Question: Is spirituality about leaving oneself behind?
Acharya Prashant: Spirituality is about letting things be as they are. Not even bothering to be left behind or to go past something. Certain things are anyway always lagging behind; certain things are by design dimensionally different. They all already are.
Spirituality is a basic peace in which you don’t interfere. You are alright. You don’t feel internally sick. You don’t have to wonder about God. You don’t have to ask the purpose of life.
Spirituality is not about having divine thoughts.
A spiritual mind is a mind in which thoughts do not needlessly arise at all.
It is not as if thoughts of a superior quality come to it. It is not as if thoughts of answers come to it. Certain thoughts just don’t come to it: thoughts of fear, thoughts of insecurity, thoughts of future—and all that is related to all this, including the thoughts of a definition of spirituality.
The spiritual mind hardly bothers to call itself spiritual and doesn’t even care to define what spirituality is.
In fact, the really spiritual mind will be taken by surprise when you go and label it spiritual. He will say, “Oh! Spiritual? Me? Really! Never thought of myself this way. By the way, what really does spirituality mean?”—That’s how he would respond.
Alright, a very honest question, how do you know that I am qualified to answer your questions? Just because I sit on this something, that symbolizes or resembles the podium? Just because somebody has set up all these candles here? Just because I sit facing you? How do you know whether to trust me? How?
L1: Over the last few week’s discourses and conversation, it feels like the words you speak are already the words inside me, speaking to myself.
AP: What if, I am not the same man I was a week back. So, you might be listening to me for the first time. What if you are listening to me for the first time? What if you do not have the experience of those two weeks behind you? What if you have just landed in this city?
L1: Then, what you would say will resonate with the individual without actually speaking to someone…
AP: So, you can’t already know whether I am worth listening to, right?
L1: Yes! Exactly.
AP: You can’t already know.
L2: With all your sayings on the road, I try to find at least a few which does not fit. And it costs me a kind of energy to find them. Hardly could find anyone not fitting. I agree with everything that you say. Although, I find it sometimes a little provocative.
AP: Maybe, I copied that from somewhere.
AP: Maybe I have some very smart consultant who does those things.
L2: Also, your eternity, what you have done from a good university in Delhi, somebody said, it’s a good university. It was in the description.
AP: But that’s a technical university. I am a good engineer probably. How does that qualify me to speak on life?
L3: Well, I can only speak for myself and I hadn’t heard of you till a few hours ago and I do not know whether you are qualified or not. Whether you are qualified or not, is in future. So, it’s the same for anybody else, whether his or her face could be on the flier. So, I do not know but I will give it a try and whatever resonates within me, whatever resonates within my heart, not with my mind, then I will know.
AP: So, when one really does not know, when one really cannot depend on knowledge, like in this situation, probably, like in every life’s situation, how does one live? So, I cannot depend on knowledge. This is far too important to be decided on basis of past experience or somebody else’s testimony.
We are talking of Truth, so it’s an important matter. And I don’t know. The matter is important and I have no experience in all this. The moment is critical; critical and new. I have never passed through such a moment before, now how do I live? A particular life situation is there in front of me, the situation is an important situation and I have no experience of a similar situation, now how do I respond?
How do I live?
L1: The way you have always done it before. You live through it.
AP: Yes, how do I live through it?
L1: You surrender the thoughts of what you need to do, you just do it.
AP: And what is that surrender? Is that surrender to the enormity of the situation? Is that surrender to your feeling of having inadequate knowledge? Is that a surrender to a person? What exactly is surrender?
L2: To yourself.
L3: I’ll say surrender to the moment.
AP: And what is that?
L1: God, yourself, the source—different things that people call.
AP: Yes. But what exactly does that mean in terms of flesh and blood life? Not abstractions?
L3: I call my God. I call my intuition. I am not sure what you’re asking.
AP: I am asking what does surrendered action mean in the context of a situation which is important, and new. My question was, you have an enormous situation in front of you and you are facing that kind of a situation for the first time in your life. Now, how do you respond? You said surrendered action. I want to know, what does ‘surrendered action’ mean in that context?
L4: Acceptance of whatever the outcome is.
AP: Hmm. More on that?
Does it mean an acceptance or does it mean a non-resistance? Does it mean not being mindful of whatever happens; not being hence, afraid of whatever may happen? And hence plunging headlong into the situation, without bothering for the consequences?
I have surrendered to destiny. Let the happening run its own course. Why must I pre-decide? Why must I already know? Let me just go into it. I do not know the situation, wonderful, which means I can do anything with it. Had I known, I would have also known a particular right way to go about it. Now, I don’t know anything, so I am free to do anything. And free to do anything, I do not bother about the results. Is that not surrender? Or is surrender about escaping the situation?
Now, I don’t know anything, so I am free to do anything. And free to do anything, I do not bother about the results. Is that not surrender? Or is surrender about escaping the situation?
I am asking—Is surrender a total participation or is it a fearful containment, self-containment?
What is the life of a surrendered mind?
A life in which he avoids the world or a life in which he is so secure that he doesn’t bother about the world? A life in which he is so secure that he doesn’t bother about what he might say in front of a so-called respectable speaker.
So one is, then, free to raise any question, without bothering for the consequences, the answer or the opinions that others might take of him. One then, just lets the mind flow.
And when the mind just flows, then it is the flow of the Heart.
That smooth flow is Truth.
When the mind constructs, cultivates, manufactures, carefully builds, decorates and then presents, there is hardly any heart in it.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Spirituality is not about having divine thoughts
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