You are a Lao Tzu when you don’t have a Lao Tzu as your ideal

Shri Prashant: The biggest damage that you do to others comes as very innocuous, unnoticeable, run-of-the-mill actions, like the street vendor selling his oily and stale food. It appears so very normal, does it not? Have you ever seen the street vendor, huh, selling his street food? Does he strike you as abnormal? They dot the streets. They are there after every fifty metres, are they not? When you look at them, do you jump with surprise? Do you say, “Oh my God! What an enemy of mankind!”? Does that happen?

That street vendor is you, very common, apparently very harmless, but really, very, very harmful, and tasty as well; delicious, attractive. And when somebody would tell you that you are a burden upon public health, you would say, “No, no, no. I am only doing what everybody else is doing. I am just taking away 10 minutes of everybody’s time.”

All the literature that we study, spirituality, this and that, that is useless without an observation of our daily life.

And daily life is right now, nowhere else.

We read Lao Tzu and then we take 20 minutes in just assembling in this place. What are we doing? That’s what mankind has been doing with Scriptures – treating them as mere words, not letting them come to life.

We read so much. We know every bit of Lao Tzu. But we don’t know how to live.

Q: (the question asked has been omitted for the voice of the questioner is too low to understand)

SP: Sir, you can have Lao Tzu as an ideal, right?

You may have Lao Tzu as an ideal.

Whom did Lao Tzu have as an ideal?

We have Lao Tzu as an ideal and yet we are nowhere close to Lao Tzu, are we?

Lao Tzu had no Lao Tzu as ideal, and yet he was Lao Tzu. 

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We want to be Lao Tzu and hence, we have Lao Tzu as an ideal, right? And yet we cannot be…?

Q: Lao Tzu.

SP: Even after trying all our lives to be…?

Q: Lao Tzu.

SP: And Lao Tzu did not have Lao Tzu as ideal. And he was?

Q: Lao Tzu.

SP: Quite strange, and revealing. That’s the secret of Lao Tzu.

You are a Lao Tzu when you don’t have a Lao Tzu as your ideal.

You are a Lao Tzu when you know nothing about Lao Tzu.

You know so much about Lao Tzu. Did Lao Tzu know anything about Lao Tzu? Yes? Did Lao Tzu read the ‘Tao Te Ching’? Did he?

Did he? Maybe he did, I don’t know. (Smilingly)

Did Lao Tzu read the ‘Tao Te Ching’? But you have read it so many times. Maybe that is the reason why you are not Lao Tzu.

You can only be yourself. Your expression will be your expression. The One Truth finds expression through all. Truth is One but the expression is bound to be…?

Q: Many.

SP: Many, different, diverse. If you want to really get to somebody, get to the Truth, do not get to the expression of one particular Lao Tzu. That is just one particular expression. And that was Lao Tzu’s expression. It can never be your own expression. Connect instead to the Source from where Lao Tzu drew his words.

Do not connect to Lao Tzu.

Lao Tzu is not original.

Lao Tzu is an expression.

The original is the Centre from where a thousand Lao Tzus emerge. And that Centre is the Centre for Lao Tzu, the Centre for Kabir; it’s a common Centre.

Connect directly to that Centre. And you can connect to that Centre only if you forget all about Lao Tzu and Kabir.

Till the time you remember Lao Tzu and the rest of your knowledge, how will you connect to that Centre?

But you have connected to Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu did not connect to Lao Tzu. So he was Lao Tzu.

Connect rather to the Centre.


~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session held at 23rd Advait Learning Camp (International Spiritual Exchange), Shivpuri.

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi: You are a Lao Tzu when you don’t have a Lao Tzu as your ideal

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Beauty is to see beauty in beauty and ugly

Article 2: Existence is not obliged to follow your ideals

Article 3: The role of the teacher is to help awaken intelligence

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