Acharya Prashant on his book ‘The Lover you have been missing’

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Listener: Sir, I was reading about love and attraction in your book  ‘The lover you have been missing’. So, could you talk more about it?

Acharya Prashant: Love too is an attraction. 

We must understand the difference between what we call as ordinary attraction and love.

Ordinarily, when the ego is attracted to something or somebody, the ego is attracted for its own ends, for its own purposes. You are attracted to food because food gives you nourishment. You are attracted to a person because the person gives you security or company or pleasure. You are attracted to an idea because that idea stimulates you mentally. That is your normal attraction. In this, that which you are being attracted to is just being serving as a provider of your need. The ego is using the object of attraction as a servant—I am coming to you so that you can do something for me.

In ordinary attraction, there is always a reason, a purpose, there is always a ‘cause’ behind the attraction. The cause may not be conscious. You may not consciously know why you are being attracted. But sub consciously, there always exists a purpose, a reason. And if the reason goes away, then the attraction too goes weakens — that is ordinary attraction. In this, the ego – which is the thing, the subject, which is being attracted – is big and the object to which the ego is being attracted is considered petty, small, a thing that can be used. Something that can be used to fulfil my purposes, my needs, my objectives.

I come first. The object to which I am going, that comes later. My needs are important. The other person, the other thing, the other idea – whatever the other is – ‘that other’ matters only because ‘that other’ provides me with certain value. ‘I am’ bigger.” If at all, something has to change in this attraction, the other will change. The other will now become the instrument to serve my need.

And then there is an attraction called ‘Love’.

In this, there is no reason really why you are being attracted. In ordinary attraction, the ego is attracted so that the ego can become bigger, so that the ego can reinforce itself. In love, ego is attracted to ‘That’ which will dissolve the ego; in some sense, kill the ego. In ordinary attraction, the ego is attracted so that it can become bigger. In Love, the ego is attracted to That which will kill the ego. And so, it is a totally reasonless, causeless, purposeless attraction. In fact, the ego resists this attraction to the best of its ability. The ego does not like love at all because love is the death of the ego.

In ordinary attraction, you utilize the object to which you are being attracted; it is a play thing.

In love, you worship That to which you are being attracted.

Do you see the fundamental difference?

And if you cannot worship That to which you are being attracted, then it is not love.

Many people often ask me, “How do we know whether ‘that’ which we are in, is love, or just obsession or some kind of attachment, infatuation? How do we know that?”

This is a good answer: Just see, whether you feel like worshipping your loved one.  If it is love, then you will not use the one you love. You will worship him or her because in love the one that you are going to is not smaller than you. It is bigger than you, far-far bigger. So big that you feel like dissolving in its embrace.

Love is the attraction of the ego towards the Truth.

Do you see this?

In ordinary attraction, you want to consume the other one. It becomes an object of consumption. In love, you want to surrender to ‘That’ which attracts you; which means that Real love is possible only with ‘That’ which is so immense that you feel like bowing down to it; that you feel like being devoted to it, being surrendered to it.

You cannot ever love the petty, the small; that is not your nature. If there is something petty and small in front of you, it can probably be used. But it is not something to which you can kneel down. It is not something to which you can surrender.

Real love is possible only with an immensity, an absolute totality, which is sometimes called as ‘God.’

You are attracted to that which is limited;
and you love that which is unlimited.

Your attraction to the unlimited is called love.

We all have that attraction to the unlimited.

Who is satisfied with small and ordinary and limited? Don’t we all have that urge to find something that is so absolute, so large, so relaxing, so immovable that we can quietly relax in the fold of ‘That’ like a baby? Sleep peacefully without a concern, without a worry.

That is the fundamental attraction: The mind wanting peace; the confused intellect wanting clarity.

These wants are love.

(Silence)

L1: Sir, one of your quotation says, “Love is the sweetest song. It is the death song.” So, how love is connected to this?

AP: What is it that we call as life? These ups-downs, coming and going, thoughts. In fact, you don’t even say that you are alive when you are peacefully asleep. Anybody who claims that he is alive even when his peacefully asleep? When you are deeply and peacefully embedded in your sleep, do you ever claim that you are alive? Do you even know that you are alive?

You talk of life and being alive only after you come in the waking state of consciousness. Don’t you? Then you say, “We are alive. This is life.” And what it is that the waking state of consciousness is? Thoughts. The moment you wake up, you start thinking, you start conceptualizing. And all of that is a burden on the mind; a tension. That is why sleep is so dear to all of us.

So, that which we call as life is essentially just a tension, a burden, a flow of thoughts.

If that is life, then love is death.

Love is the demand of the tense mind to relax.

Love is the demand of all that which we are engaged in to disappear.

That attraction is called love.

L2: Sir, are we only the mind?

AP: That’s how we live.

The mind wants to believe that nothing except itself exists. If you tell the mind that there is something beyond you, the mind wouldn’t like it. In fact, the mind would quickly want to co-opt the beyond within itself. For the mind, it is extremely important that it is convinced that only the mind exists, only time and space exists, only the material exists, only that exists which can be thought of. If the mind comes to acknowledge that there is something beyond it which it cannot even talk of, think of or imagine, then the mind will have to bow down to it. 

Mind lives in knowledge and if there is something that cannot be captured in mind as knowledge, then mind will have to surrender to it. So we all live as if knowledge is most important. We all live as if our well being depends on that which we know and hence we remain tense. We remain eager for information, we remain eager for our well fare. We are never able to relax and let go of this responsibility of fending for ourselves.  We continuously burden ourselves with this responsibility. We say, “Our well being depends on our efforts, our smartness, our intellect and endeavors.” With that burden – which is an immense burden because we know that ultimately we will not be able to take care of ourselves because death beacons, with that impossible responsibility – we live.

The result is a continuous stress.

The only way the mind can relax is by leaving itself to something bigger than itself; something in a bigger dimension than itself.

L3: I was reading a book by J.Krishnamurti’s and it was in Hindi. It talks about love and being lonely. So, will you please talk about that?

AP: About love and loneliness?

L3: Yes.

AP: Loneliness is our basic feeling that without the other we are essentially lacking in something.  Loneliness is the thought, the concept, and the resultant feeling that without something outside of us—a person, a thing, a qualification, an achievement, we are essentially incomplete. That concept is loneliness. ‘Unless I get that man or woman, life is so incomplete. Unless I get success in my efforts, life is so meaningless. Unless, I get that particular honor or reward, life is so base!’

All this is loneliness.

The idea that something outside of you can bring fulfilment to you, this idea is loneliness.

Do you get this?

Our ordinary love is always predicated on loneliness. You don’t have something, you feel that what you lack can be supplied by that point. So you are attracted to that point. You call it as love. That point could be a man, woman, a dog, a house, a factory, an idea, an accomplishment, enlightenment, anything.

Do you see what we call as love is always a function of loneliness?

And then there is the other Love which we talked about a while back.

In this (real love), you are not going to the other limited one. If I am limited, then I take my hollow too as limited, so I search for something limited. In transcendental love, in real love, you are always attracted to something that is beyond you, that you cannot plan to get, that you do not hope to co-opt.

In ordinary wall, you have a wall which lacks a brick, so you are attracted to the brick. You want to bring in the brick so that it can bring completeness to the wall. “I have a good house, a good career, all I don’t have now is a good wife. Everything else is ready. If a ‘good wife’ comes, then life will be perfect; I have a good house, good career, a good reputation, a good money, a good wife, Oh! All I lack is a son.”

All this is loneliness. 

There is always a cause.

In fact, do you see how exploitative is this love based on loneliness? It is always violent. It always contains the seeds of violence and hence it is no surprise that lovers inflict so much of violence upon each other because fundamentally, the tendency is to use each other; use each other for a mutual sense of completion. Now ‘that’ which you want from your lover can never really be provided by him. So you are disappointed.

In real love, you do not go to the other to exploit him;

you go to the other to surrender and be dissolved.

That is why I said that the only test of true love is: whether you can worship your loved one. If you claim that you are deeply in love with something or somebody and yet you say that you do not feel like bowing down to your beloved, if you feel that you cannot kneel down in front of your beloved and worship him or her, then yours is not love.

If you cannot worship the other, you will end up exploiting the other.

Real love is marked by a sense of great respect. Bowing down, a reverence not exploitation.

Who can bow down?

Only the one who is totally sure of himself can bow down.

A mind plagued by loneliness cannot bow down.

It is strange: The more weak and hollow you are, the more arrogant you are.

To bow down you require an inner fullness.

When you are totally full of yourself, then you can bow down.

And when I say, ‘full of yourself’ I do not mean in the sense of arrogance, as it is usually applied in language. You already have too many people too full of themselves. Don’t want any more of them.

L4: Sir, how to get this fullness? And there are moments when you feel surrendered and you feel complete and when you don’t want anything. But there are also moments, where because of the disturbances of the mind or thoughts, you become so lonely.

AP: We must guard against this. Inner completeness is not a feeling. There are people who say that they feel incomplete within. Obviously, they are feeling incomplete. They are not in touch with their completeness. And then there are people who claim that they feel complete, even these are talking from a point of incompleteness.

In real completeness, there is no question of feeling anything.

All feelings and thoughts arise from your center of incompleteness.

In completeness, you feel or think nothing about completeness.

It’s almost like health: If you are healthy, do you go about thinking that you are healthy?

If you are thinking that you are sick, then you are sick.

If you are thinking that you are healthy, you still are sick.

You are healthy when health ceases to be something on your mind.

When health as an issue, as a thought, as an object totally disappears, then there is health. Do you see this? Now surely, thoughts come and go; only thoughts come and go. Such completeness that came and went away was necessarily a thought, a concept, an imagination. The absolute neither comes, nor goes. The Real is not something that you can lose.  But if you are thinking that you are healthy, tomorrow the thought can change. The habit of thought is to keep changing. Today you may think that you are all right, tomorrow you may feel that you are missing something.

In matters of the Absolute, in matters of the Truth, do not judge yourself.

Do not claim that you know a lot about yourself.

Know everything about your mental condition, but never claim that you know anything about the Truth.

If you observe yourself, you will surely come to know everything about that which you call as your life. You are entitled to know everything. In fact, you are obliged, in a way, to know everything.  But never claim that you know the Absolute. If completeness is a thought or a feeling, anything within the domain of your cognition, not only will you lose it, the fact is that where you are standing, there you have already lost it. Already!

Liberation is when liberation ceases on your mind.

Love is when you are no more thinking of love.

Freedom is when even the word ‘free’ disappears from your lexicon.

Completeness is when you say, “There are so many things to play with, there are so games to participate in, as far as completeness is concerned, I am totally unconcerned. I am so unconcerned that I do not want to have even this word ‘complete’ in front of me. I am more assured than hundred percent assured.” When you are more than hundred percent assured, why would you want to talk about something?

You talk of something only when some doubt, a little bit of suspicion is there.

 To be complete means to be completely free of suspicion.

Do you get this?

Never try to assess yourself. Never try to figure out whether you are already there.

When you will be there, then you will not be there to judge yourself.

If you are still there to judge yourself, then you are not there.

I repeat: When you are liberated, then is the bonded entity present anymore?

And it is the bonded entity that talks of liberation. So, in liberation, would you still be talking of liberation? And even if you are still talking of liberation, even if you are saying that you are liberated, it only means that you are still bonded.

Enlightenment is, hence, not something that you can claim.

If you are claiming that you are enlightened, then the one who was in bondage is still present.  

Otherwise, who is there to claim enlightenment?

Will the great Self came to claim enlightenment?


 Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on his book ‘The Lover you have been missing’

Further Reading:

THE BEAUTIFUL HEART

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The Beautiful Heart, a paragon, will introduce you to an extremely different way of living, not professed by many before; a way that is far away from calculations and manipulations and calls for a fearless venture into it.

Living by the Heart is a harmonious way of living. Author has extended an invitation through this book to come close to the beautiful heart of yours and see how enchanting it is to live by it.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/Yk3OVP

Kindle: https://goo.gl/QhmpB7

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