Question: How do I know that I am interpreting you rightly?
Acharya Prashant: Interpretation is not what you want. You want understanding. What if you can understand without interpreting? What if that which I want to open up can come without interpreting? I’ve said that so many times, that even if you walk away not remembering anything that I have said, you might not be doing badly at all. Maybe the thing is happening. The objective is being met. Just maybe, I don’t know. It’s not the same thing with everybody.
Some people walk away not remembering anything because they have had a nice sleep.
Listener 1: So the suspicion is persisting in you.
AP: With interpretation, suspicion will always be there because no interpretation is a correct interpretation. So you will continue to doubt, and needlessly suffer. Better than that, don’t even try to interpret. Your interpretations are anyway of no great value. Why insist on repeating?
Sit quietly without judging whether you are understanding or not. Sitting quietly is sufficient. That is called Faith. If you are checking all the time, it is suspicion. You see, if you have a lot of suspicion, then you check the Teacher. That is what students do in the first stage, they check the Teacher – “Is he an idiot? What is he saying? Let me compare it. Let me figure out whether there is any sense in what he is saying.”
Now somehow if they become convinced that the Teacher is alright, then the next step is that they start having doubt on themselves. “Oh, he is alright. But am I interpreting him rightly?” This is their mark of respect to the Teacher. First thing is, doubt the Teacher. Second thing is, doubt yourself. Third thing is, run away. Because doubt anyway remained. And the Teacher said that you will become doubt free, that has not happened.
You don’t understand Satsang, you don’t understand Companionship. You don’t, right? All you know is hearing someone and trying to unlock some puzzle. You don’t know what it means to just be closely together. It is just incidental that I am speaking right now. I am speaking so as to make it an occasion. I am speaking so that you can say that something meaningful is happening. Otherwise, there is nothing special about speaking. Had you not needed me to speak, I would have loved to just sit by this fire and remain Silent. There is nothing special about these words. These words are just there so that you can pass the time.
L2: But you said yesterday, “The one who listens, and the one who speaks, they can meet in the heart only. And if the one who speaks has an open heart, there is bigger chance that the one who doesn’t have an open heart will somehow, slowly, break the barrier. But if the mind is too heavy, then it will be difficult.” So I want to just point it out that as you say ‘Satsang’, it means meeting in the heart, and the hearts are equal, so I try to understand it like this, that it is just like a dance.
AP: You see, it is like this: Lovers want to meet. But they are too inhibited to tell each other that they want to meet. So what do they say? “Oh, I am visiting the library at such time to read, when are you coming to the library?” So the two of them are there in the library, well, to read. So that’s what Satsang is. Apparently, somebody is talking and somebody is listening, but really something else is going on.
You know, you are not just sharing popcorn with the other one while watching a movie. That’s what they do right? “Let’s go for a movie together.” And now you very well know that the movie means nothing. Sometimes you just slip away in the middle of the movie. But you need the movie to meet. So you need these words so that we can meet. Otherwise, what would you do? The recording will look so awful! Thirty minutes of nothing?
You are recording the fellow and what is he doing? Well, nothing. (laughs) We want subscribers. That won’t help.
One has to utter something.
L3: In fact, there is a beautiful line here in the Upanishad, it says, “The words are only excuses to hang the Silence upon.”
AP: “Words are only excuses to hand the Silence upon.” It’s like inviting your girlfriend for coffee. The coffee, what is the worth of coffee? But we all know what coffee means. But you never say that. Somehow it happens that you need the pretext of coffee.
It’s the same thing, me calling you for the camp. What camp? These tents? How do they matter?
L3: Sir, what is Companionship?
AP: This is it. This fire in between. You just look at the glow on your face right now. This is it. This fire that is lighting both our faces. Is it uttering words? Is it talking? But it is making it possible for both of us to be here, is it not?
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Satsang, Companionship, Interpretation and Understanding
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 2: What is understanding?