What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?: Acharya Prashant

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What is rebirth What takes rebirth

Question: What is re-birth? What is transmigration of soul? What travels after death? What carries forward?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘You’ do not carry anything. A few things must be clearly understood. ‘You’ as a ‘person’ are not a very important carrier. That which carries, is the total stream of mankind’s consciousness.

(Referring to the people sitting in the audience) Her mind, her mind, his mind, your mind, his mind, her mind, the mind of the kid, the mind of the old man – we all are carrying remnants, carry forwards from our collective past. That is what is carried forward.

See, it is like this. There are waves in the ocean. One particular wave, is carrying, a little sugar, a lump of sugar. Now the wave rises, and falls. What happens to the lump of sugar? It gets distributed throughout the ocean. Now it belongs to everyone. That is how things are carried forward.

What you do in your life-time, has gone to many, many, many.

Through every single action of yours, you are impacting the entire mankind.

In other ways, you are responsible for forming the mind of entire mankind.

In turn, your own mind, is being formed by the entire mankind, because you are an active recipient as well.

The subtle becomes the gross. The more the mind is impacted at some point, many, many years later, that also changes your body. Have you seen that when you are angry, your face changes? When you are in love, your eyes change. So, the subtle has a way of changing the gross.

If you are impacting the mind of the mankind, always you are also impacting, even the form of the mankind. That’s how it happens. Otherwise, all that is ‘personal’ about you, gets burnt down in funeral pyre. There is no way, something can get carried forward from there. All is reduced to smoke and ashes. Nothing remains. But, what you have done in your lifetime, that remains. And that is going to affect all future generations.

Take it this way.

Suppose you are a teacher, and you have taught hundreds and thousands of students. And you are a good teacher, just for the story’s sake. Good teachers are rare. Now the students have really imbibed, what they received from you. You can say, that the rubbish in the minds of the students has been cleared-off, by your teachings. Either way.

You die, and one of your students gives birth. You die, and one of your students becomes a father, or a mother. The kid that is born, would be raised by your student. And, because your student has been a good student, and he has really imbibed your teachings, so those teachings would go to the kid. The kid would have the same, pure quality of mind, as you had.

In a poetic sense, you can say that you are being re-born as that kid. In a poetic sense, as a metaphor, now you can say that the teacher who had died, has been re-born as the son or the daughter of the student. But the re-birth has not taken place, because something arose from the dead-body, and entered the womb of the student. The re-birth has taken place, because of the stuff that has taken place, during your active life-time. Not after your death.

Whatever one person does, impacts the consciousness of entire mankind.

And that is how re-birth takes place.

And, therefore, re-birth is taking place every moment, because I might do something just now, which may cause you to transform. Now, haven’t you been re-born? That’s re-birth. And, you have been re-born, not because my soul entered you. You have been re-born, because the Truth transmitted to you, via me.

The opposite is also possible. You might be otherwise an innocent person. But you acquire bad company. And the bad company overshadows all your innocence. Now, you have been re-born, because the innocent one has died. The innocent one has been died, and someone else has been re-born.

That’s how it happens – through your actions.

You see, subtle truths cannot be conveyed very subtly, to everybody. And therefore they were figuratively, communicated. So that people somehow, at least partially, get a grasp on them. Therefore, you must not be too concerned with the literal meaning. Go deep into the myths of transmigration and such things, and figure out what they really would mean.

You know what, it is also possible, that the kid which is born to the student, has something in his eyes, that resemble the dead teacher. That doesn’t mean, that the dead teacher has physically fathered the kid. It’s just that, all eyes that are peaceful, have something in common.

All eyes, that are peaceful, have something in common. So, when you would look into the eyes of the newly born kid, you would be reminded of the dead teacher. And you would be then justified in saying that the dead teacher has taken re-birth, as this kid.

Questioner: Then why do we have such rituals after death like Tehravin, on 13th day, etc.?

Acharya Ji: No Upanishad says that. No scripture, worth it’s name, says that. The Puranic literature, that talks of such stuff, is stories and fancies. It is not serious metaphysics. It deals with a lot of imagery, a lot of fables, a lot of things that are there, just to involve you, engage you, even entertain you.

One has to understand the difference between the Upanishads and the Puraans. They are not in the same dimension. You cannot take Isavasya Upanishad and Garuda Puraana, and compare them.

The stuff that you are talking of, would be found in Garuda Puraana.

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: It’s alright. Read that. But understand that, in the light of the Upanishads. If you want to read the Puraanic literature, read it in the light of Upanishads. Then you will not be misled.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?

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How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


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Acharya Prashant on Upanishads: Either go completely through the pain, or simply disown the pain

Blog-26

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Acharya Prashant: This is from the Avadhuta Upanishad, ‘When the results of actions set in motion are exhausted, the habitual usage also ends. This will not cease even with repeated meditation unless such actions are exhausted.’

So, the question is, ‘Is there no way out? What is meant by exhausted?’

Exhausted means that all the pent up, suppressed energy comes into motion, takes a release but this is the most painful, mechanical and time-consuming way of getting rid of your burden, the Prarabdha Karma (result of past actions which is ready to come in effect).

It is like saying that your palm is kept over a burning piece of coal and you can get relief only when all the latent energy of the coal is exhausted.

Most painful, unintelligent and time-consuming way of coming to end of suffering. And even in this process, coming to the end of suffering, coming to exhaustion is possible only if no fresh fuel is added to the fire.

It is possible only if one has the patience and the faith to bear all the results of his previous karma without creating new cause-effect cycles; without adding to his inventory of more unspent fuel. If the fellow has so much intelligence and patience and discretion that he can sit through the ordeal of the coal consuming his hand without creating more ripples and fresh karma-phal (result of actions).

And, if the fellow actually has so much patience and intelligence, then why would he sit through the torture?

He would rather get up and walk away!

What does it mean to get up and walk away from the unexhausted fuel, from the unspent residue of your previous karma? What does it mean to do that?

It means that you’re no longer attached to the coal.

Remember, the coal does not come to burn your palm. You’re the one to go to the coal, keep your hand over it, grab it and allow it to burn you, pierce you, torment you.

Walk away from the coal. That’s an easier way.

Why wait for the coal to get exhausted?

It can be a pretty big lump of coal. It can take a pretty long time getting exhausted. Do you want to wait and keep suffering?

Just walk away.

But walking away would mean giving up the coal. Coal is attractive. It looks almost like a burning cherry. It beckons. It tempts, and it has energy, it has power. Something seems happening there. We are attracted towards it. Additionally, the coal is yours. It does not belong to anybody else.

My burning coal!

My glamorous hot little cherry!

Who am I?

The lady with the lump of coal.

Who am I?

The lady with fire in the belly and fire in the palm!

It becomes difficult to walk away, right?

‘A fiery lady, am I. And this is high quality coal. It helps me maintain my standard. See, everybody is burning. So, burning is a given. It is a common denominator. What separates one being from the other is the quality of the burn. I’ve a superior burn. Mine is not low-grade coal coming from an inferior mine. Remember, pieces of coals come from mines. No mine. No coal.’

What all is mine?

Whatever is mine, is the unexhausted piece of coal piercing myself.

To walk away from that burning mass is to walk away from your very being. Your very identity. So, it is upon you, you can either wait with all your patience, with all your intelligence for the coal to get exhausted or you could simply discard the coal. Reject the falseness of its association with you and walk away.

And no method is better than the other. It totally depends on your mood. If you’re in a mood to suffer, welcome! Exhaust the karma. If you’re in a mood to not take the suffering anymore, walk away. Let go. Drop it. Renunciate!

How many lumps of coal in your pocket?


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Upanishad: Either go completely through the pain, or simply disown the pain


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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk

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Question: Acharya Ji, there are people who quote the Vedas and say “A Hindu is a good Hindu only if he drinks milk from the mother cow.” What is your take on that?

Acharya Prashant: See if you have named the Vedas, what is the central teaching of all the Vedic literature?

If you want to really know what the Vedic teaching is, you will have to go to the Upanishads. The Upanishads are called the “Vedanta”, which means the summit or the climax of Veda. And they go into the reality of man. What is the reality of man? The Upanishads are very forthright and unequivocal about it. They say, “Man is the Truth itself (Aham Brahmasmi).” Nothing else except the Truth. You are the ultimate finality. You are the total.

Now, if this is the position that the Vedic literature takes, then one cannot operate from a point of incompleteness, hollowness or desirousness. A lot of what we do, please see we do just in order to gain fulfillment. We say that the purpose of human Life is progress, don’t we? And we asses a human being according to how much he has been able to progress and contribute to progress.

And what is progress for us?
Knowing more; collecting more.

I’m not trying to unnecessarily be simplistic. Please go into it.

When you know more, when you collect more, is it something that happens only on the outside or does it also affects your self-worth? When you know more, your self-worth rises; when you collect more, again your self-worth rises. The Upanishads say, that your self-worth, that which you are, is any way infinite, you are anyway total. Now, go out and play. You are anyway perfect and complete. Now, do whatever you want to do. But do it from a point of perfection. Do it from a point of completion.

Do not do in order to gain something. Do not do in order to rise.

Act as if you are already there as if you are already complete.

That is what Vedas are all about.

Now, around this center, a lot has been said. Just a whole lot.

Read more

Pure giving

The ego is interested in its own nourishment.

Because the ego wants only that what the ego values, not which is absolutely valuable.

Getting tired of getting hurt is a rare happening. Man is extremely resilient. We keep on getting hurt again and again, at the same place and yet we are hardly ever tired of repeating the same processes, the same actions that bring us to hurt.

You can call it a stage of demolition. The old patterns are seen as worthless and hence given up.

In the first level, the ego gives, and this giving is of a nature that strengthens the ego. In the second level, the ego gives up its trust in itself and hence gets diminished.

In the third stage giving up does not happen. The third stage is of pure giving.

You just give. Meaninglessly, purposelessly, reasonlessly. You don’t even give, you are just being what you really are.

And when you just start giving, since you are giving to yourself, you start receiving a lot.

Tremendously bored we are with everything, that even an invitation to get rid of boredom sounds boring.

Your mind is already afraid of death, and Rumi is just exposing, or at worst exploiting that fear.

Given the way we are, fear is our reality. Wherever there is body identification, there would also parallely be the fear of the loss of the body.

Everything is done for a purpose, for a reason, with the expectation of gain. And where there is the expectation of gain, there is also the parallel fear of loss.

Because an action that arises from fear can never eliminate fear.

Take care of the ‘first’ in the ‘first place.’ Do not let the disease guide your actions. Rather, the first action should be to eliminate the disease. And these are the only two ways of living.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: The three levels of giving

You must be placed rightly

There is the gun and there is somebody who is holding the gun. The one holding the gun is more important.

All that you have, time, energy, capabilities, everything, you must know what to do with them. Put them in the service of truth.

If you want to give something to somebody, give something that changes him. Give him something that dissolves his illusions.

If you have legs, use the legs to go to the temple. If you have a car, use the car to go to the temple. If you can fly, fly to the temple. If you have nothing else but imagination, then use the imagination in service of the temple.

To use what you have in the right way, you must be placed rightly.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: The beautiful woman who shows no discretion

 

Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: The beautiful woman who shows no discretion

8“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful

woman who shows no discretion.”

BIBLE (PROVERBS 11:22)

Acharya Prashant: Tarun has asked me to speak on two verses, and I’ll pick the most spicy one of the two.

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

BIBLE (PROVERBS 11:22)

There is that which has been given to you, and then there is that which lies at the center of all that which has been given to you. You can not only gift a pig with a gold ring in her snout but actually drape her with all kinds of gold fineries, ornaments, in fact, gold clothing. Now all around the pig is gold. And what lies at the center of all the gold? ‘The pig.’ So, there is gold all around, and within the gold is the pig. Yes, Tarun? All around there is the gold. Over the legs, over the back, on the snout, on the forehead, even the tail is covered in gold and at the center of the gold is the pig.

Similarly, there can be talents and attractiveness and proportionate body all around somebody, and at the center of all the attractiveness is the pig. So lovely eyes outside, lovely body outside, fair complexion, proportionate limbs, glowing skin, flying hair, shining teeth, lovely elocution, banks of knowledge, praises and, praises, all-enveloping somebody. What is inside the envelope? ‘A pig.’ It’s a beautiful envelope, lovely eyes. What nose, what curves, the most curvaceous envelope you’ll ever see, and you come close to the envelope and open it, and out jumps the pig. The face was so beautiful that you went close and close and looked little behind the face, and you saw that the pig was searching for some shit.

Man’s talents, man’s intellectual prowess, man’s knowledge, man’s accomplishments, man’s senses, man’s ability to analyze, memorize, compare, contrast, conclude, all of these things are given to man. All of these things are given to somebody that somebody must not be a pig. What will a pig do with gold? You must have heard the story of the monkey who got a sword. What did he do with the sword? He only brought misery to everybody around him and to himself. In fact, there was a monkey, it’s another story, who loved his master greatly and the master had a gun. And once when the master was asleep, the monkey picked up the gun, aimed at some place and fired, and he fired as monkeys fire.

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The Gita can come only from someone who understands the world.

The Gita can come only from someone who understands the world. And if you understand the world you cannot keep failing in the world. If you are proven an idiot every evening and every morning, how will the Gita come from you? How will you even understand the Gita?

Look at your life, if you are a joker, a clown, an idiot, a loser, in this world, what business do you have touching the Gita?

Do you see what is half embrace? You prove to be insufficient everywhere. You are a loser everywhere. In your relationships, you are a loser. In the school you are a loser, in the college, you are a loser. At your workstation, you are a loser, on the sports field you are a loser, and you want to touch the Upanishads? The Upanishads that are coming from the winners of the highest order. Is there any oneness between you and the text that you are trying to touch? Do you have anything in common with Krishna? How then will you understand the Gita?

Krishna was the one who brought victory when defeat looked so probable. And you are the one who will snatch defeat when victory is all yours. When it is ascertained that you are now going to win, you will still manage to somehow be defeated. And then you say, “You know what, I am not very interested in the world, Krishna calls my heart.”

You are not interested in the world? You are marginalized in the world, you are the rubbish of the world. And if we listen to Darwin then you and your ilk, wouldn’t survive for long, because you are unfit.

Even physically, have you noticed how fit most of them are (pointing towards the pictures of the Saints) and most of us are groaning, complaining? Somebody has nose pain, somebody has a headache, somebody has heartache, somebody’s back has been stolen, somebody’s stomach is exploding with gas. And look at them (the Saints). That is full embrace. And half embrace is no embrace.

The man of God is a winner in the world as well. That is full embrace. If you are a loser in the world, you do not know God. God and the world are one. It’s not just The World, it’s God World. It’s God World.

Have you seen that every living being is excellent? The epitome in its particular field. Can you beat the song of a Cuckoo? Or, even a sparrow? Can you beat the flight of a vulture, an eagle? Do you see the agility with which fish swims? They are all experts in their respective fields. I am asking you, “What is your expertise?” Even the ant is an expert. When it carries a load then the load to body weight ratio is unmatched. Compared to its own body weight, the load that a little ant can carry is unmatched.

What is your expertise?



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: The Man of God is a winner in the world

The scriptures, and parallelly observation of life, I stress equally upon the two.

There are two things that must be parallelly done. One, knowing it from those who have known, supposed to have known, if you are a skeptic then. Learning it from those who have known or are supposed to have known. Secondly, testing it out, for yourself.

So, first thing, the scriptures, and parallelly observation of life. I stress equally upon the two. Please be very very observant, what’s happening. How am I spending my day? Why are those two countries fighting? You will learn a lot about the mind. A lot, a lot, a lot. It’s great to watch yourself. But if you can’t watch yourself or in addition to watching yourself, also watch the world. Watch, how people are going about on the streets? Watch how communities are behaving? Watch, what’s there in the newspapers? That too is useful.

But if you just let that in, there is a danger, it can just become accumulated knowledge. I know, I have general knowledge. You can become, worldly wise. So, parallelly there must be the blessings of scriptures. These are like you know, two wings of the bird. Together they make you, help you, fly.

Seek it from all the Gurus of the world, and also rely parallelly on the unique and the independent capacity of your mind. Be so confident of yourself that you are not hesitant in seeking help. You must have so much confidence that you can confidently seek help.



Read the complete article: Is it necessary to go to scriptures?

I don’t want to know whom you worship, I want to know who is it that worships?

I don’t want to know whom you worship, I want to know who is it that worships? What is the quality of the worshipper? What is your quality? Who are you? Forget God! Who are you?

Dirty hands remain dirty even if they are folded in front of a deity. Dirty hands. There is no need to fold them in front of a deity. Go to a washbasin. Use a physical soap. Metaphysical prostration will not help you cleanse your hands. Use a physical soap.

That’s what spirituality is all about and that’s why Kabir is so unique and so loveable. He doesn’t take you to a fictitious world. In the name of spirituality he doesn’t give you more dreams and more desires. He talks of your…? What is he talking of? Daily life. Everyday life: 

How are you living?

What are you doing?

What are you saying?

What’s the stuff of your day to day conversations?

What’s contained in your gossip?

To whom are you relating?

What are you attached to?

What are your real intentions?

What are you after?

Tell me, what are you really chasing?

That’s spirituality. That’s Kabir. 



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: Forget God. Who are you?

 

Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: The Man of God is a winner in the world

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“Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.”

~Khalil Gibran.

Question: What is full embrace? How is it different from half embrace? If half embrace creates a movement of thoughts, won’t full embrace create even a greater restlessness?

Acharya Prashant: Man is caught in a very peculiar situation. Neither can he accept what he truly is. Nor can he ever run away from what he truly is. He swings. He oscillates. When he wants to come to his essence, then that which is sub-essential, or non-essential beckons him.

He feels that the juice of living is being lost. All the sensory pleasures, all the colors of the world, the music, the attractions, the emotions, the meetings and the goodbyes, all the games of time, he feels they are being lost. And when he tries to move totally into thoughts, into emotions, into the world of the senses, into that which is space-time and material, he soon starts feeling nauseatic.

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Is it necessary to go to scriptures?

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Question: May I ask a question here? Once you feel that you are determined for this journey, is it necessary to go to the scriptures?

Acharya Prashant: It is not necessary but it’s wise. It is advisable.

Listener: When I started the journey, the first task that called me, was to throw away what I had read. Now, I feel empty and again the question arises that should I go to the scriptures or a living Guru, or should I listen to my inner voice that let the right time come?

AP: What if the call, brings you to the scriptures? Is it an either-or situation?

L: I didn’t understand that!

AP: You said, “Should I do this, or should I do that?” What if these two are one? What if the inner voice you are talking of takes a formal shape, in the form of…?

L: Form of urgency to read scriptures!

AP: Yes, the scriptures themselves. What if the inner voice you are talking of take a formal shape, a worldly shape, a material shape? The material shape could be that of a book, a Granth, or a person, a Guru. The inner voice that is there of the Truth or the Center or the Atman at all is not a voice at all, you see. You cannot hear it. The Atman does not know any language.

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Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: Forget God. Who are you?

SR Generic_ Englishपानी बीच बतासा संतों,

तन का यही तमासा है।।

क्या ले आया, क्या ले जाएगा,

क्या बैठा पछताता है।।

मूठी बाँधे आये जगत में,

हाथ पसारे जाता है।।

किसकी नारी, कौन पुरुष है,

कहाँ से लगता नाता है।।

बड़े निहाल, खबर ना तन की,

बिरही लहर बुझाता है।।

इक दिन जीना, दो दिन जीना,

जीना बरस पचासा है।।

अंतकाल बीसा सौ जीना,

फिर मारने की आसा है।।

ज्यों-ज्यों पाँव धरो धरनी में,

त्यों-त्यों यम नियराता है।।

कहै कबीर, सुनो भाई साधो,

ग़ाफ़िल गोता खाता है।।

Seen a bubble in the Sea, that is our story

You came with the hands empty, empty.

And nothing will you carry.

So why caught in misery

Make merry, make merry.

Who is your family?

Who is a lover really?

You are deep in illusion, happily, happily.

Fooling yourself with books, sex, and brandy.

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty.

The clock is ticking and you are tipsy.

You breathe so you think that you are alive.

But dead are your face and dead is your eye.

Your mind is dreamy,

The world is the sea. Wake up or you sink,

That is Kabir’s prophecy.

~Guru Kabir

Acharya Prashant: Especially those who are serious about their spiritual pursuit, must look very carefully. There is a very important lesson to be had here. See, and tell me, what is it that you do not find here? The art of seeing is not merely about seeing, it’s also about seeing what is not to be seen. What is it that is missing here? This is supposed to be Kabir’s composition, right? Kabir the king of spiritual compositions. Much more voluminous, spiritual, devotional literature than any other author, poet, composer, in the world. Still the most widely quoted spiritual author across the world. Even more quoted than Rumi. Read more

Individual enlightenment is a myth.

Don’t ask for your personal freedom. Help others around you, be free. You will never be personally liberated, never. It’s impossible. Individual enlightenment is a myth. Either all get it together or nobody gets it. We all are in the same boat. Either we all cross or we all sink together.

To help yourself, help the other.

This is not merely altruism. You are not being charitable. This is the holiest form of selfishness. Help the other crossover, on your back. When the other reaches the other shore, you would find that you too have reached the other shore. Also, without having the other on your back, you will find that you cannot swim. This is the nature of the ‘world’ river.

The ‘world’ river is a flow of relationships. Nobody cuts through it alone. Take everybody with you, as many as you can. The more you take along with you, the more strength you get to take more and more with you. And do not take this as an exaggeration. I am saying, one day you may find that have been carrying the entire Universe with you.

It is not a matter of just the relationship between two people – Father and son, and husband and wife. No, not at all.



Read the complete article: Relief from Loneliness

Relief from loneliness

BFB1Acharya Prashant: The word ‘loneliness’ or ‘lonely’ is actually a misnomer. The one who calls himself lonely is actually never ‘lonely’. If lonely means not being with anybody, not having anybody to accompany you, then the one who is lonely is actually never without company. He or she always has company. Yes?

And whose company does this person have? This person always has his own company. Okay?

This will make it easier for us to understand.

Traditionally, generally, it has been said that the lonely person is the one who is needing somebody else’s company, right?

You look at it a little differently. You go a little deeper into it. The lonely person is not just needing somebody’s company, in fact, it is possible that at times, he may even think that he does not need anybody’s company. He may think that he is not in need of somebody’s company because he already is in the company of his own thought. Read more

When you are busy looking at your shadow, surely you have turned your back to the Sun

The lonely person is always thinking. The lonely person is always busy with himself. The lonely person just cannot get rid of his own personal concerns. That is loneliness. It is far from an empty dinner table. It is a restaurant choked to capacity, and serving distasteful dishes. Let not the world make you visualize a barren desert. Loneliness is not at all a barren desert. Loneliness is a teeming crowd. People people people everywhere. The world the world the world everywhere. A world that is unknown. A world that really can never be fully known. Nevertheless, a world that is the only hope of the lonely person.

The lonely person is always walking with his own shadow. And he has so much attraction and attachment to his shadow that he is always looking only at the darkness which he calls his shadow, which he calls his friend, and to which he is physically attached, just as your shadow is physically attached to you. He’s so engrossed looking at the darkness that he will not turn back to look at the source of light. When you are busy looking at your shadow, surely you have turned your back to the Sun.



Read the Complete Article: How to not be lonely?

The lonely fellow is the one who is always with somebody

The lonely fellow is the one who is always with somebody, and that somebody he is with, is always his own image. So, the lonely fellow is always surrounded, surrounded by himself. Even if he appears surrounded by others, those others are all in relation to himself. So, the lonely fellow will actually never appear lonely, he will always appear surrounded, he will always appear surrounded. In fact, he will not be bear, tolerate, to remain lonely. It is his inner obligation towards himself to remain surrounded.

You leave him not surrounded, and he will start feeling suffocated. He cannot do without his mobile phone. That is the sign of a lonely person. Always surrounded. And we repeat that the thing that surrounds him appears to be the world, but it is actually just image of himself.

And the fellow who is alone is the one who is just with the absolute. He needs no images. He is not with himself. ‘Himself’ can be the most sacred word and the most painful word at once.

The word ‘You’, the word ‘I’, the word ‘Himself’, the word ‘Self’, can point either to you as you really are, or to your shadow. When they point to you as you really are, they are called the ‘Truth’. You are then the Truth. I am then the Truth. When the word ‘I’ points to us as we really are, then ‘I’ is the Atma.

And when the word ‘I’ starts referring to my self-image, or to my shadow, or to my ego, then it is the dirtiest word. Then it is not Atma, then it is Ahanta. The word ‘I’ refers to both. The world ‘I’ can be used for both Atma and Ahanta. In the case of the lonely person ‘I’ refers to Ahanta. In the case of the fellow who lives alone ‘I’ refers to Atma.



Read the complete article: How to not be lonely?

How to not be lonely?

Acharya Prashant: The word ‘loneliness’ or ‘lonely’ is actually a misnomer. The one who calls himself lonely is actually never ‘lonely’. If lonely means not being with anybody, not having anybody to accompany you, then the one who is lonely is actually never without company. He or she always has company. Yes?

And whose company does this person have? This person always has his own company. Okay?

This will make it easier for us to understand.

Traditionally, generally, it has been said that the lonely person is the one who is needing somebody else’s company, right?

You look at it a little differently. You go a little deeper into it. The lonely person is not just needing somebody’s company, in fact it is possible that at times, he may even think that he does not need anybody’s company. He may think that he is not in need of somebody’s company, because he already is in the company of his own thought.

The fellow is thinking that he does not need anyone. And why does he not need anyone? Because right now he has his thoughts to accompany him.

So, the lonely person is one who is always with himself. Do we understand this? The lonely person is one who can never leave himself. The lonely person is one who is always talking to himself, always looking at himself. Are you getting it?

He is always acutely binded to his consciousness. Now we will understand this that what does that mean. The feeling of ‘I’ and the feeling of ‘other’, both exist only in the consciousness. Right? The consciousness consists of two. Which are these two? ‘I’ and the ‘world’. Whenever you are thinking of the ‘I’, you have to, you compulsorily have to simultaneously factor in the world. There is no way you can think of yourself without thinking of the world. That is the way of consciousness. The ‘I’ and the world are always together.

So, the lonely person is always attached to his consciousness. And in his consciousness exists a figure of himself. This figure is a limited figure. This figure needs protection. This figure lives in fear. Fear of what? Fear of the world that he is parallelly thinking of. So, look at what is going on there. He is not lonely at all. There is much to give him company. There is his own figure, and then there is the image of the world. So much is there. That is the lonely person’s mind. There is a lot there.

That is why I began by saying that the word loneliness may mislead.

The lonely person is actually quite full. He has so much in him and going through him. Are you getting it? And at the center of this crowd that always occupies his mind, sits his own figure. Can you see the mind of the lonely person? It is not at all an empty mind. The entire world is there. The entire world is there, and at the center of that world who sits? He himself sits. So, he is sitting and the entire world is there. That is the mind of the lonely person.

Now, this world may sometimes appear friendly to him. ‘Appear’, so he thinks. This world may sometimes appear unfriendly to him. ‘Appears’, so he thinks. But whether the world appears friendly or not so friendly, the one at the center is always limited and hence afraid. When the world appears friendly, he cannot trust it. He knows he is not really deserving of the friendliness. He knows the world too cannot really be trusted. Things come and go. And when the world is unfriendly towards him, then obviously he has reason for despair. But to him, the crowd around him is the only reality. That is the lonely man. He sits at the center and around him is a crowd. Can you look at his eyes? Full with desperation, with hope, with hunger.

He’s looking at the world, “I may get this, I may get that. Who may hurt me, who can becalm me, who is going to be the next one to attack me, who will be the one to comfort me?” He is always looking at the world. Right?

The lonely person is always thinking. The lonely person is always busy with himself. The lonely person just cannot get rid of his own personal concerns. That is loneliness. It is far from an empty dinner table. It is a restaurant choked to capacity, and serving distasteful dishes. Let not the world make you visualize a barren desert. Loneliness is not at all a barren desert. Loneliness is a teeming crowd. People people people everywhere. The world the world the world everywhere. A world that is unknown. A world that really can never be fully known. Nevertheless, a world that is the only hope of the lonely person.

Are you getting it?

The lonely person is always walking with his own shadow. And he has so much attraction and attachment to his shadow that he is always looking only at the darkness which he calls his shadow, which he calls his friend, and to which he is physically attached, just as your shadow is physically attached to you. He’s so engrossed looking at the darkness that he will not turn back to look at the source of light. When you are busy looking at your shadow, surely you have turned your back to the Sun. Have you not?

That is the state of the lonely person. He is always with himself. And what is he doing with himself? Thinking of his own welfare, “What will happen to me? There is me, there is the world. What will the world make of me? What can I get from the world? And how do I save myself from the world?” It’s a strange relationship that one has with the world.

Like in a game of Kabaddi. There is me, there is the other. I have to necessarily engage with the other. If I go to the side of the other to engage with him, I may win some exploits, or I may get caught there and lose everything that I have. That is the relationship of the lonely person with the world. He is always thinking of himself. Afraid. Insecure. And always thinking of himself in relation to the world. He is very concerned about his self-interest.

So, do not be misled please. Just because you may be social, just because you may have people around you, with you, most of the time, do not call yourself not lonely.

To be lonely is to be surrounded. Surrounded not necessarily on the outside, but surely within.

Are you worried about yourself? Is your self-interest paramount to you? Do the thoughts of future keep chasing you? Do memories keep haunting you? You are lonely. You are very very lonely. Do you want to hold on to your relationships? Do you count your numbers? You are lonely.

Who then is alone? The fellow who is alone is the one who is not with himself, just as the lonely fellow is always with himself. The fellow who is alone is rarely with himself. Because he is not with himself, he becomes available. He becomes available. Available to be with that which is.

You can compare the lonely fellow to a man who is driving through a beautiful terrain, lovely terrain, in a car. But his windshield is a mirror. The windows of the cars are all mirrors. In front of him is the windshield which is a mirror. Behind him there is another glass which is again a mirror. And he is driving through a beautiful terrain. He is always with people. Who are those people? Himself. He is very occupied. With? Himself. And that is why he is never available to watch the beautiful…? He’s not available at all.

It’s like you are sitting at a coffee table with two chairs. There is a center table, there is a chair, and there is another one opposite to it. On one chair are you seated. And on the other chair, again you are seated. And you are busy conversating. To whom? To yourself. You are always talking to yourself. And there’s a huge world, a huge reality around you, but you cannot look at it because you are always talking to yourself. That is the state of the lonely person.

And I said that the one who is alone becomes available. Now you know what availability means? What is availability? What is availability? So, now you know what enjoyment means. Enjoyment does not mean entertainment. It only means availability. If you can be present to what is, that is enjoyment. That does not mean you will have a special feeling inside of you. It is a simple presence. Are you getting it?

The fellow who is alone is with everything and everybody except himself. And the fellow who is lonely is with nobody except himself.

Are you getting it?

The world that the lonely fellow lives in is very different from the world that the alone fellow lives in. The lonely fellow’s world is his own construction. It is a dualistic world. It is a world that exists centrally in his own consciousness. It is a world that is the dualistic opposite of his own self image. He does not really live in the world, he lives in his own mind. He lives here (pointing to head). Just as he has an image of himself that always needs protection, correspondingly he also has an image of the world. His self image and his image of the world coexist. Right? And both are his own fiction.

The world of the second fellow, the one who is not lonely, is different. In this world, there is the world without himself. Understand this please. You may look at a car, you do not look at a car just as a car, you look at the car in relation to yourself. How big is it compared to my car? When can I have that car? The driver of that car zoomed past me, did he mean insult to me? The color of this car is similar to the color of my first bike. That is how we look at cars. “I have to overtake this car.”

What is common between all these statements? There is the car with reference to ‘me’. Because I am always busy with myself hence I cannot look at everything except in relation to me. That is how the lonely person’s world exists. It is a dualistic world. He looks at the world in relation to himself. That is the world of the lonely person, because his is a self-centered world. He looks at a car with respect to ‘I’. He looks at anything with respect to ‘I’. Are you getting it?

The world of the fellow who is not lonely and who is depicted by the word ‘alone’ is fundamentally different. In that world there is just the car. The car as it is. Not the car with respect to the person. The car just as it is. Nothing added to it. Nothing subtracted from it. Just the ‘fact’. There is nobody within this person who needs to borrow his identity from the car. There is nobody here who is so hungry that he would look at a car and pounce upon it in some way or the other. He is alright. He does not need the support of the car. He is not afraid, so he does not need to reject or disparage the car. So he looks at ‘just’ the world. Hence, this is not dualistic perception.

Perception is dualistic only when the observer becomes a function of the things he observes. If you observe something and that which you are observing changes you, then your observation is dualistic.

You look at something exciting and you become excited, then your perception is dualistic and you are lonely. Because now you know that your self depends on the world. You look at something and that which you look at changes your state, then you are lonely. Are you getting it?

So, a strange thing happens in the case of this fellow who is called alone. The world keeps changing its shapes, forms, keeps getting modified, keeps flowing, but this fellow does not quite flow with the world. Because he does not flow with the world, so he is free to understand the world as it is. In understanding the world as it is, he becomes free of the fear of the world. And when he is free of the fear of the world, he becomes free to plunge into the world and flow with the world.

But that looks so illogical. We began with saying that he does not flow with the world, and we are ending by saying that he indeed does. You must get the difference between flowing and flowing. He is not carried away by the world. He is not spoiled by the world. Remaining himself, in his own utter inner security and permanence, he is free to give himself to the world, “I know it and it cannot harm me, so I flow.” Whereas the lonely person is compulsorily driven, and even as he is being driven, he is being changed all the time by the driver.

When the fellow who is alone is with the world, he is not being changed by the world he is with. He might be with any color, any part, any mood of the world, something inside him remains free of all moods, he therefore becomes available. To the lonely fellow, the world, as we said, is both a danger and an opportunity. Hence, he cannot become available. He is necessarily attracted to some part, and afraid of the remaining part.

Which part is he attracted? The part that he takes as an opportunity. From where does he escape? The part that he takes as a threat.

Is that not our story? There is this world sprawling outside of us. Somewhere in this world lies the opportunity to make good of myself. And at other places in this world lie mortal dangers, I better avoid them. So how can fellow be then available? He is not available to either part. Obviously he’s not of available to the part that threatens, but equally he is also not available to the part that attracts. His love is bogus.

He must say that I desperately want to go to this part of the world where my sweetheart lives. But he’s not going anywhere, because he is always with only one thing, his own shadow. Even his sweetheart is a part of his own projection, his own shadow. He does not love anyone because he is always only with himself. The one who is self-centered cannot love. He cannot love because to love there must be somebody to love. This fellow only has his own imaginations, that is the most he can love. Even the one he is attracted to, even the parts that he takes as an opportunity, are just his own imaginations.

Even when he is with so-called friends, he is talking not to the friends, but to his projections of who they are. Fighting enemies, he is fighting phantoms. And loving friends, he is loving dreams. All his love is dream stuff. And that is why his love so frequently gets hurt. His dreams are so vulnerable, they so easily get shattered. He is never available, neither to attraction nor to repulsion. Even while making love, he is merely ideating. His body is active, so is his mind. He thinks that he has enimities, and he thinks that he has friends and lovers. He actually has nobody. So poor is he that he does not even have enemies. And that is true.

You are really quarreling hard with someone in a room, and suddenly the room catches fire, it’s a sudden and big fire, you will forget all your enmity, you’ll cry out to the only available person in the room, your enemy, and say “Please save me.” The two of you will suddenly become cooperative. All the enmity will be gone. We do not even have solid enmity. Even our enmity is opportunistic, occasional.

The occasion changes, enemies quickly become friends. The occasion changes, friends quickly become enemies. Husband and wife are breaking each other’s head, and a third person comes in, and the two get united and turn upon this third person. Have you not seen that? “In between the two of us there can be quarrel, but when it comes to an outsider, we are a united front. Our hell is our domestic matter. Conversely, all our domestic matters are hell.” “Only I deserve to crack open the skull of my husband. No outsider will be allowed that privilege.” “Only I deserve to rape my wife. No outsider will be allowed that.” Enemies quickly become friends. Friends turn enemies. All our dream stuff passing, passing, passing. Nothing has permanence. Nothing has depth. Are you getting it?

There was this movie, the man was wailing over the dead body of his son, and he appeared inconsolable, and then a messenger from the government comes, quietly expresses his condolences, and whispers into the ears of the wailing man the exact compensation amount that the government has sent on the death of his son.

Just for a second, just for a brief passing second, the man changes his expression. The inconsolable father, in that brief passing second, upon hearing the news of the large figure that the government has offered as compensation for his son’s death, is made to think of something beyond this grief. The second is brief, it passes. The man again resumes his wails. But that one second is sufficient. Very sufficient. The son is gone.

The grief appears to be deep. But even that deep grief has been assuaged even if for a brief secondby the mighty figure that he is recieving as compensation for his son’s death.

What if the figure was ten times larger? How long would have been the old man’s pause? What if the figure was hundred times larger? What if  the figure was a million times larger?

Nothing is deep enough. Nothing is so deep that something else cannot fill it. Your grief for your son might be deep, but it is not interminably deep. Yes, ordinary money will not fill that depth but a lot of money would. And the consequence of that is that if the grief of death can be forgotten, even if for a litle while by the dazzling presence of money then sufficient bedazzlement can cause to not only to not grief over his dead son but even cause to actively kill his living son.

And that is why you have, sons, killing fathers and fathers killing daughters.

Because nothing is deep enough. Because the lonely one is always living for himself. Because everything is within the purview of calculations. The son has gone. Yes, when we console the grieving family, we tell them that yours is an irreparable damage. Don’t we say that, it is an irreparable damage? But it is not actually irreparable. Nothing is deep enough.

All damages are with respect to oneself. One is at the center of his world, his lonely world. And because one is limited, hence all the damages to oneself are also limited. And because one is limited, hence all his pleasures and even his love are also limited. Hence everything can be purchased and sold off. Hence there is a price tag on everything. Every price tag is a number, and anything that is limited can be captured in a number. So, everything is on sale. It is just that you need to quote the right number. You can buy anything.

The man will sell anything. You only need to bid high enough. There is nothing absolute there, and hence there is nothing absolutely out-of-bounds there. There is nothing absolutely unthinkable there. Everything can be thought of. And hence everything can be put into action. That leads us to the world – absolute and unthinkable.

In the world of the man who is alone, there are absolutes. There is stuff that carries no price tag because it is not stuff at all. And there is stuff which is unthinkable, because only stuff can be thought of, and this stuff is special stuff that cannot be thought of. If you are somebody who thinks of everything, then kindly wake up because whatever you think of can always be put up for sale. Whatever you think of is not yours, it will be lost. Either you will actively sell it off, or time will forcibly take it away. Only that you cannot lose which you have anyway never thought of as yourself, or yours.

It is strange. That which you have never thought of as yours is the only thing that really belongs to you. And that which you think of as yours, is not even yours in your own intention. Or it is yours only till the time you decide that you want to now do away with it. Whatever you know of as yours is yours only as an item put up for sale in your shop. A shopkeeper has many things in his shop, and he rightfully calls all of those things as his own, and they are his own, are they not? But everything that belongs to a shopkeeper is also up for sale. So, it belongs to him, and it belongs to him therefore he wants to sell it off for something else. He is always looking for profits. He is never okay with himself. He wants more. He has stuff, but he does not love stuff.

Ever seen a shopkeeper who is really in love with his goods? If he were really in love with his goods, would he sell them off? We too have stuff in our lives. We have ideas, principles, friends, people, families, all of them are like items kept in our shops. The shops might be beautiful. The shopkeeper might be taking care of the items in his shop. There might appear a really friendly, neat, amiable relationship between the shopkeeper and his wares, but the fact is that nothing is absolutely unsalable, because there is no absolute. Everything is just relative. Everything comes to an end.

That is the world of the lonely person. Everything there is conditional. He will never say, “I will never do this. Such a thing can never happen”. He can do anything. It is just a matter of the depth of contingency. It is just a matter of the bid. Anybody can be betrayed. Anything can be deceived. Anything can be sold off. He really can never commit himself to anything or anybody. That is why he lacks devotion. So now, there are three things that are missing in the life of the lonely person, and are present with the fellow who is alone. The absolute, the unthinkable, and devotion.

The fellow who is lonely just cannot be devoted. He can admire, but he cannot be devoted. Because to be devoted is to give up the right to withdraw your devotion. If you still have preserved your right to withdraw your devotion, then your devotion is not complete, because you have not devoted the right.

Are you getting it?

Everything is revocable. Everything is conditional. The fellow trusts nothing but himself. And that is obvious because in his world there is nobody but himself. So, who else can he trust? He will listen to a Buddha, then analyze him, and then if his own analysis says believe he would believe. Whom does he trust, the Buddha or himself? Not only does he trust himself, he trusts himself over the Buddha. Ostensibly, he may go to read books, to listen to teachers. But even when he is reading books, he accepts those parts that his own self approves of. Even when he listens to teachers, he decides when to go, what to listen to, what to make of it, and whether to accept or not. Who is he listening to? Himself. Because in his world there is only him and his shadow. Nobody else. Are you getting it?

What does that leave you with? Yourself. Had there been an absolute, there would have been an absolute effect on everybody, right? But do you see that the effect of this session on you is relative to who you are. Had there been an absolute, then the effect would have been absolute, not relative, not differentiated, not different, but the effect is so different. Because you are not listening to me you are listening to yourself. And when you’re listening to yourself, you may find yourself so boring that you doze off. Yes? (Smiling) laughing at your own jokes.

The books in front of you are different books, your faces are different, the clothes are different, names are different, and personalities are different. And if I ask you “What have I said?” your versions will be different. Where is the absolute?

The lonely man takes pride in confidently saying “The absolute does not exist.” In fact, to him the absolute is merely dogma. To him the absolute is merely an ‘-ism’. Fundamentalism. He’ll say, “Everything is relative.” And yes, if you are living with your shadow, if you are living in the ego, then everything is absolutely relative. Relative to what? Relative to your own ego. There can be no absolute then. Your ego is the center, and relative to your ego exists the world. The world exists relative to your ego.

That is why this lonely man takes great pride in his opinions. Because if absolutes do not exist, then the only thing of value is your opinion. And if absolute does exist then your opinion is of no value. This lonely man would even call himself a liberal who celebrates diversities of opinions. Obviously, if you want your own opinion to be respected and accepted, then as a reciprocal measure you have to at least show that you are accepting and respecting the opinions of others. In giving space to the others ego, even if temporarily, you manage to secure a place for your own ego.

You say “You be with your opinion, and let me stay in the comforts of my own.” This fellow will not meditate, he will debate. Meditations do not clash with each other. Debaters clash with each other. This fellow has opinions, to prove your opinion over the other you have to debate. All debate is with respect to the other. And all meditation has no other in it. In meditation you do not need to prove anything. You just know. And what you know is not always something that can be proved. Are you getting it?

The topic of this series is “God and guilt”, have we kind of come upon God already? It is very necessary for me to not use the word ‘God’, or at least not use it frequently. It is a very heavily loaded word. It conjures up just too many images. But have we come upon the word God already? Have we? Yes? Which one?

Listener: The Absolute.

AP: The absolute. So, the lonely person is the one who has no God. The lonely person only has things relative. Relative to his own self. He has no absolute. God is absolute. God is the only absolute. The lonely one is the one who has no God. So, if you have no God in your life, you will be necessarily lonely. We’d be going through four sessions in this series. The first session is titled ‘incompleteness’. Now you know what is incompleteness? What is incompleteness? Have we come upon the word incompleteness? Which word is that?

L: Loneliness.

AP: Loneliness. Now you see what is the relation between God and incompleteness? What is the relation? The only complete is God. The only complete is the absolute. Obviously. Absolute is a synonym for completeness. No God, no completeness, just a blind search from door to door. If you are someone who has been begging from man to man, from woman to woman, from relationship to relationship, check, there is no God in your life. Check and check again, there is no God in your life and that is why you are a beggar.

I may say “God makes you complete.” But even that would be a frivolous statement. God is the only complete. To live without God is to not live at all. And the fellow who is lonely is actually not living at all. We said that his being is a function of his observation, so he becomes what he sees. Now where is he then? For you to be something, there must be something unchangeable within you, and that unchangeable is called absolute. Now if you are changing as per the situations, conditions, observations, climate, then do you exist? You don’t exist because there is nothing absolutely unchangeable within. Only God exists, and if there is no God in your life do you exist? Do you exist?

And if you don’t exist, you are very very afraid. You do not exist, you are very very afraid. If you do not exist, then fear exists, and so it’s a strange situation. Fear exists and you do not exist then to whom is the fear? It’s a stupid contradiction. Your thoughts, your actions, your being, is proof that you do not exist. But still to somebody there is this thought. There is somebody who is in touch with immortality and do not want to keep vanishing second after second. And that is why he is befuddled. That is why he does not know what to make of life.

You are living against yourself. You are believing that you do not exist. You are thinking that you are dead. You are shouting that you cannot speak. You are reading a book, and the book is convincing you that you do not have eyes to read. It’s a strange paradox. Do not call it strange, because that is the paradox in which we anyway live our lives.

What is a paradox? Fundamentally, a contradiction. Don’t you see what kind of contradictory life we live? Look at your face right now. A small mirror is the best book one can carry in his pocket. Look at your face, just your face, look at your face as it is while sitting in front of me, and then look at your face as it is when you are at your workplace or at your home or with your friends or family. Look at your words and thoughts, how they keep changing from situation to situation. Look even at your intentions. Your honest intentions, not the intention that you profess. At one point you have one intention. Then you reach some other place and your intentions change. This is the contradiction of a lonely life, because there is no absolute there, hence everything is prone to change.

There is that moment in which you really feel that you belong to somebody, you are not lying, and you say ‘I love you and I will be with you for this whole life, and for seven more lives’, and in that moment, you are as honest as you can be. But just only as honest as you can be, because there is no absolute in your life so you cannot be absolutely honest. Two days later, or two months later, or two years later, or two decades later, you are cursing that moment when you offered your commitment. You are very honestly cursing that moment. You are just as honest in this moment as you were when you were committing yourself to the other person. You are not to be blamed. You are as honest as you can be. But your honesty cannot stand the test of time because it is not absolute.

No God, nothing permanent. No God, just time and change. No God, just the slavery of circumstances.

Today he appears handsome and she appears beautiful, tomorrow your honest assessment of each other changes.

Now, we have said two things. We have said that the fellow who is alone is the one who has the absolute God. We had also said that the fellow who is alone lives only with himself. Now you will know why the Upanishads had to say that “You are God”.

The fellow who is alone lives with God, and we also said that the fellow who is alone lives only with himself. Himself, not his image of himself. The fellow who is lonely lives with his shadow, his image of himself. Equally, we said that the fellow who is alone does not live with anybody. Now, what does that mean? Connect the three statements. That means that God is a nobody. The alone has the absolute, and the fellow who is alone has nobody. Hence, the absolute is a nobody.

Now you have the Buddha talking.

The absolute is a vast nothingness. When you are comfortable living in nothingness, then you are alone. When you are not comfortable living in nothingness, then you start living with mirrors. You start talking to your own shadows and images. Are you getting it? Even when there is nobody around you, have you noticed, you are busy, busy with yourself, that is called loneliness.

The fellow who is alone has nobody to talk to, conversely he has God to talk to. When you are talking to nobody, in that silence, there is you and God. And if the silence is absolute, then even the word ‘and’ just drops. You and God, and the ‘and’ is gone. Absolutely gone. So, you are God. Are you getting it?

Whenever you need something to survive, whenever you need somebody to depend on, you are taking your shadow too seriously. We’ll go back to the basics before we take up the questions.

The lonely fellow is the one who is always with somebody, and that somebody he is with, is always his own image. So, the lonely fellow is always surrounded, surrounded by himself. Even if he appears surrounded by others, those others are all in relation to himself. So, the lonely fellow will actually never appear lonely, he will always appear surrounded, he will always appear surrounded. In fact, he will not be bear, tolerate, to remain lonely. It is his inner obligation towards himself to remain surrounded.

You leave him not surrounded, and he will start feeling suffocated. He cannot do without his mobile phone. That is the sign of a lonely person. Always surrounded. And we repeat that the thing that surrounds him appears to be the world, but it is actually just image of himself.

Right?

And the fellow who is alone is the one who is just with the absolute. He needs no images. He is not with himself. ‘Himself’ can be the most sacred word and the most painful word at once.

The word ‘You’, the word ‘I’, the word ‘Himself’, the word ‘Self’, can point either to you as you really are, or to your shadow. When they point to you as you really are, they are called the ‘Truth’. You are then the Truth. I am then the Truth. When the word ‘I’ points to us as we really are, then ‘I’ is the Atma.

And when the word ‘I’ starts referring to my self-image, or to my shadow, or to my ego, then it is the dirtiest word. Then it is not Atma, then it is Ahanta. The word ‘I’ refers to both. The world ‘I’ can be used for both Atma and Ahanta. In the case of the lonely person ‘I’ refers to Ahanta. In the case of the fellow who lives alone ‘I’ refers to Atma.

Clear?



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Balancing personal and professional life?



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Go to the teacher not in greed, but in love

 

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Question: I have been reading, listening to you, Osho, Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta, for the last one year. I have a peculiar situation. Having attained a lot of peace, now I am finding difficult to read or listen. Somehow I feel, I am going away from peace, by doing that. Everything that can be read or listened to, seems to be already known and I don’t find anything new. I do not know whether it is my mind playing some game, or is it okay to be in that situation. Or am I just being arrogant? Now I just want to be myself and probably looking for blogging and take the role of the teacher which will clear my knowing more. I want to be tested.

Thanks again. Please comment if it’s worth it.

Acharya Prashant: You see, the ways of mind can be very tricky.

The mind by definition is that, which keeps feeling incomplete and does whatever it does with a purpose. The purpose is to gain something. The purpose is to reach somewhere. The purpose is to advance. Become better. Progress.

You are now saying that anytime you listen to me, Osho, JK, Nisargadatta, it seems that you already know what you are listening to and you do not get anything new. Don’t you see, what these words reveal? These words reveal that the mind is still quite ambitious and looking for something. The mind is saying, “I will go to Krishnamurti only if he gives me something new, otherwise, I will not go to him.” Is this a relationship of love? Read more

You cannot have a spiritual culture

You cannot have a special land that enables the coming of the spiritual mind. You cannot have a spiritual culture, where it is easier to be spiritual. But for sure, you can have a mind that is attentive to its own falseness. That you can have! Not something definitive or particular, like a culture. Not something positive and affirmative. But, rather something reductive and destructive. Getting it?

“You know, nothing can lead me to God, let me just find out what keeps me away from God.” That kind of an approach.

Instead, we have cultures that claim to lead you to God. And that’s what all God-men do, right? They say, “I’ll take you to God.” The approach must be! You cannot be taken to Truth or God. You only need to find out what keeps you away. What makes you think that you are away. That kind of a thing can be there. That rigor, that…you can even equate it to the intellectual rigor, so it is not really intellectual. That rigor, even if it is found, even if it has been found in India, has been found only intermittently and that too very privileged and very tiny pockets.

You know, the people from whom, this…from whom the holiest…why even call them holy? Let’s call them “Intelligent Scriptures”. From whom these books came, they were in extremely tiny minority and most of them were not socially absorbed. We cannot even call them a part of society or a part of India. The fellow is living on the top of the hill. He has nothing to do with the country, nothing to do with the society. Would you call them belonging to a certain nation? He doesn’t even know whether nation exists, or has been conquered, or an earthquake has wiped out the entire population. He is so absorbed in his own meditation. So, he hardly has a nationality.

And those numbers, they were  extremely small, very-very small. The common masses were doing what they were doing. They had nothing to do with all this. In fact, even in India today, you see, all kinds of spiritual myths are popular. But if you go to somebody and you ask him to name even one Upanishad, one out of hundred people can do it. There are more than 200 Upanishads but when you do the general survey on the streets of India, and ask them to tell the name of even one of the Upanishads. I might be over-estimating in saying one by hundred.



Read Complete article: There is no such thing as a spiritual place or spiritual land