The world can redeem itself only by placing the highest value on the Guru


Questioner: The question is: Who is a Guru? Is a Guru different from a Teacher right? Can a Guru bring together — Knowledge and spirituality in one domain? And what is this contradiction between Osho and J. Krishnamurti?

Acharya Prashant: See, there has to be something which makes you feel that there is a difference between a Teacher and a Guru. What is that thing? Because language and dictionary will tell you that these two words are almost synonymous: ‘Teacher and Guru’. Yet something within you tells you that they are not. Indeed there may be a huge difference; a dimensional difference between these two.

Teaching, in the way we know it, in the way it is used in contemporary society, is analogous to filling up the brain, guiding the intellect in a predetermined direction. Now it’s a very important function: to bring a child or a young student up to date, to the point where evolution has brought mankind is important. If a child has born today, he must know the languages that are prevalent today. He must know the sciences, he must know the traffic rules, he must know the political environment, he must know computers and electronics, he must know the way the various societies are built and are operated.

Now, all this knowledge has to come to him, so obviously somebody has to provide this knowledge. And it is a vast quantity of knowledge — it has to be structured, it has to be refined, it has to be codified, one has to see what needs to be brought to the student at what level of absorption and what grade of time. And then, this becomes the roll of the teacher: to ensure that the brain which is born just as a biological entity becomes a socially up to date entity.

Q: Why do you say that, “this knowledge of the brain has to come to the child”? There is a difference between saying that it has to come to and it eventually coming up to the child? You are saying that it is necessary.

AP: We cannot talk otherwise. We cannot talk otherwise. I need to know the prevalent language. I need to know the mores and norms.

Q: We cannot talk about whether to have this kind of knowledge or not, but we can certainly talk about the marginal, the counter narratives that run within this domain. For instance, we cannot disagree upon saying that whether a child needs to learn some language or not but we can certainly debate about whether a child who is born in today’s world needs to learn Sanskrit or English or French or Chinese.

AP: And that choice is there, unless one live in a totalitarian society, that choice is there. But whether you choose Sanskrit or French, you require someone who can in an organized and efficient way bring that knowledge to you. So, that’s an important function. How important relatively? That is open to debate. But to learn French may take twenty years or more than a life time if a fellow is left to himself in a country like India. One can then, go onto debate that whether he needs French at all? But finally one does need some language. So, knowledge has to come to the mind.

Q: And by language, we do not mean just verbal language because mute people can also communicate.

AP: Yes of course.

Q: The language means a mode to express oneself.

AP: Right. A mode to express oneself and an acceptable mode to express oneself

If I choose a language which you do not understand, and I was not born with knowledge of that language, so I’ll have to learn it. So, first of all, I think we must accept the importance of knowledge; and hence, the important of the person who brings that knowledge to us.

Q: And we are here, by the way, putting ‘knowledge’ within single quote. Because knowledge is varied, because…

AP: Knowledge of all kind. Knowledge pertaining to all domains of human activity. That is the one common thread across all fields of knowledge — all knowledge relates to human activity. Languages are product of human mind, technology is products of human mind, names, constitutions, economies, polities are products of human mind. So the student today, needs to have of course not everything that human mind has done over the course of its evolution in three million years can be absorbed by a new comer to this world, but some part of that is necessary to be known. Is it not?

It’s important just to merely function as a body, is it not important?

You know, one is hungry and one is living in a city; as one is. We are not talking about ideals. So one must know what B-R-E-A-D means. Even to ask for bread one needs to know some language, even if a sign language. So, there is the world of body, the world of ideas, here knowledge is extremely important. And let us not forget that dysfunctional societies or anarchic societies are hardly conducive to human development.

Q: Development of a particular kind, right?

AP: No, development of all kinds. You see, the language of Upanishads is a highly refined language. Do you see this? Very sophisticated, quite scientific. Now of course, the student is learning the language and then he can approach the Upanishads. So the role of the person who teaches him the language is quite important. We need to acknowledge that.

The question is now, whether we stop at this point? Whether all that constitutes, a healthy human life, can be given to me by way of knowledge? Whether that is possible at all? Whether books and knowledge banks have the capacity to really awaken the human spirit; to really bring forth the juice of life? Probably they may have, one does not know.

Now there is a teacher who is a knowledge provider, and we have all the respect for that role. The question is not whether that role is important; the question is whether that role is sufficient? And we have lots of them, and we have respected and venerated them. You see, because we have respect for knowledge, so we have respect for the person who gave us the knowledge, and we also have a lot of respect for knowledge generation — our fields of research and innovation, we have a lot of respect for that. And in all of that, the mind builds upon what is already known. It is a part of the evolutionary growth of mankind as such.

One is able to see something, as was famously said, “One is able to see something because he is standing on the shoulders of others.” So it’s a chain. And one has to be grateful to the teacher, that he helps you leapfrog the bits of the chain.

Q: By chain,  we mean tradition, right? Because knowledge functions within a tradition.

AP: Within a tradition. And all tradition involves time. One cannot live for a million years to pass through the tradition. What the tradition has produced in a million years has to be grasped in a semester. It’s important.

Q: Teacher, also the system also the society has the system which has created libraries, which has created archives, I mean, when we say ‘teacher’ we use teacher as a metaphor like anything and everything that has brought all this.

AP: Yes, see whosoever has done it is ultimately a human mind. What is the library? Is it a structure of concrete? It’s a throbbing human mind. It’s a throbbing human mind. The human mind can stand in front of you as a library, or he can stand in front of you as a human form in a university class room. It’s just the same thing. It’s just the same thing.

They both are performing the same function.

Q: In slightly different ways.

AP: In slightly different ways, that here you probably have more responsive mechanism, there the mechanism is less responsive. But the domain of response remains the same. In the sense, both can tell you only that which is already there in the purview of human consciousness. Are you getting it?

A library can only give you what is the product of evolution; so can a teacher standing in front of you in a classroom. In fact, the teacher is very clear, ‘I have come here to teach you sociology, or thermodynamics.’ And he won’t really want to go beyond that. Why would he. He can’t and he must not. And probably here is syllabus to complete, and there is demand of efficiency. So he will have to be careful.

Q: The teacher, and the teacher means the entire knowledge system; it works within a tradition. And it always works not within but upon the entire, upon the whole body of knowledge that the domain has produced. But can we also not say that disciplines like post-humanism, disciplines like scientific-fiction where people are not just studying the tradition but they are also in a way imagining, I mean projecting, what might come next.

For an instance ‘Karl Marx’, he studied the feudal-society, he studied the stone age, and he studied the man from its beginning. So if we assume that ‘Marx’ took a class of some students which he must have, so he must have told them about socialism and communism which are not there currently as phenomenon but which might come. So how do you react to this aspect? The teacher is not just a dead past but it is also likely to project future.

AP: Projection of Marx. One of his fundamental postulates was that “Man is a product of his circumstances.”

Q: Okay, yes.

AP: So, by saying, this he himself has struck out the possibility that a man can be a game changer. He says the individual consciousness is built by the social circumstances. And there is nothing beyond the social circumstances that takes place within or at the foundation of human consciousness.

Next thing: Yes, you very right. A teacher also tries to project the future, in fact, we say that in our common parlance – that a teacher is a builder of the future. But that building of the future takes place only as furtherance within the domain of tradition. It’s a vast domain which not only allows for the continuation of tradition but also for severance from tradition. Are you getting it?

So one tradition gets broken and what starts?

Q: Another tradition.

AP: Another tradition. And remember that this tradition is never-never totally independent of what you have left behind. You see, you have had great revolutions; many countries in Europe, you have had the French one, the one in Spain, you have had the Russian one, you really think, what came after the revolution was not connected to what was there before the revolution?

Q: It wasn’t if we say that, I mean surely it was a reaction, people who if we talk about the Afro-America revolution like people were slaves earlier and then there they became free; I mean it wasn’t separate, if we say that the action and reaction are one. If we believe in the theory that action and reaction are one then they are suddenly not separate, otherwise, I mean…

AP: So, there is no way the revolution could have happened sans the existing reality of that period. And there is no way the new constitution could have taken place sans the revolution.

Q: Right. It was a kind of buildup, I mean a balloon had become too big to get burst.

AP: Right? So, there is the balloon and there is the bursting of the balloon and in the middle there is a lot of noise that we call as the revolution. Are these three really independent events?

Q: No, they are not.

AP: When the balloon is taking shape, cutting inflated, is it not guaranteed, that something else is now going to happen? And if one is well versed in the art of projection, he can even predict things to a great extent.

Q: Right. Which has happened.

AP: One can predict. Economic cycle; for an example; to some extent have become predictable. One knows now, a few months or even a few years in advance that some kind of bubble is building up and it’s going to burst.

Even in ecology. Yes, of course. Even in the fields of sociology and polity one knows. You have had the ‘Arab Spring’ and there were studies prior to that; that was indicating that unrest is building up, something is going to happen now. So whatever the teacher gives, even if it is new, it is still part of the story. It’s just that the story has now taken a new turn, but it’s no new story.

Q: It is history, right? I mean history just walking, just marching away, right? Marx also said it very clearly; his prediction was that “Revolution would come and beaten in only Russia”, and he predicted that “After a point of time, capitalism would become so violent that the workers will have to revolt”, so he also predicted this. So, you are correct in saying that the teacher, I mean although he or she or it project something new, something beyond the tradition but subliminally it is a part of the tradition.

AP: Let me ask you this: Can a history teacher take you to the end of history? Whatever he projects will just be a continuation of history. So the book will keep getting thicker. The history teacher can never bring you to the end of all history. Or can he? That’s not his role. He can tell you to rewrite history, that he can. He can inspire you to create a new history. That he must.

Q: History from the margins.

AP: Yes, history from the margins, and ten other kind of histories and this and that, but can he ever inspire you to come to the end of the history? Can the physics teacher ever ask you to come to the end of physics?

Q: No.

AP: No, that’s not their roles. Right? They can inspire you to revolutionize physics

Q: But a physics teacher cannot be metaphysical guide.

AP: But he can’t go beyond physics; right? Whatever he does will add to the book of physics. Just add to the book of physics. Getting it?

Q: So tradition and each unit in the tradition is consciously or otherwise working towards its prolongment, furtherance of that tradition. And the role of a teacher is that only. And we are not denying the role of the tradition or of the knowledge. Right? We are agreeing on that.

AP: We are agreeing on that. So we come back to the previous question.

Has all of that been sufficient?

If all of that has been sufficient, then the discussion stops here. At this point, discussion stops, we display our gratitude and pay our tributes to the teacher and that’s it.

However it does not really stops here.

You know, we do not live in a particular era, we do not live in our homes either, right now you are not seated on this chair, we live in our minds. You are not living in two-thousand fifteen (year), you are living in your mind, mind you. Be in two thousand fifteen AD or the fifteen century or the fifth century or the ten century BC, or the Paleolithic age, man essentially lives in his mind.

Time is changing but this fact never changes that you live in your mind.

You do not really live in time.

Now of course, knowledge changes when you move from one century to the other. The books get thicker, the weapons get more devastating, the technology has become sharper, medical science progresses, but where do you really live? You might be sitting in a compartment of the most advanced train on this earth, and it is traveling at four hundred miles in an hour; and how you feeling? How are you feeling?

Q: Right, I am feeling bad because just because I have breakup with my girlfriend.

AP: You are feeling bad because you just have breakup.

And there was that man in the twelfth century, who was sitting under a mango tree, and he just had a breakup, now are you any different from him? He might be sitting on a bullock cart which is moving at four miles an hour, you are moving at four hundred miles an hour, how does it matter? The teacher has enabled you to progress from four to four hundred miles an hour, right? That couldn’t have been done without the aid of knowledge, and without the help of a teacher. The teacher has enabled you.

But do not forget again, that teacher talks about the body the world, knowledge; in short, all that is within the comprehension of the mind. Now what is your daily experience? Do you think you understand what’s going on inside the mind; do you even know whether it is actually going here in the mind? That is the assumption that all knowledge providers make — That, something is going on and that which is going on can be transmitted transferred to the other through the written words or through experience.

Getting it?

Q: So, you have made a clear cut distinction. You are saying that, if I got you right, you are saying that the teacher and by teacher I means the entire knowledge system is a particular unit in that tradition which works towards the furtherance of that. Right? And now you have made a distinction by saying that this tradition works only for and towards the external. Right? And you have just brought about something called mind by which you mean the internal. So a person sitting in an AC room is feeling bad and is no different from a person who is not sitting in an AC room, sitting in a cottage and, so both of them are externally sitting in different situations. I mean they are different but internally both of them are same.

AP: And they might be sitting in different ages as well. They might be sitting fifteen hundred years apart. Yet what has really changed?

Q: The question that immediately pops up is that: Are the external and internal not only related they are also constitutive of each other. They constitute each other. Right?

AP: And the assumption that is made is that by having so-called progress externally, somehow the internal can be taken care of; that the internal restlessness can be assuage by taking care of external progress.

Q: And when you said that whether the role of the teacher is sufficient enough or not, so behind this question you are challenging this assumption? Are you or not?

AP: You tell me.

Q: I think you are.

AP: So, it should be challenged or not? You know, the very role of the teacher is a challenge to the definition of a teacher. You know, the teacher is telling you about this and that, Why? The teacher is educating you only in the external. Even if they are mind studies, they take mind as an object, so that is just a material in the eyes of the teacher. The teacher is teaching you about something external. Why? That is the definition of the teacher, right?

Why does he teach you something external, so that you may get something external?

Q: Perhaps.

AP: And then what will happen when once you get that external thing. What you want? What you want out of it?

Q: I want my internal to become better.

AP: So why does that great university exist for?

Q: Right. Ok, the claim is you would become happy in some sense.

AP: That great university which teaches you only the external exists for the sake of the internal.

Q: Right. We can see clearly that the way the education system has got commercialized today and the way universities and schools and colleges work today. Right. So they might be apparently teaching physics chemistry and all of that. But what they are working towards is: (a) job (b) happiness (c) something else

AP: So an aspirant who goes to a university wants love through chemistry and jobs through physics and fulfillment through mathematics and freedom through economics. And respect through languages. So the entire structure which is so puffed up with knowledge of the external ultimately is seeking to get something in the internal domain.

So now I ask you again, is the role of teacher sufficient?

The very definition of the role of the teacher invalidates this assumption.

Because, by definition, ‘a teacher is someone who brings external knowledge to you so that, your internal restlessness may be taken care of.’ Ultimately he is acknowledging an internal restlessness about which he does not know much. So he is taking an external route.

Q: So you are saying that there is a big giant methodological flaw?

AP: Not methodological.

You device methods or methods come on their own, after you understand what is happening, if you do not understand what is really happening then you will keep throwing about your limbs in random directions, you do not call that a method. Somebody is sinking, drowning in the river and he does not know swimming and haphazardly he is throwing around his limbs. Do you call it a method?

Q: No, but this swimmer, that the world is, right? These politicians these sociologies these academicians they say that, ‘we have’, and they do have a good knowledge of the waters, they know the river pretty well, they know where its deep, they know, I mean they might not have a good knowledge of internal but they do have a good ground, I mean the hold on the way the external functions. That is the reason also, that they make eligible for to draw this connection between this internal and external.

AP: Yes, you are right. That is why they keep on repeating their assumption that external comfort and progress and knowledge can bring you to an internal contentment. They keep on saying that. But is that the human experience? Is that really happening? You look at your own life, you have seen massive technological changes that happening around you — telecoms, automobiles, last ten-fifteen year, so much is changing. Are you really more at peace today than you were fifteen years back?

Q: Certainly not.

AP: And if we circulate the question and ask people to respond honestly, you will find the same response. So this premise that the external may probably hold the keys to the internal is severely flawed. In fact, it is proven untrue again and again and again and again. It has been proven untrue with every successive war, with all the acts of insanity human being are repeatedly doing with climate change, with increasing level of pollution, with the extinction of species, with acute sex ratio, with over population and with all the suffering and insanity that we see around us. It is being disproven again and again. Today, you have more knowledge and mankind is more prosperous that was at any other point of his history. Yet what do you have?

So, we have come to an interesting place where we have seen that the teacher educates you in the external with a view, with an aim, to give you something internal. And he miserably fails in that, miserably fails. But we have already acknowledged his contribution, we have said that even to talk we need language, and we must be grateful to the teacher who taught us language.

Q: They are basically asserting that by improving the external the internal can be worked upon. So the word ‘hope’ pop ups. So when you go to the academician or an ecologist and you are telling him that the way you are working is flawed basically, then the person will tell you, ‘No, do not judge my premise upon the basis of the results it has produced’ Right? We are working upon; basically the problem is methodological, and there is no problem with premise. We are changing our methods, we might come with new better methods.

AP: Methods. For the sake of better method to which end? What will that better method lead to?

Q: Betterment of the internal-me.

AP: And what is that? What is that internal? Economics, for example, is defined as the study of welfare of human beings, what is this welfare? What is the very basic definition of internal fulfillment? What is welfare? You can have more advanced methods in economics but towards what? What is the end?

Do I even know where I want to reach? All is knowledge and an end in itself?

Q: That nobody would say.

AP: No, lot of people say that. “Knowledge is an end in itself, knowledge is the deity.” My question is: should we be bothered with the contents in the human brain, or should we be bothered with the quality of human life? And if I come to know that the quality of human life is actually better of with lesser contents in human brain, why should I not opt for it? No, I didn’t say zero. A human brain will need some input.

The third or fourth time I am saying that we need language, and we need food, and I need someone to tell me how the crops are cultivated and you know, which foods are good for me, I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

Q: But if I look upon this deeply, it seems that we two privileged people are sitting on chair, having interviews, talking in a privileged language, talking about a general mass, and I trying to theories about their relationship between their externals and internals. But if I go to a poor man and if I tell him, “today you are driving a rickshaw if you get some knowledge, which will eventually leads you some money. And you will certainly improve your life. And by life I mean -the internal values, you can become happier, you can get peace…” You get what I am trying to say?

AP: I understand.

Q: We are dealing with theory. I mean, it might differ with cases.

AP: So let’s come to the facts. Let’s not talk about theory.

What is the fact? The fact is there is a poor man in front of you. Where has this poor man come from? Where did he come from?

Q: A product of society which is divided into classes. People are rich and…

AP: Does this society have knowledge or not?

Q: This society does have knowledge but the same society has also decided, I mean, which section of it, does it want to bestow knowledge upon in or which section does not.

AP: There are many societies today, many countries which have very rich people, though the country and the various communities within have very little respect for knowledge. And there are countries and communities where the knowledge levels are relatively quite high but prosperity levels are lower. And we are not talking about internal fulfillment here. We are just talking of material welfare. Even in terms of material welfare.

Q: We are talking about happiness index basically. People say that this GDP, etc.

AP: And I am not talking about an internal mystical happiness. Let’s keep that away.

Let’s talk only about whether there is a direct and clear co-relation even between the external welfare and knowledge. Today you know so much about the effect of population on earth. You know so much about the human body, genetics, the whole game of reproduction, yet, almost every country on this earth is overpopulated. Some are severely overpopulated, some are little less overpopulated. Except one or two countries there is no country that is showing a population decline.

We are talking about facts here.

How is knowledge giving you comfort even in an external way? Now in many ways it is giving comfort for example, we have an air-conditioner on here. And we have these lights on here. But is knowledge leading even to an increased level of what you call as bodily and material comfort seriously?

Q: In this case, it is not. But one can argue and say that because in this particular case this knowledge about genetic reproduction and all of that, this knowledge about our entire body and this development of science which has been reproduced as a production of tradition. This knowledge is standing clearly in a tussle in your appetite, I mean with your sexual desires. And that is why…

AP: No. It’s a very clear cut example; this example puts into perspective everything that I am trying to say about knowledge. Human endeavor, and the knowledge that human being has collected has told us very clearly that at the existing rate of carbon emissions, within the next thirty-forty years or may be sooner, we have catastrophes awaiting us. And you are a knowledgeable person and I come and tell this to you; and I, in fact, present a very lucidly, clearly, sharply, lead-out scientific study which proves beyond doubt that this will indeed happen, right?

Carbon emissions, tragedy. And after reading all that you still want to fly those extra miles, you still want to consume products that are high on carbon emissions, you still want to use a car rather than a bike, or a bike rather than a bicycle.

Mere knowledge is not really a strong enough agent to bring about change in action, and I am talking of external action; I am totally leaving inner fulfillment aside. You have all the knowledge, about a particular thing but how is that knowledge resulting in change of action?

Do human beings, for example, not know the effects of a nuclear war? Is there any dearth of knowledge? Is there? I was reading about a case study, in a neighboring country, there they are having these polio vaccination drives, in fact, it’s one of the few remaining countries in the world where the polio virus is still found. Now, in some areas of that country, people are resistant towards taking the polio drops, in fact, polio workers, a lot of them have been killed when they have gone there to volunteer to administer the drops; and one would think that this kind of an attitude would be held by illiterate people, people who do not have knowledge. I came across a case study, where the family of a doctor refused these polio drops to administer to their kids for religious reasons. In fact the entire context is religious.

So, when the normal population would refuse these drops, we would think that and they would have this argument that my religion forbids this but what about a doctor, who knows everything about the human anatomy, who is totally full of knowledge about the effects or in the dangerous of not being vaccinated?

So, is knowledge resulting even in right external action?

And I am repeating, for the third time, that I am not talking of the soul or spirit, or atman. I am asking you: is knowledge resulting even in right worldly action?

You have so much knowledge today. So what?

Now, we cannot go back and have studies but I would be very interested in knowing whether the levels of chaos in cities have reduced as a result of accumulated knowledge? I am not talking of whether minds have become more free because the moment one steps into that, you are accused of taking metaphysical root, which cannot be debated. So, I’m talking of things that are so very open to debate and verification through data.

Q: So, what I inferred up till now, based upon the these facts that you put forth is that, knowledge in itself:

  1. a) is fragmented.
  2. b) and it itself is varied. I mean, since knowledge is of many kinds, the mind gets coiled up in many knowledge(s) and that creates an impasse in acting in present.

AP: Knowledge is a tool in the hands of the mind, right? Or does knowledge change the fundamental quality of mind? That’s the question that is needed to be asked. You may have devoted ten years or twenty years to research in mathematics or anthropology or nuclear physics, will that change the fundamental quality of your mind? Will that?

There was a time when we use to think that terrorists are,

  1. Poor people (economically)
  2. Uneducated people

That myth has been dispelled. Today’s terrorist is an engineer, is a doctor, is a post graduate, is a doctorate. So, is knowledge able to change the fundamental quality of mind? Because that is the assumption of the teacher, mind you, that “the external will be able to bring internal fulfillment”. What I am asking is, is that evident? do fact support that?

So I ask you, is there some knowledge that you can give to a deeply violent man which will reduce his tendency to be violent? Knowledge, just knowledge?

Q: But knowledge is never ‘just’ knowledge.

AP: No, just knowledge, because that’s what a teacher does in a university. What does he give you? He doesn’t shower kisses upon you, does he? He gives you just knowledge. Not that I am demanding that he does that. But…

Q: But the question that I am stuck now is can knowledge of the external bring an internal.

AP: No, not internal, even external. In an external. So that’s why we said violence, I could have asked a mirror question, the mirror question would be can a totally unloving person be moved to become loving by giving him some knowledge? And here the answer would have been more straight forward and clear cut. A person whose life has been dry no love, no compassion, can you devise a university course for him, which would turn him loving?

Can you? Is it possible? But I didn’t ask that, because that would mean that I am asking about something internal. So I’m asking you something external because the expression of violence is pretty external – you have a bomb blast. I am asking you is it possible to turn a violent man non violent by enrolling him in a university course?

Q: You mean that by teaching even modern, liberal values

AP: Whatever, whatever; teach him whatever you want to teach him.

Q: But I think, I mean, it’s not ‘just’ knowledge as you put it like. It’s also about learning experience.

AP: What else does a teacher give?

Q: It’s also about the entire experience of the classroom — discussing things with your fellows, and all stuff of the campus and you come to learn new things, all of there is also…

AP: Is there anything, is there anything beyond the definition of teacher there? And if it is beyond the definition of teacher then it is not the contribution of the teacher, mind you. Because then it is happening incidentally.

Q: Right.

AP: You do not know, the teacher does not know what is happening in the campus and it is just incidental that a fortuitous thing is happening in the campus in spite of the teacher being there and they might be adding some internal value to the student. That is a different case.

Q: Because I have personally encountered people, situations, environments, where changes, changes not of just the external, also of the internal have happened, have been triggered by books, by teachers, by classroom experiences, by campus experiences, by discussions.

AP: We have my friend here, suppose I assign him twenty tasks, and he is able to do one of them rightly, nineteen of them he?

Q: Destroyed.

AP: Fs up.

Q: (Smirks)

AP: Now, this twentieth task got done rightly, did it happen rightly because of him or in spite of him?

So, if your universities are able to bring out one odd student who still has something green left in the heart, does it mean that the student has benefited from the university, or does it mean that the student has survived the university?

And we have still not come to the topic of internal fulfillment, where we would be touching upon Guru.

Q: We are still talking about the external, the teacher, the role of the teacher.

AP: So when we look at what human beings want even externally, for example, no one wants to be killed in an external bomb blast and a bomb blast is not something spiritual, or is it? It doesn’t take place in the consciousness; it takes place in the material world. No one wants to get killed in a bomb blast. Now I am somebody how is hell bent on detonating a bomb. Now enroll me in a university course which would deter me. And this is the real problem that your world is facing today, right?

You are sitting upon kilograms, and tons and kilotons of fissile material. And there is real danger that it may pass into the hands of a violent man. The question is, is this violent man uneducated? Or is this violent man actually carrying a university degree with him? This man is actually carrying a university degree with him. And I am asking you, why should that university not be held accountable?

You look at all the mischief-makers around you, and I am talking of external mischievous, nothing mystical. You look at the most corrupt men — Europe, Japan, into some extent even America have not recovered fully yet, from the shock they faced seven years, eight years back – the financial shock. And you very well know that the shock is result of greed. Who are those greedy people? Illiterate people or products of ivy league institutions? The best MBAs, who are those greedy people, and we are talking of an external shock. We are talking of something which has taken away external comfort even bread and butter from millions of people.

Q: You are referring to the subprime crises, right?

AP: I am referring to the housing bubble. And then the whole collapse that ensued from there.

Q: So does this mean, we have, from last twenty minutes we are constantly referring to facts and evidences, I can clearly see that this inference is based upon empirical data, so I am saying that is there something intrinsically problematic with knowledge or the problem is with the way you use it?

AP: The problem is probably with the way you ‘value’ it.

A society that values knowledge, more than anything else, will definitely run into disasters. You tell me, it is not true that the every literacy levels in the world today are higher than at any other point in time? You have societies that are hundred percent literate, are they not? The developed countries, are they not ninety-five percent, ninety-nine percent, even hundred percent literate? Look at Scandinavian countries, look at Japan, man was never so well educated, we never had so many PhDs. Now correlate with the number of species lost, we never were losing so many species either.

Now what is this education doing then?

Q: But the same education is also giving us the data that the species are getting extinct.

AP: When the species were not getting extinct, what will you do with the data? Just harass yourself by looking at more and more sheets? Or is it a good thing to first eliminate specie and then ask for the data, and then feel proud that ‘See, I have the data and the systems which can quickly fetch me the data’?

Yes, true, with your knowledge you were devising a new method to protect the few endangered species, but, what is making them endangered in the first place? When man was illiterate, no specie was endangered. And with all your knowledge, you can never bring back the extinct species.

Q: Right.

Now, I can say that certainly, the role of the teacher is not sufficient, we need to peep into something else.

AP: So then comes the recognition of the twin failure of the knowledge based system.  Of course, the deep and subtle failure is that it does nothing to take care of internal contentment. But the more acute and direct failure is that it is not even leading to external welfare, provided you have an intelligent definition of “what welfare actually means.”

If your definitions are that welfare means how many packets of potato chips can I consume, then we cannot talk further. But when you have an intelligent definition of what even external welfare means, then you see that your education is failing you not even internally but even externally. Because ultimately, the doer is man and knowledge has no capacity to change the doer. Knowledge gets co-opted by the doer.

The internet is magical no doubt about it. What would a violent man use it for? Would he go to the sites preaching peace and love?

Q: No.

AP: Social media is breathtaking, what is being it used for?

Knowledge is good but it cannot alter the fundamental structure of mind, the fundamental tendencies of mind; In fact, the fundamental tendencies of mind, I am repeating is, use knowledge to pursue their own ends. And is that not happening? Man was insecure and ‘is’ insecure, man was jealous and is jealous, man was possessive and is possessive. Just that now he has the weapon and the tool of knowledge and of course what would a jealous and a violent man use that tool for? That classical metaphor of “The monkey with the sword.

Q: So when we are criticizing knowledge…

AP: No, we are not criticizing knowledge. I have used that word once before, and I am using it again, I want to give the right value to knowledge. Knowledge is important, we acknowledge that first thing, so that, you know, the dues are paid to knowledge; we have paid those dues. What I’m saying is, what is the place of knowledge and hence the place of the knowledge provider, which is the teacher.

Q: last point; then we will move towards the latter half of the first question that I have asked before. When you say knowledge, so all kinds of examples that you gave, it seems to me that you have talked about a particular kind of knowledge, so what about humanities, , a disciplinarian distinction, humanities, so in humanities we are talking about psychology, philosophy, literature, we are talking about jealousy, we are trying to open up a discussion, we are bringing together to people to think about these things.

AP: No, the question again is: Can a classroom discussion or a group discussion on jealousy makes you less jealous?

Q: It can make, I mean it can open the gate towards the coming that, I mean that can make you conscious that…

AP: Is that the intension of the system or does that happen incidentally? Again that same question about the twenty tasks that I gave?

Q: Right. Can this disruption, that you are talking about just happens? Can it also not be a part of the system, because I have encounter some teachers who looks for it.

AP: Then it will be extremely, extremely small part of that system and even if the system is not there, this disruption will anyway happens. It is such a small part. It is such an insignificantly small part that it is anyway happening, on the roads, in the streets, in the fields, everywhere. One can get awakened everywhere, right?

So, one can get awakened even in the classroom. The teacher had paid very little role in that. The way, for example, you have fields that look at mind, how do they look at jealousy? How do they look at jealousy? And remember, nations are jealous of each other, entire nations are jealous of each others, communities are jealous of each others, we are not talking of sibling jealousy or jealousy of one household verses the other, we are talking of the existential crises in front of us. We have super powers that are jealous of each others, we have one country that is declaring that it wants to realize its great ancient dream(s), and hence it would dominate all the small neighbors. So jealousy is big, but how are our educations looking at jealousy?

Q: I mean, one domain of education is saying that, I mean, that jealousy is very productive in some sense, you must be jealous to some extent.

AP: But what is jealousy?

Good or bad will be taken care of latter on; what is jealousy?

Q: Sort of comparison?

AP: And where does that come from? Why must I compare myself? Who compares? I mean randomly, sitting peacefully, why must this thought suddenly cross my mind, that ‘I need to compare myself with you’, why?

Q: Because the other comes up.

AP: Other can keep coming up, why must this thought strikes me?

Q: Because you have given a self-concept, you have told what you are and the others…

AP: So you are saying that if the self-concept is there than comparison is inevitable? And if comparison is inevitable, then are we just describing jealousy or really understanding it?

Description of disease is not the same as treatment of the disease, or even an understanding of the disease.

I may describe what things look like that doesn’t mean I understand what things are. I can describe the acts of a jealous person, that doesn’t mean I really understand jealousy. The question that I want to put to you is, can you ever-ever totally describe or define, or understand, anything external, without falling back upon the internal? Can you, for example, define jealousy intelligently not just a working definition, a real definition; can you really define jealousy, without bringing in spirituality? Is it possible to make sense of this external world without peeping inside?

Your knowledge and the teachers of that knowledge give primary value to themselves. They say, “we are there and we’ll explain ourselves, in our own terms. And there is no world beyond us. So, if you have to define us, that definition has to be circular”. Are you getting it? How will you then explain a concept? In terms of another concept because knowledge is telling you that there is nothing?

Q: Outside of itself.

AP: Beyond concepts. So when you have to given a definition of concept, what would be that definition look like? A concept explained in terms of other concept. And then there is no understanding there is just a description which can give you the illusion that you know something. The fact is this entire body of knowledge enables us to know nothing; it just describes. And that is why our knowledge will not only not give us inner enlightenment,  it will not even give us, what we call as, external reliefs.

Let me give you an example of an external relief: you do not want to be crowded always, or do you? Man needs physical space also, and I am not talking of the inner spiritual sky, I am talking of the basic physical space, you go to a park in the morning to jog, you need space there. You will not get it; you will not get space in the park to jog till you first understand the vast space in your heart — that is your punishment.

You will not be able to come to terms with another body, which is another human being till you have come to terms with that within you, which is beyond body.

Are you getting it? Now come into terms of another body is totally material thing, right?

Here is somebody, and I want to have a good relationship with him. Good relationship in the sense of? A very normal definition, ‘I don’t fear him, I don’t run away from him, I don’t have to lie to him, I don’t have to suspect him’, that won’t be possible; even material welfare will not be possible without an acknowledgement of the spiritual domain.

So, the teacher will fail twice.

He fails doubly. Not only does he not give you the inner, he will also fail to give you the outer; because the outer cannot be had without the inner. Those who think that the inner will be taken care of later, for now, let’s enjoy the outer, they are fooling themselves. Even the outer cannot be enjoyed. The best music and the best air-conditioning and you might still be sweating  thinking about who your wife might be with at this point in time; and people are wondering, the AC is set at sixteen, ‘why is this man sweating?’

Q: If such is the case, that the teacher despite having genuine benign intension, feeding obviously the external but also trying to work towards the internal. If such is the case, and the result of this is that it fails, doubly. So, this is, this is very unfortunate, this is disheartening that these teachers around us are actually, despite having good intensions, cannot do what they are trying to do.

This is so disheartening, right? So if I come to this term and fact very clearly so as my question to you in the beginning, where it is divided into two sections, just right I ask you- if there is a distinction between the teacher and a Guru, and at this stage I can clearly see that there is a distinction. However I do not know, what the Guru is all I know that what a teacher is…

AP: Guru is just a teacher, who does not take knowledge too seriously.

The shortcoming of the teacher is that the teacher gives prime value to knowledge. The only role of guru is to tell you that knowledge is alright, but not of primary importance. No disrespect intended for knowledge. Knowledge is good but knowledge is just like a tool. In the hands of the right entity, the tool has a worth and a meaning. What matters is that the entity has to be right; give primary value to that entity. That’s the only function of the Guru.

Q: This is written in one of your blogs, when I read it, it says that, “A real Guru will shatter your dreams but a knowledge provider, a teacher, they are usually very likable,” you have said this, so if I somebody who can think, a thoughtful man, if I come out to this fact, why would I like that teacher? Because if I know that the teacher cannot either give me the internal or the external; so why would I like, I mean, why are they so likeable?

AP: Why do you go towards the teacher?

Q: Because this student somewhere knows that the teacher is something he or she desires.

AP: The very desire that the teacher proposes, or promises to fulfill, is the desire that the teacher himself ignited. May be, in another form, in another body. Was the child born with the desire of the high flying job? So some teacher, within him or in the society or in the classroom gave him this desire. And this desire is given through this knowledge.

Q: Even this advertisement can be that teacher.

AP: Right. And then another teacher, probably in a university campus, now becomes the one who will ultimately fulfill the dream of getting a high job. So he becomes likeable.

Q: So, they are likeable not because they are capable of or eligible of fulfilling your promises, they seem likeable because they give you some hope, I mean, it seems that their desires might get fulfill, that is the reason you wrote it, right, right. So would you want to talk more about what a Guru is, or you would want to stick to… I mean…

AP:  That depends on you. Would you like to listen more?

Q: Because, because, because when I read this- “who is a Guru”, so there was another blog that was link to this, which was- “The teacher is nobody”, and that is why I mean, I’m afraid that you might not talk about the guru. I mean, by teacher you surly mean have the Guru. Right? So I am afraid that you might end up not talking about the Guru.

AP: He is a ‘nobody’, but you know, we can talk about a ‘nobody’.

If you are somebody, then you will continue to be what you are and to protect what you are, you will continue to disseminate what you are. A somebody is never complete; a somebody is always a part, a fragment, he is always worried about his own security, he has to protect himself. He will continue to try to make the environment conducive to his own survival and protection. For example: “Who am I?”, “I am the carrier of the particular ideology”, so when my students comes to me, what will I do?

Q: I’ll try to propagate.

AP: And it hurts, when you see that ‘I am the only one favoring this ideology and others are going other ways’. Ideologists always want numbers, a teacher has to be nobody, otherwise, he will just become another agency of propaganda. He will continue filling up the minds of the students with knowledge. Ideology is knowledge, a position that you take for yourself is knowledge.

Only a ‘nobody’ can turn the other into a ‘nobody’.

What does that mean?

The role of a teacher is to make you become ‘somebody’, the role of the teacher is to fill you up with knowledge. So, he makes you into somebody.

The role of the Guru is to clean everything that the various teachers have done with you.

All the marks, the stains that have been left on your psyche by the various teachers, the role of the Guru is to clean those stains.

They make you into somebody;
the Guru turns you back into nobody.

So he himself, first of all, has to be nobody.

Because this becoming, this becoming ‘somebody’ is your very hell.

Q: I don’t understand this distinction between somebody and nobody. Somebody says “I am a leftist”, somebody says, “I am rightist”, somebody says, “I am apolitical — people who have no political orientation.” Even that is a lot. So you might say that he is a leftist, and he has no political orientation, he is political, he is apolitical, but even being apolitical is being something, right? Even this becomes a community. So having no orientation, is this like that?

AP: No being apolitical simply means ‘I am outside the touch of politics’, but still ‘I am in the same dimension because I can define myself with respect to politics. I’m inside the circle, I’m outside the circle, yet I am defining myself with respect to the circle.

To be a ‘nobody’ means that, there is no way that my being can be defined with respect to any kind of human knowledge or human field of activity.

It is then to go beyond man and have faith in a certain beyond-ness. My being does not come from something that man has done. My primary identity cannot give by man; my primary identity has not been given to me by man’s knowledge.

You see, if I am a communist, what is communism? Man’s knowledge, right? You can contain it in a book and you can pass it on. Communism is not love, or is it? Communism can be very well contained in a book, it’s an ideology. Love is not an ideology. So when you say that I know love, then you can no more be a communist or a capitalist. Are you getting it? That is what it means to be ‘nobody’.

I am not man-made. Your knowledge or anybody’s knowledge or my own knowledge will not define me.

Q: How’s this possible? I don’t know.

AP: It’s not a question of “How is this possible”, ‘It is!’. You do not question something which obviously is. If you will ask if it is possible, I will ask you, what makes you think it is not possible?

Q: And I will tell that all around me, I see that there is no way you cannot not be defined, by the things that surround you.

AP: Then I will say that the question must be suppose to then that how did you make it possible? How did you make this wonder happen? How it is possible that you have defined yourself with respect to a man made ideology?

Q: And they will say that this is the way it works, right? You sit in an environment and then environment starts affecting you, there is no way, I mean, you can go near a flower, and its fragment might not affect you, things are going to affect you. If you go to a campus which is leftist, I mean, things are going to affect you. If you are studying in BHU (Banaras Hindu University), things are going to make you something else. So, they would perhaps say that this is the way how it works, I can’t understand, how can you live in an environment and yet say that I am completely, purely unaffected, it is my primary identity is contained in something else. So it seems too magical to me.

AP: Even to say that something is this, you need to be something separate from it. You come to a crossing, you take a left turn, and you take a left turn, when did you say that you are going left? Only when you were not really going left, when you are traveling perpendicular to left. Traveling like this, now I say, I am taking left. Now, having taken left, would you still say you are going left? No, now are going straight. So to know that this place is left leaning, you first of all have to be separate from the place. Right?

 If you could manage to become a total leftist, you would forget the definition of leftism.

Q: Because left exists, only in contrast to the right.

AP: But you know both left and the right. To know anything you will have to have an agency that knows that thing and hence is not that thing. The thing does not know itself; or does it?

To know something I need to have an agency separate from it. Or does a thing know itself? Does a thing know itself? Can black differentiate it from black?

So what that agency is that you not know? What is certain is that there is something apart from knowledge which recognizes knowledge, and hence can also recognize the limitation of knowledge.

What knows the limitation of knowledge is certainly beyond that limitation.

Because I know knowledge and I also know the limitation of knowledge, so certainly, my domain is vaster than the domain of knowledge.

And that to me is a complete human being: who has knowledge and who also knows the limitation of knowledge; who has not shunned experience but who is not being corrupted by experience; he has been through experience but experience is not being able to spoil him.

Living as a body, living as a human form, you are bound to collect knowledge. But does that knowledge start dominating you? Do you start giving it prime importance? Do you forget that there is something far far more valuable than knowledge?

I have often said that If it can be thought of, then it can’t be very important. If you can think of something, then it is not very important. And obviously, knowledge proceeds through thought. There is no knowledge beyond thought.

I am still not going into the metaphysical. All I am saying: Is there not an agency smarter and more intelligent than the agency that collected knowledge? Because this agency can comprehend knowledge and also know the limitation of knowledge.

Q: And this sounds more real. And if I may, the role of the Guru is to awaken this? Can I say this?

AP: No, the role of the guru is not to awaken anything.

The role of the guru is to douse the fire that is already being ignited. Nothing needs to be awakened. That which is awake is already awake; he never goes to sleep.

Guru does not need to bring peace; he only cuts off the noise, which incidentally you might be taking as music.  So in that sense, his role is, method wise, his role is, bound to be quite negative. And if its role is not negative then, let me tell you, he is a crowd pleaser, not a guru.

A guru who does not shred you apart is simply a crowd-pleaser!

The end of his work will be positive, in the sense, when all the negative will be gone, what are you left with? A great silent emptiness, which you can call as, zeroness or positivity whatever.

Buddha will call it zeroness, Upanishads will call it the most positive substratum of all. But be it Buddha or be it Upanishad. Buddha says, “I am a doctor. I treat disease”. He treats diseases, he does not bring in health. So his role is? Negative. What is he doing? He is attacking in your system which needs to be cleared away.

And what is Upanishads doing? Declaring this to be false, declaring that to be false. Those are doing the same thing. So the role of the guru has to be negative. In terms of the methods, in terms of how you perceive him. And if you perceive the guru as giving you something very positive, then remember that he is probably only giving you some kind of pleasurable knowledge.

Q: Then he is not a guru he is a teacher.

AP: He is a teacher. He is a teacher and he is not even an honest teacher.

Q: Right. Because the teacher will say that I am a teacher.

AP: Because the teacher will say that I am here to give knowledge.

The role of the guru is to put knowledge in its proper place, not give you more knowledge.

Q: This seems too one sided. Does the disciple also not play an important role in this? Because when the guru is even trying to clear off, cut away that which is already there, the guru is speaking in a particular language, giving you sensory inputs, and has a particular style of talking, guru might also have to ascribe to certain concept, you would agree on that, particular tradition, all of that. So,  is it also not the role of the disciple? I mean, does the ball again not come to the court of the disciple?

AP: They are not separate. You see the guru and the disciple are one unit.

It’s not like enrolling in a university course, where it is an open market and anybody can go or at best there is some objective entrance exam which can be cleared and anybody can enrol. The guru-disciple relationship is not like that.

The guru, in that sense, has complete authority. The disciple has no or very little role in being there. It’s the guru that chooses. It may appear otherwise. It may appear as if the student has decided to search, and walk in and such things. But it’s always the guru that chooses and sends the invite.

Q: And when you use the word ‘guru’, I want to clarify, because the listener might fall into the belief that you are referring to a particular body, right?

AP: No.

Q: You have constantly and repeatedly said that the guru is not a person. It is something beyond the person. So, is not that you pick these disciples? Does it not woks like that?

AP: It works like that, in the way it appears. Because ultimately some ‘body’, some human form will be sending out the invitation, another human form. So it will appear like that. Obviously how else it can appear. But what would really be happening is that, that which the student is chasing, that itself is the nobodiness that the guru stands for. It is the pull of that nobodiness. See, being somebody is the burden. It is the pull, the call of the nobodiness that brings the disciple to the right place. That’s why I am saying that the guru pulls. By that I mean the nobodiness within the disciple is the puller.

Are you getting it?

It is not as if some person pulls; you are right in that.

The Ultimate that the student is seeking, that ultimate itself brings the student to a position where it can be made possible.

Q: And when you talking about this nobodiness, so you are also saying that there would be a nobodiness which would have an embodied form, of somebody who would be somebody.

AP: No, not somebody.

Just having a human form not make you somebody, being somebody is mental. There have been human beings who are nobodies.

You know, I was having a very similar discussion and somebody said, this definition of the teacher, that you have given — “A teacher is somebody who stuffs up your mind with knowledge,” he said, “This definition itself is flawed.” They said that, “A teacher is not someone who tells you what to think, a teacher is someone who tells you how to think. He added, “No, a teacher is not merely a knowledge provider, a teacher does awaken something within you, because the teacher tells you how to think”, I said that might be true. Because when you are telling somebody what to think, you are anyway telling them, how to think. Thought breeds thought. So, what to think and how to think are anyway very relative.

You cannot stuff somebody’s memory, without simultaneously preparing the ground for more thinking, and for future-thinking. So, giving somebody knowledge based input, is just the same as igniting somebody’s thought.

A poor teacher tells you ‘what to think’.

A less poor teacher tells you ‘how to think’.

A Guru tells you ‘not to think’.

You have already thought enough.

Now, stop!

Q: Not only like very well put but this ‘how to’ pedagogy, this ‘how to’ business, that is so prevalent in the market today. These ‘how to(s)’ are getting published, right? You have just said that these how to(s) are not only the teachers but the poorer teachers, poorer forms of teaching, right? And they disguise themselves as guru. This is the way things have been works.

AP: You have all kinds of gurus, you have wedding gurus, you have media gurus, you have real estate gurus.

Q: World has got corrupted like anything.

AP: So, the world has got corrupted.

The only way this world will redeem itself is when it places value upon the Guru.

As simple as that.

Till the time the world has primary trust in itself and its knowledge and its systems, institutions, mechanisms, its own cleverness, it will keep going downhill. And these are mere symptoms. The world will go downhill, when you will have all kinds of gurus.

Q:  I just got reminded that in one of your blog, you have referred to the guru as a ladder, right? Can you like, speak on this? Relating to what we have talked?

AP: Ladder, in the sense, that it connects two different heights.

Ladder connects two different heights — on one end is unfathomable; the nobodiness, on other end is the world of the disciple. So, the guru has to be simultaneously, parallelly present at both the places.

I said ‘simultaneously’, so that he can very quickly, instantaneously turn a routine life situation into a teaching method, so that just when he is appearing just another normal human being with his frailties, and habits and weaknesses, he can at that very moment, say something which shows the light to you. He must appear extremely human, otherwise, one will not be able to relate to him.

That’s the thing about ladder — if the ladder is hanging in the sky, how will you take the first step? The ladder has to be right down to your own level. In fact, you must be able to look down upon the ladder, right? You do not climb the ladder head first. You keep your feet upon the ladder.

So, at times, the guru must appear very much of this earth, of this soil not only of this soil but actually soiled and then, just when you are thinking that, ‘Oh! ‘He is so much like me — same emotion, same judgments, same thoughts’, he suddenly lights up the whole area. it’s important; otherwise the ego not let its defiance down.

Now, Guru should, at times, be very-very ordinary, so that the ego can be deceived; it can come out feeling safe. And just when it comes out feeling safe, that’s the time to strike the blow. If the guru is all the time acting like Father Christmas, then you will never open up. You will not climb the ladder in the first place. So he must be one of you.

Totally miscible.

Q: Bahurupiya (With many forms), right?

AP: Cheat 🙂

Q: Okay, so far so good. This point, I would want you to speak, in detail, about this whole motive force behind a Guru. Because classically it is being said that, the guru can calmly, peacefully sit on the mountains, and enjoy the state of consciousness that he or she is in. Why come down? Right? The guru itself is the top most rung of the ladder, why not sit there only and have a beautiful connection with the sky. Why come down to the level of the earth? Get soiled, as you said, why?

AP: Why must the world exist?

Q: The world must exist because it exists. Its existence is the only argument that one can give for its existence.

AP: There are a lot of things that just are. People talk of God, why can’t they just keep relaxing? Why did he have to make this world? Not that I believe in a God who makes the world. But, why must this world be there? Why does he need to go through all this trouble of making it, and then as they say, running it, then dissolving it. Why? The thing is this word- ‘Why’, this word ‘why’ belongs to this world.

Was there the word ‘why’, before this world? Again I am asking.

AP: It is coming from your consciousness, right? It is coming from the waking state of consciousness. So, you cannot apply this word to where it does not belong. What is in this dimension can be applied to only things of this dimension.

I throw a ball up, it comes down, you can ask, ‘Why?’ but you cannot ask ‘Why?’ to something that is before the world and after the world. You cannot ask why God made this world. The only answer you will get is because that’s his nature or it’s a part of his freewill.”

AP: The thing is, even if you do not know the ‘Why’, would your action change?

Q: No.

AP: You are in tremendous love with someone and you don’t know ‘Why?’ does that diminish your love?

So, what is the value of this ‘Why’?

Why does the Guru do all this? If you know the ‘Why’, would that increase your respect towards the guru? Or increase your chances to going to the Guru? No, not really. ‘Why’ is not at all meaningful in this case because it is not of this world.

‘Why’ is applicable only to the things happening in the cause and effect domain;
in the sensory domain;
in this world.

Q: Then which form of enquiry would work if not this? Which?

AP: One can have any kind of enquiry, but don’t try to enquire Who the Guru is? That is a very useless enquiry. Enquire everything else from the Guru but don’t ask him who are you?

Had you known that much, you would have first of all known — Who you are? Could you understand his answer to the question “Who he is?” you would first of all known the answer to ‘Who you are?’. And then where is the question of the Guru and the disciple being separate?

So, Who he is? And what is his motivation? And why does he do what he does? These are, first of all, invalid questions. Not that these are prohibited questions, these are invalid. Invalid, in the sense, if you ask What is the taste of black? This is an invalid question. What is the sound of speed? This is an invalid question. Similarly, What is the motivation of Guru? This is an invalid question because the word motivation applies to this and that, not to something which understands this and that. There, there is no motivation. But if you just want to get a working answer, the answer is it is a nature of the guru.

Why does the Guru help other? It is the nature, he can’t do without it.

Q: People say, love, compassion,

AP: He loves, it’s ok.

Q: So again, this is it. Like very simple. Not very complex.

AP: No, not very complex, nothing complex at all.

Q: He works because, because, because… nothing.

AP: There is no because.

Q: Again a very simple answer.

AP: Why can’t we let things be? I mean, it’s just like that.  It’s just like that.

Q: But in this, there is no intellectual gymnastic involved.

AP: Now, of course, you cannot have any intellectual discussion on this. That is your only problem. Somebody is helping, why is he helping? Just like that. Now you cannot carry on the discussion. Having said ‘just like that’ brings the full stop to the discussion.

“Why are you doing this?”


Now no more discussion is possible.

What will you discuss? Love?

One can write one more book, one can increase the collective knowledge based upon humanity “The Guru and his intentions,” something like that.

Q: Ok, so let’s end today’s discussion on a very simple note, I have already summarized, the question that I had asked, so, I sincerely thank you lot for answering our questions and I hope the viewers have really helped themselves by listening the distinction between the teacher and the Guru and we will be careful from now onwards in seeing, who is feeding us what; Who is the guru; Who is disguising us. And I can surly expect that the people would refrain from buying those ‘how to(s)’.

Okay, Thanks sir.

AP: Thank you.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: The world can redeem itself only by placing the highest value on the Guru

Further Reading:

The Flying Kiss to the Sky


A Flying Kiss to The Sky, is a collection of excerpts from various discourses of Acharya Prashant, arranged in a special order which makes it the ideal first book, for all who want to come close to the facts of their own lives.

The book is divided into three parts, each part helping the reader to appreciate the working of his own mind and hence, the world in more clear and precise terms. Its unique one-page-one-chapter format makes it even more simple. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a book for all: Reader, or non-reader; Professional, or Spiritual.

Paperback: Advait Publications Page


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