Do you really need to know the source of thought? || Acharya Prashant, on Raman Maharishi (2018)

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Do you really need to know the source of thought

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! I want to know the source of thought.

I remember Ramana Maharishi’s words,

“I is the root of all thoughts because in the end very though occurs to the ‘I’.

So, first try to get hold of who this ‘I’ is, which will lead the enquirer dissolve and merge in the source.”

Whenever I enquire, I cannot dig deep. There is no intensity in the digging. How to get that intensity in the enquiry?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What enquiry do you want to do Ashish (the questioner)? Why do you want to know the source of thought?

Why is an enquiry needed at all?

Don’t you directly see where your thoughts are coming from? Don’t you know ‘desire’? Don’t you know ‘jealousy’? Don’t you know ‘competition’?

Where else are your thoughts coming from?

That which is directly available to be known, must not be unnecessarily made mysterious.

You are saying, “Whenever I enquire, I cannot dig deep. There is no intensity in the digging.” You cannot dig deep because there is nothing to dig at. Only the Truth is deep, and you cannot dig your way down to the Truth. When you will dig, you will come to your own, personal center. And that’s all. And that center is shallow, so how deep can you dig?

Your digging cannot take you to Atman or Truth, please.

As long as the digger is there, as someone separate from the Atman, as long as there is someone doing the digging, how are you going to reach the Atman? The very act of digging, will keep the digger intact. The very act of trying to know the source of thought, will keep the striving one, the effort-ful one, intact.

You want to know where your thoughts are coming from?

Your thoughts are coming from the same point, from where the desire to know the source of thoughts is coming.

“From where are my thoughts coming?” Exactly from the same point, from where this question is coming. Where is your question coming from, Ashish (the questioner).

Where is your question coming from?

It’s life that is giving rise to your question.

It is the sum total of all biological process, and the social influences, that is giving rise to this question.

It is the material present in your consciousness, it is the material absorbed by your consciousness, that is giving rise to this question, this enquiry.

I am asking all enquirers: What happens to your enquiry when you go asleep? Please. What happens to your enquiry, the moment you fall asleep? Don’t you see your enquiry is just a wave with a crest and trough – rising and falling.

You want to know – ‘what is thought?’ I am asking you to find, what is this ‘enquiry’. This enquiry is nothing but ‘thought’. So here we have thought trying to know the origin of ‘thought’ – a dog trying to catch it’s own tail.

How aesthetic or successful that can be – ‘a dog trying to catch it’s own tail’?

Are you always enquiring? Yes, enquiring can be successful if you are always enquiring. But look at your enquiry. You enquire for half an hour a day, two hours a day, when you find the moment opportune. And then? So, your enquiry is nothing but a figment of your mood. Your enquiry is subservient to something else.

The situations are good, you say, ” I want to enquire right now.” Would you enquire when there is a fire in the house? You don’t. And if you can understand what this thing called ‘enquiry’ is, you will also understand what all your thoughts are. And vice-versa.

“We identify ourselves with this body, the Guru appears in a physical form, but his work lies in spiritual realm.”

~ Ramana Maharishi

Question 2: As the disciple is not aware of this dimension, how to be aware about Guru’s Grace?

Acharya Ji: Why do you want to be aware about Guru’s Grace? What will you do with that? Why do want that knowledge? Remember that knowledge means power, and power means control.

You are not asking: “How to be recipient of Guru’s Grace?” You are asking: “If the work of the Guru lies in spiritual realm, how do I know that work? How do I know the dimension in which the Guru is operating?”

What will you do with that?

Go to your question itself, therein you will find the questioner. And that’s who you are. Rather, that’s what you take yourself to be.

It’s very important – what you take yourself to be. Because if you do not know what you are taking yourself to be, then you will never know the falseness of what you consider yourself.

Let the Guru do, what he would.

There is no need for you to know.

Your ‘knowing’ would be an interference.

———————————————————————-

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

Watch the session: Do you really need to know the source of thought? || Acharya Prashant, on Raman Maharishi (2018)

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Does anything outside of thought really exist? || Acharya Prashant (2017)

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Does anything outside of thought really exist

Question: Acharya Ji, you have said in one of your videos, “In matters of Truth, thought is not useful. It is even a handicap.” But thought is all I know, and have ever known. If I close my eyes, everything is a thought. My family is a thought, my children are a thought, even God is a thought. And the Teacher is a thought.

If everything, that I have ever known, is a thought, then why should I believe, that something outside of thoughts, and space and time dimensions, exists? Every thing that tells me, that something ‘beyond’ exists, is thought. And if thoughts are not to be believed, or taken seriously, then I am screwed, because I have been on a wrong quest.

Why should I belittle my thoughts, and term them frivolous and false? Outside these thoughts, there is nothing that I can know of, so why to condemn them?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You will have to answer it, looking at your own life.

How will you explain ‘love’? Thoughts have reasons. Thoughts have causal linkages – backward and forward. Each thought, comes from somewhere, and leads to something. How do you explain ‘love’? Where does ‘love’ come from? Do you have to think, to ‘love’?

How do you explain sleep?

You would admit that when you are sleeping, nicely, comfortably, then you are not thinking. Are you in distress then?

Your problem is not that you are not convinced of a thought-free state.

Your problem is that you are not convinced of a thought-free state – for yourself.

If I say that in sleep, you are thought-free, and yet blissful. You would retort and say, “Yes, there is bliss. But not for me.” You want to experience the bliss, along with everything, that you are. In sleep, bliss is there. But all that, that you are, is not there. So that bliss, appears so useless.

You are not questioning freedom from thought. You are questioning, whether there is freedom from thought, for you, as you are. No, there is no freedom that way. So, you have to make a choice. You have to decide. whether you are more particular about preserving yourself, or is that bliss, dearer to you?

Are you getting it?

That which you are questioning, is not totally unknown to you. You do not really dispute it. If you have ever known Silence, or Love, then you cannot dispute that there is something beyond the little ‘you’. If you have been ever awestruck by anything, then you cannot dispute, that there is something beyond ‘you’.

Come closer.

If you have ever listened carefully to me, then you cannot dispute that there is something beyond ‘you’. And that is not the product of thought, because I do not give you the time to think.

When you are with me, do you get the space, the occasion to think? You don’t. If you are attentive, then you are taken to a place, where there is just ‘you’. The baggage of thoughts, the swarming of the bees, is not there.

So you know, that THAT exists. That you may call as – Silence, or Truth, or God, whatever. You know that, THAT exists. Hence, I am re-reading your question. Now, your question is, “Can THAT exist with ‘me’? Can ‘I’ exist with ‘THAT’? can the two be simultaneous? Can the two remain separate, and yet concurrent?

No, they can’t.

Jab hari tha tab main nahin,

Jab main hun hari nahin.

(When there is God, then I am not.

When I am, God is not).

Simple. Full stop.

That ‘beyondness’, is beyond dispute, because all dispute is thought.

That ‘beyondness’ is beyond questions as well, because all questions are thoughts.

That ‘beyondness’ is beyond my teaching, and your listening, if my teaching and your listening, are a thought.

‘Beyondness’, need not be proved, because beyondness, is such a cunning thing. All you are saying is, what you are saying is alright, but there is something beyond this. But, how do you disapprove that? You can only disapprove something that exists. In ‘beyondness’, what you are saying is, that whatever exists, has something beyond it. Now, how do you fight that?

Hence, the saints are always on a very sold footing. You cannot quarrel with them. They say, “What you have is alright. But there is something bigger than this.” How do you fight with that? And they are saying that – ‘That’ which is bigger than ‘This’, is not in the same dimension, as this thing.

How do you fight with that?

Because, in this dimension, you can prove that there is no Taj Mahal, bigger than the existing Taj Mahal. And this dimension is all that you know of. In this dimension, there is scope of proofs and rebuttals. But, what they are saying is that there is another dimension, that is beyond proofs. There is a Taj Mahal in a dimension, that is beyond any Taj Mahals. So, where there can be no Taj Mahal, there is a Taj mahal, that is better than this Taj Mahal.  Now, fight that.

They are not claiming anything at all. What they are saying is, “Where there can be no Taj Mahal,” by this they mean – a world that is not yours. A world in which space and earth do not exist. So, where there can be no Taj Mahal, there exists a Taj Mahal, more beautiful than this Taj Mahal.

Now, you cannot even take the first step, to even counter such a statement. Why? Because your first step will come from thought or imagination. And, what they are saying is – “In that world, there is no thought. So, you cannot enter with thought.” And thought is all you have.

Please understand.

What they are saying is, “There is another dimension, that is untouched by thought”. And you start thinking – ‘what that dimension could be?’ And you have lost it. And the saint is smiling.

The only way now, you can counter the saint is, by…..

(silence)

You want to investigate that dimension, right? And the saint is saying, “In that dimension, there is neither space, nor time, nor earth, nor moon. There is nothing. No person, no animal. No thing, no idea, no past, no past, no future.”

That is that dimension.

“And in that dimension, there is a Taj Mahal, more beautiful than this Taj Mahal. No you want to investigate that dimension. How do you investigate that dimension? You want to enter that country. Kabir keeps talking again and again, of another desh, another amarpuri. You want to investigate, you want to prove Kabir wrong. You want to prove that no such amarpuri exists.

For that, what will you need to do? What is the necessary condition?

Questioner: You will want to have proofs.

Acharya Ji: Kabir is saying that there is another dimension, in which there is a Taj Mahal. And in that dimension, there is no thought. You cannot enter that dimension with thought. Now, you want to investigate that there is a Taj Mahal in that dimension. What will you have to do?

You will have to enter that dimension. And you cannot enter that dimension, with thought. So, what will you have to do? What is the condition? You will have to be…..Silent. Because Kabir is saying, that only Silence can enter there.

Your intention is to investigate whether that Taj Mahal, exists. And whether that Taj Mahal is more beautiful than this Taj Mahal. But, what is the password to that dimension? Even if you want to investigate that dimension, what is the password?

Listeners: Silence.

Acharya Ji: So to enter that dimension, even for the purpose of suspicious investigation, what will you have to do?

Questioner 1: Be Silent.

Acharya Ji: Be Silent. The moment you are silent, Kabir smiles. That is all, that he wanted. That is all, that he wanted. The moment you are silent, you discover that Silence itself, is the Taj Mahal, that is more beautiful, than all the Taj Mahals.

Now, you don’t want to look at some building, any construction. This de-contruction, this des-truction, is more beautiful than any construction. Done! Game over. The first step -Silence- is the last step. Now, there is no need to enquire that whether the world is indeed, just as Kabir describes it.

And he describes it in very colorful ways. He says, “The Sun is forever shining there. There is no sunset. And even as the Sun is shining there, you can enjoy the beauty of the moon and the stars. And there is no death, no old-age, no disease, no fear, and no suffering.”

You want to counter all that. You say, “No, no. This cannot be possible. To counter it, you will have to go there.” To go there, you will have to be ……

Questioner: Silent.

Acharya Ji: Silent.

The moment you are silent, Kabir runs away.

His mischief, is successful.

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

Watch the session: Does anything outside of thought really exist? || Acharya Prashant (2017)

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Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Consciousness is just physical

Question: Acharya Ji, what is consciousness? Is it possible to purify consciousness? How to bring about a change in consciousness? Is consciousness an object?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Show me consciousness, devoid of content. So, thought is consciousness. Show me thought devoid of content. Tell me that you are thinking about nothing. When you think, don’t you think about an object? So, is there thought without object? Try thinking object-lessly.

So, consciousness is nothing, but it’s own content. Consciousness is nothing, but it’s own content. (Holding a glass of water) Once I was talking to an audience, so I showed this glass of water. I said, “You see, these are the contents of your consciousness, and these have been poured into the consciousness, from outside.”

So, a wise girl got up from the audience, and said, “If all the content can be poured out, would I have a clean and empty consciousness?” I said, “No. To have a clean and empty consciousness, you have to throw away the glass as well.”

You cannot have the glass, and not have anything in it. So, when the water goes out, the air rushes in.

You cannot have anything called ’empty consciousness’.

‘Empty consciousness’ is – ‘No-consciousness’.

Consciousness, does not like a vacuum.

Because consciousness is objective, therefore like the objective world, it abhors vacuums.

Whenever you have a very low pressure area, you know what happens. It tries to suck in anything, and everything, from everywhere. And it does not differentiate. Whatsoever can be sucked in, would be sucked in. If there is a very low pressure zone, and you go close to it, you too would be sucked in.

That is consciousness.

Consciousness and it’s contents, are inseparable. I know, some teachers ave talked of consciousness, without content. That is a euphemism. That’s a way of addressing ‘zero consciousness’, or ‘no-consciousness’.

There is no point talking so much about consciousness, because consciousness is conditioned. Even if you bathe, teach and decorate a slave, he won’t become the master. Why are you so busy talking about the slave? Why are you so busy attending to, and glorifying, and investigating about, the slave?

If the slave troubles you, the trick lies in going to the Master. And once you are with the Master, the slave will fall in line, on his own. And that’s where, the intellectuals are missing the point, the psychologists are missing the point.

They too talk of consciousness, the psychologists, the intellectuals, even the neurologists, – they all talk of consciousness. And they are busy, looking at nothing, but the consciousness. The slave is behaving erratically. A mean slave, who has come to acquire bad manners. And what are all the intellectuals, and psychologists doing? They are trying to teach the slave, a few good manners.

What does the Mystic do? He ignores the slave. The Mystic has nothing to do with the slave. He goes right to the Master. And once you are with the Master, one look of the Master is enough, to discipline the slave. That’s the trick the intellectuals have been missing.

All psychology keeps talking of mind, and consciousness. What they don’t talk of, is the Lord. They are so afraid. Truth and Mysticism are an anathema to them. They would say, “Let’s limit ourselves to the mind.” So, what happens in the mind? And who would understand that?

If the mind were smart enough, to understand itself, and it’s rubbish, why would it stay engaged in rubbish? But you don’t see this obvious fact. You want the mind to understand the mind, knowing fully well, that that which you want to understand, is stupid, and that is why you want to understand it.

Had it been functioning properly, would you have felt a need to investigate, what is going on? So, you want to test a malfunctioning machine, using, the same malfunctioning machine.

The car is junk, the engine has collapsed. And, you want to drive the car, to the service station in the next city. You want to get the car repaired, using the services of the car itself. It is so non-sensical.

But then, intellectuals, face a very acute dilemma. They are compulsive-avoiders of all mysticism. It harasses their ego, to accept that there is the unknowable. And the unknowable, is at the commanding heights. They would rather self-destruct, than devote the self.

You see, man is more terrified of psychological death, than physical death.

And the psychological life, is the life of the ego.

The ego says, “I can accept anything and everything, except mysticism.” That’s the mark of the stupid man. To him, everything exists, except Him. All else is a possibility. The unknowable one is not a possibility.

He says, “I am very open-minded. I am very liberal. I am a liberal.” But, he is greatly illiberal. Because he does not want to consider the possibility, that, THAT, and THAT alone exists.

In some sense, the open-minded community, is the most narrow-minded one. There minds are so narrow, that nothing broad, nothing immense, can gain entry into it. Only little things find their way, to these little minds.

Are you getting it?

(Addressing the questioner) Even in this question, Dori, where is surrender? Where is devotion? These things that you are asking, cannot be grasped intellectually. Why don’t you see that intellect is such an incapacitated organ? A child’s little finger. And you want to move the mountains.

You are determined. You have been exercising the finger regularly . It’s a very muscular finger now. The Himalayas are shivering.

(laughter)

Question 2: Do you, Acharya Ji, use the concept of ‘consciousness’ as analogous to mind.

Acharya Ji: Yes, broadly. States of consciousness, happenings in consciousness, are the states of mind, and happenings in mind. Right?

Or, as Awareness.

The foundation of consciousness, is awareness.

Pure consciousness, which is ‘zero consciousness’ is – Awareness.

However, that does not mean, that to be aware, you have to give up on consciousness.

No.

Being aware implies – not identifying with consciousness.

So, the stupid consciousness, is busy with it’s own little matters. and where are you? An arm’s length away. That’s awareness. It’s always a choice – to abide in awareness, or to fool around, in the domain of consciousness.

And the domain of consciousness, will keep existing, as long as the body is there. You cannot drain consciousness, of it’s contents. You cannot just, take the vessel, and pour out the contents it has.

Question 3: How far back, the seat of Truth lies?

Acharya Ji: Awareness, and Truth, are one. So, not very far back. Just one step behind. Just one step behind. You are standing on the edge of the cliff, behind you is an abyss. Just one step behind.

Close your eyes, and take a step backwards.

Taking that one step backwards, is therefore, so impossible to most people. Because the every dimension changes. You can take innumerable steps forward, and the dimension remains the same. But behind, is an abyss. That one step, will not allow you, to remain the one you are.

The Earth will change. The very physics will change. Your very station will change. You will change. That’s why, that one step, is the most difficult thing in the world. And the saints, therefore, have gone on wondering, that why is the Lord so inaccessible, when he is always so close-by.

Now, you see why He is so inaccessible?

Where is He?

Just one step behind.

But you are standing, on the edge of the cliff.

And your eyes are always looking at the ground, not at the abyss.

However, you are instinctively aware, that there is no ground behind you.

So taking that one step backwards, is impossibly difficult.

However, you can keep taking a lot of steps forward, because nothing changes there. You are on the terrain, and the terrain does not change, whether you move left, or right, or forward.

But if you move backwards, everything changes.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Consciousness is just physical || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom?|| Acharya Prashant, with students

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In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom

Question: Acharya Ji, every thing that we develop, comes from conditioning, how do I then, find my real identity?

Acharya Prashant Ji: (Addressing the questioner) Pallavi, had everything been coming from outside, then this question could not have arisen.

If everything comes from outside, then we are a system, like a machine. A machine never has the urge for self-enquiry. A machine will never feel uncomfortable, or befuddled at the fact that it does not know it’s true identity. In fact, the question of identity itself, is not relevant to a machine.

So, what happens, yes we realise that a lot what constitutes our psyche comes from what we have read or heard, assimilated directly-indirectly, consciously-subconsciously. We realise that. And the more we realise, the more we become free of that which is just an external layer upon me.

How do I know?

Just by enquiring.

Just by seeing.

And this ‘seeing’, is very simple, very straightforward.

“The environment is noisy, and I find it difficult to concentrate.”

“In the morning, I get a few compliments, and my mood cheers up.”

“My favorite team loses a match, and I feel down.”

These are the simple, routine, everyday events, which if observed, give freedom from the power of the outside to control us, from the power of the outside, to become our identity.

Are you getting it?

So, no real action has to be taken. You know, you do not really need to ‘do’ something, or go anywhere, or actively negate your thoughts. You just have to be little more thoughtful, conscious, and it becomes very clear that – “O! It happened there, and it is effecting me ‘here’.”

The more clearly you see this, the more frequently you see this, it starts becoming awkward then, to let your control remain somewhere else. It won’t be very nice, right? Every second minute, you are realising, that the world is controlling you, through a remote system. Does it remain pleasant? Would you feel nice that way?

But we all, the people around us, the entire world, allows that to continue, only because, we are not present to that fact. We do not realise that. That realisation itself, is liberation. Nothing else needs to be really ‘done’. It is kind of a slight, kind of an insult, to frequently keep on seeing, that my strings are being pulled by the world in all directions. And whosoever pulls my strings, succeeds.

One does not feel good with that fact. This ‘not feeling good’, is your freedom. Because, after all, there is no real string. The string is only mental. The string is ignorance. You realise and you are free.

In a physical sense, however, that mental freedom, may take time to show up, time to materialise. You might have a physical location, you might have a concrete timetable, you might have a certain routine. Realisation does not mean, that immediately your physical whereabouts will also change.

One might be there, trapped in some kind of enclosure, practically a jail, without ever knowing that he is trapped, that he is a de-facto slave. And then, he starts seeing that, where he is, every single thought and action, is commanded by somebody else.

At the psychological level, this is instant freedom. You see that you are being commanded, and you are free from the command. However, that does not mean, that physically too, he will become instantly free.

Whatever is physical, is a result of time, comes from a process, that extends over time, and hence, the physical manifestation, also takes time.

So, do not be worried, and do not start doubting, what I just said, if you do not see your freedom, expressing itself in a very material way. That material expression may take time. For example, you might be with somebody, since years. And now, because you are with that person since years, the company of that person is meshed in your daily program.

You go and catch the bus with him, you take your dinner with him, you watch movie with him. Probably, you have a joint membership with that person, in some club. It is a result of your long standing association. Then one day you realise, that the fellow, has actually been domination you, controlling you. That does not mean, that the next day, he will disappear from your life.

There is a long past. And that long past has its own residue. It will take time to be cleaned away. But rest assured, that the process starts. And then, it also expresses itself materially.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant, with students: In the middle of conditioning, how do I get real freedom?

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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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When to think and when to act? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

When to think and when to act

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Question: Acharya ji, all my thoughts are unable to come to expression because of fear of judgement or social restraints. Should I free them only by deeds? Kindly throw light on this.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes, Parmeshwari, of course. There is no more a final arbiter than action, deeds, life. What else is life? A continuous flow of actions. One finally has to give oneself the liberty, to do it. Talking, as a precursor to doing, is alright, acceptable. But, talking as a substitute to doing, is evil.

If you want to use talking, or thinking, or discussing, as a preparatory method, before leaping into action, it is okay. Sometimes, the beginner needs that. Sometimes, everybody needs to think a little, before one takes a leap.

Sometimes one needs to talk to herself, sometimes to others. All that is understandable. But, if one becomes a professional thinker, specializing in nothing but thought and deliberation, and therefore vacillation, and therefore inaction, then it is merely self-deception. Also, I must warn you against the temptation, to be fully sure at the level of thought.

No absolute clarity is possible, at the level of thought.

Thought can bring you a certain level of clarity.

It would be a relative level.

So, if you insist that unless you are totally clear with your thoughts, you won’t move, then you have ensured that you are never really going to move. Then you will always have  a reason to think a little more. Because thought by it’s very design, can never be fully certain. An iota of doubt would always be residually present. And you can very well exploit that last iota, to keep stretching the thought.

This is where Faith is important. Faith is needed so that you can act, without being fully certain even at the level of thought. Thought is still, raising it’s habitual objections. But you say to thought, “You might not be clear. I am clear.”

Have you ever found thought coming to a final conclusion? That which appears like concluded today night, reopens for discussion tomorrow morning. Because final conclusion would mean the death of thought. So, why would thought ever lend itself to conclusivity? Thought would always leave a little scope for doubt to remain. And then based on that doubt, that uncertainty, more thinking can be justified.

So, think, if you must.

But never expect thought to come to a solution.

Thought is useful.

But in matters of living, loving, and Truth, the utility of thought is limited.

Do not try to over exploit thought, you will end up being exploited. And Parmeshwari, if you are saying that social restrictions etc., are preventing you from enacting what you you know, then you will have to weigh the security that you get from social conformity, against the suffering that you get from this willing avoidance of your destiny.

What is bigger – your demand for security, or your love for Truth? This answer will determine your life.

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

Watch the session:  When to think and when to act? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Does positive thinking work

Question: What is ‘thought’? Why is thought dualistic? What is ‘positive thinking’? Does positive thinking work? Why is positive thinking, a hype?

Acharya Prashant: Positive thought is never fully positive, negative thought is never fully negative. That is the meaning of the uncertainty, that always tags any thought.

What is ‘uncertainty’? ‘Uncertainty’ means, that when you are positive, you cannot be certainly positive. The doubt, that positivity is flanked by negativity, always remains. What do you call as a ‘positive thought’? A thought that makes you happy. A thought about your well-being, a thought that – you would be alright or better-off. A thought of hope.

But hope is not ever certain. Hope is always accompanied by fear. You hope that you might win, but somewhere you are also afraid that you might not. So, uncertainty is there. Similarly, when there is a negative thought, yet you keep hoping that the negative might be averted. Even in matters of despair, you are not fully certain. You keep clinging to some hope, howsoever unreasonable. This is what is meant, when it said that – thought is dualistic.

Total certainty is non-dual.

Non-duality is possible, only when the other side, any kind of otherness, totally ceases to exist.

When there is no ‘other’, there is no duality.

But where there is thought, there would always be the other side of the coin.

When you are being ‘positive’, then you are looking at one side of the coin, but deep within you know that the other side also exists, and is just waiting to show-up. A little flip, and everything would change, right?

So, thought never gives you total assurance. You remain a bit iffy. Everything remains dicey. You cannot fully relax. You cannot just go to sleep. It always remains important, therefore, to carry your defenses.

With thought, therefore, fear always is there. First of all, fear is there. And second, a continuation of thought is there. When something has not been concluded, it would continue. And with thought, there is never any conclusion, and therefore, an indefinite continuation is there.

You keep thinking. It is like an infinite snakes and ladders game. Just when you think that you are about to reach the conclusion, you land in the mouth of a giant snake, and you are back to square one. And now again you continue with your long, arduous journey. And back again, to the same old point, and then again, a resumption, and then again despair. But all this helps you to while away life.

Thought serves a great purpose, it eats away your time. Otherwise, time will become such a burden.

Thinking, thinking, you continuously think, and you comfortably let days, months, years, decades, slip away.  And then you are so thankful when the death arrives. Otherwise, living eighty years, and that too in awareness, would have been such a pain.

You will have, had to go through the rigors of right action.

Thoughts facilitate an avoidance of right action.

Thought is helpful. Someone comes to you and demands, “Now is the time to climb up the hill, are you ready with your trekking gear?” And you say, “No, I am still thinking.” So, all the effort and the pain, that would have come with climbing the hill, has been successfully avoided. You are still thinking.

Thinking is nice, scaling the heights is arduous.

Have you ever asked yourself – if positive thought is really ‘positive’, then why are there ever any negative thoughts, after a positive thought?

If positive thought is really ‘positive’, it should have ended even the possibility of any future negativity.

But that possibility remains, and vice versa.

————————————————————————————————————————

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

Watch the session: Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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

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(In multiples of $10)

$10.00

All thoughts arise from external influences || Acharya Prashant, with Students (2013)

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

Slide5(To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here)


Questioner: Most of the thoughts are coming from society and family. So, how can I judge that which thought is mine or not?

Acharya Prashant: No thought is yours; no thought is ever your own. You have very rightly said that all thoughts come from this place or that place, this influence or that influence. No thought is your own. Understanding is your own; that can be your own.

Let me give you an example: Read more

Acharya Prashant, with students: Thoughts, Understanding and Realization

T26

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’?

AP:

‘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.’

Read more

Acharya Prashant, with students: You are the mother of all importance

T3

Acharya Prashant: All your student life, you have been talking and studying about this and that. The languages, Science, Social Sciences – History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry. Now, Technology.

But there is one entity that you have forgotten so much, that it is very difficult at this moment, to even remind you of that entity. That entity has never been in the domain of your education. You have studied about a lot of things, but there is one entity that you have never studied about. Never bothered to attend to.

What is that entity?

Listener: Personality.

AP: Personality?

You will get to study a lot of Personality.

In fact, you have been studying about nothing but ‘Personality’!

‘Personality’ by definition is nothing but what you gather from outside.

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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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Acharya Prashant on Upanishads: The limited, the limitless, and the dance

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Acharya Prashant: Hema, is saying, “Good, bad, evil, are all reflections of our inner-selves. How do we understand the limitless, with our limited mind?”

As long as you keep calling yourselves limited. You will continue to have a fascination towards comprehending the limitless.

You must ask, “Why does the infinite, the immense, appeal to you so much?” It appeals to you only because you have fundamentally defined yourself as limited.

What is bondage? Except the word ‘bondage’. The moment you say that there is a word called ‘bondage’, you have brought something fictitious to Life. The moment you call something as a bondage; you have called yourself a limited entity, vulnerable to bondage. Is the limitless susceptible to bondage? Just by talking of a few things, or even by seeking solutions to a few problems, you needlessly substantiate those things and problems.

You are saying, “How does one understand the limitless, with the limited mind?”

It’s exactly the other way round, Hema. You are asking, “How does one understand the limitless, with the limited mind?”

You know how it works?

You understand the limited because you are limitless.

Obviously the limited cannot comprehend the limitless.

But the limitations can be comprehended.

By whom?

By the limited one? Obviously not!

The limitations can be comprehended, because ‘you are unlimited’.

The unlimited one is not to be comprehended. The unlimited one is the one shining behind all comprehension!

How are you able ‘to know anything’? All things are limited. But if the knowing of the thing is also limited, would you ever ‘know’ really?

The ‘thing’ is limited. The ‘knowing’ of the thing, the ‘understanding’, is never limited.

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Thought is not bad

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not. The question is, who is the thinker? If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Is the river of your thoughts pure enough to allure Shiva to dance in it? And Shiva will not dance in a stream impure.

There is understanding without thought and there is understanding with thought as well. Just as there is Truth, formlessly, and there is Truth, formed as well. There will be occasions when the Truth will strike you like a thunderbolt, like a flash of lightning. And understanding will be complete in a split second. And there will be occasions when you will be required to think.

But I understand your predicament. All the spiritual masters are treating thought as the worst offender. As if thought has brought in sickness and disease to your life. Not really. Thought is your expression, just as action is your expression. As you are, so your thought is. In fact, thought is so very helpful. You cannot look at your tendencies, your vrittis, directly. But thought is gross, palpable, definite, it can be watched.

When you think, you come to know of yourself. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have known. The thought of jealousy or the thought of fear arises, it helps you know that deep within somewhere, you are? Afraid.

Thought is not bad. ‘Useful’ or ‘Useless’ is the place, thought is coming from.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?


 

Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?

Acharya Prashant: The next one is from Roosmarjin, from the Netherlands. And she has tried the devanagari script today. That’s what I say, you Love playing games. And you keep trying your games upon me as well. I too am a sportsman. Right? If you offer me a game, I won’t refuse.

So, yes Rosie, let’s have a ball.

“Acharya Ji pranam.” Rosie ji, “Pranam.”

Freedom is compulsory.” Of course.

“At a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer. I want to do or drop, whatever it takes in order to not resist the process. Day by day, the pull to be in physical proximity with you and devote my life to you, the Truth, grows stronger. Most of the thoughts that are in my mind are related to moving to India, to be in your physical proximity. Only if it would be wanted for the sake of the mission at large, will I stay there? But the thought of not coming to live close to you literally makes my heart contract. Maybe this message is not suited for the class, but it is ‘the one thing’ I am serious about. If you don’t stop me, I will come. Please tell me, what is being wanted.

Yours Roosmarjin”

[Holding a cat in his hands and showing the cat towards the screen] Say “Hi” to Roosmarjin. So what do you want from her (asking the cat), she is the Oracle (referring to the cat). So, what do you want from Roosmarjin?

Silence.

Yes, Oracle, speak !  (still holding the cat)

Nothing. Please. Just a meow would be enough. Say something, say something!

She is not refusing. She is not even saying, that consent is needed. She wants to sleep (lets the cat off his hands, and while she goes, comes a meow). And to this, she said, Yes.

A few things you have said.

You have said, “at a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer.” When you were here in India, I had spoken about this, I will repeat!

It is not at all necessary or advisable, to target a state of ‘no thoughts.’ To extend the metaphor of the last answer, will the Sun ever be without its radiance? It’s rays? Will the ocean ever be without its waves? Will there ever be God, sans godliness? Will there ever be the creator, without the creation?

Thoughts are like waves. And waves only give dance to the substance of the ocean. If the ocean itself has somehow become contaminated or spoilt or corrupted. Then the waves too would have that corruption.

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not.

The question is, who is the thinker?

If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Read more

Acharya Prashant: Ambition and anger

Acharya Prashant: What is your name?

Listener: Kshitij Aggarwal.

AP: The question asked by Kshitij is why do needs often dominate ambition?

And he surely thinks that it is quite unfortunate that needs to start dominating ambitions. The reason is simple, he probably gives a lower priority to needs and higher priority to ambitions because he thinks that the ambitions are his. He has kept ambitions very close to himself. He believes that they are his own.

So, he deeply wants the ambitions to be fulfilled. But finds that instead, something else has to be done, first of all, we will understand this conflict. And we all face this conflict, this conflict is not only in Kshitij’s mind, this conflict in the mind of every single one of us. But we are all confused, we rarely know, what to do. There are always one or more options in front of us, and we are unable to see clearly which one is suitable. Right?

This happens not only once in six months, at the time of admissions or at the time of choosing a job, it keeps happening daily, day in and day out. What is this conflict? you will have to understand.

Kshitij,

Our mind is dominated by ‘external influences’ which we have so far called is the development of ‘Ego.’

Our mind is not our mind, our mind is a collection of all external influences.

Our mind is divided into many many segments and many parts, and there are so many different forces that are controlling these separate parts. So, one part is being controlled by parents, one part is being dominated by media, one part is being dominated by society, one part by peers, one by corporations, one by thoughts of career, one by XYZ, and very very large number of parts.

Now, these different parts are your different masters. It’s like a person is tied to fifty different ropes being pulled by fifty different people in fifty different directions. Will that person be able to move towards any definite direction, any one direction.

Read more

Victory is absolute

All slaves to slaves. Twenty thousand slaves, each a slave to another slave and all these slaves are quarreling with each other. That is war.

To decide you require options, and each option has its own merit and demerit, right? That is war.

Those who have ever known spontaneity will know what it means to be warless, what it means to be peaceful.

When you are internally at war, then you will be very easily able to find a  lot of enemies outside.

Had you ever know ‘Love,’ you could not have been internally at war. ‘Love’ is such a great victory, it admits no war. The victory is absolute, now who is there to fight with. There is not even a loser left, who do you fight against? Only in ‘Love’ do you know peace and it is another matter that in ‘Love,’ your life appears very, very turbulent. At the center of that turbulence lies great peace.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Albert Camus: War is what is normal


 

Acharya Prashant on Albert Camus: War is what is normal

“There’s always been war,”

But people quickly get accustomed to peace.

So they think it’s normal.

No, war is what’s normal.”

~ Albert Camus

Question: Acharya Ji, which ‘war’ is Albert Camus referring to?

Acharya Prashant: Vageesh has asked that Albert Camus has said that ‘war’ is what is normal. What does he mean by that? Which war is he referring to? ‘War is what is normal.’ Conflict, basic inner fragmentation, lack of total flow, indecision, our fractured movements. That is the war he is talking of. Basic duality, the presence of two-ness, the mind is split into two and two means twenty thousand. So, there is no smoothness in its functioning.

Twenty thousand parts, each part talking a different language and each part talking a language that is fake, alien, foreign, imported. Twenty thousand parts and no part a master of itself, all slaves to phony masters.

All slaves to slaves.

Twenty thousand slaves, each a slave to another slave and all these slaves are quarreling with each other.

That is war.

Each of us is the site of a civil war. You know what a civil war is? When a nation doesn’t have to fight against the other. One part, one group within the country is fighting, that’s how our minds are. That is the war that Camus is referring to. Are you ever able to proceed without decision? We require decisions, and decisions require thoughts. That is war.

To decide you require options, and each option has its own merit and demerit, right?

That is war.

Should I do this, should I do that, this says ‘come on’ be with me, this says no, proceed with me, that is war.

Read more

Don’t imagine solutions

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

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

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

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



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


 

Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask

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

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

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

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

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

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

AP:

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

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

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

Read more

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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