Mantra, Maun, Listening and Awareness


Question: Sir, if I try to ensure to be aware of what is going on right now, it just takes me away from listening to you. Is there a fundamental mistake that I am making in understanding it?

Acharya Prashant: Not really a great mistake but still unless one reaches the last point one has not reached. There is something called mantra and then there is maun.

The thought of awareness is mantra but that is not awareness. It is still not awareness. Awareness is silence. You cannot think of awareness but you can think of stuff that takes care of rest of your thoughts. Such beautiful thoughts are the adages, the mantra, the verses, aphorisms, the words of the great Teachers. Those words by themselves are not awareness but they are the penultimate steps. They are very close to the final, to the ultimate.

Awareness is not a thought. Bodh is not a thought, but there are thoughts that can help. They are very special thoughts, they are thoughts emanating from awareness. Actually, they are not thoughts at all, they appear like thoughts.  Just call them words, just call them divine words.

When they come to the mind they cleanse the mind of other thoughts — that is the mantra. Once the mind is cleaned there is just mauna (silence). That silence is awareness. In that silence, you don’t have anything to think about because the thinker himself is gone. Now, who will think?

So you are almost there if you have actually found out something that quells thoughts, you are almost there.

L1: This gives me a superficial feeling of the experiencer itself.

AP: Because there is an experiencer. It is not a superficial feeling.

There is still an experiencer. All that you now need to do is to not to hold on to this little final remnant of the experiencer.  You see it is like this: you are holding on to a lot of things. You drop all of them, would that mean you have become weightless?

L1: There is your own weight.

AP: That is the final thing to be dropped — the one who is holding, the one who is still remembering the mantra and you don’t need to do anything special to do that because it is the nature of the right mantra to dissolve by itself after its task is done.

What does it mean that the mantra will go away?

It means the right words —  the mantra — from the scriptures, from the Teachers not only take your thoughts away, ultimately, they will also take the thinker away. So then there will be no one left with the weight. Which means that you are going just right, keep going. Just as everything else disappears, this final weight will also disappear.

Have faith.

You don’t need to do anything special, it’s just alright. But we all know its far easier to drop something in your hand then to drop the hand itself. It may require a certain persistence, it may require a certain firmness of inner resolution. Let that be there.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Mantra, Maun, Listening and Awareness

Further Reading:

Commentaries on ASHTAVAKRA GITA

ash-copyCommentaries on Ashtavakra Gita is a collection of 8 Questions asked by a seekers when they were not able to relate the verses of Ashtavakra Gita in their daily living.

Even the greatest texts in the world can be just a mental load if they don’t bring you to peace. This text on Ashtavakra Gita is essence of Ashtavakra bringing one to his/her essential nature and simplicity of life.




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