The Grace that melts and enslaves

On that day when you looked at me,

you enslaved me, 

In Grace entered me,

and out of Love 

melted my mind.

~ Lalleshwari ~

Acharya Prashant: “On that day when you looked at me, you enslaved me, In Grace entered me, and out of Love melted my mind.”

I repeat, “Oh Shiva! On that day when you looked at me, you enslaved me, In Grace entered me, and out of Love melted my mind.”

Not I looked at you. On the day when You looked at me. When we look, we look only at objects; and amongst objects, preferentially at the ones we like or dislike. Objects that we have something to do with. We want to depend on our looking. But our looking is quite unreliable. There is no way but to let yourself fall into the unknown. You will have to learn to depend upon the unknown – unknown to the mind, not really unknown, but to the mind it is unknown. Sages have said that it is our essence; the mind says it is a stranger. The mind is usually not a sage. Today morning there were a few questions on the method of looking- How to look. This beautiful hymn dissolves all your questions. No method of looking is needed. Because you don’t have to look at all. You have to let Shiva look at you. And you cannot force him. So you can only pray. You cannot even pray because what you call as praying is just a certain affliction of the mind. So you can only say a few things in your broken language. Unreasonable. In a very

Today morning, there were a few questions on the method of looking – “How to look?” This beautiful hymn dissolves all your questions. No method of looking is needed because you don’t have to look at all. You have to let Shiva look at you. And you cannot force Him. So you can only pray. You cannot even pray because what you call as praying is just a certain affliction of the mind. So you can only say a few things in your broken language; unreasonable. In a very unorganised – slovenly way – like this hymn. There is nothing extremely sophisticated or poetic about it. It is expressed in such simple language. There have been poets, bards, who write such sublime, sophisticated poetry. Poetry that stretches language and the mind, that goes to the limits of imagination.

And here we have someone expressing in such simple language:

Oh Shiva! On that day when you looked at me, you enslaved me. Oh Shiva! On that day when you looked at me, you enslaved me in Grace, entered me, and out of Love melted my mind.

Oh Shiva! On that day when you looked at me, you enslaved me, In Grace entered me, and out of Love melted my mind.

Only this you can know, that the mind has melted. That now the mind has been possessed. Only this you will know that too as an absence. Mind was a solid lump like tumor, like a cancerous lump. And it has melted; it is no more. You will only know the absence when Shiva touches you and enters you; that touch will not be known as something affirmative, as something objective. You will know that touch only because that touch will reduce something in you. It will take away something. It will take away your ownership of yourself. You will be enslaved. And will take away the lump that your mind is.

The effects will be known, the cause will not be known. In fact, the unknowable cause, is called Shiva.

Who is Shiva?

The unknowable one.

When you really experience the effects but have no idea of why certain things are happening to you then you call the cause as Shiva. When you really experience a certain peace and absence of load intention without knowing why you are feeling relieved then you call the cause as Shiva. Do not try to become the cause. You cannot be the cause. Hence your search will go fruitless. Searching means you are trying to be the cause of your liberation. You cannot be the cause. Shiva will have to be the cause. And Shiva is nobody in particular. Kindly do not try to imagine a particular Shiva. In imagination, all you will do is give a particular name, shape, form, history, stories to Shiva. Shiva, as we said, means the unknowable. There is no need to try. Just let Shiva touch you. You don’t need to try. Yes? After he has touched you, you will know of the touch through the melting of the mind, through the melting of the mind, through the effects, through the absence of all that which was heavy upon you for so long. Are you getting it?

There is no need to try. Just let Shiva touch you. You don’t need to try, yes? After he has touched you, you will know of the touch through the melting of the mind, through the effects, through the absence of all that which was heavy upon you for so long. Are you getting it?

So don’t exercise your mind so much. Our tendency is that we want to deploy the same mind in the spiritual quest that we deploy in our worldly quests. We say our worldly advancements and achievements come through an application of intellect. In fact, the more we analyse, the more we think, the more we seem to be gaining in this world. So proceeding on the same logic, the same habit, we say even in the spiritual journey we must exercise the mind more and more because so far whatever we got, we got only by exercising the mind. Now that is the first and the final mistake. Once you have made this mistake, and if you persist to this mistake, there is no correction possible.

Do not try. Let Shiva do what only Shiva can do. You cannot be the cause of your liberation. Yes, you can be the cause of your miseries, which you certainly are. It is enough if you see that you are the cause of your miseries. Many of us are quite determined to be free of miseries. Let me just advise them that their determination is their deterrent. The more determined you are to help yourself, the more you will stay alive and kicking, with the purpose of helping yourself.

You have to melt, you have to go away; you don’t have to stay put even if to help yourself.

The purpose of these talks is not to motivate, not to inspire, to achieve some great heights; but to request that we see how our resolutions, our will-power, our determination, our strong desires, including the desire to be free is what stands in our own way.

Yes, the man who advocates slavery is a slave but a bigger slave is the man who is chasing freedom because he has now given slavery the name of freedom. The only freedom is freedom from the self and when you are chasing freedom then you are using the self to chase freedom.  In fact, now you say the self must be protected, bolstered so that it can chase better.  You say why not equipped the self with some more knowledge, why not read more, why not have a better body, why not put in a lot of effort travel here and there. All of these acts will not bring you any closer to Truth, but they will certainly do what they are sub-consciously intended to do, they will inflate the ego.

Do not ask what will give you redemption because what redeems is beyond knowledge. Rather if you are too interested in asking, simply ask what keeps me enslaved. And stop, go no further. Don’t ask then what.

Listener 1: Sir, mind is a very slippery customer. And the determination that you were talking about, howsoever we may pursuit, and inspite pursuing it rigorously, we find that we fail. We fail, if not consistently we fail intermittently. Then the sight of Shiva, would we be ever capable of it?

AP: You would be able to have that sight when you fail totally. Isn’t it a mercy that you fail? Have you ever thought of what would happen if you succeed? Look at your desires and your determinations. And look at how they are paradoxical and in conflict with the world. What if you succeed? Would there be a worse day possible? So it’s a great Grace that our dreams never materialise and our resolutions are frustrated.

The pity is not that we are defeated; the pity is that, in spite of being defeated and shown our place a thousand times, we still just get up, brush off the dirt and get set for another go.

Is there anybody here who has not been educated by life, who has not been advised by life, who has not been continuously told by life that its ways are improper?

Our daily frustrations, the buzzing tension, petty jealousies, little fears, great fears,  forgetfulnesses, are all of these not proving that life is trying to teach us a lesson, that life is continuously telling us: “Son! Mind your ways.” We don’t listen, in spite of stumbling, in spite of falling a thousand times we still get up and keep moving as if everything was alright. The attentive

The attentive mind would say, “How is it possible that I am not able to be total, complete, and proper in anything? How is it possible that whatever I do is tainted within completion? How is it that nothing ever is fully satisfactory? How is it possible that I require somebody else to keep correcting me?” And if you are sensitive, you would stop at the first hint. You will say, “I committed a mistake. I have been told by life that this is a mistake and now how can I proceed with the same system and commit more mistakes! Because in spite of being told that I am making errors, I remain what I am. Which only means that whatever I do next would be just another mistake. Then why should I proceed, why should I be so enthusiastic about doing more?”

But we don’t do that; we are not so sensitive, not so honest.

L2: No, Sir. What I wanted to say was – despite of doing that, there are instances when we fall prey to the wanderings of the mind.

AP: What are you except the wanderings of mind? Are you anything except the wandering of mind? And why do you say the mind is wandering? Where does the mind go when it wanders. We are trying to say that we do not want the mind to wander, but the mind is possessed by some other force, agency, darkness outside of us, and hence the mind starts wandering.  That is a very common model and a very easy moralistic excuse. Where does the mind go to I am asking you when it wanders? Does it go to any place other than the ones that you desire? Go into my question, When then mind wanders, where does it go. It only goes to the places with which you are attached to; it only goes to the places where you wanted it to go. It is not wandering. It is just to sound nice and pure, you say the mind is wandering, I didn’t want it to wander.

Where does the mind go to, I am asking you – when it wanders? Does it go to any place other than the ones that you desire? Go into my question – when the mind wanders, where does it go? It only goes to the places that you are really attached to; it only goes where you want it to go. It is not wandering. It is just to sound nice and pure, that you say that you know, the mind is wandering, I didn’t want it to wander.

You dispatched it. You are the master of the mind; you are controlling it and willfully sending it to the place where it is going. It’s like you send your child to lie to the neighbors and when the child is caught, then you say, ‘I don’t know, he just keeps wandering. He went there and kept lying.’

To enquire into what I am saying, just ask where does the mind go when it wanders. And you will see, it only goes to your most favourite places, does it not? Have you seen where the wandering mind goes? Mind never wanders, mind only goes to places where you have taught it go. The places where you have told it that some value lies. So as you are sitting here, let’s say your mind is wandering, you are thinking about the restaurant you would be going to or you planned to go tonight. Sitting in this library, if you are thinking of the restaurant you planned to visit tonight then is the mind really wandering? But you want to sound to be on the right side of morality, so you won’t admit that the thought of the restaurant is so appealing and you desperately want to be there that you have started thinking of it in advance. The mind is not wandering. If you did not value the restaurant and the dinner, then would the mind think about the restaurant and the dinner? Would the mind wander? It is your values that the mind is following. Have you ever seen the mind wander to some place that you do not value? The mind only goes to places which are valuable, may be secretly valuable. Maybe you don’t tell those secrets to anybody. But the mind knows the secrets because it’s the mind where the secrets are stored. So the mind knows. So the mind secretly goes away then you say it is wandering. It is not wandering. First of all, accept to yourself that you have taught the mind to go to places where it goes. That is what you are, there is no point pretending that we are somebody beyond the mind, we are not. We are totally identified with the mind. Our only identity is mind because we do not know ourselves anything other than our thoughts. I am what I think I am, hence I am the mind. Somebody ask you who are you, can you answer without using the mind and if you cannot then you are totally mind identified. If you are asked who are you, can you answer without the mind?

It is your values that the mind is following. Have you ever seen the mind wander to some place that you do not value? The mind only goes to places that you find valuable, may be secretly valuable. Maybe you don’t tell those secrets to anybody. But the mind knows all the secrets because it’s in the mind that the secrets are stored. So the mind knows. So the mind secretly goes away, then you say it is wandering. It is not wandering.

First of all, accept to yourself that you have taught the mind to go to places where it goes. That is what you are; there is no point pretending that we are somebody beyond the mind, we are not. We are totally identified with the mind. Our only identity is ‘mind’ because we do not know of ourselves as anything except our thoughts. “I am what I think I am”, hence, “I am the mind”. Somebody ask you “Who are you?”, can you answer without using the mind and if you cannot then you are totally mind identified. If you are asked: “Who are you?”, can you answer without the mind?

L3: It can also happen that sometimes you are unable to answer, but deep within you know who are you.

AP: What is this ‘within’?

L3: Your real.

AP: What is this ‘your’ and ‘real’?

L3: That is beyond mind.

AP: Is there ‘within’ except the mind? Remove the mind, does there remain a ‘within’ or ‘without’?

L3: Yes.

AP: If there is no mind, what do you mean by ‘within’, within what?

L3: That is perhaps the reality of all of us.

AP: Within what? When you say ‘within’, I am asking: within what?

L3: That is where we have to explore.

AP: Within what? You are saying ‘within’, within what?

L3: Let us not go into deep.

AP: Sir, you very well know, you mean within ‘me’, right? When you say ‘within’, you mean within me. And when you say ‘me’, all you mean is the body. When you say ‘me’, have you ever meant anything except the body? Even to talk to you, I have to look at your body. And you will feel awkward if I look at the walls while talking to you. We are so deeply identified with the body. When I say the soul rest within me, the mind rests within me, all that ‘we’ mean is that it rests within the body. There is no within except the mind. When you are in deep sleep tell me does ‘within’ remains? When you are in deep sleep, does within remain? Does without remain. Within and without come into the existence, only when

There is no ‘within’ except the mind.

When you are in deep sleep, I ask you, and when the mind is at abeyance, tell me, does ‘within’ remains? When you are in deep sleep, does ‘within’ remain? Does ‘without’ remain? Within and without come into the existence only when the mind gets active.

L4: Something remains, which is not the body and the mind.

AP: Are you able to say that when you are in deep sleep, something remains?  Even this something comes into existence only when you are talking right now when the mind is active. Have you ever said in your deep sleep that something remains? In sushupti (deep sleep), in your deepest sleep, have you ever said that something remains? Does anything remain? Something, when you say ‘something’, it is language, it is a concept. Nothing remains. Absolutely nothing remains, total void. Within, without, something, nothing, everything – all of these come into the picture only when the mind becomes active. We are nothing but the mind.

L4: So that means we are nothing.

AP: As we know ourselves – that is our self-definition. As we know ourselves, we are just the mind and we have to come to it starkly that as we know ourselves, we are nothing but the mind. And then we cannot claim that mind is wandering, then we will have to say “I am willfully wandering”, and then you realise that you are not helping yourself. If you are willfully wandering and yet suffering while wandering then you are the cause of your own suffering, that is when surrender arises.

When you realize that you are willfully the cause of your own wandering and suffering and you can do nothing about it because you are what you are – suffering personified, wandering personified – then you say then how can I help myself, that is when you surrender; that is when the ego surrenders; that is when this hymn becomes meaningful to us; that is when you say that “O’ Shiva, unless you touch me, I am of no avail.”

Morality divides us against ourselves. It makes us feel as if we are two. As if there is one good part of us that wants to control and there is one bad part of us that wants to do all the bad things, like wandering.

L4: Fragmentation.

AP: Yes, of course, the mind is fragmented; but the basic tendency underneath all the fragmentation is one. The aham vritti is one. And we are very-very identified with it. There is no point dealing with the fragments because one fragment can make you feel good. That’s what we do, right? When we are feeling very bad, then we hop from one fragment to the other. One room of our house makes us nostalgic, it reminds us of some tragedy, so what do we do? – we quickly move to the next room. I wandered and I felt bad about myself, I felt bad about myself because I have been taught to feel bad about myself.

Morality has told me that if you do such things – morality is society – if you do such things then you are a bad man. So I do a few bad things and I feel bad, so then I say, ‘No, this is not what I wanted to do, I am really a good man, so let me compensate the wrong doing with some good actions.’ So then I become a pilgrim or make some donations or visit a temple or read some scriptures or attend a satsang. Anything – both of these are the same.

That which we call as wandering or wrong doing and that which we call as the corrective actions are just the same. It’s just that one fragment has been labeled as bad and the other has been labeled as good.

The whole point in today’s talk, morning’s talk was, whatever you call as your own voice, your own, is just the mind. Silence is not comprehensible to the mind, it calms the mind down but mind cannot make sense of it. So those who want to be in control, will hate silence. Because you cannot interpret silence. And if you interpret it then you are unnecessarily coloring it with your own imagination

Words you can interpret; of words, you are the master.

But silence enslaves you; you have to surrender to it.

Even the best part of you is not good enough. You know what do we do, when we are confronted with what seems like ugly within us, we rush to some part of ourselves which appears beautiful, therein lies the trap. The beautiful is not a part of the mind. When you confront something ugly, do not rush to another corner of your life. You see, you go to a restaurant, you order a particular dish, and the dish is made of stale oil – another stale in gradients. The dish is bad. Would you order another dish from the same restaurant? Returning that dish, would you order another dish? If you are intelligent you will know that they both are coming from the same kitchen. The basic ingredients are the same. How can I order another dish, but that’s what we do.

When one part of the mind goes bad, we rush to another part of the mind which appears to be better or we hope that it would be better. It’s the same kitchen; whatever comes out of it, will stink. Don’t depend on it; don’t order another dish, walk away.

We don’t want to walk away because it is, you know, my wife’s kitchen (laughs), my grandpa’s kitchen, my religion’s kitchen, my own kitchen! I don’t want to get up and walk away. Instead I say, you know, the cook must have been wandering, that is why the dish got bad. The cook was not wandering; the cook was only doing what the tendency of the kitchen is. It is the very tendency of that kitchen to do what it did. Do not order another dish, do not depend on yourself, and do not say that I am somebody else. The kitchen is what it is. Everything coming out of it is bad. No divided cooking is happening.

There is a great langar outside, where you don’t even have to pay, walk out. (Smiles)

This restaurant is fleecing you. It charges you so much and still keeps you hungry. Not only hungry, it gives you dysentery. Such is our condition – we are hungry but suffering with dysentery.Today evening, we are going to have a play in one of the shopping malls. I do not know whether it was this particular mall or some other one, but yesterday, I was told that the mall management said that the topic of the play must be related to happiness and pleasure. That was their condition if you want to organise the play in their mall. Now, that was all very good because our topic is indeed happiness.

Today evening, we are going to have a play in one of the shopping malls. I do not know whether it was this particular mall or some other one, but yesterday, I was told that the mall management said that the topic of the play must be related to happiness and pleasure. That was their condition if you want to organise the play in their mall. Now, that was all very good because our topic is indeed happiness.

(Laughter)

But the only little problem is that the play shows the falseness of the happiness and consequent suffering. They know their game well. They know what they are doing, they know that people must be made to feel good and the mind can be conditioned, and through conditioning it can be enslaved, and through that enslavement petty self-interests can be furthered. The only question there is, yes your self-interest lies in selling something to me. Alright, you sell something to me. You will get some money that I  pay to you because you sold something to me. You deceived me to buy that. But all that you got from me was some money. Out of all the deceptions, that you trapped me, all that you could get from is some money.

Now what will you do with that money? You yourself will go and buy something.

(Laughter)

Please understand this. So you might be selling me – whatever, those fizzy drinks, those burgers, but ultimately what do you get from me – money. And you give that money to your wife and the wife goes out and the wife goes out and brings some pizza for you. You sold me burgers, and what do you get – some pizzas, or maybe some more burgers. And I had money only to buy two burgers but because you robbed 200 people, you have enough money to buy 2000 burgers. So if you made me eat 2 harmful burgers, your punishment is that you will be eating 2000 harmful burgers out of the money that you have robbed from everybody. Is that not what is happening? They know their game, but they do not know that there is a game behind the game.

L6: Sir, I would like to add something to this.

AP: Sure.

L6: God has been so kind to me so I meet a lot of people, good people, and these people were very elite. You may be surprised that they may be selling burgers and they may be selling pizzas, but at home, they are not having any of this. You’ll be surprised that these are the same people flying in their own charter planes and their food is coming from the kitchen.

AP: Yes, but their charter plane is not coming from the kitchen, right? Is that not a bigger trap to sell me burgers and then buy a charter plane using that burger. That charter plane is the cause of so much of climate change.

L6: Yes, Sir. But, the reason why I am telling you this is because they are selling you something that is unhealthy, but themselves they are having a healthy life. And they never show this to us. One will never know these people that what kind of food do they eat, one will always see them living a very glamorous life. This is the forefront that they show you, but in real life, it is entirely different. All the celebrities that come up on television and are selling products, how many of them are actually using them? They never. So, we need to understand this, we must read between the lines.

I was thinking that as we have so many ‘days’, similarly we should have one day with mobiles switched off. Because that day is gonna be much better for Vodafone, for airtel, for a day, at least, they should understand that it is emanating radiation for all of us, right?

AP: You know, my proposal is that just as in cars you have odd and even numbers, similarly in mobiles, on half of the days – odd numbers and on half of the days – even numbers. Which will ensure that on all thirty days, nobody is talking to anybody.    

(Laughter)

AP: Because to talk to somebody, you know if you have an odd number, you’ll need to talk only to odd people.

(Laughter)

AP: Or you’ll need to have two numbers.

L6: Or you can call to the odd person and ask if he could give it to the even person.

(Laughter) 

AP: Like a sore thumb, we must stick out, even if it displeases a lot of people, even if we are labelled the odd ones out, but if there is something that we have seen to be false, let that realization reflect in our actions. We all are intelligent people, we all realize a few things, we can only pray that we may have the strength to act on our realization.

I often feel, the tragedy is not that we are ignorant; the tragedy is that we do not have the guts to act on that. Even if it is a limited understanding, yet on that; even if you know a little, even if can you see the next one step, you may not be able to know the entire way ahead, but if we can see the next one step that is proper for us, let us please take that one step. And we all know that much. We all are wise at least to that extent that we know what our real failings are, where we are getting trapped. So I can only request that what we know to be surely false, at least shun that. Where we are doubtful, or where we are ignorant, we can anyway not talk about it. Because we don’t know. But when we know, then, at least, let us act.

L6: Sir, today, you have mentioned a lot of times about restaurants, how often do you go to them?

AP: Mostly daily (laughs).

Also because so much is observable when you sit in a restaurant, more so, when you are in a food court. When I am sitting there or waiting, it’s a very nice time to observe the people around, the world around and myself because that is the place where you come to enjoy. That is the place where you come to eat and spend, so it in a way reflects your aspirations. What is it that you want from life? You come with your family, you talk of things that are supposed to give you enjoyment and often the eateries co-exist with other shops, often in a mall. So the total tendency to consume whether through the mouth or in the mind is very visible.

(Speaker re-reads the lines)

“On that day when you looked at me,

you enslaved me, in Grace,

In Grace entered me,

and out of Love 

melted my mind.”


~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: The Grace that melts and enslaves

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Bliss and Grace are never going to come

Article 2: When the false has become a habit, then the Truth would never be a choice

Article 3: Who is the real disciple?

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2 thoughts on “The Grace that melts and enslaves

    • There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

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      Course in Realization, a classroom-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is an initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world. In this course, a rigorous study of a scripture or a saint is undertaken each month.
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      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.

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