Acharya Prashant, with students: Thoughts, Understanding and Realization


Acharya Prashant: We rarely understand. We only keep thinking. And we think that we are understanding.
Naresh, there is a humongous difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘understanding’.

We ‘think’, but we rarely ‘understand’.
When you look at that mobile phone, you are ‘thinking’, you are not ‘understanding’. ‘Understanding’ is a totally different thing.

‘Understanding’ happens when thoughts have been quietened.

You think about the mobile, have you ever thought about the ‘Tack Sheek’? Is there anyone here who thinks about ‘Tack Sheek’?

Listener: We don’t know what that is!

AP: You think about the ‘mobile’, because you know about the mobile already. No one here has ever heard of ‘Tack Sheek’ before! And that’s why you don’t know about it.

All thoughts come from the past. When you are looking at something, the only thing happening is, that your mind is recalling something that it already has recorded previously.

And that is why, when I said ‘Tack Sheek’, you all were clueless about it. Because there is nothing to recall. This is not ‘understanding’. This is just a recalling of the past.
There is something previously fed into your brain, and you just recalled it again. This is not called understanding. This is highly mechanical. This can be easily done by a computer’s hard drive, which has no intelligence at all, which is purely instrumental.

So, when you are looking at this mobile, then you are just dealing in an image. That is merely a thought, not ‘understanding’.

L: So, what then is ‘Real Understanding’?


‘Understanding is the fruit of intelligence.’ It operates only in an environment of attention. When you are completely still, then the process that happens instantaneously, that is called ‘Understanding.’

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Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: You know your real face, and your real home?

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“Your life, my friend,

is a residence far away from any other

residence and neighbours.

Your inner soul is a home far away from

other homes named after you.

If this residence is dark,

you cannot light it with your neighbour’s lamp;

If it is empty you cannot fill it

with the riches of your neighbour;

Were it in the middle of a desert, you could not move it to a

garden planted by someone else…

Your inner soul, my friend,

is surrounded with solitude and seclusion.

Were it not for this solitude and this seclusion

you would not be you and I would not be I.

If it were not for that solitude and seclusion,

I would, if I heard your voice, think myself to be speaking;

Yet, if I saw your face, I would imagine that I were looking into a mirror.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Acharya Prashant: Poets have a way, of presenting the Truth. The way helps. The way is beautiful. But as happens with all ways to the Truth, the way itself is a bit of a hindrance to the destination.

What Khalil Gibran is saying here, is essentially very straightforward. The inner seclusion and solitude that he is talking of, is nothing, but your calm, peaceful, silent, immovable, center.

Seated at that center, with the calmness, the immovability, of the center, vested in the mind as well; the mind gains intelligence, the mind gains discretion.

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Life is not that tragic

The mind is like that. It has no independent existence of its own. It lives only in relation. Only in comparison. If it cannot relate something to the past it will not be able to make any sense of it.

It derives its very existence from a relationship with knowledge. The thing must already be there in the mind by way of knowledge for it to make any sense to you. So that’s all the mind can do.

Life is not that tragic. The new is there, every moment is new. We are leaving continuously in the new but the faculty that will know the new is not the conditioned.

The only way to come close to the happening is by way of direct approach. Comparison is indirect approach and you have the capability to approach rife directly.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Why does the mind compare everything with the past?

Acharya Prashant: Why does the mind compare everything with the past?

Listener: Why does my mind compare everything with the past?

Acharya Prashant: What else can it do? Do you want to think without having a benchmark? That’s impossible.

The mind is like a ‘businessman.’ It weighs everything. And have you seen weighing scale? It always has two parts that are weighed against each other. Have you ever seen a weighing scale that does not compare? That does not have a standard or a benchmark?

The mind is like that. It has no independent existence of its own. It lives only in relation. Only in comparison. If it cannot relate something to the past it will not be able to make any sense of it.

Assume I utter word right now that you cannot relate to your past, will your mind make any sense out of that word? If you have never heard that word before. Would that word be meaningful in the language of the mind? Yes? So, that is the all mind can do. Compare.

It derives its very existence from a relationship with knowledge. The thing must already be there in the mind by way of knowledge for it to make any sense to you. So that’s all the mind can do.

If it says something is good it is because it has been made to believe in the past that such are the benchmarks of ‘goodness.’ If it says something is moral or ethical then it is because it is made to believe that such are the standards of ethics otherwise it hardly knows anything.

So if your question is why does my mind compare anything and everything with the past? Then the answer is because that’s the only thing it can do nothing else is possible for the mind.

The question now needs to be broadened. The question must now be – “Do I need to know everything by way of comparison?” Alright!  the conditioned mind will only know something by comparing it. Right? The conditioned mind will only know something by comparing it. But will I also know everything by comparing it?  Is that an obligation upon me as well? No, that’s not really an obligation upon you. That is an obligation upon the conditioned part of the cells. But not really upon you. If that is an obligation upon you then, Life will become very terrible. Because it would imply that there is no possibility of any ‘newness.’ Only that will come to me that has a relation to the past. So, nothing new then can come to me. That is a terrible thing to happen.

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Don’t imagine solutions

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

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

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

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

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


Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Acharya Prashant: How to be free of all troubles?

Question: The question is, how to reach the stage of ‘vulnerability.’ Because if I become vulnerable, people’s behavior towards me does not bother me. There is no ego, no expectation left. Even if there is something that hits me, then also I remain normal so easily as if nothing has happened. This is the meaning of vulnerability that I get from the readings, but even after knowing I get hurt by others behavior. My ego gets hurt. So how to reach that stage where nothing can bother me.

Acharya Prashant: Radhika, nothing bothers you. Calling itself a ‘botheration.’ If something comes to you and declares in advance, ‘ I am a botheration,’ would you let that thing to have space in your Life? Would you?

‘Botherations’ never come as botherations. So,

If you start searching for botherations, you will return empty-handed. There is no botheration, that is labeled as flagged as botheration in your mind.

Had it been flagged as a botheration, you would have disposed of it away long back. Right? So, lets search with other keywords.

We are looking for ‘botherations’ because your question is ‘how do you I reach a stage, where the world does not bother me anymore,’ Radhika is asking. Let us search with other keywords and let us search with ‘pleasures.’ Oh, you will find many there. Lets search with ‘Love,’ you will find much there. Lets search with ‘hopes,’ you will find a lot of them there.

When you search with these keywords, you will find that there is a lot in your mind that corresponds. Also, those who have known have told us that the very definition of ‘botheration’ is that which sits upon your mind. That which is continuously making itself felt in your mind is a ‘botheration.’ The one that wraps the mind should be identified as delusion(Jo mann se na utre, maya kahiye soye)

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Not to get the incentive is itself a disincentive

Do you have a goal when you are free of botheration? Ask yourself.

Not to get the incentive is itself a disincentive. Is it not?

Always remember, you will not run after something unless you are worried. All motivation has a close linkage to worry.

Always have a firm realization, let me even call it a feeling, that I am alright. I might be defeated, I might take losses, I might be rebuked, scolded, still, fundamentally I am alright. Never lose that inner faith.

No goal is bigger than you. You are bigger than anything your mind can come up with. A goal, a fantasy, an imagination, a concept, you are bigger than that.

You are not worried about goals. Goals come because you are worried. Do you get the subtle difference?

When the mind is worried, then it sets more and more goals and becomes more and more serious about them. Becomes very serious about the goals.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to be free from botheration?


Acharya Prashant: How to be free from botheration?

Question: Acharya Ji, my question is, “How to be free of botheration and still be focused on our goal”?

Acharya Prashant: What’s your name?

Questioner: Kumar Abhishek.

AP: Sit, Abhishek.

Abhishek is saying, how to be free from botheration and yet to be focused on the goal. Let’s examine.

Abhishek, where does the goal arise from?

You are asking, one – I need to be free from worries; parallelly, I need to be focused on my goal.

I am beginning by asking you, from where does the goal arise?

Do you have a goal when you are free of botheration?

Ask yourself.

When you are Light and Joyful, are you still thinking of goals? Go to your moments, when you are free, light. Were you planning, were you concerned with goals? Were you concerned with goals?

It’s obvious that goals arise from botheration. The more bothered you are, the more is your sense of inner incompleteness, the more goals will be there in your mind. A goal is like a medicine. I am feeling sick, I am feeling sick, so I am searching for a medicine in the future. Goals are not only like a medicine, they are also a ‘False medicine.’ Because the botheration is right now and the medicine is in the?

Listener: Future.

AP: Future. It’s like saying, I have a severe headache, a migraine right now, but I have planned for a medicine that will work two years hence. What kind of medicine is this? If you have a migraine right now, when do you need the medicine to work? Right now. The suffering is right now, the botheration is right now, you need something that heals you?

L: Right now.

AP: Right Now.

Two things, One – goals arise from a sense of turbulence, from a sense of, there is something wrong somewhere, from a sense of there is something unworthy, inadequate about me and I need to make up for it by achieving something in future. I am not alright.  I will be alright when that goal is achieved. Right? That’s what the goal tells you. You will be good, admirable, lovable, adequate when you get that promotion when you have that amount of money when you earn that respectability. That’s what the promise of the goal is. And we fail to see that it is a false promise. A false medicine.

So, Abhishek you are asking for the impossible. You are saying, “How not to bother and how still to be focused on goals?” Do you see how you are asking for the impossible? Goals themselves arise from the poisonous soil of botheration. If there is no botheration, how will there be any goals either? How will there be any goals, if you are not worried?

Tha’s why you see, In many systems, in many institutions, in the minds of many people, it is essential that they keep those around them, worried. Because they know that unless you are kept worried, you will not run after goals. In many professions, the lure of incentives is given, to achieve targets, goals. Parallelly, there is a threat of disincentives. And in any case,

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Who is experiencer?

What is an experience? Experience is nothing but the experiencer.

You do not experience anything! You are the experiencer who is a bundle of his

Whatever you experience is not really ‘your’ experience. It is the experience that you have been conditioned to experience. But you think, Oh I am experiencing this. If your identity is changed then your experience changes totally.

The ringing of the temple bell is a delight for the Hindu and means nothing to the Muslim. The call of the Azaan is deeply significant to the Muslim but is a disturbance to the Hindu. Now, are you experiencing the ringing of the bell and sound of the Azaan? Are ‘you’ experiencing it? Or is it the Hindu that is experiencing it? Were you born a Hindu? Hinduism is something that was given to you. It is part of your conditioning. You have acquired it, you have absorbed it. Same for the Muslim. He has acquired it. Taken it in.

What is conditioning? The mind acquiring and acquiring beliefs and layers and layers of thoughts. That is the process of conditioning.

Individuality is that silence that untouched point, which can never be conditioned, which really looks and understands in an untouched way, Simple.

You need to believe when you don’t know. When you know then there is no question of beliefs. Only those who do not know, ‘they’ need to take the support of beliefs.

Read the complete article: Individuality is neither acquired nor influenced 

Individuality is neither acquired nor influenced

Question: My beliefs have come out of my experiences and my experiences have shaped my individuality. If I give up my beliefs, then I am giving up on my individuality?

Acharya Prashant: (quoting the questioner) My beliefs have come out of my experiences and my experiences have shaped my individuality. If I give up my beliefs, then I am giving up on my individuality?

If I ask you to write down what I just said in the last fifteen-twenty minutes and I say, write down in three clear points what has been said. And you write it down. And then I say, compare it with your neighbor, what he or she has written. You will be deeply surprised. You will be deeply surprised at the variation. You will look at your neighbors’ sheet and say, did he ever say this? What have you written?

Now I am one and I am saying the same thing, but all of you are experiencing different things. What is this experience? Where does it come from?

What is an experience?

Experience is nothing but the experiencer.

Kindly do not think that the experience is factual, that experience has any objective reality to it. You only experience what you have been conditioned to experience. Take a clear example. Even as we speak right now, a cricket match is going on. India versus England, right? Suppose we project the game here, live. On this side are Indians and on this side are Englishmen. And India quickly loses three wickets. What does this side experience? Gloom, disaster, three wickets in two overs, long faces. What does this side experience (pointing to the other side)? Cheerfulness, enthusiasm, right? Same happening, different experiences. Now, can these people call their experience as my own experience? Are ‘you’ experiencing it? Or is the ‘Indian’ experiencing it? Similarly, can these people call the cheerfulness their own experience? Are they experiencing it? Or is the Englishman experiencing it?

You do not experience anything! You are the experiencer who is a bundle of his

Born in England, you would be experiencing something totally different. You would be sitting on this side, same happening and you would be feeling glad. Are you getting it?
Listener: Acharya Ji, what is the experience

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Confusion is a manmade thing.

Why does confusion arise? You do not know what is right. If you know what is right will you still be confused? If you really know, tell me will you still be confused? Confusion arises when we do not know what is right for us.

And except us, who can know what is right for us? If you do not know who else will know?

Confusion is not existential. Confusion is manmade. You will not find animals easily confused. They know how to live and what to do. Unless you play trick with them, they will not be confused. But, man is always confused. Confusion is a manmade thing. You simply look at the world with simple childlike eyes and there will be no confusion.

Do not give importance to what you see, what you hear, what you have been told. All the concepts that you have become attached to. Do not give them importance and then there will be no confusion. It’s simple. This is right and this must be done. Go ahead. Confusion arises because you give importance to the dirt.

Read the complete article: Why do we remain confused while making decisions?

What kind of education will help one know herself?

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Question: Our education system is not that sufficient in…. this is my question, what kind of education should be added in our education system that we know ourselves?

Acharya Prashant: Wonderful. What’s your name?

L: Gaurav

AP: Now, Gaurav wants to take it a step ahead. He is saying, “If that is not sufficient, if the existing education system is not sufficient then what else can be done?”

Gaurav, we are talking of self-education, the need to first and foremost, know the knower. We are saying that before you say that the pendulum corresponds to 2Л√L/G, you must ask who is watching the pendulum. The fellow watching the pendulum is as important as a pendulum, if not more. Right? So, we want to know ourselves, how do we proceed?

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Why do we remain confused while making decisions?

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Question: Can the human tendency of getting confused and making decisions can be gotten rid off?

Acharya Prashant: You cannot get rid of something if you don’t know what it is? There were a thousand of kinds of diseases once upon a time that are no more there. Smallpox is gone. Plague too is almost gone. How did man get rid of plague? How did man get rid of plague? By first knowing what plague is? Right? You take blood samples from the person who is infected from the plague, and what do you do?You try to see what plague is? What plague really is? Right? You come to fact of the plague. And once you have known what really is, then out of that knowing the solution emerges. Right?

Suppose this air conditioner is not working. And you want to set it right. How will you correct this air conditioner? How you will rectify it’s working? How?

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We just need to understand our mind

Be cautious of what that thought is about. Look at it and ask yourself, “Is it needed?” If it is needed then proceed, think with all your power. And if it is not needed, then realize it is not needed. Realization is sufficient, no control is needed. I am repeating this, “Realization is sufficient. Control is not needed.”

No control is needed. Thus, this word – control, let it not be present in your vocabulary at all. See, so many of you are sitting here. If you are in attention and most of you look so peaceful, your faces are settled, your bodies are not fidgeting, who wants to control you? There is no need to control. The need to control comes only when this is lost.

And then control is violent, then control is suppression. I don’t think, here, as you are, you need to be controlled. We just need to understand our mind. We just need to understand what all this thought business is all about. Then there is no need to control.

Read the complete article: How to control thoughts?

How to control thoughts?


Question: Sir, there are thoughts which distract us and make us restless and there are thoughts, which do not distract us and calm us down. Something is on the sideline of mind and then those thoughts get us distracted and we are distracted. So, how to have control over those thoughts?

AP: Tell me. What’s your name?

L: Divyanshu.

AP: Diyanshu. How do you know that it is important to have control over thoughts? Come sit over here….


Divyanshu is saying that there are thoughts that distract, there are thoughts which do not distract, thoughts of thousands of flavors and colors. How to have control over them?

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Most of us live a life of poor man

If today you find that your energy gets expressed in all kinds of stupid ways, it’s only because it’s not flowing in the right channels. When it doesn’t flow in the right channels then it gets invested into all idiocies. So, what do you do? You gossip. Have you ever tried to estimate the kind of time that you spend in gossip? Or, day dreaming. Just sitting or lying down. Just randomly thinking. And mind is wandering here and there, going to different planets, different galaxies. Doing unthinkable things. And what we we doing? Lying down and sleeping.

Why does that happen? That happens because there is energy but it’s being squandered. You’ve not given it the right channel. Then there is no intensity on your face. Then there is only stupid idiocy. The face itself tells that life is being wasted. And it is so pathetic. One life, one youth, and slipping away.

When your energy and attention is flowing in the right channels, then you have no time left for gossiping and complaining, for random squabbles, for picking up stupid fights, or feeling hurt. Who has the time to feel hurt? Life is so precious. And there are a thousand things to do. Who has the inclination to complain? There is so much coming my way. Why complain? Instead, take what is coming. Then life is rich. Not the life of a poor man.

Most of us live a life of poor man. Life can be very very very rich. But not when you say “Either this, or that”. Life is rich when you say, “And. And. And”. And, “And” does not mean that I’m greedy for more. It only means that I’m available to everything. I’m not closed. When the opportunity comes knocking, I’m available. When the sun rises, I’m available to look at it. When the stars shine, I’m available to dance under them. When the birds are singing, I’m available to listen to them. I’m not closed. When I’m besides a river, I’m available to enter the river, I don’t say “Oh my God what will happen. River? Good boys don’t go to river.”
Remain available. You won’t lose out.

Read the complete article: How to set priorities in life?

How to set priorities in life?

21762214_1227353527370622_921021697824714700_nQuestion: Sir, how to balance between different things? Like there are studies, and extra-curricular activities. Then there is family and friends. Different priorities.

Acharya Prashant: What’s your name?

L: Animesh.

AP: Sit, Animesh. You are asking how do we balance between our different priorities. The word ‘balance’ is a very violent word. It denotes competition. That the different priorities are competing amongst each other, and I want to decide who deserves my time. You’re speaking the language of ‘or’.

‘Or’ denotes either this or that. Can’t be both. Now, this is conflict. Somebody has to lose.  If you give you time to this then that has to lose, if you give time to that then this has to lose. Life does not proceed like this. Have you heard of a term ‘polymath’? A polymath is a person who is very versed in a thousand things, whose excellence pervades many different domains.

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Simplicity is existential, complexity is man-made.

What is simple living? What is complex living? That’s easier to understand. What is complexity? Complexity is when you do not see the simple and the obvious. Complexity does not lie in the object or the world. There is nothing complex anywhere. Complexity means, my eyes are such that they cannot look at the simple and they are calling it complex. Because there is nothing complex.

To a mind that does not have knots within it, everything is simple. If you find something complex it is because the mind is layered, conditioned, confused. Complex living means living from a conditioned mind. Will you remember this? Complex living means living from a conditioned mind, and hence not able to enjoy the simple beauty of life. That is complex living.

So, what will be simple living? Living from a free mind, an unconditioned mind. So that you are able to live in the simple beauty of life, and enjoy it, obviously. Getting it? Simple living is, when I look at somebody, I do not look at the makeup, I do not look at the brand of the clothes, I do not look at the expression the fellow is wearing, and I look at that essence of the person. Direct and simple.

I do not ask, “How much money you have?” I do not have to which religion and caste do you belong. I do not ask what your percentage is. I look at the person and what I see is the individual. This is simple living. And what would and complex eye look at? What is a complex way of looking at somebody? You meet somebody and you ask, “Alright, so, which locality do you live in? Masters, or PhD? How much money do you have? How long is your car? That’s a complex way of looking at somebody. You cannot look at the man directly. The man is a man, why do you need to ask for his caste and his money, and his car? This is complexity.

Simplicity is existential, complexity is man-made. So, when you look at something, and if you are too concerned with the man-made aspects of it, then your eyes have complexity. Then your eyes have complexity. So, when I look at a person, what is man-made about him? What all is man-made about a person? If I give importance to that then I have a complex way of looking.

On the other hand if I look at a person, and I am concerned more with that which is existential, then it is a simple way of looking.

So, simple living is living from a free mind – a mind that is not cluttered with man-made rubbish, a mind that is not layered with lots of conditioning. That is simple living. Simple living does not mean that “Oh, this man wears only kurta, so he must be simple. Oh, this man does not eat this kind of food, so he must be simple.” All that is rubbish. Simple living means the mind is free. That is all that simplicity means.

Read the complete Article: What is simple living and high thinking?

What is simple living and high thinking?

SR Generic_ EnglishQuestion: Sir, we often hear this famous proverb “Simple living and high thinking.” What is this simple living, and what is this high thinking? If I want to be an IAS, is this a high thinking? I want to know what is simple living and high thinking.

Acharya Prashant: Because you are talking of high thinking, there must be its counterpart as well, low thinking. Let’s try to just see then what could be high thinking, and what could be low thinking.

High thinking is that which terminates itself.

The mind is like this room. The mind, the walls of the mind are the walls of experience, the walls of past, it’s a very limited space, it’s not an open sky. The mind knows only this much. The entire existence is there, open, but the mind knows only this much. And within this wall is the entire movement of mind. This movement of mind is called thought, thinking.

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