The effect of spirituality on married life || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The effect of spirituality on married life

Question: Acharya Ji, a lot of changes have happened in my lifestyle and in my relationship with my wife after I have started watching your videos and reading your books. We spend a lot of time alone now. We don’t get into escapes easily, don’t get into such entertainment activities which can cause suffering later on.

But, as I am spending more and more time with books, watching your videos and observing my mind, at times I wonder: is this also an escape?

Is this the right way, or am I am doing something wrong?

Another question is: As a married couple, there is aloneness in our relationship though we are together. Can aloneness happen between a couple?

Can marriage and Spirituality go together? What is the effect of Spirituality on marriage?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

A movement into oneself brings about a lot of new things.

That which used to frighten you, does not appear so very frightening. That which would easily disturb you, appears a bit childish now. The tendency to lose equilibrium reduces. You do not easily go off-center. And even if you do, you return comparatively sooner.

An urge to explore new things arises.

And there are many-many changes. Sometimes even the language changes. Sometimes even before you can realise that there is a change, outsiders begin telling you that there is a change.

These changes are all there.

And as you soak in those changes, as you revel in those changes, your appetite to revel in them further increases.

That’s all very auspicious, very good!

Regarding a couple practicing aloneness, the fact that the two of you are married comes later. First of all, the two of you are human beings. Two human beings, both with an urge towards the Truth, and both with a right over the Truth.

It is just incidental that these two are married.

If the two persons who are in this social arrangement of marriage are also spiritual friends, then they rise above social arrangement.

The social arrangement by itself is a recipe for disaster.

But when the social arrangement is purified, consecrated by the spiritual touch, then the poison in it is neutralised.

In fact, there is only one antidote to the poison called ‘marriage’, and that is spiritual association between the man and the woman.

Now that the two of you are together and you probably also have kids, and there are various physical, social and economic circumstances that are too heavy on you, and you have to be together, then the only and best way of togetherness is – spiritual togetherness.

Spiritual togetherness will not only take the poison out of the marriage, but actually turns the marriage into something immensely beautiful. Marriages are socially not designed to be beautiful. The way the very institution is defined, its a crazy thing.

But you can still not only correct that mistake but actually turn into an advantage, which by the way also means that you don’t have to run away from from your husband or your wife unnecessarily.

Don’t try that.

Whatever might have been the situation, you did hold somebody’s hand. And you made certain promises, and you went on to have kids as well. Now it is irresponsible to just abruptly quit.

If the two of you could be together in your tussles, fights. If the two of you together could shout, and scratch, and bite, and tear, and break, if all those things could be done together, why not meditate and be loving and compassionate together?

Or is companionship only for biting into each other?

So having been companions, now it is your responsibility to help and guide and accompany the other towards Light as well.

Otherwise it’s a very strange thing. You are saying, “As long as we were in the dark, we were companions. Now that there is Light, I shall be alone.”

That’s a bit inhuman.

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

Watch the session video: The effect of spirituality on married life || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why is singing of great importance in spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2018)

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Why is singing of great importance in spirituality

Question: Acharya Ji, how is music related to spirituality? What do Bhakti Saints sing of?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sing with a Kabir, or sing Kabir with yourself. That’s the best thing.

The best thing is to sing.

The best thing is to – sing.

But you know, we have become very-very unmusical. Our instruments have lost their tuning. We have forgotten to sing. We have lost all verse. So the fallout of that is, that your Acharya Ji has to laboriously speak in prose. And therefore he has to speak so much. Otherwise, two lines of a Kabir Sahib, are much more than sufficient.

And even after speaking so much, do I even come close to what he said? I don’t.

Sing, there is no alternative to that.

Questioner: Without knowing the meaning?

Acharya Ji: Then know the meaning, and sing. He definitely wanted you to know the meaning and sing. That’s why he sang in the language of the people. Had he just wanted you to croon anything unintelligible, then why would he compose in the everyday language of the ordinary people.

Why did he do that? Because he wanted you to also know the literal meaning of his words. if I can help you know the literal meaning of his words, good. To that extent, use me. But do sing.

Man ko maruun patak ke, tuuk-tuuk hoyee jaye,

(Let me hit hard the mind and break it into pieces).

vish kee kyaree boye ke, ab kahe pachtaye.

(After performing bad deeds, why repent now?)

~ Guru Kabir Sahib

Question 2: Acharya Ji, why do saints curse the mind so much, even though the same mind brings me to the Guru?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Then Kabir Sahib has a different couplet for you.

Kabira man nirmal bhayaa, jaise Ganga neer,

(Kabir’s mind has become pure, as the water of Ganges).

Paache paache hari phire kahat Kabir, Kabir.

(Now God runs after him, speaking aloud, ‘Kabir’, ‘Kabir’).

Not all verses of mind are applicable to all states of the mind.

Pahle to man kaaga tha, karta aatm ghaat,

(This mind was once like a crow, causing self-harm).

Ab to man hansa bhaya, moti chug chug khaat.

(Now the mind has become like a swan, chooses and eats with discretion).

So, it’s not as if the Saints have just cursed the mind incessantly. They have also praised the mind – if the mind brings you to the Guru, glory to the mind.

If the mind takes you towards destruction then, “Man ko maruun patak ke, tuuk-tuuk hoyee jaye (Let me hit hard the mind and break it into pieces).”

Depends on the direction the mind is taking.

If you will go to the Upanishads, they will say, “There is no greater friend than the mind. And neither is there enemy bigger than the  mind.”

The mind is both – best friend, and biggest enemy.

Your friend and your enemy are at war with each other. Who will win? Who will win? You are the referee. You don’t even have to choose. You have to just declare. Keep declaring the right result.

Keep declaring the right result.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, when we face reality, we feel as if we have been badly bashed. So, how should one respond in such situations?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You have to remember what I just said.

Irrespective of how one behaves, or what one says, deeply and ultimately all want – the One. So, irrespective of what your impulsive reaction is, you must also remember that nobody does anything for self-harm.

Even when a person commits suicide, he is actually trying to minimize self-harm.

Doesn’t matter whether the world is ignorant or arrogant. It doesn’t matter what qualities and characteristics are being displayed. Are they being displayed so that the one displaying them gets harmed?

You might be ignorant and you are walking towards a hole. But is it self-harm that you want? You are just ignorant. And if you are ignorant, do I curse you, or do I help you? The prakritik instinct would be to curse. Wisdom would be to helpfully curse.

So when you curse, curse in a way that helps.

When Kabir Sahib is saying, “Man ko maruun patak ke,” obviously he is cursing the mind. But look at the love. What is he scolding the mind for? He is saying, “You are the one who sowed all the poisonous seeds.”

vish kee kyaree boye ke, ab kahe pachtaye.

(After performing bad deeds, why repent now?)

Now you are repenting.

He is actually teaching the mind something. What is he teaching the mind? Do not sow seeds of poison. Like the benevolent grandfather you know, who scolds you but nevertheless helps you. And he scolds you so that the need to be helped reduces.

Saints have scolded a lot. In fact, even Buddha who is commonly considered to be the epitome of poise and compassion, has been very-very harsh in his scoldings. He has used choicest words. Sometimes he has called you ‘an ass’, sometimes ‘a pig’.

It is for the sake of compassion.

And it is because those who run from the center of fear, sometimes require fear, even to be helped.

Suppose there is a patient,  diseased one in the spiritual sense. And what is his disease? His disease is that he works only through fear. His disease is, that he knows only fear. Nothing can make him move or work, except fear.

Now, you want to take this person to a doctor of spirituality. This fellow is a sick man in spiritual sense. And you want to take him to a doctor who would cure him. And this man knows only one motivation. What is that motivation?

Questioner: Fear.

Acharya Prashant Ji: How do you take this man to the doctor?

Questioner: By using fear.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Therefore the Saints scold.

Questioner 4: Acharya Ji, I think honesty is needed to be afraid.

Acharya Prashant Ji: No, honesty is not needed. Honesty is needed to be fearless. Honesty is not needed to be fearful, it is needed to be fearless.

The ones who live by the center of fear, always live in the imaginations of feared outcomes.

That’s why they live in fear.

So, all that the Teacher then needs is a certain worldly power, using which he should be able to induce fear in the other person.

The Teacher must have a certain worldly authority as well, using which he should be able to induce fear.

But when we are talking about the worldly authority, and the intent of the Teacher to induce fear in someone, let it not go too far.

We are only talking of as much fear, as is required to bring the patient to the doctor.

Nothing more than that.

We are not talking of fear becoming a way of life.

We are not talking of fear, as the preferred instrument of the Teacher.

We are not glorifying fear.

The aim is fearlessness.

But sometimes our love for fearlessness, can get so very shrouded beneath all kinds of rubbish, that we just lose that charm. The Teacher may come and say, “You know what, you live in fear. Come with me and I will take you to fearlessness.” And the fellow would say, “Fearlessness. I don’t want that.” He wants that, and yet does not know that he wants. That’s the situation of man.

So the Teacher has no option, but to temporarily use fear.

Getting it?

That power has to be very-very discreetly applied.

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

Watch the session video: Why is singing of great importance in spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2018)

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To know Kumbh, understand struggle between heaven & hell || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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To know Kumbh, understand struggle between heaven and hell

Question: What is the legend behind the festival of Kumbh?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The legend of Kumbh revolves around the perennial struggle between the Devas and Danavas, the resident gods of heaven, and the lords of hell, respectively.

The two keep jostling for superiority, and the demons are ever eager of defeating the gods and occupying heaven.

Even when the two once unusually collaborate to churn the great ocean to procure the nectar of immortality, the partnership goes badly sour. One of the demons makes away with the pot (Kumbh) of nectar, and as he speeds through the universe to ditch his furious brethren chasing him, a few drops of ambrosia fall at four places on Earth. Since then, says the myth, the Kumbh is celebrated at those places.

Humans of Earth get a great festival to celebrate, but the struggle between the occupants of heaven and hell continues unabated.

Demons remain both envious and desirous of heaven, forever frustrated in their attempts to conquer it.

To know Kumbh, it is important to understand this struggle between heaven and hell.

So, heaven and hell are obviously not geographies.

What is holy?

That which is unblemished, uncorrupted.

We call the pristine as ‘holy’ because there is something within us that demands cleanliness, that does not like filth, corruption and conditioning.

Something within us just does not agree with blemishes, bondages, ignorance and littleness.

It wants absolute Truth and Freedom.

We want freedom, but live a life of bondage. However, amid our bondages, there stands the possibility of coming in contact with a situation, a person, a book, or an environment, which can remind us of our essentially liberated nature.

Association with something, someone, whose presence reminds you of your own internal Truth; whose presence is proof that if liberation is possible in one case, then it is possible for you as well.

This is what gives one the courage to dream of freedom.

Otherwise, one is stuck.

There are the overpowering forces of physicality, home, family, work, society, education, economics. And there is that occasional, faint call from within, that gnawing feeling of discontent. One cannot escape anywhere else, and in the middle of his inevitable situations, one also does not feel satisfied. Stuck!

Many people take the easy way out: “Why talk of liberation? Why not just eat, sleep, drink and be merry? There is nothing more to life; don’t even talk about it, it’s dangerous.”

They say so, because they feel hopelessly stuck. There is nothing around, which offers them any kind of help. And even if they try to rise a little, there are a thousand forces to pull them down.

Association with the holy offers a helping hand.

It does not take you away to another world.

It only helps you do what you have always wanted to do in this world.

It helps you realise that your own deepest desire of freedom is attainable.

Heaven and hell are obviously for the mind. Heaven is a situation in which the mind gets what contents it deeply: a total relaxation that eludes our otherwise agitated and stressed life. Heaven is the company that relaxes you, and also gives you the courage to rebel for liberation, “I can be free! My deepest dreams were there to be realised!”

What is your deepest dream? Your deepest dream is to be free and contented. The world gives you a thousand miscellaneous desires that obfuscate this deep original dream. Heaven is where you see that this dream is realisable. You are struggling, labouring, somehow plodding along. You have given up all hope of freedom, and then, miraculously, the hope is rekindled. Heaven!

Correspondingly, there is hell: All that which convinces you that just this humdrum state of affairs is life. The company of forces that tell you not to fly too high, that compromise is the name of the game, that you must play safe and secure, that the world is a terrible place, that you must be afraid, that you are born to follow practices and patterns – the company of such voices is hell.

The world itself can be heaven. When is the world heaven? When for you the world is a gateway to the beyond. The beyond is not heaven, remember! Because beyond, there is no mind, and heaven and hell are in the mind.

Spirituality is the journey from hell to heaven, and then beyond into the absolute joy of liberation.

The very thing that was craving for heaven, the very thing that was suffering, that very thing is to be peacefully retired.

That is the climax of spirituality, and the essential calling of Kumbh.

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Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading newspaper website on 5th March, 2019. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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Spirituality is not delinking yourself from the world || Acharya Prashant(2018)

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Spirituality is not delinking yourself from the world

Question: Given that all our relationships seems to be arising purely out of a sense of imagined need, is it possible to have any other kind of relationship?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Those who are free of the world, are free to relate with the world in a healthy way.

And those who are dominated by the world, have no real relationship with the world.

Given that all our relationships seems to be arising purely out of a sense of imagined need, is it possible to have any other kind of relationship?

Given what we are, we would probably, quickly, want to say, “No, if I do not need the other, why would the other have a place in my life?” Because that is what we see all around.

“The other has to serve some utility; he has to provide me financial security or physical pleasure, or has to be related to me by way of memory, and if neither of these are applicable, then why at all would I bother to have a relationship?”

Yes, you are right. Our relationships are just a bother. If the things that I mentioned do not hold, then you would not bother to have a relationship, then you would not really be constrained by your relationship.

It is possible to relate without having the need to relate.

It is possible to have a totally purposeless and aimless relationship.

We are trained in usefulness, we pride ourselves on deriving uses out of even seemingly useless things. That is what we call as ‘innovation’. That we also call as ‘human creativity’.

“You see, this was just sand and we made a nuclear bomb out of it. Look at our creativity.”

But unless one learns the art of uselessness, his life will remain a perennial search; and that is not a good life to lead.

When one is not related to the other by way of habit or expectations, then there is complete freedom in the relationship.

Then one does not accept limitations or obligations, and nor does one impose obligations on the other.

It is really a healthy relationship, because then it is real, and present, moment to moment.

You are not obliged to carry forward the past. You can really know who the person standing in front of you is. You can really talk, you can really relate.

Once I told somebody, “Let’s say a stranger knocks at your door and before opening the door, you look at him. You at least pay some attention. You want to see what that person looks like, what his eyes are saying, what his purpose might be. But when the knock on the door is by your father, or by your friend, or by your husband, you don’t even bother to look at the face of the person, because you are carrying forward a lot of past.”

You say that you already know. How can there really be a relationship now? One can look sharply at the faces that appear in the magazines and in newspapers, but one hardly ever looks sharply at the faces and the eyes of the so-called ‘loved-ones’. For that matter, one does not look sharply even at his own face.

Only the man free of others, can have loving relationship with the others.

It is only when you do not really need the other, that there is a possibility of really relating with the other.

You want to know the health quotient of your relationships? It’s easy! Just investigate your relationships for dependency. Are you dependent on the other, in any way – physical, psychological, material, immaterial? Is the other dependent on you?

Where there is dependency, there would only be violence – not love.

You need something, you are dependent on it, would you bother for its freedom? The thing says, “I want to go away,” but you need it, would you allow it to go away? And dependencies can be very subtle.

Good news is: it is possible to relate totally and freely without being dependent.

Spirituality or wisdom is not about cutting off your links from the world, rather it is about relating completely and fully.

However, the main objective is never to relate with the other. The main objective is to remain centered in oneself. Relationship with the other comes as a by-product, as a surprise gift.

“I am immersed within myself. And strangely, surprisingly, pleasantly, I find that the whole universe is a friend. The universe was never my pre-occupation, I was not thinking about the universe, I was not so bothered about the universe. And if I am very bothered about the universe even if in a so-called ‘well-meaning’ way, the universe would not be good towards me and I would not be good for the universe.”

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Excerpted from an article published in one of the leading newspaper website on 5th Dec, 2018. Read here.

Edited for clarity.


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Why is it difficult to explain spirituality to our close ones? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Why is it difficult to explain spirituality to our close ones

Question: Acharya Ji, I have noticed that people who know me since childhood, are now facing difficulty in understanding what I am doing. For instance, it took me two years to convince my wife and relatives etc., to even allow me to do what I am doing.

When I say, “What I am doing,” I am referring to my inclination towards spirituality. Why do our closed ones take so much time to understand us?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It is because Abhilash (the questioner), they are close to you in an un-spiritual way. So they will take a lot of time, and you will have to live with this fact.

Do not just say, “Some person is close to you.” Complete the sentence. Elaborate and clarify. When you say, “He is close to me,” how is he close to you? What do you mean by ‘closeness’? Closeness of what to what? When you say ‘close’, you mean – X is close to Y.

When you say that somebody is close to you, kindly elaborate – what is close to what? The closeness itself is quite material, or co-incidental, or social, or physical. They were close to you in a very-very un-spiritual way. In the spiritual dimension, they were not close at all.

So it is not that people who are close to you, are taking time to understand you. If you want to express it honestly, the situation is like this – people who are spiritually very-very far from you, are taking time to come close to you. And that is understandable. Is it not? They were anyway very-very far from you, so they are taking time to come close to you.

Are you getting me?

(Referring to the table placed in front) Right now, I am closer to you, or to this table? In purely the physical sense, I am close to the table. But if I start teaching to this table, will it understand? So, that’s how your question is Abhilash. “Acharya Ji, I have been close to a table since two decades. I have been very-very close to the table. I live on the table, I eat on the table, I sleep on the table, I dance on the table. Wherever I go, I carry the table on my back. But now I am teaching Bhagwad Gita to the table, and the table is not understanding.”

Sir, you have been close in the material sense. Your hand is resting on the table. There is no closeness between the hearts, there is no real closeness, essential closeness.

Two people can live in the same room for two thousand years, without being essentially close to each other.

You live in a hostel room, and four lizards also live in that room. Don’t they? And for four years that might be the case – you and the four lizzies. And you have been reciting the Upanishads for four years daily, since four years. Have the lizards understood?

But you are saying, “No, no. We were life-partners, room-partners. We shared our space. One day I found them sitting over the Gita. They were there inside even my washroom. They knew everything. They knew my body inside-out. Sometimes they would feast from my plate as well. There was a great bonhomie between the five of us. We were a family – me and the four lizards. But they are not understanding anything.”

What does physical closeness have to do with spiritual alignment, or proximity?

(Referring to one of the members sitting in the audience) Of all the people who are sitting here, Anmol is the closest, and he has been dozing. What does physical proximity have to do with understanding?

Even physical proximity helps, only when first of all, there is ample consciousness at the other end.

Then you say, “Well, the flame of consciousness is burning in the other. Bring him physically close to me so that I can give more time, more attention.”

I can wear a hat all day long, that will not tell it what is inside the brain. Or will it? If it will gather anything, it is just the oil.

And that is why, you sometimes find it very befuddling, very ironical things happening.

People who have been physically close to the Teacher since long, you find that they have totally missed the Teacher.

And then you wonder: This fellow was physically so close, how can he totally miss the Teacher? He knows nothing. Even those who are thousands of miles away, have gained so much, but this fellow- zero gain.

The reason is, physical closeness.

He was never really close. It was just table-and-hand, body-to-body, skin-to-skin.

The heart never came close.

So what will you learn?

Even right now, this session is being broadcasted live to I suppose thousands of people. And there are so many of you sitting here, physically. Is it certain that those who are sitting physically close, are getting more from this session, compared to those who are watching it online, sitting hundreds miles away, or thousands miles away?

Is that a certainty?

I know for sure that many of you are not getting anything. It is very likely, that the one who is benefiting most from the session is not even present in this hall physically.

Physical nearness to the Teacher is a blessing to the deserving one.

He relishes it.

And physical nearness is a great curse to the undeserving one.

Because by being physically close, the undeserving one gets the pride, that he is anyway close to the Teacher.

And there is no meter, no sensor, to tell this undeserving person that – “You are not close.” There needs to be some kind of a ‘proximity meter’, which should tell you exactly how close are you. And that ‘proximity meter’ will surprise and shock many students of the Teacher.

They might be physically just two meters away from me, or from anybody who can teach, but actually they are ten thousand miles away. Ten thousand miles away, yet bloated with the pride that they are close.

And when they do not learn anything, they say, “We were so close. We still did not learn anything. The Teacher must be shabby.” You were never close, not now, not yesterday.

You are only as close to the Teacher, as this hand is to this table.

What will the table learn?

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

Watch the session: Why is it difficult to explain spirituality to our close ones? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is forgiveness? What is compassion? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is forgiveness What is compassion

Question: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Today I was reading about brain and conditioning. Our brain is affected by moment-to-moment experiences. These experiences, put the brain, in a certain form. And these experiences, also bring about certain deformities, in the brain.

I have some memories of people in my brain, that do not allow me to feel free. I feel a certain uneasiness, when I think about them. What is ‘forgiveness’? What is daya, or ‘compassion’? Kindly show me light on this.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Parmeshwari (the questioner), ‘forgiveness’ is – not having the need to forgive. Forgiveness is – to not having the need to forgive. As long as there is a need to forgive, it means you are still sticking to the small things in the brain. Hurts, distortions, you are still talking about those little things.

You feel offended. Because you feel offended, so the question of forgiving the other person, arises. “Should I forgive? Should I not forgive?”

Real forgiveness is, when you have gone beyond the little things of the brain, and have totally forgotten the hurt.

That which you are calling as ‘permanent distortion in the brain’, is nothing but the attachment of ‘I’ sense, to all the little taints. The distortion does not just stay on. The distortion stays on, because you get attached to it.

It’s like something is staining your cloth, or your skin. Do you know how the stain happens? Something in the cloth, reacts with the spoiling agent, the dirt. Actually, a friendship happens. If I put some grease on this Kurta, the grease is different from the Kurta. They are two different entities. How does it happen that the grease meets the Kurta, and then the grease does not come-off? How did the two, become one?

The two become one, because a bond develops. It’s a chemical bond. Actually, chemistry takes place. They become brother and sister, or friends, or mother and son, or husband and wife. That’s how the cloth gets distorted. That’s how the brain gets distorted. The brain develops a friendship with, non-sense of the past. A chemical bond develops.

On one side of the chemical bond, is the memory of the past. Who is on the other side of the bond? You, the ‘I’. The ‘I’ is getting bonded with, attached with, that memory. The ‘I’ has developed a definition, with respect to that memory. So now, the memory will gain life. It will become a permanent taint on the brain. Otherwise, the memory will just wither down, fall-off, go away.

If some totally non-reactive material, comes to this cloth, would the cloth still get stained? No, because there will be no reaction. Putting any material, whether reactive or non-reactive, comes to a cloth, that is made of a non-reactive material, would the cloth ever get stained?

If my Kurta is made of a material, that cannot react, will the Kurta ever get dirtied or spoiled? No, becaue there will never be any reaction. This Kurta is never going to attach. It doesn’t react. It has no need for company. It does not form any bond with anything.

You have formed bonds, with all the little things here and there – past, future, wherever. How to get rid of those bonds? Let’s go back to Chemistry. Tell me how does the soap function? Because the bond between the cloth and the dirt, is there. Now, how does the soap function? Soap comes, and offers a reaction, an energy, stronger than the energy between the cloth and the dirt.

So, the cloth says, “I do not want the dirt. Where is the soap?” The dirt also wants the same thing. Depends on the type of soap. There are many kinds of soaps. The dirt also says the same thing. “Better than being with the cloth, I want to be with the soap.” So, the bond between the dirt and the cloth, is broken.

Spirituality is disruptive.

Spirituality definitely implies – breaking of bonds.

What else is Freedom? Breaking of bondages.

When you address it fondly, then you call it a ‘bond’.

When you look at it really, then you call it a ‘bondage’.

They are the same.

So, don’t worry about the reaction between the cloth and the dirt. That reaction has already happened. The bond is there. Now you have to bring in the soap and the water. Don’t talk too much about the dirt. Now, move towards the soap. Remember the definition of the ‘soap’. Something so important, so reactive, so full of energy, that it disrupts the existing and ongoing chemistry.

Your ongoing chemistries, have to be disrupted.

Your existing patterns have to be broken, with something, that has higher energy than your current patterns.

That is the only way.

That is real forgiveness.

The stain itself is gone.

In general, when we say, ‘forgiveness’, what do we mean? We mean – ‘the stain is there, and I forgive you for staining me.’ That is very bad kind of forgiveness. You are telling him, “You know, the stain is there. But I forgive you.”

Real forgiveness is, when the stain itself is gone.

Now, the fellow may come to you, and say, “Please forgive me,” and you will say, “For what? The stain itself is not there, there is no problem. You haven’t committed any crime. May be you tried to hurt me, I didn’t get hurt. So, there is no question of forgiveness.”

Similarly, you have asked, “What is daya (mercy), or compassion?” First of all, compassion is not daya (mercy. Compassion is – karuna (Hindi word for ‘compassion’). Daya is – mercy. Very-very different. I have spoken a lot on it.

What is then ‘compassion’? ‘Compassion’ is to see that people are needlessly walking around, in spoiled Kurtas. Compassion is to become a soap-seller.

So, Parmeshwari, when is your laundry coming up?

The fellow comes to you, saying, “Ah! My cloth is spoiled for forever, and ever.” And he is weeping. “My fond Kurta, my fond Kurta, my jhini chadariya (pure blanket), my jhini chadariya, gone. Gone. Totally gone. Jake babul se nazzrein milaaun kaise, ghar jaaun kaise (How do I face my father? How do I go home?). All is gone. Laga chunri mein gaad chupaaun kaise (My pure blanket has been tainted. How do I hide these stains?).”

And he is weeping buckets.

And you know that you have the soap in your pocket. So, with a mighty swag, you are looking at the fellow and saying, “Now, you. Needlessly you are crying. Come over! Just hand over the cloth to me.”

That’s compassion – to not to become a participant in the other’s dirt, and filth, and tears.

Instead, help him out, by cleaning him up.

What is mercy, or daya? “O! It’s too bad. Too bad. Your Kurta is gone. So bad. You know it happened with my cousin also. Just two years back, he lost his Kurta. Here, come over. Weep! My shoulder is there. Kandha (shoulder) is my name.”

When you are very merciful, then your name is Kaandha. When you are very compassionate, then your name is Kaanha(Lord Krishna). Get the difference? Just too many people are Kaandha. When you want to cry, you go to them. If you don’t cry, the relationship is gone.  In Dharamshala, we were talking a lot about agony-aunts. There sole purpose in life, is to help others cry. That is ‘mercy’. A very ugly thing.

Compassion is – to not to weep, but to apply the soap.

You can either weep with others, or you can clean them up.

Decide!

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

Watch the session: What is forgiveness? What is compassion? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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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.

————————————————————————————-

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.

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

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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