Thought is hardly a problem, the quality of thought is || Acharya Prashant (2011)

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Question: I am a little confused with the statement by Shankar. He says, “Thought is the only means to knowledge.” Is there not a difference between thought and realization? What I mean is that is it not true that realization comes first and thought picks up the realization as an object for its movement. Do you think my reasoning is flawed?

 Answer: Do not underestimate the mind.

Every realization, every thought, is in the domain of mind.

Will any of these realizations come to one who is sleeping, or to one who is physically dead? One requires a body and a mind for all such realizations.

The mind keeps on getting subtler and subtler, the thought keeps getting finer and finer. So fine that it starts requiring very little time for its processes. The time may start tending to zero, yet there is that nanosecond involved.

Ultimately thought and time become ‘almost zero’, but that’s it. Almost! Just like in calculus, ‘tending to zero’.

If you say realization comes first, who realises? The senses? Say you look at a snake; what is the whole process like? The senses feed a few visual and other inputs to the mind, the intelligence operates upon them to create coherent and intelligible information, and then from memory, conditioning and understanding of the whole thing, there comes a reaction to the information.

Where is realization in this? Thought is an automatic response of the mind to any sensory input from outside. Even idle, random thoughts have, at their origin, some triggering effect from outside.

Realization is thought itself. Very fine thought albeit. So you have the sensory input(physical waves), then there is processing of input(creation of a coherent image), and then there is the response to this image. Realisation comes at the stage of this response. Please see that realization acts along with gross memory (you cannot realize a snake otherwise), conditioning (the possibility of a reflex action), and awareness ( fine, instant, remembrance-memory of the nature of snake and Self).

Is awareness possible in a memory-less mind? Can some kind of a patient(with zero memory) have awareness? Awareness is sharpness and fineness of memory. Memory of what? Here we need to characterise the memory into gross memory and fine memory. Gross memory is the one involved and attached with gross events. Fine memory is what remembers the true nature of things. However, remembrance in case of awareness(fine memory) is instantaneous and does not come from the past. What is fine memory about? Remembering events in time, the past? No, fine memory is about remembering the Self. In that sense, fine memory is not even  memory.

Now you would see why the mind is so important an instrument. Even to remember one’s identity (or identitylessness) as the Self, one requires a mind. A moron, a dumb-wit, an animal, or a person asleep cannot remember this. Only a fine mind can.

The mind is part material and part conscious. Thought is sandwiched between the two aspects. When thought is fine, fine, very fine, it comes close to its own dissolution and becoming wide, timeless and object-less it no longer remains an individual thought. On the other hand, when thought remains coarse, it retains more of its material nature.

So, thought is hardly a problem, the quality of thought is. It is another matter that fine thought becomes no-thought. It becomes the so-called meditative state with zero thoughts. Well, almost !


-Based on my interactions on various e-media.

Dated: 15th October,’11

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5 thoughts on “Thought is hardly a problem, the quality of thought is || Acharya Prashant (2011)


    Thoughts are not the problem, the quality of thoughts does matter. But how we had been trying so long to control thoughts rather looking into quality! Thanks for the real explanation sir.


  2. Ashutush

    Fine thought comes close to its own dissolution and becomes wide and no longer individual thought. And when thought remains coarse, it’s more material. Thanks


  3. Pingback: Love is not torment, and cannot torment | Prashant Tripathi- Words into Silence

    1. Acharya Prashant (आचार्य प्रशांत) Post author

      Dear Ekta,

      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.

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