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

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here

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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Shut Up

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Question: Sir, how to judge what is valuable?

Acharya Prashant: You said, “Sir, how to judge what is valuable?” How sure are you of your judgement? Behind every judgement, (there) is someone who judges. How sure are you of that judge? Is he reliable? Or is he someone who has a tendency to modify, even reverse his own judgements? Is he someone whose judgements stand the test of time and changing conditions? Or is he someone who often mistakes in judging?

You have trusted your inner judge since long. You have lent upon so many other books, authorities and teachers. But ultimately, it is your internal teacher you depend the most upon. Let’s judge that judge.

You are asking, “How to judge what is valuable?” Let’s judge the one who will judge this! How secure have your judgements made you feel so far? How does the inner judge decide? Does he have an inner yardstick to measure; an innate source from where to know? Or do his judgements keep changing as his knowledge keeps changing? What have you observed? Read more

How to come back to the Source?

Question: What method is now needed to come to the Source?

Acharya Prashant: We have already used many methods. The methods have already taken us far from the Source. That is why you are asking this question that what method is now needed to come to the Source. Read more

The secret of the disciple and the master

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Acharya Prashant (AP): The master and the disciple, they exist at two levels that are related, yet different.

Let us understand them.

At the most fundamental level which you could call as the real level, there is only the disciple, just as in the world, there is only the mind. And this disciple, this mind is characterised by its restlessness. Its defining property is that it moves. It’s not still; it wants, desires, strives, achieves, desires again. That mind alone is the disciple. And that which the mind so desperately wants, yet consciously knows nothing of, is the destination. That which mind wants is the destination.  Read more

On J. Krishnamurti: What is it to observe without the observer?

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Question: “Observe the disorder without the observer.” How will it be possible?

Acharya Prashant: A man is driving his car in a drunk state. In an absolutely drunk state and the car is moving about in a very disorderly way. There are two rear seats. Will one seat know that the other seat is moving about in a disorderly way? Read more

The world can redeem itself only by placing the highest value on the Guru

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Questioner: The question is: Who is a Guru? Is a Guru different from a Teacher right? Can a Guru bring together — Knowledge and spirituality in one domain? And what is this contradiction between Osho and J. Krishnamurti?

Acharya Prashant: See, there has to be something which makes you feel that there is a difference between a Teacher and a Guru. What is that thing? Because language and dictionary will tell you that these two words are almost synonymous: ‘Teacher and Guru’. Yet something within you tells you that they are not. Indeed there may be a huge difference; a dimensional difference between these two.

Teaching, in the way we know it, in the way it is used in contemporary society, is analogous to filling up the brain, guiding the intellect in a predetermined direction. Now it’s a very important function: to bring a child or a young student up to date, to the point where evolution has brought mankind is important. If a child has born today, he must know the languages that are prevalent today. He must know the sciences, he must know the traffic rules, he must know the political environment, he must know computers and electronics, he must know the way the various societies are built and are operated. Read more

Ways of Truth

Ways of Truth are mysterious, paradoxical, sometimes rather opposite to what we think and sometimes not even opposite of what we think.

If they are just opposite of what we think, it is still a mercy.

The great bewilderment is when the Truth is not what we think and Truth is also not what we do not think.

Then one is left in the middle of nothing.

How can I remain in the present without any expectations from the future?

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Question: When I am busy in doing certain activities that I enjoy doing, there are expectations from future but no frustrations in present, what is this state? Can it remain forever?

Acharya Prashant: If this can happen, it is a very welcome thing. There are certain actions that produce results and you might be indulging in those actions to get a specific type of result. But if you are not bound to the result, if the result does not mean the world to you, if the result does not mean your own existence or worth to you, then fine go ahead. Do project a result. Read more

Attention

Attention is when the mind that is split, the mind that has come far away from the home wants to return; when all these splinter elements of the mind want to get reunified and reunified at the center.

So, when you just want to know about something, it is not attention.

When you are really curious in your inquiry that is also not attention.

Attention is when you want to reach the utter depth and you will not stop at any point in between.

Attention is when you say that I have to reach the very Truth, which is at the foundation of anything.

Mantra, Maun, Listening and Awareness

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Question: Sir, if I try to ensure to be aware of what is going on right now, it just takes me away from listening to you. Is there a fundamental mistake that I am making in understanding it?

Acharya Prashant: Not really a great mistake but still unless one reaches the last point one has not reached. There is something called mantra and then there is maun.

The thought of awareness is mantra but that is not awareness. It is still not awareness. Awareness is silence. You cannot think of awareness but you can think of stuff that takes care of rest of your thoughts. Such beautiful thoughts are the adages, the mantra, the verses, aphorisms, the words of the great Teachers. Those words by themselves are not awareness but they are the penultimate steps. They are very close to the final, to the ultimate. Read more

If you don’t know who you are, then who is asking?

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Question: Sir, how to remember that remembrance—that which you are?

Acharya Prashant: You don’t need to remember. Because when you remember, you are also prone to forgetting.

Do you remember your driving license number? We don’t even remember the phone number of the first sim card we had. How many of you remember that? But we say we want to remember the Truth. If you remember the Truth, you will also forget it. So, don’t try to remember, don’t even remember. Conveniently, rid yourself of the responsibility to remember anything.

Why do you want to remember that which you anyway are?  Read more

Know the body, don’t say no to the body

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Acharya Prashant: (Reading from listener’s notebook) Be poised, rock firm that you are not the body.

You are already poised that way. And if you talk of being poised that way then you are just dealing in petty change – 10 cents, 20 cents. Then, you are not dealing  in the infinite.

You must know the body; you must not say that you are not the body. This is a very important distinction, you must please appreciate this.

Know the body, instead of entertaining yourself with the thought that ‘I am not the body’.

If you are not the body, tell me who is thinking? Read more

The wise man

The wise man finds it wise to remain ignorant of his wisdom.

He does not ever know what he knows, neither does he try.

It is only when the situation arises that That which he knows, springs up – all of a sudden.

He did not dial it, he did not call it, he did not summon it; it comes from somewhere.

All that he knows is, that It will come, and that is called as ‘surrender of the mind’.

Joy is the love affair of life with death

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Explaining the meaning of one of his famous quotations:
Joy is the love affair of life with death.

Acharya Prashant: Joy is the love affair of life with death. Who am I? I take myself to be the seeker, to be the one who really wants happiness, wants fulfillment. If I want fulfillment, if I want happiness, if I want love, then what am I taking myself to be?

Who am I? I take myself to be the seeker, to be the one who really wants happiness, wants fulfillment. If I want fulfillment, if I want happiness, if I want love, then what am I taking myself to be? Read more

Existence as Duality

Question: I am seeing Shiva’s statue here, how it is dual? How duality is there?

Acharya Prashant: You close your eyes, this statue would no more be there.

And if there is nothing then even your eyes will not be there.

Do you know if the universe disappears then your eyes are not there at all?

Eyes are defined by the capacity to see something other than themselves.

Universe gone, what is the question of eyes?

Eyes exist only if the universe exists. The Universe exists only if the eyes exist.

That is duality.

What do you think, if everybody disappears, would the sun still rise in the same way?

No, not at all. Because, the sun, the time, the rising, are all events in your consciousness. Your consciousness is not there, the sun will not rise.

Listener 1: But when I will die, the world will go on.

AP: No. When you will die there will be no ‘time‘ to go on, how can the world go on?

Time is what you are, you are gone, time too is gone.

How can the world continue then?

L1: Not for me, not in awareness, but it will be there.

AP: Even the question that others are there, persists only as long as you are there. When you are gone, are others there anymore?

L1: I will not say, but they are.

AP: Will you say that ‘others are still there’ after you are gone?

L1: No

AP: We have this notion deeply set in the mind that there exists the world before my birth and after my death. And I have somehow landed in this world from somewhere.

The world begins the day you are born.

The world ends the day you are gone.

L1: This is a shock to the mind!


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Existence as Duality


Further Reading:

Advait in Everyday Life

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

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

Paperback: https://goo.gl/GbHByV

Kindle: https://goo.gl/VXdQdA

Would you know without naming?

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Acharya Prashant speaking at 23rd Advait Learning Camp (International Spiritual Exchange)
on 1st February 2016, Shivpuri, Uttarakhand

Acharya Prashant: Suppose these statements (referring to the scriptures given to camp participants) come to you without a title, suppose you do not know that they are coming from the Upanishads. How would you respond to them?

Listener 1: It’s too abstract.

AP: Too abstract, right?

L2: For me, it would be the same

AP: The same. So would you actually devote so much of time and respect to them irrespective of the title that they have? Suppose you just have found these written on a sheet of paper somewhere; no introduction, no heading, no explanation just these statements. Would they still carry the same weightage for you? Would they?

We would like to say yes.

L2: It seems like a code language, what it means?

AP: That in some way is the whole message of the Upanishads— To the mind, the name matters so much.

And that is an understatement. It might be possible, that to the mind, name is everything and it might be possible that some of the statement set that has come to us right now may not be from any Upanishad but still, we would accept them and try to make some sense out of them because they carry the name of the Upanishads. Without that support without that name, we would have simply ignored and rejected that statement or statements.

How does it help the mind to have names?

Why does the mind find it so comforting to deal with names?

L1: There is a certain fixity.

AP: Certainty. Right. Once I know that a thing is what I know it to be, then I am relieved of the need to enquire into it. Something new comes let say a new person, I’ll have to ask a lot, I’ll have to pay attention, I’ll have to be open; an old acquaintance comes, the name is sufficient who is knocking? Okay, it is Rajul Garg (picking up random name).

Now, the name Rajul Garg is an assurance plus it relieves me from the need to pay attention, the need to work, the need to find out, it may also be possible that the mind fundamentally has very little capacity to reach directly, by itself, into the Truth, so it needs names. If names are not there till you have to find out and finding out is probably impossible for the mind at least for a usually conditioned mind. So it will  have to deal with names. the

Name is knowledge, the name is the assurance that ‘I know’, thereby name is the stuff of ego.

See whether whatever you know has a name or not. Is it possible to know, is it possible to have knowledge without the name? Is it possible to have knowledge without a label or a code? Is it possible to have knowledge that the ego cannot call or summon?

You see, I ask you something the question challenges you, the question challenges you and if you are up to the challenge, then you will feel reduced, hurt. The ego is at stake. So the moment you’re asked something the ego sends a message to the knowledge database and from the knowledge database, help arrives. The help is in the form of knowledge obviously. From the knowledge database, help will be in the form of knowledge. And one uses that knowledge; the ego uses the knowledge to defend itself.

How is the ego able to call knowledge and resources from that database?

Please understand the process.

The process consists solve the following steps–
First of all, whatever seems to be happening the sensual inputs that the ego gathers is forcibly related to some previous experience. The word forcibly is important because actually whatever is happening has no relation at all with the past. Even that which appears like a fruit of the past even that which appears like having a causal link with the past actually has no link but it is the ego’s helplessness and the necessity to relate it to the past.

So, the label is put on the happening and that label is not new. And that label is something that ego must have necessarily used before, encountered before. So you see a man of a certain ethnicity and immediately the ego having already put the label of ethnicity also puts another label – enemy. So, the man is approaching you the first label has already been put, the first label refers to the ethnicity. The ethnicity could relate to religion or the color or geography or anything.

The second label is the enemy. Now another search happens in the knowledge database—Enemy of this particular ethnicity, what to do? And from there help arrives from there a readymade answer arrives do this. And now the ego can do that. It is a very blind process, the ego doesn’t really know anything about anything but it has a large collection of memories. The whole of mankind collective’s consciousness is available to the ego. It’s a very large database and the ego is good at searching; it hardly ever forgets anything. Whatever enters the database the ego is quite skilled at quickly searching it.

And thus we go on living.

This is what we called as life.

Something happening, naming happens, now the naming acts as a pointer. To search from a large database you require a reference variable, don’t you? Indexing. So the name helps in indexing. What you called in computer science as the primary key, naming is that.

Do you see how blind the whole process is ?

And this whole process is the whole of our life. We know, I repeat, nothing about anything. But we go on living and we go on reacting and it appears as if the whole thing is coming out of careful consideration, it appears as if there is great wisdom behind our responses.

If the whole of the database could be opened up, it would be very very possible to predict our future. The future is the movement of time, the future is the next response and the next response is so very already known.

Does not sound very interesting all of this, does not sound very attractive all this, Does it?

If it doesn’t sound very interesting then how can it be any better to live this?


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Would you know without naming?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1:  Love does not know labels

Article 2: Spirituality is science turned inwards – it looks at both the subject and object

Article 3: I have been living in ignorance. How do I start living in knowing?


25th Advait Learning Camp with Acharya Prashant is being organized
Dates: 17th to 20th October
Place: Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand

To apply, send an email to requests@prashantadvait.com


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant are available on AMAZON:

http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant

On Rumi: To have knowledge is ignorance; to be free of knowledge is wisdom

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Do you think…

Do you think that I know what I’m doing.
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.

~RUMI

Acharya Prashant:  (Reading the poem)

That is the state of the liberated one. We often think that the liberated one is a knower; that he knows a lot; that he has some special knowledge, that is the way we refer to him. Gyani— the knower! That again is just an image, a stereotype.

The liberated one is actually a non-knower. He knows nothing, he is totally free of knowledge, totally innocent of knowledge. The

The Gyani (knower) really has no Gyan (knowledge). And you can be called a gyani only if you are totally free of gyan.

If you still have knowledge then you are just ignorant.
To have knowledge is ignorance.
To be free of knowledge is wisdom.

Read more

Who is the real disciple?

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Question: What is the sign of a real disciple?

“A disciple is not someone who has so much devotion for his Guru, but for whom everything is a Guru. From every situation, every person he is learning something, not only from one person but from everything.” That was a very interesting point.

Acharya Prashant: But take it, I did say that the real disciple is the one who already knows that which is essential, and then learns whatever he has to learn. The real disciple is the one who already knows the essential. Full-stop! And then goes on to do whatever he has to do – learn, unlearn, forget, remember. The real disciple cannot be a learner. He is the learned one. In fact, the word ‘learner’ is a very dangerous word, because it’s a word of imperfection. The real disciple is the one who already knows. Read more

Love, Compromise, Magic, God….

Speaker: Fear, what about fear?

Listener 1:  What is fearlessness?

Speaker: No fear, simple, light, straight forward; no thought that something can go wrong.

Listener 2: It is something like karma (action)?

Speaker: Like?

Listener 2: Karma (action).

Speaker: Obviously. If you toss a ball, it will come down – cause and effect. In the world of material, there is always cause and effect, that is the law of karma (action). It is nothing but the law of material. If you throw something, it will move forward. Every cause will have an effect, that is the law of karma (action), but that law does not apply to conscious beings. Read more

The Whole gives rise to parts, yet is beyond them

Speaker: Parts change, the whole remains unchanged.

First of all, this whole, that is being talked of, is not a sum of the parts. Usually, when we refer to a whole, what we mean is, that there are the parts and when they are taken together, we get the whole.

In the existential sense, the whole is not the sum of the parts. The whole is from where all the parts emerge and yet the whole remains whole. Read more