“The significance of a man is not in what he attains,
but rather what he longs to attain.”
-Khalil Gibran, ‘Sand and Foam’
Question: Once during a discourse on the Bible, you too have said, “The more you know the Truth, the more you want to know; such is the expanse of the Truth, infinite.” If this be so, then what is coming back to Home? What is this whole thing about coming back Home? Can one ever really be Home? Khalil Gibran seems to say that more than arriving at Home, it is the longing for Home which is important.
Acharya Prashant: Listen again to what Khalil Gibran says. He says, “The significance of a man is not in what he attains, but rather what he longs to attain.”
Man is a constant search, man is a restlessness; that is how man is constituted. That is the basic definition of man. Owing to this, often the religious mind builds a mental model that there surely exists a point at which this restlessness is extinguished. In this mental model there exists a problem statement. The problem statement is – the restlessness of man. And finally there exists a full stop to the story, a solution, and the solution is – coming Home.
Now this is a nice model, nice story to an extent. It does say that we are disturbed and peace-less and in disquiet; that much is admitted. It also admits that life must be spent in a way such that the restless mind moves towards peace and rest. That too is alright. And finally it says that there comes a point at which the restless mind finally dissolves into peace.
Now, a model is a model; it’s a mental story. Problems start when a model is taken as a proxy for the Truth. Man is indeed a restlessness, but no movement takes one to the Truth. Please understand this. It is very important.
By saying that the purpose of life, the human life, is to reach Home or to reach Truth or reach Peace, what we seem to be admitting is that both truth and false have their existence, and that a journey that begins in the false can end in the Truth. It is a very dangerous statement to make.
By saying that, “One day I will reach Home”, we are insisting upon two thing, both of which are false. One, there does exist a space, a position which is outside Truth and I am there. Secondly, a way, a bridge connects that position to the Truth, to the Home. The ego is legitimizing itself by saying this. The ego is saying, ‘I do exit!‘ and the ego is also saying that, ‘A way will emerge from within me that will take you to the Truth’.
Man has always created this separation just to sustain his illusions and ego. To sustain that which is not, you will have to create a mental model which legitimizes that which is not. To sustain illusion you will have to build an illusory mental model of the reality.
Truth is not the end point of a journey. You will not start from where you are, undertake a journey, a sadhna, abstinence or experience of any kind, and then ultimately reach the Truth. Truth is the vast space in which the whole of this drama keep happening.
Truth is the beginning and finality in which you are always located even when you are thinking that you are away from the Truth. Truth is that which you are even when you are totally committed to the false. So helpless is our situation.
Deep peace is what we are even when we are totally restless. Complete understanding is what we are even when we are identified with ignorance. You can never reach the Truth because you are never outside the Truth. Home cannot be a destination; Home is where you always are. You don’t have a choice there. Inexorably, inevitably you are there.
Now that hurts us both ways. One, this hurts our dream of being liberated or emancipated or enlightened someday, and we always want to be enlightened some day in the future, right? Nobody wants to be enlightened right now.
If enlightenment is offered right now, that is like being sent to the gallows right now. You will say that at least let me write my will; at least let me wrap up a few personal affairs; how can I be so irresponsible that I become enlightened right now!
So, man is always craving for enlightenment. But his enlightenment must perennially stay in the future, always. It’s an illusion that we must maintain. “I will get freedom some day in the future”; always in the future. If freedom is what you are then this illusion is deeply hurt. Now you cannot say that you will get freedom someday in the future. But it is very important for man to maintain this hope and dream. See how all of you are working towards your liberation. Look at the pleasure you get by saying that you are getting closer to the destination, the Home inch by inch, that effort-fully you are making your way towards that final point and one day you will reach there.
You will never reach there because you are already there.
You cannot ‘reach’ there.
And this will hurt you badly because all your life if there is one thing that you have really wanted to avoid, it is reaching ‘there’. We talk so fondly of ‘the Home’, the end of the journey, final liberation. We talk so wistfully of it that a stranger might feel that we are prepared to give a right hand to be liberated right now, but the fact is our life is dependent on the fact, almost like a conspiracy that liberation should never come. Everything that we do just postpones liberation, and in postponing it we keep telling ourselves that, “I am committed to it, I am working towards it; I will reach there one day, someday”.
In such a scenario, it deeply hurts if someone says, ‘No, we don’t need to work at all. Why do you say that you are working hard to be liberated? You are already liberated.”
Now, this is a shock!
This is a shock, and if someone comes with this kind of news, he can’t be forgiven. If someone comes and says that the road to freedom is a very difficult road, then we will welcome him. But if someone comes and insists that you do not need to do anything, you are already Home, then you cannot be forgiven!
Because if we are already Home then the entire structure of this false life that we have built will collapse. If we are already Home, if the highest is already there, then what will happen to all the games of becoming, of ambition, of reaching somewhere, of hopes, of dreams? What will happen? What will happen to the daily toil? What will happen to the entire set of priorities that we have?
Every priority rests on the assumption that it is important and ultimately it will lead me to the high, the higher and then the highest. What will happen to the value we give to our priorities? The realization that you are ‘Home’ will kill this world. The realization that you are already there, will stop the way we pretend in our self-composed drama. You cannot like it. So this model has sustained and man has gleefully carried on with it. Man says, “You know, I am a wandering child away from Home, and one day I will return to my Home”. Or man hears the Saints sing that, “I am my Father’s daughter and I have been exiled in some way, and while in exile I have tainted myself and now I long to return to the Father’s Home”.
We have co-opted these models. The ego has co-opted these models. The only thing that the ego finds important in these models is that, “I am away”, that the Truth is somewhere far off; and it is such a relief for the ego. Remember it is not a craving, it is a relief.
Do you see how horrific this model is?
When you say you are away from Home, what do you think – you are dying to reach Home? It is with a barely concealed smile that you are saying that you are away from Home. So, I have bad news for you. You are not away from Home, you are Home. And that is why messengers of Truth cannot be forgiven, because this is the message they give, that inspite of all your efforts you have never been able to go away.
The only message of the Truth – ‘I am’; what else is the message of the Truth? ‘I am, and there is nothing else but me’. This is the only message of the Truth. And such a message cannot be tolerated, you can tolerate everything else.
If at all you are a wandering child then, you are a child that has no intentions of returning to Home. So forget about the longing. When you repeatedly insist that you are away from Home, please understand all that you are saying is, ‘The Truth is not where I am right now. The Truth is somewhere else; that place is called Home, and I am not at Home. I am a homeless child; I am not at Home. So where I am the Truth is not there.’
And if the Truth is not there, then you are surely asserting that you are living in the kingdom of the false, and that gives you a lot of rights and privileges. ‘I am away from home. So, where am I? – In the ‘false’. And if I am in the false, then I have lots of right and privileges because in the ‘Kingdom of Truth’ Truth might prevail; in the kingdom of false only falseness would prevail. So here I can do what I want to do and then upon some holy occasion I can also say you know, I am dying to come Home, I am longing for Papa‘.
You have such daughters. They would be honeymooning in Switzerland, titillating themselves with all the pleasure possible – roaming here and there, consuming and all the carnal pleasures of the flesh, and they are honeymooning. And then they would call papa and say, ‘Papa, I am missing you so much’, and even shed a tear or two. Great drama! The father is in India, he is crying. The daughter is in Switzerland, honeymooning and she is crying. She is crying even as she is preparing for the next round of physical indulgence. But the father must be told that, ‘Papa, I am missing you’.
Truth is not your ‘papa’ that he will be fooled by your crocodile tears. And you cannot leave the Truth back in India and escape to Switzerland. Bad news, seriously bad news!
Daughters, seriously bad news!
He follows you. He knows everything.
He sits in your heart.
He is you.
And daughters love this kind of mellow drama, don’t they? With one arm they would be holding the hubby; and with the other hand they would be holding the mobile phone – “Papa, I am missing you!”. This situation is an apt metaphor for all religious activities. With one arm you are holding the world and with the other arm you are trying to fulfill your so called ‘spiritual obligations’ also. After twenty four hours of indulgence in the world you find ten minutes to go to the temple and tell the lord that I was missing you so much.
If you are missing Him so much then why do you ever move out of the temple? But look at the kind of songs and compositions and devotional bhajans that you have composed. See what you tell the Lord; that, “If you do not take care of me very soon I will die. I am so battered and bruised by this hostile world.” Are you seriously battered or brushed by this hostile world? The fact is that if the Father, the Lord extends his arm and says that, “Alright daughter, come!” you will run with your dear life and go to the world and tell them, “That man is pretending to be my father. He is some kidnapper, some extortionist, may be even a rapist. World save me from Truth, world! Save me from God. Maya, help needed! The Truth is in a bad mood today. He would take me Home.”
There is no Home to be reached, you are Home. There is no liberation to be attained. You will never, never be liberated because you are already liberated.
Do you get this? Please keep away all your hopes of that grand day when you would finally have an aura around your head; that aura will never come. It is already there, it is already there. The entire structure that has been built on the foundation of the concept of separation – Viyog, needs to be put in its proper place. There really is nothing called separation or Viyog. If Truth is all that there is, where is the question of Viyog? Viyog can at best be a farce, an entertaining drama, a role play but there can be no Truth to it. There can be only one Truth, not two truths.
You cannot say there is Yog and there is Viyog. What can be possible is that there is Yog, and within Yog there is the game of Viyog being played out. But within Yog, within the Truth, Maya can play all its games. In the expanse of Truth, falseness is allowed to show its myriad faces; not outside Truth, within Truth. The concept of Home assumes that you are outside home. That is the critical difference. You are never outside Home; you are always inside Home. And within Home, not outside Home; within home the whole drama of remembering and forgetting can be played out. Now there is no problem. Are you getting it?
Even as I am speaking to you I can speak to you because you already know what I am saying. Otherwise what I am saying is totally senseless. Had you not really known the Truth of what I am saying, I wouldn’t have been able to communicate. This setting here, in which we are there, is itself a proof of what I am saying, that you are already Home, already Home. And I depend on that. I do not depend on your analysis. I do not depend on your comprehension. I depend on the fact that I don’t need to say anything new to you. I depend upon you. I depend upon the simple fact that you will have to accept what I am saying because you know what I am saying is true, you already know. You don’t know it because I am telling it to you, you know it beforehand. I am just putting it in some kind of words, and that is why I am bound to succeed, and that is why it is said that ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Truth can never lose.
The Truth can never lose because it has no opponent. Do you see the bare simplicity of the statement ‘Satyamev Jayate’? Who is Truth going to play with? In this game it is Truth vs. the Truth. So who else will win? And that makes me very confident when I speak. I know that you may pretend, but actually you cannot disagree with me. Even when you pretend to throw around a rage, even when you hurl a thousand acquisitions at me, in your heart you know what I am saying. Are you getting it? You are already there.
You are already there.
Then the question arises that, why Khalil Gibran is saying that, ‘The significance of man is not in what he attains, but in what he longs to attain.’
First of all understand that there is nothing to attain. So the first part of the sentence stands explained. What is the first part of the sentence – ‘The significance of man is not in what he attains’. Man cannot attain anything. You are never going to be an achiever. Why? – Because you are already an achiever. Because there is nothing left to be achieved. So there can never be any significance in what you attain. Any rush to attain, any desperation to attain is just foolishness. It can never be of any value, any significance.
The second part of sentence is – ‘but rather in what he longs to attain’. Remember that nothing matters except remembering. This longing will remain as long as you are a man because man is a part of the great drama of falseness within the Truth. Man has to act as if he is longing, man has to act as if he is lost. That is man’s responsibility. Why do you want to spoil your drama? You have been given a body. You are made limited in time and space; but remember that time and space is not outside the Truth. The world is not outside the Truth. Never, never construct a notion that, ‘There is this world which is false, and then there is another world which is true’. By saying that, I am repeating what I said right in the beginning, by constructing two worlds, a false world, a Mrityulog, a Sansaar, and a real world, a Paramlok, a land of Truth, a Kingdom of God, you are making two mistakes. One, you are asserting that there is something out of the Truth; secondly, you are saying that in that place which is out of the Truth you are located. Do not do this.
Realize that you are already in the Kingdom of Truth and then play the game of longing like an Avatar does.
A Krishna is missing the Gopis. Now what is going on? Not only are the human beings longing for God, here you have an avatar of God longing for human beings. He is a nice actor. He must long; you too must long, you too must long. India has been an expert in depicting this longing. It is good, juicy, entertaining. But it should be taken only as that – some kind of a drama. So, Ram is going around asking trees, animals, birds, ‘Where is my beloved Sita? Who has taken her away?’ And he is weeping and then he is dispatching Hanuman with the ‘Chudamani’, and when Hamuman returns with the news then Ram breaks down. India has relished this drama, the great existential drama.
Man is designed to be a longing and he cannot be anything else. But right in middle of your longing realize that there is nothing to long for, because whatever is there to attain has already been attained. But you will long, you must long as long as you are a man. And do not think that a point will come in your life when the longing will cease.
In the life of an actor, the camera is always on. And he is always wearing a mask. You are here to act. Act properly! And when the curtains will be down, then they will be down. Before the curtains are down, do not act outside your role. Don’t be a bad actor. Have you seen how in India, or in fact across the world the Avatars, the Prophets, and of course the Saints, have often displayed very, very human frailties? At the moment of his crucifixion, Jesus asked the Father, ‘Why is this happening to me? Have I been deserted by you?’ It’s alright!
Its Jesus ‘the man’ who is asking this, it’s alright. Krishna loses his temper and rushes to kill Bhishm. It’s alright, part of a drama.
As long as one is a man in this world, there will be targets. And when there are targets there is going to be longing to reach those targets. Krishna says that it is important that Dharma be restored. When he wants something, where there is wanting, there is longing.
As a human being realize these two, realize them parallelly, and realize them as one: First being a man, you would always have a sense of incompleteness, and that incompleteness is what gives life its various colors. Do not try to act perfect. Relish your incompleteness. Where there is incompleteness there is also going to be the longing for completeness. Do not be vary of that longing. Do not complain that why am I always searching for something. And if you must complain, then ‘complain without complaining’ because complaining might also be a part of the drama. Then complain! But complain without forgetting that you are just complaining. There is nothing more to it. Don’t try to act as if you are already Home. Just don’t try to pretend that you are perfect, because you are already perfect, and in the role that you are playing perfection is not possible.
What is the need to pretend being that which you already are? People try to act great and high. Now why are you trying to act great and high, you are already great and high! And in the role that you are playing, it is impossible to be great and high. Look at the role that you have chosen for yourself – a householder, a middle-class man who must accept bribes to run his household, his wife upon whom he stumbled by chance, the three kids who rolled out accidentally. This is the role that you are playing. In this role obviously there is no scope for greatness. Now why are you demanding greatness? You must not demand greatness. If in a movie you have given the role of a drunkard, how should you act? Drunk or enlightened? Now act drunk, fall in a gutter and stay there because that is your role. But even as you are in gutter remember it is just a role, and don’t forget your lines. In the gutter, don’t start reciting the Bhagvad Gita. It is not befitting what you are in your role. Don’t pretend. There is no need to pretend. Are you getting it?
L: Sir, even in the gutter if somebody is reciting Bhagvad Gita then that must be part of the role?
AP: If that is part of the role then don’t complain. Keep reciting the Bhagvad Gita. As long as you go, whatever you may do, all of it is part of the role. And it’s a very special script writer. There are role inside roles, layers upon layers of roles, likes dreams within dreams. So whatever you do just keep doing, which you would anyway be doing, so there is no point in me in saying it. But in any case the whole thing is pointless because we all are already at the point which Alone Is. What do you think you are here to learn something from me? Are you somewhere where learning is not there?
Listen: You cannot suffer without assuming some kind of a point where suffering is not there. You suffer because you assume that that point is far off, somewhere else or in the future. You suffer because you want to reach there. Your very effort at becoming peaceful is keeping you peace-less. This mental model which tells you that there is a Home somewhere, is keeping you homeless.
Give up this hope of reaching a Home someday. You are not going to reach anywhere.
See, look at the world, look at people when they are twenty, look at people when they are forty, then sixty and then when they die at eighty. Do you really feel that they are any closer to Home when they are sixty or eighty compared to when they are twenty. In India all your politicians are sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety plus. Look at their statements. Do you think that they have reached any closer to Home? Or in your families look at your grandfathers and grandmothers; they might be seventy, eighty or ninety. Have they reached any closer to Home?
Nobody ever reaches the Home. Man is not supposed to be Home because what man essentially is he is always at Home. And in the role that man plays, there is no possibility of reaching Home. Because if man reaches Home then this whole drama collapses. Nobody ever reaches Home, give up the hope. You are not Home when you are twenty, and you will not be Home when you will be eighty. In fact a kid, six months old, looks closer to Home than a grandfather ninety years old. So why are you harboring these dreams? Why are you so hopeful? Why do you think that one day something unprecedented will happen in your life? Nothing is ever going to happen. Sitting over here you can just put some talcum powder on your hair, and you will start looking old. And that is exactly what will happen in old age. Your mind will remain the same, just that your hair will become white.
What do you think the mind of an old man becomes any clearer than when he was young? It’s just the same, if not worse. You are full of illusions, hopes, fears, and ambitions when you are twenty, and you will still be full of hopes, fears, ambitions and illusions when you will be eighty. That is how you will die. Now what are you hoping, there is going to be no Home, there is going to be no liberation, never. If you are wretched right now you will die wretched. You want to know how you will die? You want to experience that moment right now? You don’t need to experience anything. You are anyway experiencing it right now. In your moment of death you will be exactly as you are right now. Nothing would have changed, not an iota. Right now you are distracted, even in the moment of your death you will be distracted. Right now you are feeling miserable, even in the moment of your death you will be miserable. Right now you are hoping for a future, even in your moment of death you will be hoping for your future. Right now you are calculating, even in that moment you would be just calculating. That’s it!
Man’s life, gone. What is all this thing about Home? You live the wretched life, you die the wretched death, what is Home? When does one reach it? When? From birth till death, there is only misery and agony. Then what is this hope about reaching home? Accept this misery and agony. This is what man’s life is all about. You would not be mistaken if you say that man’s life is simply unmitigated suffering and continuous longing. Realize that even as you long, you are already there. Realize that even as you travel, you are already at the destination. Realize that even as you suffer, you are already joyful. Joy will never displace sorrow. Joy will be present parallely with sorrow. So, do not hope to be redeemed. Do not think that a point will come when sorrow will give way to joy. Sorrow will remain present. That is the destiny of man. Kabir says, ‘Deh dhare ka dand’ (Sorrow of embodiment). Sorrow will remain. The only question is do you remember the great joy which is the foundation of sorrow? Do you remember that?
You will cry. The question is, even as you are crying, right when you are crying, are you something bigger than crying? Are you getting this? If you do not remember this then you will just try to act, and you will become a hypocrite. You will say that, “I must live as per ideals. You know I long for something and then I make great effort and I have to show that my great efforts are giving me some results. So I must act peaceful. You see, I have read so many scriptures, attended so many sessions, I have put in so much efforts, gone to so many camps, so I must have something to show for it. I must act a little differently”.
You do not need to act any differently. If you are wretched, you will have to act wretched. Don’t try to display that you have advanced. Whatever advancement will take place will be within the mental domain. Why take that advancement very seriously? Yes, some difference will come. But all that difference is within the limits of man, within the limit of mind, within the confines of the role play. So do not take that advancement very seriously.
Experience whatever life gives you fully. And life does not treat anybody with kid gloves. Life gives out the same treatment to everybody. Buddha said, “Janm dukh hai, Jeevan dukh hai, Jaraa dukh hai, Mrityu dukh hai” (Birth is Sorrow, Life is Sorrow, Body is Sorrow, Death is Sorrow). This is the treatment that life gives everybody. Don’t expect anything different.
If life makes you cry, cry. But cry in remembrance of your joyful nature. You will have to act in limited ways because your power as a man is limited. But even as you act in limited ways, do not consider yourself as limited. Remember the infinite immensity that has temporarily expressed itself as you. This will allow you to open up to life. This will allow you freedom from ideals because it is just a role play. Now you can take up any role. You need not take only nice and positive roles. Take up any role that life gives to you, take it up. You anyway have no choice. You will have to take up.
As a man, just as a man, even your birth is determined by circumstances. You are dependent upon the world for your basic physical survival. Man means flesh and flesh means that you will have to take material as important. Do not be ashamed as you find yourself surrounded, tempted and defeated. In fact unless you hold ideals, even these words cannot come to you. You will not say that you have been defeated unless you wanted to have some kind of a victory over yourself.
Now you wanted to have mind control and there has been so many teachers who have been talking so passionately about mind control. As a man you can never have mind control. Kindly understand this. And when you cannot have mind control then obviously the word defeat come to your mind. You will say that, ‘I tried to control the mind, I could not control the mind, I have been defeated’. If you do not have this ideal that the liberated sage is the one who has his mind fully under control, then you will not even try to control the mind, then there is no question of defeat.
So first of all you make a statement like this, ‘A liberated sage is the one who has his mind fully under control’. By saying this you have raised an ideal. You have said that the Home is distant and the liberated sage has reached that Home; that is the Home of Liberation. First of all you have raised this ideal. Now to sustain this ideal you will also act a hypocrite.
Nobody can control his mind. As a man you cannot, because the controlling agency itself is the mind. Where does the word control come from? Where does the urge to control come from? It is the mind. So even if you succeed in controlling it is the mind that is still controlling. So how can you say that you have controlled the mind?
But such mental models have been given to us and these mental models have resulted in lot of suffering. If you must suffer, suffer at Home. You are already there.
L: As you have pointed out before that life is something, so there are many times that I come to realize that the tool or the way which have been used to get out, to find a break, to find an alternate to bypass suffering, is the suffering itself. So, it leaves no choice but to suffer. Point is that in the moment you get to that suffering, the moment you let it come, it seems so heavy, it seems so overpowering that I tend to fitter away.
AP: It seems overpowering only because you think that there is redemption from it. Come close to the fact of your suffering. Suffering appears so heavy and so problematic only because you are still hoping that there will be an end to the suffering. If you surrender completely to the fact that this is man’s life, then you will not revolt against the suffering. And you cannot surrender to the fact that this is man’s life without first realizing that you are bigger than this life. When you know that you are bigger than your suffering then the suffering doesn’t perturb you too much. But when you think that this life is all that there is then you try to make the best out of this life. You say, “I am just a man with the limited life span. I need to get the maximum that I can out of these years.” Then you hate it if even one day of your life is spent in suffering. But when you know that you are far, far more than what you think yourself to be, then you can easily bear the suffering, and in fact enjoy the suffering. Then you will take it as some kind of labor of love. Are you getting it?
See how the mind operates:
You think that there is going to be an end to the suffering, don’t you? You call it by various names. You call it the achievement of your dreams, the religious man calls it enlightenment, the material man calls it achievement. But be it the material man or the spiritual man, everywhere there is a target to be realized; the material man says a billion dollars, the spiritual man or the religious man says enlightenment, moksh, nirvana. Both of them have some target. When you have that mental image then suffering becomes unbearable. First of all realize that there is never going to be any end to all this. This is life!
This is life when you are twenty and this will be life when you will be eighty. Get rid off of all your dreams, all the utopia that you have raised. This is life, and I am not saying this as a statement of disgust or resignation. There is a difference between resignation and surrender. I am saying this as a statement of deep surrender, ‘I am the great totality of it all and the great totality is expressing itself in a limited way through me. And where there is limitation there is going to be suffering in this way or that way. Why complain against it? Why? And if there is no suffering, then I am not a man! I am not a man.‘
It is a part of your humanness.
L: Sir, it seems that there is a reason that mind wants to resist suffering. It has also experienced something other than suffering. It has also experienced happiness, pleasure. So, is it not completely arbitrary saying that only suffering is the nature of man? Mind has also experienced happiness; then only in contrast to that it resists suffering.
AP: The contrast is an illusion. You are very right that the mind has experienced happiness, but that happiness is no different from suffering. To think that happiness is the opposite of suffering is an illusion. You are very right that the mind has experienced something separate from suffering and that is why it craves for an end to suffering. Yes, the mind thinks that it has experienced the dual opposite of suffering. But what it calls as separate from suffering is just an integral part of suffering.
L: It might be that essentially, but the way it occurs to me, it seems to me that they are opposites. In the way happiness seems to the mind, it is exactly the opposite of suffering.
AP: It is just the way one defines it. There is nothing more to it, just a game of definitions.
L: In that it makes a lot of difference. The definition decides how it would seem to the mind.
AP: See, definitions would always be there because without definitions the world cannot exist. There is A and there is B, and B is the dual opposite of A. Right now you call A as suffering and B as pleasure. You want to swap the definitions, you may call A as pleasure and B as suffering. How will that help? So mind will always define and all definitions are within duality. Mind will have to define something as day and something as night. Now you can reverse the definitions, you can start calling a day as night and the night as day. How will that help you?
As long as you are a man, as long as the mind is there which is trying to make sense of the world it projects, there are always going to be definitions. And wherever there is definition, there is always going to be the game of like and dislike, good and bad, pretty and ugly, suffering and pleasure. So they are always going to be there. But of course, if you pay attention, you see that the pretty is ugly, that the moment of pleasure is also the moment of suffering. So, they are one. In fact if you want, I may as well say life is pleasure. It is just a question of definition. All along I have been saying life is suffering, I may say life is pleasure. But that changes nothing. You know what I am pointing at, right?
I am saying life is what life is. We may say life is pleasure and that would remain just the same, make no difference at all. You are in a particular state, you call it suffering; you are in that same state, you may start calling it pleasure. It doesn’t make any difference. When we say that life is suffering, we do not mean to say that suffering is something bad. We do not intend to say that there is an opposite of it which is better. We are saying life is life and to denote life, let’s use a word suffering. You may use another word. You may use the word pleasure! But even in pleasure you will be restless. So, suffering is the better word to use.
Are you peaceful in pleasure? Are you? So even in pleasure when you are restless, which is more suitable name to give? – Suffering. So that is why those who know use the word suffering. You may use another word, it doesn’t matter.
L3: Sir, you mentioned that when life ask you to cry then cry. But cry in remembrance of your joyful nature. And here you mentioned that there may be many possibilities, that it is just like a role play and so there are possibilities. Then you said that there would be certain limits and you should accept those limits. This I am unable to understand?
AP: When we live in ideals then we try to bring to the limited state of man that which is not limited. When we live in ideals then we try to bring within the limitations of mind that which cannot be brought to the mind. In spite of your ideals you can only act as what you are, a man. As far as action is concerned, the man would act. The man forgets the Truth. How does he forget the Truth? By believing himself to be bigger than what he is. But when it comes to action, obviously he cannot be bigger than what he is. His actions will expose him and when he is exposed, he feels guilty. This is what ideals do to you.
L1: Clearly the disease that plagues us all is definitions, defining anything. And we cannot get rid of that because as long as the mind is active, definitions will be there.
AP: Do not try to kill the definitions. It will not be possible with the same mind that is used to definitions. In killing a definition you will just be supporting an opposite definition. Do not fight the definition. You might be able to kill one definition, you will raise a bigger evil, the opposite definition, and it will be more difficult to kill. Mind will have some definition or the other. See that the mind has this definition. And when the mind has that definition, the body, your system will act in accordance of that definition. It will have to. Subtly realize that this is the game; do not forget the game.
L1: Then what is emptiness, silence?
AP: These are not ideals, these are not mental images. These are not mental images. What is of the beyond must stay beyond. And always be cautious of people who come and state that they have ‘experienced’ emptiness and ‘experienced’ silence. Kindly be very, very cautious of them. And if any such souls are here it will hurt them badly. But I repeat that what is of the beyond must stay beyond. Do not claim that it is something within your experience. But again there you have images, right? You have seen photographs of people and their faces are looking as if they have reached some other world. Do not be deceived. You too can get such a photograph clicked. There is no problem!
L1: It seems that I was chasing words in the name of silence and emptiness.
AP: A point comes where you do not want to talk of silence and emptiness. That is silence and emptiness. It is a very strange thing. Till the time you are interested in silence and emptiness, rest assured it is not silence and emptiness.
When you have forgotten all about the Truth, then you are in the Truth.
When you have forgotten all about Silence, then you are silent.
When even the word ‘peace’, when even the memory of peace does not occur to you,
then you are truly peaceful.
Everything else is just an image.
You look at somebody and say, “Wow! What a peaceful face!” What peaceful face? You have been told since childhood that such faces are called peaceful. So now when you look at a similar face you immediately exclaim, “Oh wow! What a peaceful face!” There is nothing peaceful about that face. You do not know the story. Since childhood you would look at a face and then somebody would tell you, “See, such a calm face”. Now the definition is formed. You say, “This is called calmness.” Look at that face and then you map calmness with it, and then you say, “Oh! So, this is called calmness.” Calmness has been defined, and then all your life you are chasing that kind of a face and you say, ‘This is calmness’.
Calmness is when you forget calmness. You would not even be talking of calmness here.
~ Excerpts from a Shabd-Yog. Edited for clarity.
View the session at: Even when you are lost, you are already Home | YouTube