Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from the Truth

Question: Is there any spiritual journey that leads to enlightenment, like it was Buddha’s case, or is every movement a journey and destination, like it was with Krishna?

Is there a journey that leads to enlightenment or is it instantaneous, right now?

Acharya Prashant: What makes you say that with Buddha there was a journey? Why?

Listener: We know his struggle. He changed a hundred masters and then finally he got enlightened.

AP: You are right. He did all that.

L1: But there was no such thing with Krishna.

AP: Let’s first stay with Buddha.

Somebody roams around for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, somebody goes to ten masters, twenty masters, and then we are told that there is an event called ‘enlightenment’. That’s what your story is. Yes? How do you know that what you call as ‘enlightenment’ was the effect of the cause called ‘wandering,’ ‘seeking,’ or ‘searching’? How do you know that there is a cause-effect relationship there?

I am walking, I suddenly collapse. How do you know that my collapse is the effect of my walking? How do you know that? Is there a way to know that? But because our mind is trained to think that everything must have a cause, we would relate the two events.

L1: But he was intentionally seeking enlightenment.

AP: I might be doing something intentionally, yet does that guarantee a cause-effect relationship? And could he be doing it intentionally, did he really know what enlightenment is? If I don’t know what I am seeking, how can there be any intention to seek for it? You go to a market to buy vegetables, you can have that intention because you know what a vegetable is. Before enlightenment, did Buddha know what enlightenment is? So how can he have the intention to be enlightened?

L1: But he knew he had to search for something.

AP: How did he even know that search yields that something? Did he know anything about that something? Is it possible to have partial enlightenment? Is it possible to have partial knowledge of the Truth? So the Buddha knew nothing, right? How did he then know that his search will yield enlightenment? How does he know that?

L1: He did not have any other way. He had to try out everything.

AP: He is doing something. Let’s just say that. When you don’t know anything about enlightenment, when enlightenment is something that by its definition cannot be thought of, cannot be conceptualized, cannot be put in images, then how can the Buddha be searching for it? But that is the way we are bound to interpret the whole event, because we think that everything must have a cause, because we are so ego-bound that we think that whatever happens, happens out of human effort. So, it pleases us to think that ten-twelve years of effort, and what you get as a reward is, enlightenment.

It pleases us greatly; there is deep ego in this assumption, and mankind will hold this assumption close to itself, “God is within my reach. It was not due to ‘His’ grace, but due to my effort. My effort yields enlightenment. And if Buddha can do something for ten-twelve years and get it, I too can get it. Maybe he took twelve years, I will take twenty-four, but still, I, as I am, am eligible for enlightenment. It is just that twenty-four years of work is needed. I being what I am, I can still get enlightenment with twenty-four years of input, which is alright. It’s like a long-term fixed deposit, it will mature someday.”

That’s the way we are prone to think: “get up and invest these many years, just as you invest these many years in your career.” You work in a company for some twenty years and then you say that I have now risen to the top most position. Similarly you are saying that if you work in a jungle for twenty years, you will rise to God, same line of thought.

I am so glad that what Buddha calls as his moment of enlightenment came when he was just sitting under a tree. So we just venerated the tree and the posture in which he was sitting, and all that. What if he was taking a bath at that moment? Then we would have said, “Taking bath leads to enlightenment.” What if he had been involved in other activities of the body? It’s morning time and the Buddha is going towards the jungle . . . he is already in a jungle . . . and he is going towards some bush, and he gets enlightenment behind the bush. Then you will find all spiritual seekers behind the bushes with their pants down, seeking enlightenment behind bushes.

“That’s how Buddha got it! There must be a cause-effect relationship. Sacred bush! There must be a cause-effect relationship. This bush leads to enlightenment!”

What stupidity is this?

Enlightenment is returning to the Source, and the Source is outside all cause-effect.

You do not get there by doing something, you do not get there as the result of some sadhana. Twelve years or twelve thousand years, nothing will suffice.

How can time lead to the timeless?

How can wandering in space, in a jungle, or all over the earth, lead to that which is beyond space?

But no, we want – the mind wants – to keep God within its reach, within the ambit of its small circumference.

You do not attain God, you dissolve and all that remains is God. Buddha did not attain enlightenment. Buddha dissolved and all that remained was enlightenment. That dissolution can happen in a fraction of a second, it is instantaneous; or it may never happen. It depends on you, and because it depends on you, hence it is different for everybody, because you are different from your neighbor.

The Buddha had a certain configuration. I am talking of Siddhartha Gautama, the prince. He had a certain configuration, a certain past, a certain store of experiences, and a certain attachment with all of that. That has to drop and that is unique to him. You do not share that with him, right? Yashodhara is not your wife, is she?

Buddha is unique in his store, and so are you. The Buddha has to empty his inventory and it has to be done in his own way, and you too have to do it in your own way. That way may take time or it may not take time. It depends upon your resolve, and it depends upon your wisdom.

You go to an Ashtavakra, he will say, “Time? How is time a factor? Just see right now.” A Krishnamurti would say the same thing: “Just see right now, what do you mean by twelve years? Right now, available – there. It cannot take time.”

And there have been other masters, you go to them and they will say, “No!” You go to a Patanjali, and he will say, “No. There are these ways that will help you loosen your bondages, try these ways out.” And if you pay attention to your own life, then you will say, “Alright, this is my unique pattern, and so this is my unique way of liberation.”

But always remember that even the urge to be liberated is not yours. Left to yourself, you would never want to be liberated. Even the urge to be liberated is coming from ‘That’ which you want to attain after liberation. Are you getting this?

Buddha did not attain enlightenment, enlightenment attained Buddha. Buddha did not attain enlightenment, enlightenment was searching for Buddha for twelve years and attained him. Had Buddha been ready, enlightenment would have happened in the first instance. What happened for those twelve years then?

Enlightenment was running after Buddha, and Buddha was escaping enlightenment. Ultimately after twelve years, enlightenment attained Buddha. And it is the same with each one of us. Enlightenment is running after you. And what are you doing? You are running here and there. And what is your excuse? “I am chasing enlightenment.”

Hello! You just stop, enlightenment will chase you! You just stop, enlightenment will take hold of you! You just stop. When enlightenment itself is so eager to get you, why are you wasting your time and energy? Why? God is more eager to have you than all your eagerness to have him. Even your eagerness to reach him is coming from him. Do not forget that. He is so eager to get you that within you he raises a desire to get ‘Him’. So who gets enlightenment? Buddha gets enlightenment or enlightenment gets Buddha?

Buddha can never get enlightenment on his own, because he will never want enlightenment. All that the Buddha can do would always be a cause, whose effect he would want or imagine. Enlightenment is outside your efforts. Are you getting it?

Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from the Truth. Can you remember this? Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from it.

It’s there, it will get you in no time. Then the question that remains is: what is the role of all so-called spiritual practices? Are they of no worth at all? Practices do not lead to enlightenment. Techniques do not lead to meditativeness. Techniques arise from meditativeness. How will you know what is the right technique? How will you know? Only in meditativeness will you know the right technique. So you start on your journey only after you have already reached the destination.

Buddha’s enlightenment is not a particular point in time. The enlightenment is already there within, and that is why he is wandering all over. It is already there within him. It is the game of ‘That’ which is already there. But because it is so difficult to comprehend, we put it in a nice time chain, a nice series.

“A prince gets married and then sees the miseries of life. He then leaves his home, and then he goes to various masters. He struggles and roams about, and one fine day sitting under the Bodhi tree, and something happens.”

Nice story, very nice story. Nice story to keep the ego of mankind inflated. But this is not what it is. The enlightenment that Buddha is searching for is already there in him, and in you. It is that same enlightenment that is making Buddha compassionate to the old man and the sick man that he saw from his chariot. It is the same enlightenment that is making him leave his home. It is the same enlightenment that is making him run from master to master. It is always there with him!

Who else is guiding him? Who else is giving him the energy to quit his empire and the throne? Who else is his source? Who is telling him that this master is not proper for you? Who is it? Who is it? So the Buddha is always enlightened; as are you.

Buddha goes to one master. Who is telling the Buddha that now it’s the time to move on? Who is telling Buddha? Buddha’s own enlightenment. Who else will tell him? So all that the Buddha may learn is that he is already enlightened.

The Buddha doesn’t get enlightened, all that he finally admits to himself is, “I am already enlightened. I was already enlightened. Why was I running for so long?” Or, “It was because I was already enlightened hence I was running for so long.” Same thing.

You want to make this as a part of the existing story? You won’t be able to do that. This is a different narrative altogether. It would not fit in, the dimension is different.

enlightenment

You do not get there by doing something, you do not get there as the result of some sadhana. Twelve years or twelve thousand years, nothing will suffice.

How can time lead to the timeless?

How can wandering in space, in a jungle, or all over the earth, lead to that which is beyond space?

But no, we want – the mind wants – to keep God within its reach, within the ambit of its small circumference.

You do not attain God, you dissolve and all that remains is God. Buddha did not attain enlightenment. Buddha dissolved and all that remained was enlightenment. That dissolution can happen in a fraction of a second, it is instantaneous; or it may never happen. It depends on you, and because it depends on you, hence it is different for everybody, because you are different from your neighbor.

The Buddha had a certain configuration. I am talking of Siddhartha Gautama, the prince. He had a certain configuration, a certain past, a certain store of experiences, and a certain attachment with all of that. That has to drop and that is unique to him. You do not share that with him, right? Yashodhara is not your wife, is she?

Buddha is unique in his store, and so are you. The Buddha has to empty his inventory and it has to be done in his own way, and you too have to do it in your own way. That way may take time or it may not take time. It depends upon your resolve, and it depends upon your wisdom.

You go to an Ashtavakra, he will say, “Time? How is time a factor? Just see right now.” A Krishnamurti would say the same thing: “Just see right now, what do you mean by twelve years? Right now, available – there. It cannot take time.”

And there have been other masters, you go to them and they will say, “No!” You go to a Patanjali, and he will say, “No. There are these ways that will help you loosen your bondages, try these ways out.” And if you pay attention to your own life, then you will say, “Alright, this is my unique pattern, and so this is my unique way of liberation.”

But always remember that even the urge to be liberated is not yours. Left to yourself, you would never want to be liberated. Even the urge to be liberated is coming from ‘That’ which you want to attain after liberation. Are you getting this?

Buddha did not attain enlightenment, enlightenment attained Buddha. Buddha did not attain enlightenment, enlightenment was searching for Buddha for twelve years and attained him. Had Buddha been ready, enlightenment would have happened in the first instance. What happened for those twelve years then?

Enlightenment was running after Buddha, and Buddha was escaping enlightenment. Ultimately after twelve years, enlightenment attained Buddha. And it is the same with each one of us. Enlightenment is running after you. And what are you doing? You are running here and there. And what is your excuse? “I am chasing enlightenment.”

Hello! You just stop, enlightenment will chase you! You just stop, enlightenment will take hold of you! You just stop. When enlightenment itself is so eager to get you, why are you wasting your time and energy? Why? God is more eager to have you than all your eagerness to have him. Even your eagerness to reach him is coming from him. Do not forget that. He is so eager to get you that within you he raises a desire to get ‘Him’. So who gets enlightenment? Buddha gets enlightenment or enlightenment gets Buddha?

Buddha can never get enlightenment on his own, because he will never want enlightenment. All that the Buddha can do would always be a cause, whose effect he would want or imagine. Enlightenment is outside your efforts. Are you getting it?

Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from the Truth. Can you remember this? Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from it.

It’s there, it will get you in no time. Then the question that remains is: what is the role of all so-called spiritual practices? Are they of no worth at all? Practices do not lead to enlightenment. Techniques do not lead to meditativeness. Techniques arise from meditativeness. How will you know what is the right technique? How will you know? Only in meditativeness will you know the right technique. So you start on your journey only after you have already reached the destination.

Buddha’s enlightenment is not a particular point in time. The enlightenment is already there within, and that is why he is wandering all over. It is already there within him. It is the game of ‘That’ which is already there. But because it is so difficult to comprehend, we put it in a nice time chain, a nice series.

“A prince gets married and then sees the miseries of life. He then leaves his home, and then he goes to various masters. He struggles and roams about, and one fine day sitting under the Bodhi tree, and something happens.”

Nice story, very nice story. Nice story to keep the ego of mankind inflated. But this is not what it is. The enlightenment that Buddha is searching for is already there in him, and in you. It is that same enlightenment that is making Buddha compassionate to the old man and the sick man that he saw from his chariot. It is the same enlightenment that is making him leave his home. It is the same enlightenment that is making him run from master to master. It is always there with him!

Who else is guiding him? Who else is giving him the energy to quit his empire and the throne? Who else is his source? Who is telling him that this master is not proper for you? Who is it? Who is it? So the Buddha is always enlightened; as are you.

Buddha goes to one master. Who is telling the Buddha that now it’s the time to move on? Who is telling Buddha? Buddha’s own enlightenment. Who else will tell him? So all that the Buddha may learn is that he is already enlightened.

The Buddha doesn’t get enlightened, all that he finally admits to himself is, “I am already enlightened. I was already enlightened. Why was I running for so long?” Or, “It was because I was already enlightened hence I was running for so long.” Same thing.

You want to make this as a part of the existing story? You won’t be able to do that. This is a different narrative altogether. It would not fit in, the dimension is different.


– Excerpts from a clarity session held at Advait Bodhsthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from the Truth

Read more related articles:

Article 1: Looking attentively at the world, one enters the truth

Article 2: Observe your own life and you will know the truth

Article 3: Anybody who just pays attention sees the truth

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2 thoughts on “Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from the Truth

  1. Sir namaste, I am reading your blogs from last 3 months and I also attend your noida session one time. Sir I have a question that I had intrest in spirituality from childhood and now I am 32 yrs and not married yet. But I have a habit of sexual attraction and I thought I have to be get married for this habit. But from my inner self I don’t want to marry because I want to attain something extra or big in spirituality. So my mind is divided into these two pieces and I m not able to take the decision. I had joined a spiritual organization brahma kumaris and I thought that my this sexual desire habit gone. But it is now more powerful I can’t understand. Please help me to take my decision whether I will get married due to my sexual desire or I get something more in spirituality desire.

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  2. Dear Mayank,

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

    Greetings from PrashantAdvait Foundation! Glad that you are liking the videos!

    Besides the videos, the foundation offers various other opportunities to connect to Acharya Prashant. We have listed a few of the offerings below. We wish that you may benefit from them!

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