Acharya Prashant: It’s Love. As called it twenty-one blinks (Twenty-one blinks is the title of the poems selected by Acharya Ji). ‘Twenty-one blinks’ because it is either understood in a blink or not understood at all. The hope, rather the realization is that it is already understood. It’s easy, as easy as blinking. There is nobody here—right now, even as the session has not even begun—who does not absolutely and fully understand what each of these verses is about. And I insist even if you claim that you do not understand what this stuff is about, I still assert, that we all know. We all know. It is impossible to not know, for what is being said is as simple and direct, and close as one can be to oneself. It’s about one’s own nature that these verses are.
It’s impossible to not to know.
To fully know, one must begin from a point of knowing. Beginning from a point of not knowing, it would be impossible to know. Now that everything is already clear, now that evening is perfect, now that all is alright, what is it that you want to talk about?
Given that, we fully well know these verses, because we are the authors of these verses. Now, which one do we want to discuss? We are not here to comprehend them. We are not beginning from a point where we say that we do not understand and as the session progresses, we will understand. No, we already understand.
If anything, the session would enable us to get rid of the conception that we do not understand. We understand in a blink. It’s impossible to miss this. We may have a great interest in missing this, we may be fully committed to not to understand, yet, it is our destiny to understand. And in this matter, we are absolutely helpless – we know.
Now, having fully known all that is there to know, which one do you want to take up? If you do not know then I cannot help you know. Nobody can help you know. You will just acknowledge that you know. You will not come to know. You will just acknowledge that you already know. Yes, where do we begin?
Listener 1: The first one.
AP: (Reading the verse) I want both of us to start talking about this great love as if you, I and the Sun were all married and living in a tiny room. Helping each other to cook, do the wash, weed and sew, care for our beautiful animals. We all leave each morning to labour on the earth’s field. No one does not miss the great pact. I want both of us to start singing like two travelling minstrels, about this extraordinary existence we share as if you, I and God were all married and living in a tiny room.
As if you, I and God were all married and living in a tiny room.
Living in? (Smiles)
A tiny room.
A marriage, a relationship can never be between two persons. Never. Whenever it is a person that is attracted to another person, the fate of the relationship will be the fate of the person.
What is the fate of the person?
Are you the same person that you were ten years back?
Are you the same person that you were five years back?
Are you the same person that you were two years back?
Are you the same person you were a year back?
Are you the same person you were even a moment back?
If the relationship is person to person then the relationship will die the death of a person — for the person is dying every moment. Person is so ephemeral, so transitory, so fickle — he doesn’t last. A person is the moods. A person is the tendencies. A person is the fleeting thoughts and emotions. The relationship may — just formally, just superficially — continue in time, but it would just be a drag. If the person, if the mind gets attracted to something, then that attraction would pass away as quickly as that particular state of mind passes away. And we very well know that states of mind come only to pass away. Or, after that, you may formally, socially, legally still maintain the relationship, but that relationship would have no life.
Why does one get attracted to the other?
One gets attracted to the other just as one gets attracted to anything.
Why does desire arise?
Why does that pull, that attraction happen?
L1: Because of the senses.
AP: Senses, yes. But what does that attraction want?
L2: To try that into action?
AP: Yes, and what does the action want? Why do you want to act?
L3: For fulfilment.
AP: Fulfilment. So all desire is for the sake of fulfilment. Even to the other person, one is attracted to, is for the sake of fulfilment.
So one is attracted to an idea for? – Fulfilment.
One is attracted to the material, to an object for? – Fulfilment.
One is attracted to person ‘A’ for? – Fulfilment.
One is attracted to person ‘B’ for? – Fulfillment.
One is attracted to person ‘C’ for? – Fulfilment.
One is attracted to person ‘B’ for? – Fulfilment.
One is attracted to person ‘C’ for?
L4: I don’t know.
AP: Even I don’t know. If you don’t know then how do I know?
One is attracted to person ‘C’ for?
AP: Fulfilment. Every time it appears to be a ‘new’ fulfilment. So let’s admit it, right? Now ‘B’ is gone and ‘C’ is here, and ‘C’ appears new. And the hope, the promise, is new. So in renewed vigour, every time you should chant, “Fulfillment”.
And then you are attracted to person ‘D’ for?
AP: Yes, fulfilment. And then you are attracted to person ‘E’ for? For? For?
It’s a ‘new’ shop. It’s a ‘new’ promise.
Yes, you are attracted to person ‘E’ for?
AP: Yes, fulfilment. So, what are we actually attracted towards? The person or the fulfilment?
AP: What are we actually attracted towards?
AP: Please notice this. Superficially, it appears that we like the person, but actually, what do we like? What do we like?
AP: Behind every desire is the desire to be fulfilled. The need to reach completion. Persons keep coming and going. The need remains the same. So if one feels that one is related to a person, it is not quite proper; one is always related to fulfilment itself. And that demand for fulfilment expresses itself in the attraction towards a person, an object, anything.
All the time, the mind wants peace — that peace, you can call as fulfilment. Continuously, the mind wants completion — you can call that as fullness, or dissolution. That is our permanent love affair. That is our permanent love affair—the mind seeking fulfilment. The mind may look attracted to anything or anybody, but actually, the mind is always attracted to…?
And that is our one and only love affair—That Absolute, Total, Final Fulfilment, is also called as God.
That is also called as God.
The only relationship that one can hence truthfully have, is the direct relationship with God.
Any other relationship would be tangential, wavered.
The only real relationship one can have is the relationship with peace and fulfilment itself because that is what you want. If that is your only demand then any movement in any other direction, towards any other entity, would be a wavered movement. That is what you want (pointing straight), and instead of that, you are taking this direction (pointing towards right)—it cannot result in Peace.
It will only create more chaos, more suffering. What does that mean? Does that mean that as a person there is no possibility of having a relationship with another person? If the only right, proper and truthful relationship can be with peace, with fulfilment, does that mean that there is no possibility of having a relationship with a physical person? No, obviously not. Not directly. What if there is a person who helps you move towards your own center? What if there is a person who is moving towards his own center? And remember, that fulfilment, the center, is a common center for all.
Peace is not compartmentalised, diversified, or different for different people. Peace is like Silence. Silence is one, common, same; nothing for everybody. Hence, this center, this fulfilment, towards which the mind wants to move, is not special, unique or different. As persons, we are all different. But our final desire is not at all different. It’s a desire to be emptied. Different rooms may be filled with different stuff, but, once emptied, that empty space everywhere is the same. That emptiness, that lightness is our common desire.
There is another person who is moving towards the same emptiness. By coming in contact with the person, your own movement is accelerated. Now, being in contact with this person becomes a way to come to your own center. Remember, the person is not important, your center, your fulfilment is important. You are still moving towards that direction where you must reach—your own center. This person is helping you reach there. Your relationship with that person is not direct, not primary. Your primary relationship is with the center, the peace, the fulfilment—God. That is the first relationship. But this person is helping to accelerate or catalyse that relationship.
Now an indirect relationship will be there. But that relationship is not person to person. You will not say that I am interested in you—the man or the woman. You will say, “I am interested in the Truth, God, and you are wonderful because you help me reach there. I am interested in going to my center. I am interested in finding peace, and you are wonderful because you help me find that. You are wonderful only because you help me find that; for no other reason. Remember, for no other reason. The primary importance is the Truth itself.
I had said that our center is a common center; as persons we are different. You could visualise a sphere in which there are a thousand points in three-dimensional space, but all those points have a common center. As one point moves towards the center, and another point moves toward the center, what happens to the distance between these two points? What happens? It reduces, right? If you can’t visualise a sphere, visualise a circle. And there are two points on the circumference. If they both start moving towards the center, and remember, the center is a shared, common center, there are no personal centers. If both of them start moving towards the shared center, what will happen to the distance between these two points? The distance will reduce, right?
And when they reach the center, they’ll find that they have also reached each other. And that is the only way for two persons to really meet each other—to be really unified with each other. You can never be directly unified with each other.
Two persons can be unified with each other only if they are first unified with God.
And hence, every real relationship is a triangle – Center and these two.
These two moving towards the center and that is why the poem says, “You, Me and God living together in that tiny room.” And the room keeps on getting tinier, tinier, tinier, tinier; tinier and ultimately the room vanishes. The room vanishes because all three are One. Compressed into one. Gone, finished, dissolved. God loving God.
And that is the test of a worthy friend, of a worthy partner—the only applicable test. If you are with someone, just check this single thing and you will come to know everything about your relationship: Is that someone attracting you towards himself or is that person guiding you towards the Truth? If a fellow attracts you towards himself, he cannot be your well-wisher. If a fellow becomes your first priority, he is not worthy to be your partner. A fellow is a deserving partner only if he has no attention of drawing you to himself or herself. His intention has to be to help you reach your destiny, and your destiny is liberation from the person, not attachment from another person.
Your lover is the one, must be the one, who helps you reach your heart.
And that is the only qualification for a friend, for a lover, for a companion, for a Guru, for anybody you come in contact with.
What is the effect of that person upon you? Does that person send you towards peace or does the presence of that person makes you disturbed, excited, animated?
Anybody who causes mental activity to be intensified within you, cannot be your friend, cannot be your lover, cannot be your well-wisher.
The real lover will say, “Do not come towards me, go there! That is your destiny. He won’t be putting his self-interest ahead of you. He will say go towards the truth; I am unimportant. I am secondary.” And he will value it when you go towards the Truth because he values it when he goes towards the Truth. Remember that the two points are both travelling towards the center, both of them value the Truth equally.
Only the person who values his own fulfilment, his own peace, will value your fulfilment and your peace. Otherwise, if the fellow values excitement and pleasure, and happiness and laughter, he will only use you as an instrument to get pleasure, happiness, laughter. And that is exploitation of the worst kind.
Where there is no God, there is only exploitation.
You will be used as a body. You will be used as a resource. You will be used as a pleasing material.
Marry God – that is the only right relationship.
Be wedded to God.
Be fully committed to the Truth.
Have an absolute respect for fulfilment. That is the only right relationship. Moving towards the Truth, by the way, on the road, if you meet a co-traveler, that person deserves to be your friend.
But for the sake of that person, don’t leave your road; don’t drop out. Don’t say that “You are there taking a wonderful bath in that fountain or looking pretty in that shopping mall, so I will leave this road and join you there.”
Your real lover, your real partner will enable you to not to seek a partner. He will not cause you to be more addicted to a partner. He knows that at the center that there are no two, there is only one. And hence, aloneness is the destiny. He values his own aloneness and he will value your aloneness as well. He would want to, first of all, liberate you from himself. He would not like it if you are dependent on him or attached to him. His first priority would be to set you free. Free of the world and free even of himself.
When you are free of everything, when you are free of the world, free of yourself, you are wedded to Freedom.
And to be wedded to Freedom is to have God as your spouse.
God is the only rightful partner.
Peace is the only lover.
Truth is the only attraction.
Nobody wants anything else; nobody has ever wanted anything else.
So, don’t be deceived by faces. Don’t be taken in by personas. Whenever you have an attraction towards anything, please know who is really calling.
Person is not calling you, Peace is calling you. And the person is useful only as long as he is a harbinger of peace. Otherwise, the person has no value. Person carries no intrinsic importance in himself. The importance of a person in your life is only as much as he enables you to find your Real nature; which also means there can be no other rightful intention in relationship. Any and every relationship, if it’s a genuine relationship, it has to be a relationship that enables you to be Yourself. Which means if there is a relationship where you have to act fake, you have to pretend, you have to wear a mask, then that relationship is not for you. Kindly get rid of it. Which also means that if there is a relationship in which the other, the friend, the partner, the lover, the associate makes you feel more like a person then that relationship is not for you, kindly drop it.
If somebody causes turbulence in your mind, excitation of any kind, pleasure is great excitation, great disturbance. If somebody becomes a source of pleasure for you or somebody uses you as a source of pleasure for himself or herself, kindly avoid. It’s titillation, it’s disturbance, it’s agitation, you are going away from the center, from Peace. If in the company of somebody, you start feeling more like a man or a woman, more like a mother or a father, then that person is pushing you in identities, kindly avoid.
The only Real one for you is the one in whose presence you feel just light, just free, just nobody. You don’t feel a wife, you don’t feel a mother, you don’t feel a husband, a father, a friend, an uncle. Find that one out. A person is worth being with only if you can be nothing in his company; absolutely light! Absolutely alone! Free of responsibilities and obligations, free of identities – that is the right one.
You come in contact with him and you forget all the stuff that you have been carrying. You come in contact with him and all your stories lapse for a while. You sit in front of him and time stops. You are with him and worries have ceased. You are with him and then there is no universe. That is the right one. Take him as the one sent by fulfilment itself.
Fulfilment sends its messengers. God sends his letters. The ones carrying the letters are called Avatars, Prophets, and they are not so rare, not so few. If you have not met one of this kind, then at least, don’t settle with a false one. The more commitment you show to the Truth by not settling for the false, the more you enable the Truth to manifest in front of you. We all keep saying, “Why does Truth elude us? Why is the real not present in front of us? Why is God so evasive?”
How can the Truth express itself in front of you, when you are settled with, reconciled with, happy with the False? How can your real husband or real wife show up when you are so tied with false one? The Real lover will keep waiting because you are in the embrace of the false one. It is beyond you to go and determine the real one. But at least, do not be attached to the false one. It is the minimum one can do. That is one’s only responsibility towards himself.
God, you and I – just the three of us. Not two; not four. And remember, that if it is not three that does not mean it would be two. If it is not three, it would be a crowd. Because if it is not three then the person that you are attached to would not be one. He would be a crowd and you too would be a crowd. So it would be some kind of a gang affair. One community meeting another community. It appears as if the man is meeting the woman. What is the fact? The man is not one, the man is a collective result of the various, thousands of influences upon him, that is what the man is – a collage; a crowd. And so is the woman. So when the man sits next to a woman, it is the crowd sitting next to a crowd. Funny date, isn’t it?
A crowd dating another crowd. Sometimes one fellow from the crowd speaks up, sometimes another one speaks up and do not even know who is talking. From the man’s mouth, the father is talking; from the woman’s mouth, the aunt is talking. And suddenly the mother takes over and now the mother is talking; and now the TV actress is talking; now the Prime Minister is talking; now the Pope is talking; now the childhood friend is talking.
So, ‘n‘ here, ‘m’ there, n*m possibilities of interaction. You don’t know who is talking to whom.
So it’s either three – God, You and I; or a crowd. You don’t want to be making love in front of a crowd, do you? The important is better kept intimate. A small room so that the crowd finds no space. A tiny room! Bigger your house is, it should be obvious to you that it has the capacity to accommodate a crowd. Why else do you need a big house? If it’s just for the two of you and God, then a tiny room would suffice. How much space do lovers need? Do they need mansions? No! They settle for the quietest of corners. Even if there is space available, they will cuddle into each other and not use the space.
Put them on two adjacent beds, lot of space! How much do they take? Ten percent. Remaining space is willingly given up. A tiny room! Do not ask for too much. By asking for too much, you are allowing too much to interfere in your life. Yours would then be just a social relationship and that is too much. Don’t ask for too much (laughs).
Search not for the right person; search not for the right Guru; search not for the right man or woman; search directly for That – the One – your destiny. And if you are searching for That, then your reward will be that you’ll get the right Guru, the right lover, the right man, the right woman as well. Getting the right person is always incidental. It’s a byproduct. You were looking for God and you met her along the way. You were not looking for her. She was looking for God; you too were looking for God and you said, “Hey there, what are you looking for? Ah! That! Me too. Let’s walk together.”
Yes, walking together is Real relationship. You are walking together towards your common destiny. You are not walking towards each other. Please understand this. You are facing in the same direction and the direction is that of Truth. You are not looking at each other. If you and your lover keep looking at each other, surely, very soon, you would be looking away from each other as well. Look not towards each other. Look in the same direction. A tiny room, a few animals, not as pets but as friends. A musical instrument as well, may be. And what more do you need?
If you have love, and you still need more, then you don’t have love and you won’t get anything more.
That’s one inexorable characteristic of Love. Once you have it, you don’t need anything more. Which, as a corollary, means that if you are needing a lot in life, if you are ambitious, if you’re driven, if you have goals, then it proves that you don’t have love in your life. The absence of love that you are trying to compensate by making it big in life. No mansions. Tiny space. God is small, very small. He can be accommodated in the tiniest of places. The Upanishads say: “Ano riniyan (He is smaller than the atom.)” So small! Tinee-winee God!
If a relationship fails, just know that it has failed because there was not enough God in it. There is no other reason why a relationship would fail. No relationship would sustain or last or be auspicious if it does not have a spiritual base.
Man likes woman, woman likes man — same cycle, more suffering.
Man likes God, woman likes God, both are wedded to God—triangular love affair.
Nice for all three.
Ask yourself if you have ever been in a failed relationship, did the relationship have enough of God in it? And more importantly, ask yourself regarding your current relationships. Does this relationship have enough of Truth in it? Is the relationship peace-oriented? Do we sit together and talk about each other or do we sit together and talk of God? If the two of you sit together and talk of each other, then you’re doomed to suffer. The relationship succeeds only if the two of you sit together; look in the same direction and talk about that infinite horizon.
If the fellow does not love God, how is he going to love you? If he could not be loyal to Truth, how is he going to be loyal to you? Don’t expect the impossible. The one who could not belong to his own father, cannot belong to you. The one who is such an idiot that he does not know his Real nature, how will he ever know you? He will only cause you exploitation.
Don’t be wedded to idiots. If he is committed to the Truth, only then he will be committed to you. As this, “Is that fellow committed to the Truth or is something else his priority?” If he has miscellaneous priorities, for your own sake and for his sake, avoid him.
An ambitious mind will never be able to love. A fellow who is going after success, after achievement, how can he be a lover? If you come in contact with someone for whom ambition and achievement are very important then you must know that he is not the one.
An ambitious mind cannot love.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Shri Prashant on Hafiz: True Love always involves three
Advait in Everyday Life
Advait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.
This book is a much needed and rare attempt to bring spirituality and philosophical teachings to everyday life. The author’s genius lies in being delightfully able to bridge the abstract world of theorizations and principles with day-to-day circumstances, happenings, emotions and relationships.