Question: I see that one way of saying by Guru is, many of them are talking full of things like – “You are alive. You are beautiful. You are the Atman”, which is such, unlike anything. But people are still going after them. So, as time passes, in their going after them, they become set in their own ways and doing well.
Acharya Prashant: There is a difference. I am saying that you are the Atman even when nobody says that you are the Atman. I am saying you are beautiful even if everyone says you are ugly.
L1: I just want to say that it might not really be fair to blame the Gurus because of the people who really don’t want to walk on their ways. Many Gurus are saying, “Put your tension away. You don’t want to waste your mind. Be aware.” But people are still running after them. So, they are set in their own.
AP: Sir! The Real Teacher has a great responsibility to make himself unnecessary. But what if the Teacher is known by his followership? And mind you, the Real ones hardly ever had any followership. It is the primary duty of the Teacher to make himself redundant.
You have helped someone only if he no longer needs your help.
But if the Guru has his own self-interest in mind, he will continue to ensure you return to him day after day. And you can continue to return to him only if he pleases you. That’s one clear indication of the self-interest of the Guru.
The Real ones were always myth-busters, iconoclast. They never pleased their audiences. That is why they got the treatment that they did – discarded, stoned, killed, crucified. They had no concern for the status-quo. They had no concern for what you like. They were not pleasant. They were not smiling. They didn’t want to make you feel good. They were not bothered whether you returned to them or not. They did not make arrangements that a thousand people must come to me.
The Teacher’s role is to show that a teacher is not needed.
That is the rightful role of the Teacher.
I repeat – the Teacher’s role is to show that you are unnecessarily coming to the Teacher. You are self-sufficient.
Are the Gurus doing that? Does it happen that they ensure that people do not return? Does it happen that they attack so vigorously that people feel bad?
The Real Teacher, at least, if you look at the prominent teachers in India, the Real ones have always been shown carrying weapons. They were not pleasing personalities. They were not like that. In Zen, you have stories of Masters who would always be carrying a stick and would hit hard. Yes, of course, they would not please you. They would not allow you to go to sleep. They would wake you up. And if you do not wake up, you would get a tight slap. But if he is somebody who counts numbers, then you won’t be given a slap. He won’t give you a slap.
You know a particular Zen story where the Master asks a particular question to a mischievous student who unnecessarily keeps raising his hand. There are people who are fond of talking, talking and can’t listen to the Teacher. So, the Master calls that one near him and cuts off his finger; cuts off his fingers! And the story says that the disciple was immediately enlightened. In Zen, that is what is there – immediate enlightenment.
The Real Teacher would never be too acceptable. He would not look like a pleasing fatherly figure because only that pleases you which allow you to continue as you. And the Teachers’ responsibility is to not to let you continue as you. What is it that you find pleasurable? You find only that pleasurable, which is an extension, a continuation of your ways, of your ego. So, if you really like a teacher, you say, “Wow, nice one! I want to go to him”, it only proves that he is some kind of a plum cake for you, pleases your senses. You like going to a shopping mall. You also like going to Satsangs. You are the same. The ‘liking’ too is coming from the same centre.
L1: How did you find the Truth?
AP: I never lost it. How did you lose it first of all? Nobody has ever lost it. You explain to me – how you lost it? (Laughter). How did you lose it?
Life never allows you to lose the Truth. Am again and again saying, you cannot afford to lose the Truth. You try and you get a tight slap. Now how can you lose the Truth? So, tell me how did you lose the Truth?
L1: I just forgot it.
AP: You forget it and you are beaten black and blue. Then have some sensitivity towards yourself – look at your wounds; look at how life is beating you; look at the scars on the psychic; look at all the hurt – the suppression, the repression on the mind.
L1: The only way is to remember it.
AP: Your hand is carrying a wound. The wound is full of pus. It hurts. Does somebody have to come to remind you that you are hurt?
L1: Yes, to explain you why this is hurt.
AP: Come on! Why is that hurt does not matter? First of all comes the acknowledgement that there is hurt. Does somebody have to come to tell you that you are hurt? It is paining and aching, and it is killing you – do you need somebody else to come and tell you, “See, see, see, you are bleeding. See, see, see, it’s swollen.”? Does that happen?
L1: You claim that you will tell us what is a myth and what is not a myth.
AP: Everybody knows that.
L1: So, the arm is hurting me, that is a myth. You came to tell us, that is a myth.
AP: The arm is hurting you – that is a myth? Whenever something is a myth, then it can go away without any loss to you. If the hurt in the arm is a myth, then it should disappear immediately. Do your wounds, answer honestly, do your wounds keep disappearing immediately? Or do we keep carrying them as memories, identities?
(Listener laughs hesitantly)
Oh, don’t shrug it away in laughter. It’s an important matter.
L1: If I think that it’s real…
AP: Don’t talk in terms of ‘if’. Do you think they are real or not?
L1: Well, I think they are real.
AP: Are you saying that now? Or do you say that in moments when you are angry, frustrated, depressed and violent? Don’t laugh it away. It is easy to intellectualize stuff here. I am taking of Real life. It is very easy to say, “Oh, you know, if you are the Satchinanda, then anger does not matter”. Does anger does not matter really when you are fighting and negotiating with the man on the street? Does it matter to you or not?
So, don’t just give hypothetical and ideal answers. Answer from your life. Answer from the way you interact with your boss, your wife, your kid, the man on the street; the stranger, the robber. Look at that. Stare at the facts on the face. Look at the way the world is – violent, chaotic, anarchic. What is the point in talking of great ideals?
You hear this sound? This is what the world is. This is a celebration for us, noise. Why talk “ifs” and “buts”? The fact carries no “ifs” and “buts”. The fact is just there, not conditional, not “if”.
You cannot be told that, “You know, if you ‘think’ of yourself as pure consciousness then you will feel peace”. If you ‘think’ of yourself as pure consciousness! – the bugger does not even know that every thought is a disturbance. Every thought is a disturbance. Peace is when thoughts are not there, not needed. And the remedy he is suggesting is, “No, if you ‘think’ of yourself as pure consciousness!” And what exactly is that – ‘pure consciousness’? Some great pristine image!
L2: I feel everything that you say is true. It pleases me. So, does it mean that I shouldn’t come here tomorrow?
AP: I have already said – man should relate to man, as a friend, as a lover. Not in submission. Do not come to submit to me. Meet me as a friend meets a friend. You are most welcome. We can dance. I don’t want to sermonize. This is a very boring activity. I would rather play with you.
L3: Sir, there is generally a code of conduct that is set, like if I respect someone, I have to bow my head.
AP: When there is no Real respect, then conduct looking like respect becomes important. Respect and love are not differentiable. They are one. When there is no love, you wear a particular conduct. When there is no respect, you must prove that you are respectful.
I have said it often, I must repeat once again. Respect means looking at something very clearly. The root word is ‘specure’. Spec – to know really! To really know, that is respect. And really something can be known only in love. But such is the mind of man. We have compartmentalized these two. “These are people I love. These are people I respect.” And often it happens that if the respectable one is shown behaviour belonging to the love compartment, then he will feel disrespected.
You cannot go to a respectable one and give him a pat on the back, can you? You cannot go to a respectable man and push him. That is supposed to be done only with the loved one. With a respectable one, you can go and give a tidy hug and be, “Awwww! So nice. I feel like playing with your soft tummy, may I?” No, that is not alright. That is not alright. Why is it not alright? All my saintliness would disappear? (laughing)
Krishna frolicked with the entire population of his place. He had an infinite number of lovers. And it’s a beautiful depiction of the way he was, the person that he was. It is said that he would be dancing with hundreds of women at the same time – not preaching, not sermonizing; loving them. And loving them not in a godly, spiritual way. Loving them as flesh and blood, as body, as eyes, lips and breasts. Oh, is that not ungodly? What about respectability? That is not very respectable.
To hell with respectability!
L4: You also said that “Look at how the mind acknowledges things”. But to me, the mind is the most devious machine we have right now. And most of the people who are here right now are just keen to eradicate the mind and seek consciousness or…! The mind is a very puzzling thing to me.
AP: Surely, it is a problem. But it is also a solution. The solution lies in the problem itself. The mind is surely mischievous and devious. But in being mischievous and devious, it creates results for itself, instantaneous results. The results offer the scope for solution.
The mind is both – the prison and the Freedom.
L4: So, although you say thoughts are a distraction from its Source, there are thoughts that can actually help you?
SP: Obviously! You have nothing but thoughts. The problem is that too many of these teachers are talking hypothetical stuff. What do you have except thoughts, tell me? Given what you are, what do you have except thoughts? You will have to live with them.
“O’ you are not the body. You are pure consciousness.” Are you saying that they are sitting outside of your body? And if ‘I am not the body and I do not exist’, to whom are you talking? “You know what, you do not exist.” Thank you! I may leave then. After all, I don’t exist!
You are what you are, and your door opens from there. Your door opens exactly from there. You need not go anywhere else. There is a self-correcting mechanism surely in place.
L4: They should teach this in high school.
SP: How can they teach that in high school when the syllabus is being set by the respectable ones? You need some really mischievous fellows to set the syllabus for kids. But then, they won’t look like saints.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Book of Myths
This is the most challenging book one can ever come across. It will questions all the popular beliefs one harbours. Never imposing itself on the reader, at the same time the book facilities a thorough enquiry of popular knowledge which is blindly accepted as an obvious fact. It demolishes our so called holy concepts.
If you are someone who has read anything on self-help or on spirituality this book is a must for cleaning of spiritual information.