Question: Sir, you said that facts lead to Truth. Can we say that only facts can lead to Truth?
Acharya Prashant: Facts take us to the door of Truth. After that, one never knows what will happen.
If you want a more definitive statement, a more definitive statement is: facts give you freedom from illusion.
That is a more definitive statement .
Listener 1: And isn’t that Truth?
AP: Freedom from illusion? Not yet, not yet.
L1: What is left then?
AP: You are still at the gate. Just said, that all observation is subjective. The subject is still left. So facts will give you freedom from a lot but the one who kept gathering the facts, a bit of him is still left. It’s like you are asking everybody to leave the room, and after everybody has left, you are still left. Just a little bit.
L1: Won’t that be the last step towards Truth because there is nobody to observe, and I’ll observe my Self and then I’ll see the falseness of my Self?
AP: When? After everybody else has gone?
AP: What will you observe then? You can observe only you talking to Anshu (a fellow listener). If Anshu is gone, what will you observe?
L1: Sir, if Anshu is not there, then will I survive? For my survival, somebody else is also needed.
AP: Physical survival—yes, not mental survival. To survive physically, you need others. Mentally if you need others, then ego is created. That’s what we have been talking so far, the mental division. If mentally you are in need of others, then there is division.
You know the relationships between human beings. It would sound very unsettling to some, but the relationships between human beings must be almost like the relationships between animals—purely material, purely physical. When there is a mental component to the relationship then there is the dependency, then you are looking towards the other to provide you company and you know completion and all that. So you must have a totally material relationship like animals have, and it’s a beautiful thing.
L2: Won’t that be a physical dependence?
AP: Oh, that you cannot help. What I am talking of is removing at least the mental dependency. But as far as the physical part goes, you see, where an animal is found, there at the same place his habitat is also found. So even though there is a dependency but it is not a crushing dependency. An animal is never found at a place where it should not be found: a fish would never be found on land; a yak would never be found in Africa; only man is found in all kinds of places where he must not be found.
You will never find a lion in a jungle where there is no female lion. If there are no female lions, you will not find male lions either. So that is the thing with animals. They are always found only where they must be found. So if lion is there, deer too would be there, grass would be there, trees would be there, forest would be there, and for sure a female lion would also be there. So when everything is there, then there is no dependency.
L3: In fact, no animal is usually nervous, only man is nervous.
AP: Yes, of course. Even that nervousness—if at all it happens, sometimes they are nervous, I have a few pet animals so I know that nervousness happens, I have seen them shaking and shivering a few times—is so very temporary and fleeting and happens only in cases of grave physical danger.
L4: Sir, physical separation is inevitable, we can’t help it. Is mental separation too social or natural?
AP: Manmade, not natural.
L4: It can be argued that the way animals relate with each other is much simpler than the way humans relate with each other, and there are other differences also. So is it in the evolutionary process that the more complicated the body would get, the more advanced the brain would become?
AP: Advanced by whose definition?
Are not the physical and biological differences responsible for the difference in behaviour of a cat and a man?
AP: You have two legs. Would you call somebody with twenty legs more advanced than you?
Only if twenty legs serve some natural purpose. Only if twenty legs enhance peace, joy, security.
All that which you call as the complexity of the human brain, is that helping human beings to be more joyful, free, light? So are human beings really more advanced because their brain is more complicated?
L5: Who knows. These things are very complicated.
AP: But I am saying, is complication a virtue at all? That’s what I am asking.
L5: Not necessarily.
L6: The scientists found out last year that the grass and the trees are more advanced than the human brain. Is it possible that they may be more advanced even without having a man-like brain? What then helps them be advanced? What must we do to be really advanced?
AP: One cannot imagine it. It sounds quite scary. But still it must be said: with the kind of consciousness that we have, within the broad framework of our functioning, there is no respite, no relief possible for us.
There has to be a total annihilation of our ways. I am prepared to say that man will have to give up civilisation if he wants any relief. The whole thing about civilisation, progress, culture, and of course that includes language, must be mentally given up. Now it is scary to imagine what would then remain of man. The first question that comes to mind is: what would remain of man?
‘The difference between man and animal?’—this question assumes that man is better than animals.
L6: Then animals must be praying to their own god.
AP: Animals hardly have a god.
L7: But they have respect for sanctity.
AP: They have respect for an order.
L6: They just follow their natural way.
AP: They have a respect for an order. For example, they won’t mate except in the season. So if they are respecting anything, they are respecting an order. That’s all that they respect.
L8: Sir, is there even a possibility to disrespect?
L8: Can a comparison actually be made between a human and an animal?
AP: No, we can’t.
L8: They are like that and we are like this.
L10: Sir, when I was in second year of my graduation, one of the major things that were taught in the course was: the teacher comes, the very first day of course, the course was Elizabethan literature. So she draws a graph and says that this is called Elizabethan chain of beings—this was very popular in 16th century—god, angels, humans, beasts.
AP: And below beasts, devil or something?
L10: Yes, everything like animals, devils.
AP: You know, one day, we were talking of observing and living in the facts. So there was this discussion in the hall on god and all, and then suddenly this cat enters with its tail up. What deserves greater importance now? The ‘god’ word or the cat?
L: The cat.
AP: That is what it means to live like an animal. It also means to live in the fact, not in the concept. But even if we are acknowledging that animals are in way higher than us, yet we will not respect the cat. But a piece of paper containing the ‘god’ word will be respected so much. That is what happens when language and civilisation come in.
What about the cat?
Who will talk of the cat?
Why must one talk of the cat?
The cat is a cat.
Why must one even call it a cat?
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Forget God; attend to the cat
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: God has blood on His hands
Article 2: Thank God for what He has not given you
Article 3: Let God be the baby in your arms