hours. A ‘Spiritual man’, is an intense actor. He does not live as somebody, who has nothing to do with worldly concerns.

Kindly get rid of the image of the saint. In fact, if you come across any such person, who does nothing, except lecturing, and is getting fat, out of lecturing too much, then avoid him.

The ‘Spiritual man’ is a warrior.

He is one, who belongs to this  world.

He is one who partakes in the concerns of this world.

He lives life fully.

It is not that he has shed all experience. In fact, he has become more open and sensitive to experience – this happiness, this sadness, this pleasure and pain.

He is the man of the earth.

You will not find him on some great throne, somewhere. He must be someone, who moves through the streets – a commoner. He is not a general who hides in the castle. He is a foot soldier, out there in the battlefield.

Are you getting it?

Truth is not about renouncing the world of something. The man of Truth, I repeat, is a man of great action. And if you see someone, whose life is dull, lukewarm, incapable of action, then you should just know that his life has not been touched by the Truth.

Truth makes you go wild.

It does not allow you to sleep.

The dance of Truth, is a mad dance.

It is a dance of the destruction.

It is a dance in which you come alive!

You do not just sit in saffron, and say, “Hari Om.”

Kabir Sahab, never made preaching, his profession. He was a weaver, and he remained a weaver. You must ask, all the so-called spiritual ones, “What do you do, except wagging your tongue? And how do you know, anything of life, if you are not living it anymore?”

“You do not meet the commoners. You do not earn anything. You live on donations. You do not go to the markets to sell anything. You don’t but anything, because all is bought for you, by your followers. You don’t mingle with women anymore, because that destroys your reputation. Now, how do you know anything about life?”

If you are a man, and if you are not meeting women, as a man anymore, what do you know about life? From where else does anyone know about life? Does some great Truth descends from heaven? One knows the Truth, only in these simple, daily experiences of everyday living. And if you have blocked-out these everyday experiences, then how are you in touch with the Truth anymore?

How? 

Kabir’s life is a message. In continuing his life as a weaver, Kabir Sahab is saying, that professional preachers should be rejected, precisely because they are professional preachers.

You must ask the so-called spiritual ones, “Is there anything else that you do?” Your words must come out of your life, not out of some book or something. You should have gone have gone to the market, you should have seen something there. And then you should be talking, from there. 

You should be able to say that yesterday, this is what I saw, and hence we should talk about it. When Kabir Sahab talks, he makes the entire world, his instrument. He uses ‘thread’ as a metaphor, he uses the ‘loom’ as a metaphor. He uses the ‘color’ as a metaphor. He uses the ‘selling’, as a metaphor. 

There is nothing in this world, which Kabir Sahab does not use as a metaphor. Even dogs. This means that – he is a man, who is living really, intimately, with life. He is not just talking, some great high-flying theory.

Deep Awareness, Pure Consciousness – Kabir Sahib will never talk of all that. Because he is a real. He is not coming from a book, or tradition. He is not coming from rote learning. Whatever he is saying, it is arising from his heart, and hence so practical. 


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation

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

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How to test whether your wisdom is growing

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

~ Yoga Vashishth Sara

Chapter 1, Verse 13

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

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

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

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

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

Foolishness is not merely a concept for you.

You have been through it.

Been there, done it.

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

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

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

Are you getting it?

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

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

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

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

You keep growing, stupidity keeps reducing. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gone!


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

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting|| Acharya Prashant

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

Question: Acharya Ji, how to attain stillness of the mind?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘Stilling the mind’, or ‘Stopping the mind’, are very popular and lucrative catchphrases. There is a small problem. The problem is – for the mind, everything is a verb. Everything is a verb. Everything denotes action. So when the mind says, “Stop,” even that means – ‘do’ the act of stopping.

Mind only knows movement. Mind does not know anything called ‘stillness’, or ‘stopping’. So we may find it tempting, to talk of stopping the mind. But the moment yo usay, “Stop the mind,” you have started a new action.

Do you get this?

The moment you say, “Stop the mind,” you have just started a new action. Now it doesn’t matter whether you want to make the mind ‘do’ something, or whether you want to make the mind come to a pause. Essentially, you are doing the same thing. You are ‘doing’. Essentially you are doing the same thing, which is that you are ‘doing’.

In making the mind run to a particular place, you are ‘doing’ the running.

In making the mind stop, you are ‘doing’ the stopping.

So, this stopping is no stopping, and hence all attempts of stopping the mind, or stilling the mind, are necessarily going to go waste.

For the mind, even ‘silence’ is something, even ’emptiness’ is something. Even ‘nothing’ is something. So, language is not very useful here. Language may lure us into believing, that we are stopping the mind, but all that we are doing is that, we are still ‘doing’.

That is why, methods that aim at stopping the mind, tricks, techniques, that all fail, because they are all actions.

And no action is going to lead to non-action.

It is not possible, to run harder, to stop. Yes, you may get exhausted and fall down, but the tendency to run, will remain. It is possible to keep chanting a particular phrase, for hours and hours, for many years. And that may make the mind, so exhausted and bored, that when you enter into that activity repeatedly, it just stands in one place, out of frustration and boredom. But that does not mean, that it’s tendency to run around has stopped.

The moment it gains favorable conditions, it will again start running. That is why effects of traditional meditation, do not last. That is why you have to repeat the practice, over and over, and again and again.

One must ask a basic question: what kind of peace it is, that comes and goes? Is it peace at all? That which comes and goes, necessarily has to be a movement, a  wave, an action. Only ‘something’ can rise and fall.

How can peace rise and fall?

Peace, by definition, is an absence, a nothingness.

If you have to exert yourself, again and again, in order to retain your peace, it only proves that it is not peace at all.

It is some kind of enforced silencing, of the mind.

Like kids, that hush down on seeing the teacher. Would you call that silence? That is mere temporary wordless-ness. Out goes the teacher, and out goes the so-called silence.

Do you get this?

So, first of all, one has to drop this belief in one’s capacity to silence the mind, or even in the concept of a ‘silent mind’. There is nothing called ‘a silent mind’. There is something called ‘Silence’ which is beyond something-ness, which is an absolute, which cannot be used as an adjective, to describe something else.

Are you getting it?

You cannot have a ‘silent mind’. Mind, when silent, dissolves in the Silence. All that remains is Silence. What do you mean by a ‘silent mind’ then?

But we want to believe, and we have a stake in believing, that just as we, the ego-sense, try to control its destiny, through a thousand ways, through ten kinds of efforts, through multiple attempts arising from doership, it would also attempt to, and succeed in, controlling the mind, or silencing the mind.

What is the mind? Some kind of an object? Who would control the mind? Who are you who would whip the mind in submission, or trap it, or seduce it, or counsel it? Who are you, who is stalking? When you say, “I will silence the mind,” who is this ‘I’? So, even after silence, this ‘I’ would remain. What kind of silence is this?

Is it not obvious?

Silence and Mysticism, Spirituality and Mysticism, they are one.

They go together.

And Mysticism, is about being comfortable, with the unknown.

Not having that urge, to be in control.

Not trying to be a master of your destiny.

“I do not know whether the mind can be silent, I do not know whether any method will succeed. I do not know whether there is this thing called ‘silence’. But I will honestly know that, which is in the purview of knowledge. I will know that which can be known. And beyond that, I will not venture. It is not my province. Why should I dare enter forbidden areas?”

“And it is not even about forbidden. It is not as if I have the capacity to enter it, and I have been just outlawed from there. I do not even have the capacity to enter it. I do not even have the capacity to imagine entering there. I do not even know what lies there. I do not even know whether actually, there is any place called ‘there’.”

This, crudely, is the beginning of Mysticism.

There, you do not claim to be knowledgeable.

There you do not claim to be the doer, or the master.

There you just submit yourself.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

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An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them|| Acharya Prashant (2012)

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Questioner (An engineering student): Acharya Ji, what made you inclined towards Spirituality, after education from premier institutions like IIT-D and IIM-A?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A couple of decades ago, I was on that side, where you all are sitting now, in another engineering college, IIT-Delhi. We too used to take a lot of things lightly. We too would fool around in lot of sessions, tutorials, lab sessions. But we also knew what is not trivial, not casual.

Once in a while, such a thing happens, and then we should be awake to the happening.

We will be together.

So, one of the members of your organizing committee, immediately asked this question, when he met me. His question was: After IIT, after IIM, after Civil Services, and after a few years of successful corporate life, why this?

I said, “Let me first look at the anatomy of your question.” Your question pre-supposes, assumes, a couple of things. The first is: Education gives you a few specific directions to move in. And that is why, you are surprised, even shocked, that someone is breaching those directions, violating those directions.

Before we discuss the breach of violation, it is more important that we see whether education is supposed to be a liberating force, or a constraining force.

If you look at people, who are not educated, you will find them captivated, you will find them option-less. We could even say, ‘enslaved’. They can say, “Because we are not educated, because we did not have that kind of luck, or merit, so we are forced to take up, just these kind of jobs. Our spectrum of choices, is very narrow.” That is what a person with little luck, or ability, or understanding, would say.

Now, if you go into an institution of higher learning, even a couple of such institutions, and then you would say, “I cannot find the entire life open for me. I cannot see that all kinds of possibilities, and opportunities open up for me, irrespective of the direction they come from. Then what is the use of such education?”

Is education there to widen your choices, or is it there to constrain your already narrowed down choices?

If the purpose of education is to liberate, then why should you feel that after your educational degrees, you must follow a particular kind of script? Why must you move in only pre-determined directions?

The questioner is surprised at me taking a particular direction. I am surprised that why do you do, what you do.

A particular company arrives in campus, for campus placement. When I was a consultant, in corporate sector, then I would go for the campus hiring, to the best of institutions. And it would be quite amusing, as well as insightful to observe them.

So, four hundred students from fourth year, would have applied for the same job. And if you ask them , “Why have you applied for the same job?” half of them would directly say that this particular job is their dream job, and other half would indirectly imply this job is their dream job.

I would listen to them with patience, but at some point during the discussion, I would start laughing. I would ask them, “How is it possible that all four hundred of you, have the same dream. Is there any individuality, or are all of you, meant to follow the same current?”

Now, what is more surprising: that intelligent, empowered students, are all following the trend, or that a few break away? Breaking away should be the norm, breaking away should be the trend. Breaking away should not be the exception.

In fact, I should be the one, who should turn around, and ask the premier students, in the premier campuses, in the country and the world, “How is it possible, that after all your education, you constrain yourself to a narrow pattern of working and living? How is it not possible, that you branch out in all directions? How is it so, that an already chained life, becomes all the more chained, after going to an IIT, or an IIM?”

A fellow, who has not had the best of education, would say, “I can accept any job. I can start any kind of business, because I do not have any background in anything.” But I have seen, not only as a matter of principle, but actually practically, that unfortunately it so happens, that we become even more constrained, limited, in our decision-making, because we have been empowered with an elite degree.

That must not happen. That assumption is invalid.

If life has given you power, use it to blossom.

Use it branch out.

Use it to express all your creativity.

Do not feel pressurized.

Do not feel limited.

You are not obliged to follow the trend.

You must, first of all, try to gain maximum clarity, as to what is right. And then, the only remaining task, is to commit yourself wholeheartedly, to what is right.

Know what is right.

Do what is right.

Nothing else matters.

Most people do not know what is right. Obviously, they lead their lives in ignorance, in darkness – a drunken kind of living. And then, there are others. Others, who have the intellectual capacity, to know what is right. And it is absolutely tragic, that such people, in spite of knowing what is right, do not ‘do’ the right.

Now, this would be very impotent life.

One could have been forgiven, had one been totally in the dark. Had one not known at all, what to do. But, if you know, and still do not ‘do’, then your life itself is a punishment. You would be leading an incomplete, and compulsorily blind life.

A man, with eyes, who has been forced to act blind, his suffering is limitless.

So, please get the first assumption, out of your mind. If you will go into it, if you will question it, then it will be easy for you, to surmount it.

The second assumption that you have is that – somehow technical or managerial work, is superior, in it’s class and dimension, compared to Humanities, and specially compared to Wisdom and Spirituality. No, if such is the opinion that you carry, then this opinion is misplaced.

I understand why this opinion gets the better of us. It is because, whatever happens in the field of Science and Technology, is quite tangible, quite direct, quite measurable, and precise. Whereas, what happens in the field of mind, in the field of words, rather than numbers, is intangible. Often hazy.

But just because something is intangible, it does not mean that it is valueless. It only means that it’s value is subtle. Something may have a gross value, (referring to a bottle kept on the table, in front) this may have a gross value, but there are other things that have a subtle value. Things like Joy, things lie Understanding.

I can hold this bottle in my hand, I cannot hold understanding in your hand. You cannot hold love in your hand. You cannot hold clarity in your hand. Just because there are certain things, that are not material enough, to be formed, to be weighed, to be experienced through senses, it does not mean that they are valueless.

You are right now listening to me. Even ‘listening’ cannot be held like this bottle. But then, if you are listening, you very well know the value of listening.

All education, all civilization, all progress and advancement, is for welfare.

And what is ‘welfare’?

That which gives man peace.

Yes, material welfare does give man peace, and is quite important. But there is another more important, and dimensionally higher component of welfare, that needs to be addressed. As engineers, you work for welfare – others’ welfare, and your own welfare.

Spirituality too aims at welfare. And what spirituality can accomplish, the other fields of human endeavor, cannot.

So, it becomes obvious now, why one can move into the field of understanding life, if that can be called ‘a field’, at all. Life itself is the field, because it is a terrific field, because it is the most important field. Because that work is more important, than the work of an engineer, or a manager.

That does not belittle the work of the scientist. It’s only to say, that – the work of the scientist, is ultimately, to bring welfare and peace to man.

Science addresses only that, which is measurable, numerable, experiencable, perceivable through senses.

And there is a lot, that involves human welfare, but cannot be the material subject of any science, any technology, any mathematics.

That must be addressed, otherwise, science will remain blind.

Otherwise, the products of science, the entire area and produce of science, will be channelized, only towards devastation.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant, with students: An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them


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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay…

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Gatay, Gatay, Paragatay….

I will miss you so much,
Pardon me, I will have to die.
We played together for long,
Now I’m going home to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I’m going to where I belong.
It breaks my heart to leave you,
I tried hard to bring you along.

I will miss you so much,
My time has finally come.
As a friend I could not help you,
So a stranger I must become.

I will miss you so much,
But now the Sky is pulling me.
All the glorious stars are here,
I’ll miss my silly games with thee.

I will miss you so much,
Body is cold, faint is breath.
The mission I failed in my life,
Maybe will succeed in my death.

I will miss you so much,
My pain will make the stars cry.
I’ll come down in some other form
To bring you one day to the Sky.

I will miss you so much,
I am departing to settle my due.
When in doubt, you must remember,
I had to die because I love you.

~ 31st May’19


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Gems from Articles, April’19

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1.

The condition you have come to, is not sudden. It has taken millions of years of evolution, for you to come to this state. It’s a very, very old habit.

It is like dust, that has settled over something, since centuries, millennia, aeons.

Time has brought you to your current condition.

And that which time has given you, takes time to go away.

2.

The one whose dissolution you are talking of, is he the Truth? Obviously he cannot be the Truth. Why would one demand the dissolution of the Truth? Why would one think that the Truth can be dissolved at all?

So you are demanding the dissolution of the one, who is not the Truth. Who is he then? He is a product of time. Truth is not a product of time, and therefore Truth does not bother you. And therefore, you are not demanding the dissolution of Truth.

You are demanding the dissolution of that which is, false.

Now see, now see. You are demanding the dissolution of the false. Just as it is silly to demand the dissolution of Truth, isn’t it equally silly to demand the dissolution of the false?

Truth cannot be dissolved, because Truth is timeless. And false cannot be dissolved, because the false does not exist at all. But surely, you are asking for the false to be dissolved, which means you take the false to be…..Truth.

Because you take the false as Truth, therefore you stumble, and get deceived, and get hurt.

3.

If you identify with the false, is a quick movement into the Truth possible? No. It will take time. ‘Sadhana’ is the way. You will have to be constantly embattled against yourself. And you will have to be constantly engaged with the ones, who appear closer to the Truth. These are the only two ways of ‘saadhana‘. There is no third way.

Fight against yourself, and side with the Saints, both are needed. In fact, just proceeding on one leg of the saadhana, without bothering for the other, is more dangerous than not beginning with saadhana at all. You have to both – fight against yourself, and side with the Saints.

If you side with the Saints, without fighting against yourself, then you will use the Saints, to fatten yourself. And if you fight against yourself, without siding with the Saints, then you will go mad, because you will keep destroying who you are, what you are, without finding anything.

4.

You need to have both – a determination to defeat yourself, and devotion to be with the lovers of Truth.

And both these things take time, because you are firmly convinced that you are a product of time.

Not that time is a necessity in the process.

It’s just that you have declared yourself at a position, that makes time a necessity.

5.

Invest that time in two things: in fighting against yourself,  and in being in the company of Saints and lovers of God, Truth.

6.

It is very difficult to break away from the Truth, and habituated as we are to ourselves, it is probably equally difficult, if not more difficult, to overrule ourselves, and leap directly towards the Truth.

So ours is a funny situation.

Can’t go away, can’t directly come close. And at the same time, we want to tell ourselves, that we are busy and occupied, and doing something constructive. So we start with the merry-go-round, maintaining a safe distance from the center, as if that safety is any less discomfiting, than a total separation from the center that invites us.

This is complexity, and this is dishonesty – the in-between-ness, the safe, middle path. The position, the movement, the locus that convinces us that we are not totally dishonest.

7.

You see, without a love for honesty, there can be nothing called ‘dishonesty’. Obviously, we love that which is real, that which will not deceive us, that which we eagerly want. But in spite of our love, in spite of our deep, and true desire, we still deny ourselves, we defy ourselves.

We defy the command of our own hearts.

8.

Dishonesty is – to not to see what you are seeing, to not to get what you want, not to be what you are, not to live by what you know.

If you don’t know, you cannot be dishonest.

If you don’t love, you cannot be disloyal.

9.

It’s absolutely fantastic, that we know, we want, we love.

And it’s equally tragic, that in spite of, knowing, wanting, loving, we somehow still choose to remain deprived.

Complex!

10.

The more certain you are, that you are approaching the person, with the only intention to show him the light, the easier the process will be.

If the intention is pure, then the process is quicker.

And this empowers you a lot, because now you have something to work upon.

If you just say that the other person does not listen to you, then you are helpless, because you anyway have no control over how the other person thinks, and responds, and reacts, and lives.

But once you know, that the other person’s response, is dependent on purity of your intentions, then that enables and empowers you, because now you can work upon yourself.

And by working on yourself, you can cause a quicker change in the other person.

So work on yourself.

11.

in the mind, there is nothing without a purpose, or a reason.

And as that reason or purpose gains purification, the place of that person in your life, that is your mind, changes. And then, working becomes far easier, with respect to that person.

12.

You have to be absolutely certain, that it is only because of love, and only because of kindness, that you want to bring the light to the other.

13.

The world is a habit, but drugs are a worst habit.

At least when you are free of drugs, then you can look at the facts. Under the influence of drugs, you cannot even know the facts. And I have repeatedly said that – the facts are the door to Truth.

If you do not know even the facts, then you are one step further away from the Truth.

The one who is finding refuge in drugs, is fed up of the usual stuff of consciousness. That is certain.

But, he is taking a very wasteful route.

14.

See, what do most people feel?

They feel a particular type of universe, just because they live in a particular type of consciousness.

They feel the universe, in a particular way, all the time. So, they start taking the universe, as Truth.

After all, what is Truth? That which does not change.

15.

Dedicate your time to something sublime, and then you will not be available to get hurt.

You are hurt. because you are available.

Why are you walking around with free mental space, and spare time?

Be fully dedicated to something worthy, then all these little bruises, and wounds, and rubs, will not bother you.

Life hurts, and wounds, only those who are jobless.

Why are you jobless?

16.

To be born, is to be born into one great job.

What is that job?

The life-long mission of liberation.

You have to be fully employed there. It’s a full-time job, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three sixty five days a year.

But you do not do justice to real occupation, you steal time.

And then your punishment is, that the world will hurt you.

Your theft costs you very dearly.

17.

Be fully consumed in the one, great, divine mission.

Otherwise, life will beat you down, very badly.

You have been entrusted with time, not so that you while it away.

You have been entrusted with your fifty, or eighty years, so that you make the best use of every second. Your time is not your personal property. It has been entrusted to you.

You better use it for the designated, and assigned purpose.

18.

If you are suffering, there is nobody, but you, who is responsible.

Unless you fully accept this responsibility, there is no freedom.

If your suffering is just incidental, then how can there be freedom from it, because incidents can happen any way, any day?

You have to first of all clearly realise that suffering cannot come to you, without your consent. Not only your consent, but your active participation is needed in your process of suffering.

Not only your participation, but your active doership is needed, for you to suffer.

Otherwise, you cannot suffer.

19.

Any bit of suffering, is a clear indicator that you have been messing up with somebody’s trust.

You know whose trust I am talking of? The one who gave you time.

He gave you time, trusting that you will use time piously.

He didn’t give you time to smoke it away.

20.

You don’t have to ‘do’ anything, to escape from body.

You ‘do’ a lot to stick to the body.

21.

I say, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the result.”

I am saying, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the results.”

But to those, who are not doing the right things, I say, “Look at the results of your actions.”

22.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’ – is the utmost and final condition.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’- that condition is possible only to someone, who is already liberated of the future.

But those who are not liberated, those who have even an iota of doubt, about the center from where their actions are arising, must use the results of the action, to know the source of the action.

23.

The source of the action, and the result of the action, correspond with each other.

If the action comes from the center of holiness, then the results are bound to be – holy.

If the actions come from the center of nothingness, then the results are bound to be – nothing.

Similarly, if the actions come from the center of vice, or deception, then the results are bound to be distressing.

24.

An action which has led to peacelessness, could not have come from the right source.

An action that leads to lovelessness, has definitely come from a loveless center.

So, do mind the results.

The results will tell you where you are standing right now.

Much later will you come to a point, from where you will not need to bother about the results.

That is liberation!

25.

Man is really not born to go beyond.

Going beyond, is the highest, and the most exquisite pursuit.

If you don’t pursue that path, you are not a sinner.

You are just, normal.

If you not spiritual, you are not a sinner.

You are just normal!

26.

Spirituality, is a most exquisite pursuit.

It is only for those, who are not at all contended with, what the world can maximally offer.

Not only are they not contended with what they already have, they are not contended even with the best, what the world can potentially offer.

Those are the ones, who must take the spiritual path.

Others must satisfy themselves, with the worldly beauties.

27.

Most people are condemned to, almost succeed in the world.

The misfortune of most people is, that they never get beaten up so soundly, that they will see the futility of the world.

So they should remain well-adjusted and compromised. They should continue with the worldly life.

They should not, unnecessarily, invite the spiritual trouble. You know, for the sake of it, just because some great names have talked of spirituality, you too start dabbling.

And then, you burn your fingers.

Spirituality, is for the ones, who are ripe enough.

28.

The first thing that is needed is, viveka (discretion).

The second thing that is needed is, vairagya (dispassion).

The third thing that is needed is, shad sampatti, the six qualities (shama, dama, uprati, titiksha, shraddha, samaadhaan).

And finally, and most importantly, you need, mumuksha(desire for liberation).

When you see that you have all these, only then must you turn, a seeker.

29.

Science is fully contained in spirituality.

Spirituality, that does not contain science, is superstition.

However, science is too small, to overlap with, all of spirituality.

But one thing is certain, when you are scientific, you are spiritual as well.

However, all spirituality, is not science. Spirituality goes, way beyond science.

Spirituality begins, when you have a strong feeling, that things are not the way they must be.

30.

The effect cannot be dimensionally, beyond the cause.

Which is to say – the fruit of the action, cannot be dimensionally superior to the action.

Which is to say – the fruit of the action, is actually just the quality of the actor.

The result is dimensionally the same as the action, and the action is dimensionally the same as the actor.

Therefore, the result is in the same dimension as the actor.

~ Excerpts from ‘Shabd-Yoga’ sessions.

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Quotes, January’19

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1.

Love is a vast sky, it has no opposite.

It is so vast that it has space enough for hatred.

In Love, one hates as well, and that doesn’t reduce love.

Do not feel guilty. Provided your love is vast enough.

And you can have love so vast, only for Vastness.

A Vastness called Freedom.

2.

By reasoning out

your situation,

you try to remain

what you are.

All reasons are

hidden justifications.

Realise, don’t rationalize.

3.

Having lived rightly for long, one becomes incapable of living wrongly.

Having lived rightly for long, if one even decides to live or act wrongly for a while, he will face failure in his chosen wrong action.

The reward of living rightly: failure in one’s attempts to live wrongly.

4.

Enlightenment is a series of endless enlightenments, each one being complete and final.

5.

Being so enamoured by the Sun,

You keep watching the moon all night!

That’s Love.

6.

What is the way to Liberation?

Suffering.

An honest acknowledgment of suffering,

Without trying to hide or colour or glorify or rationalise it,

Is the way to Liberation.

7.

The great Intelligence that is never touched, spoiled, created or destroyed is not personal.

The person can decide to follow that impersonal Intelligence. And the person can also withdraw from the service of Intelligence.

That choice is always available and that choice is Maya.

8.

The spiritual pursuit faces humongous obstacles. It sometimes appears the entire world is lined against you.

We all are in a big holy war.

We will definitely lose some battles.

The trick is to not to mind the defeats, and quickly get ready for the next win.

9.

Questioner: What is the definition

of ‘Stupid’?

Acharya Ji: Knowing what is right,

doing what is wrong.

10.

Your interests, your welfare, don’t depend on things.

Witnessing means not seeking interest in anything. Not attaching your self-interest, self-worth, to anything. When you are not interested, you are the knower and the master.

Here, kingship comes only to the reluctant king.

11.

She troubled him for being awake at nights, “Your eyes are full of someone beyond.”

Helpless, he kept mum.

One night a mysterious tune woke her up. Since then, she dances all night to music.

And he laughs. He has had his revenge.

Love is so foolish it knows only one revenge: Love

12.

In the mirror, he saw many faces.

One wanted food, air, water, sleep, sex.

The second one wanted prestige, power, money, happiness.

A third one just looked on sorrowfully, sometimes at the two, sometimes at the distant horizon.

13.

If not religion, who will teach you secularism?

Secularism is a new religion; just that it isn’t yet deeply religious enough.

The development of secularism depends on its ability to learn from religion the value of meditativeness, devotion, and surrender of ego to the Beyond.

14.

The new, the happiness that you are looking for,

will not come through experience.

It will not come to you via time,

It is not contained in the future.

It comes when you are a little less

insistent upon cheating yourself.

15.

You had a dream,

you came to me,

and I have not helped you

reach there.

But tell me,

are you not glad

that now you are not

what you were?

~Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait

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What is disappearance of the self? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

What is disappearance of the self

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Question: Acharya ji, what is the meaning of disappearance of the self?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Your interest in your interests has to disappear. Your interests can remain. Can this brain survive without interests? Your lungs are greatly interested on Oxygen, and they reject Nitrogen. Can lungs survive without interests?

Let the interested one, remain interested.

‘You’ have no business to be interested.

The intellect is curious by design. The intellect will remain interested. Have you not seen kids, three years olds, asking questions that grown-ups cannot answer. They will remain interested. Let the intellect, the design of the brain, remain interested. ‘You’ need not remain interested.

Let this physical system, including the brain apparatus, remain curious, interested, inquisitive, whatever. Even attached. ‘You’ stay wherever you must.

Spirituality does not entail that the lungs must give up oxygen. Renunciation is not for the lungs, Sir. Do not stretch it to absurd limits. That will give you another excuse to stay away from spirituality.

You will say, “Baba was asking me to renounce oxygen. If I have to have no relation with the world, why must I even breathe?” Because breathing is the continuous relationship with the world. And seeing is the continuous relationship with the world. So if spirituality means renunciation, even at the physical level, or at the psychological level, then you have to cease existing as an embodied entity.

Spirituality is not committing suicide, or is it? Then we do not need satsang, we need mass suicide halls. Over! It has happened, you know. There have been cults in Japan and other places, where incidents of mass suicides have been reported. They thought, that is ‘liberation’. So, 300-400 hundred people would get together, and would just breathe in some nice gas. And all are liberated. That is not spirituality, obviously!

Do not deprive the stomach of food. And do not deprive the mind of thoughts and feelings. Just as it is stupid to deprive body of food, it is equally stupid to deprive the mind of thoughts and feelings. Thought is not the enemy. Feelings are not the culprit. Your misplaced presence is the culprit. The needless presence of ‘I’ in the thoughts, is the culprit.

Be fully secure about the ‘I’, and then think as much as you want to. Feel, in whichever dimension you want to. You can laugh, you can sing, you can cry. You can even hate, or fall in love. All that is okay. All that is part of the rainbow.

Spirituality is not about banishing certain things, from your life.

Spirituality is just about seeing, that life is beautiful, and does not get any better, with the intervention of the little self, the ‘I’.

It is one thing to think, it is a totally another thing, to think with the objective of self-preservation. Can you see the difference these two thoughts? There is just thought, as is needed to solve a mathematical problem. And then there is the thought, that feeds on fear. Are these two the same?

Thought is not the problem.

Your insecurities about yourself, your utter loneliness –  that is the problem.

And that is an assumed, imagined problem.

A problem that does not exist, but is taking to be.

Now how smart is that – to be fretting over an imagined problem?

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

Watch the session:  What is disappearance of the self? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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How to bear prolonged Sadhna? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

How to bear prolonged Sadhna

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Question: Acharya ji, how to bear prolonged saadhana?

I have inertia, in moving along the spiritual path. One day I sat down to read Jiddu Krishnamurti for MAG(Month of Awakening) session, and I read him for hours. I really enjoyed, and felt at peace. Yet, I never opened it again, even though I wanted to complete the remaining chapters. Similarly, when I am feeling low, I feel like watching some spiritual videos. But I choose only the ones under fifteen minutes. I can watch five-six videos which are short, but I will never choose to watch a one hour video.

I know that I have not yet reached the state, to understand things, beyond mind. Yet sometimes I question, what exactly I am trying to achieve on this path. Please help. How should I get over the inertia, and the doubt. What should I do? I am confused.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It is not about understanding. It is also not about not knowing what you are trying to achieve. It is simply a thing of the modern, post-modern age, called ‘attention-deficit’. Nothing else.

Had you already known, what is worth achieving in life, there is anyways, no need to watch spiritual videos. So, if you do not know what is worth achieving. It is okay. The spiritual videos will help you know that. So, that’s fine.

The thing is that, technology, and development, and economics have brought us to a point, where we have everything pre-cooked and easy, and ready to be served to us. May be, one day you can be with Krishnamurti, for a long stretch. But that is not ingrained in you.

We live in an age, where the smart-phone offers us very quick gratification. We live in an age, where I suppose there is a limit of one minute on Instagram videos. So if you watch fifteen minute long videos, so it is in itself, some kind of an accomplishment. It does not have to do with your spiritual thirst. It has to do with the times we are living in.

Kids are not being tested at all. They are being promoted to the next class, I suppose, till class Eighth or Sixth. Class Eighth. So everybody has it easy. The board examination results are not as per percentages, are they? I am talking of Class Xth and XIIth examination board examinations. They are according to grades or CGPA. And everybody is a ninety-nine percent holder. If you are a ninety-five per-center, it is a shame.

Everything is easy. But the path of spirituality is one of rigor, and labor, and toil, and self-dissolution, and nothing prepares you for that. Everything is being delivered to you, on a platter. Especially if you come from a developed country.

It has been many times, over-ensured, that you do not suffer, at least materially. Unemployment, you will get benefits. Old age, you will get benefits. Medical situation, you will be covered. Why work hard? Where are austerities? What is the meaning of penance?

‘Saadhana’ has become a very unreasonable word. If everything is available at the drop of a hat, rather at the click of the button, what does one mean by ‘prolonged saadhana‘? That is why you would not want to go back to somebody like Jiddu Krishnamurti. He does not entertain you.

Once in a blue moon, he is palatable. But he cannot be a regular fare. Tell me what do you want, all is available. Amazon is there, next day delivery. What do you call it? Amazon Prime. Roads are improving, and so are cars. When I was a kid, it used to take eight hours, to reach Jim Corbett National Park. I just returned from Jim Corbett National Park, took less than five hours.

Spending time, investing time, on something you consider worthwhile, is not needed anymore.

You want to go Kailash Mansarover, there is a helicopter service available. And it used to be an excruciating pilgrimage. People even used to lay down their lives, in order to reach the Kailash Parvat, the Mansarover lake. And today, the helicopter just drops you there.

If you can reach even Shiva, instantaneously, what is the point of any spiritual journey? Why would you listen to this Acharya ji, who rambles on and on, for an infinite number of hours? You give me something that is under fifteen minutes.

And you know, you have made it up a little. You know that, right? You know that it is not fifteen minutes, it is five minutes. Anything beyond five minutes, is intolerable. It is okay. That’s the characteristic of our modern civilisation. Everything has to be a quickie. Two-minute noodles.

One restaurant, I unfortunately stepped into, was offering seven-course meals in one. I asked that why are you offering seven-course meals in one. He said, “That’s the trend. But if you want seven course meals, in seven courses, then you have to pay X. And if you want seven course meals, in one course, then you have to pay 3X, because we are saving your time.”

Kabir Sahib puts it, as only he can, “Chalo chalo sab koi kahe, mohe andesa aur. Saahab se parichay nahin, jayenge kis thaur.”

( All are rushing, and all are being told to rush, but I have a certain doubt. You do not know him, in which direction would you go?).

Yes, you are increasing your speed madly, but where are you going? Where are you going? What are you saving your time for? There is no doubt that this age offers great conveniences, and you can save a lot of time. But what for?

Often, the time that you save, is utilised to self-destruct.

Saving time would be great, if you knew how to use that time.

But I really wonder, what is going to be a valid use of time, saved from reading Jiddu Krishnamurti? You could have heard Acharya ji for one hour, instead you heard him for only ten minutes. You saved fifty-minutes. Now, what is going to be a superior use of fifty-minutes? Please tell me. Listening to a spiritual video, was obviously to you, and inferior use of these fifty-minutes. Now that you have saved these fifty minutes, aren’t you you obliged towards yourself, to put them to a superior use? What is going to be that superior use?

Time has only one legitimate purpose – to help you move into the timeless.

Invest more and more time, into the service of the timeless.

If you want to save time, then save time from all the miscellaneous non-sense, time gets spent in.

Save time from there.

Do not save time, from the Scriptures and the Teachers.

Save time, and dedicate it to the right cause. Dedicating time to the right cause, is much more important than merely saving time. Otherwise, we said, you could as well be saving time, and using the saved time to self-destruct.

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

Watch the session:  How to bear prolonged Sadhna? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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The four grades of mind || Acharya Prashant (2019)

The four grades of mind

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Question: Acharya ji, what is the most important lesson in spiritual wisdom? How to understand the mind of a commoner? How to understand a spiritual mind? How to understand a scientific mind? What are the challenges faced in spiritual journey?

Acharya Prashant Ji: One of the key lessons in spiritual wisdom, is to keep imagination apart from facts, is to not take your ‘personal world’, as ‘the’ world. It is already bad enough that we take ‘the factual world’, ‘the world’ to be real. And it would become far worse if we started taking even our ‘personal world’, ‘the imaginary world’ to be real.

The mark of the commoner is, he lives in his personal world, and attributes to it, the finality of Truth. The mark of the scientist, is that he does not live in his world, he does not care about subjective interpretations of the world, he lives fully in facts. So his science is fully objective, and does not contain trace of personal subjecivity. The scientist is obviously, an advancement over the common psyche. And then the mark of the spiritual mind, is that, it does not lend veracity even to the factual world.

The common mind is inclined to say, “Something exists, because I feel it does.” Right? “Something exists, because I feel, or think that it does.” So he says, “Something exists.” So his world is very, very subjective. Then there is the world of the scientist. He says, “Something does not merely exist, because it appears to exist. Appearances can be deceptive. Appearances vary from person to person, even mood to mood. So I have to verify. I have to cross-check.” And that is the scientific method.

Prove it, and any number of proofs do not suffice to ascertain the veracity of something. But one proof against the veracity of something, suffices to prove that it is false. That’s the scientific mind.

And then there is the spiritual mind.

The spiritual mind says, “Not only is the imaginary world unreal, even this objective, factual, scientifically proven world, that you see, expanded all around you and inside you, is not quite real.”

We have talked of three kinds of minds. There is another quality of mind, that is below even the common mind. It is the mind of the madman, the crazy man. The common man cares at least a bit for facts. The crazy man does not care even one bit for facts.

The common mind would atmost say, “Yes, this is the pillar. But I do not like this pillar.” So, to him this is a dis-likable pillar. The crazy mind would may even say that this is an elephant, and he would insist that this is an elephant, and this is his totally personal truth.

The more your truth becomes personal, the more crazy you are. The madman too lives in truths, but all his truths are purely personal. If he says, “This is an elephant,” – this is an elephant for him. He says, “I do not bother about universality. I do not bother about something being verifiable. I do not bother about facts. Obviously I do not bother about the Truth. All I bother about is my subjective perception.”

The more you live in your world of subjective perceptions, the more crazy you are.

Listener: So, in the light of this, this is the good reason for travelling and wanting to explore?

Acharya Ji: Yes, very good.

Travel helps you see that several of the things, opinions customs, mindsets, you were taking as absolutes, or general, universal, are not universal at all. 

There are alternate viewpoints possible.

There are alternate ways of living possible.

That does not mean that alternate ways of living are truer than your ways of living. That merely means, that there do exist alternatives, and Truth has no alternative. So, a thing to which an alternative does exist, is just not the Truth. If it is not the Truth, it must not be given the position of Truth. It must be taken lightly, casually, with a pinch of salt.

Do not be sold out to it. Do not become a fanatic. Do not hold your opinions, as if they are the last thing. But, if you have seen nothing, apart from opinions of your personal kind, then you would be much more inclined to believe that you opinions are not personal, or subjective opinions of a person, or a place, but that they are the final Truth.

It is always helpful to see an alternative. It is probably even more helpful, to watch your point of view challenged, even defeated. All of that helps you, come out of your false truths.

The key challenge in spirituality, is not the attainment of absolute Truth, because there is as such nothing to be attained. What are you going to attain with these little hands? Can you really attain immensity? You cannot. The infinite is not given to be contained in littleness. And we are all very little.

Hence, the key challenge is not the attainment of the infinite. The key challenge is to come out of the finite. And that is far more difficult. We keep talking of the immense, the great, the unknowable, the unreachable, the absolute. But hardly do we bother to challenge all the relatives, all the littlenesses, all the subjectivities, that we so very identify with. And not only do we identify with them, we label them as the – final Truth.

Challenging your personal truths, is most of spirituality. Those are the ninety-none steps. Ninety-nine steps of the personal demolition. And the final step, that just happens. What is incumbent upon you, that for which you are responsible, is personal demolition. You are not responsible for attainment of the absolute Truth.

That is not at all your responsibility, because you are too small to do that. However, you are surely, definitely, responsible to challenge yourself. That responsibility everyone must bear. That is the basis of personal integrity, personal honesty.

Personal integrity is – to not to take the person too seriously.

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

Watch the session:  The four grades of mind || Acharya Prashant (2019) 


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Why does spiritual sadhana take long to complete? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: Pranaam Acharya ji. Why does spiritual saadhana take long to complete?

Acharya Prashant Ji: The condition you have come to, is not sudden. It has taken millions of years of evolution, for you to come to this state. It’s a very, very old habit. It is like dust, that has settled over something, since centuries, millennia, aeons.

Time has brought you to your current condition. And that which time has given you, takes time to go away. After all, whose liberation are you talking of? In your question, when you say that I want to dissolve and live as Truth only, whose dissolution are you taking of?

The one whose dissolution you are talking of, is he the Truth? Obviously he cannot be the Truth. Why would one demand the dissolution of the Truth? Why would one think that the Truth can be dissolved at all?

So you are demanding the dissolution of the one, who is not the Truth. Who is he then? He is a product of time. Truth is not a product of time, and therefore Truth does not bother you. and therefore, you are not demanding the dissolution of Truth.

You are demanding the dissolution of that which is, false. Now see, now see. You are demanding the dissolution of the false. Just as it is silly to demand the dissolution of Truth, isn’t it equally silly to demand the dissolution of the false.

Truth cannot be dissolved, because Truth is timeless. And false cannot be dissolved, because the false does not exist at all. But surely, you are asking for the false to be dissolved, which means you take the false to be…..Truth.

Because you take the false as Truth, therefore you stumble, and get deceived, and get hurt. The false one, is too accustomed, to its falseness. The false one, is too sure about himself. He is right now, not in a condition, to immediately, spontaneously declare – I am false. If you could do that, then liberation would have been instantaneous.

But, you are in no position to immediately declare that you are false. You are in no position to declare that the one, who is feeling the hurt, actually does not exist. To you, he exists, which means that to you, the false exists as the Truth.

Such is the condition of the one, who is asking this question. Even asking the question proves that you identify with the false, and therefore, you are asking for the dissolution of the false.

If you identify with the false, is a quick movement into the Truth possible? No. It will take time. ‘Saadhana’ is the way. You will have to be constantly embattled against yourself. An you will have to be constantly engaged with the ones, who appear closer to the Truth. These are the only two ways of saadhana. There is no third way.

Fight against yourself, and side with the Saints – both are needed. In fact, just proceeding on one leg of the saadhana, without bothering for the other, is more dangerous than not beginning with saadhana at all. You have to fight both against yourself, and side with the Saints.

If you side with the saints, without fighting against yourself, then you will use the Saints, to fatten yourself. And if you fight against yourself, without siding with the Saints, then you will go mad, because you will keep destroying who you are, what you are, without finding anything.

You will keep declaring all is false, without getting a glimpse of the Truth. This will wreak havoc on you. This will disappoint you so much. This will turn your life so dry, that you will lose all the courage to fight any further. And you will just go bonkers.

You need to have both – a determination to defeat yourself, and devotion to be with the lovers of Truth.

And both these things take time, because you are firmly convinced that you are a product of time.

Not that time is a necessity in the process.

It’s just that you have declared yourself at a position, that makes time a necessity.

If you could change your declaration, then time would no more be a necessity. But your very declaration is that – you are the false one, posing as Truth. With that position, with that identity, you are going to take time. And time you have. what else is this life for? Time you have, just invest this time rightly.

What does this mean, when I say, “Invest the time rightly?”

Invest that time in two things: in fighting against yourself,

and in being in the company of Saints and lovers of God, Truth.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session:  Why does spiritual sadhana take long to complete? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Is it compassion to suffer with the suffering one? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Is it compassion to suffer with the suffering one

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Question: Acharya ji, would it be an act of compassion, to suffer with the one who is already suffering?

Acharya Prashant ji: It depends totally on you. There can be no principles in this matter.

The one who is suffering, is suffering, because he is deluded.

Remember that suffering is always a choice.

The one who is suffering, because of delusion, he has chosen suffering. He must be having his reasons. Every one, who chooses anything, always has some reason to quote. The fellow who is suffering, surely must be having some reasons to offer. And now, you too start suffering with him. You too have a certain reason to offer. The reason is compassion.

What do you think, the other fellow, the one you intend to help, is an utter fool? He too has his reasons. You know what he is suffering for? If you will ask him, “What are you suffering for?”, he will say, “Love.” So, he is suffering for love, and you are suffering for compassion, and seeing the two of you suffer, a third one comes to rescue both of you. And what is he suffering for? Wisdom.  And then a fourth one? What’s his reason? Responsibility. And then a fifth one? We never suffer without reason. It’s just that our reasons are a bit stupid.

Nobody likes to be proven stupid in front of the mirror. We always find something, to justify ourselves.

If we are in sorrow, we would always have an excuse to offer.

Rare is the one who admits, that his sorrow is his own doing.

Very rare.

And this rare one, is the spiritually initiated one.

It might surprise you, but most of our suffering, is an effort towards goodness. Be good, do good. Be nice, help others.

Listener: So, to stop suffering, we must stop doing good to others?

Acharya ji: Examine what your goodness is all about. But, see how you come up with another display of the same tendency. You would remain stubbornly fixated to your definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. If pointed out that goodness is not working out for you, you would say, “Ah! Should I turn bad then?”

A drunkard is hobbling, and stuttering, when he is moving to the left. How would he move, when he moves to the right?

Listener: Same way.

Acharya ji: But you just don’t want to change your fundamental condition of drunkenness. You just want to change your direction. Yes! Instead of then stumbling towards the left, you would now be stumbling and falling towards the right. The hurt and the sorrow would remain the same, because the internal condition as remained the same.

‘Good’ or ‘bad’, how do they matter, if the one, deciding goodness, and badness, is not examining herself deeply and honestly enough. It is easy, and it is possible. And all of us, deserve it.

Here is a little bit of advice.

If you find that you are hitting against people, hitting against the poles, stumbling against stones, falling into ditches, have a bleeding knee and a bleeding nose, the entire being is bruised, don’t change direction.

A change of direction won’t help.

It is not the direction that has gone wrong.

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

Watch the session:  Is it compassion to suffer with the suffering one? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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

The relation between religion and spirituality

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

Acharya Prashant:

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

then all these religious prejudices are born.

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

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

Spirituality is subtle, Religion is gross.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(laughter)

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

Listener: Are they not same?

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

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

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


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How to know whether one is spiritually evolved or not? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

How to know whether one is spiritually evolved or not

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Question: How to know whether one is spiritually evolved or not?

Acharya ji: Sharmila,

All spirituality is about you. Nobody else will set the criteria.

Your suffering begins it, and it ends with your suffering.

The origin of spirituality is – your own, personal suffering.

Nobody else sets the criteria.

You are suffering, so you set the criteria. Nobody else sets the criteria.

Have you arrived? Has your suffering ceased? That is the criteria. You do not need outside of your self, to set any criteria, or to determine any benchmarks or standards.

“Am I spiritually evolved?” You answer. “Sir, am I spiritually evolved?” You answer. If you still feel lonely, and confused, and divided, and dejected, then you answer whether you are evolved.

Nobody else can bother to tell you your state, and nobody else can actually tell you your state. Your experiences are the best judge. How are you experiencing within, all the time?

And you live in the world of experiences, don’t you? Your mind is never free of experiences. It is never tranquil mind. It is a mind, that is always beset with experiences. Your mind is never free of experiences. It is never tranquil mind, it is a mind always beset with experiences.

Something happened here, something happened there. You are the experiencer, and something is happening to you. You are experiencing it. Now what is the quality of this experiencing? That is the criteria.

All spirituality is with respect to ‘you’. It is not an examination in which somebody else sets the syllabus. You are the syllabus, and you will determine whether you succeeded or failed. If you are still disgruntled, and hurt, and offended, probably you need to re-appear.

Try.

When have you cleared the examination? When you are a rascal enough, to bunk the exam.

(laughter)

You cannot clear this examination, by seriously appearing in it. Once you have shown your admit card to the invigilator, you are flunked. Be a fool enough to simply bunk all exams. And then, this is when you come out of, as they say, “With flying colors.”

“And the topper is – Sharmila (the questioner). Please come over to the podium.”

When she didn’t even bother to write the exams, would she bother to collect the certificate? She is not here.

Who is the winner?

The one who has gone.

Not here.

Disappeared.

Bunked.

“Not here, how will I pass or fail?”

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

Watch the session: How to know whether one is spiritually evolved or not? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance

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Question: Acharya ji, if liberation is the ultimate destiny, why don’t we get it naturally?

Acharya Prashant: Liberation is freedom, right? Liberation is freedom. So you are free to not to be free. You are already liberated.

It is because you are liberated, that you can choose to remain not liberated.

Good! You will get what you order. Everything is there on the menu. And the system respects your choice. The day you will choose liberation, liberation is yours. Till then , keep feasting on the various delicacies of life, and keep paying the bill. On that menu, everything is very highly chargeable, except for liberation.

We often judge things by the price, don’t we? Suffering comes at a very high price.

Listener: And it’s very valuable also.

Acharya ji: Liberation is there for the taking. So who wants it?

Listener: Acharya ji, how to remove confusion from life?

Acharya ji: Were you totally confused, would you know that you were confused? Who is the one, who knows confusion? Is he too confused? And if he too is confused, then how does he know that he is confused?

For you, to strongly assert that you are confused,

there must surely be some point in you, that is, not confused.

So, why are you unnecessarily cheating us? We know everything, right? And still we just pretend as if, ignorance is so deep, and wide, and overpowering.

Listener: Acharya ji, but there is something called ‘cognitive dissonance’. What role does it play?

Acharya ji: It is not even cognitive in nature. Had it been cognitive, it would have been a thing of the mind. All cognition is of the mind.

That which you really know, is at a point, a little away from the cognizing mind. The dissonance is not between cognition and cognition. It is between cognition, and pre-cognition – something that exists, prior to cognition. Something that is a-priory to cognition. Something that is foundation to all cognition.

Cognition has to be taught, freedom doesn’t have to be taught.

Cognition develops over experience.

There is something that is already fully developed, even before all experience.

And that is the difference between psychology and spirituality. Psychology limits itself to the mind. Spirituality says that even to know the mind, you have to go a little beyond the mind. So spirituality says, that even if you have to just study the psyche, you still have to go a little beyond the psyche.

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

Watch the session: Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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All that the mind knows is love || Acharya Prashant (2019)

 

All that the mind knows is love

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Question: Acharya ji, Pranaam! How to understand the different states of mind?

What we are, is the mind always dwelling in fear and desire. Mind is always afraid of its death, as a deal for love to flower. But at the same time mind’s ultimate desire is – love. Kindly elaborate.

Acharya Prashant: That is the human condition. You have to see, that all mental states are – one. It doesn’t matter what the mind wants, it doesn’t matter which direction it chooses to go. It doesn’t matter whether it is burning in jealousy, or burning in affection. It doesn’t matter whether you call the mental state as ‘positive’, or ‘negative’.

All mental states can be called by just one name – love.

Greed is love, fear is love, jealousy is love, disgust is love, violence is love, separation is love. All mental states are nothing, but different ways of describing your separation from the Source, from the Lord, from the center, from the God, from the Truth. It doesn’t matter what name you assign to That.

Are you getting it?

So these mental states that you have written, or quoted, are all pointing in the same direction. Let not vocabulary confuse you.

The difference in different mental states is just, at the level of description. Words are causing you to think, that sometimes you are afraid, and sometimes you are not. When you are afraid, it is because you think that you will not be able to meet Him. When you are not afraid, then it is, because you think that not being afraid, will take you to Him. In either of the situations, your target, your desire, is just for Him.

Are you getting it?

Then you should ask: if all goodness, and all badness, is just the same, and differs only in name, the difference is only at the level of words, then why should one be good at all? Then, you should all tell that why should one follow spirituality, why should one not remain just worldly.

You should ask, “Acharya ji, if all desires are desires of Him, then why should I not pursue my carnal desires? Why should I not pursue money, and prestige, and possessions, if even they are going to lead me to the same end?”

You may do that. But you have to factor in, who you are. I have said that it doesn’t matter what the colour, flavour, name, direction, of the desire is. All desire is actually for the One only. So, I am saying, that your question should be that why should we reject certain desires.

I am saying, to get the answer to this question, you have to look at your mortal condition. You are – mortal – which means that you have limited time. Even when you are using the GPS, it often suggests multiple routes to a destination. All of the routes are valid routes. I am saying, take any of the routes, you will reach the same place. Even if you decide to stuff you life, with material possessions, money, furniture, bungalows, property, car, real estate, whatever, you would reach there.

But, which route do you choose, when the GPS shows you five competing routes? You choose the shortest route.

So, Spirituality is not the only route to God. If someone says that spirituality is the only route to God, then he doesn’t understand the mind.

Spirituality, is one of the routes to God.

It is just the shortest route.

And, the fact that it is the shortest route, is very, very important, because, you are mortal. Because your time is limited.

There are five routes from your place to the airport. If you do not choose the shortest route, there is a great chance that you will miss the flight. Do not miss the flight!

There is the path of fear, there is the path of desire, and then there is the path of love. The destination is same.

Now make the right choice!

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

Watch the session:  All that the mind knows is love || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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