Listener 1 (L1): Since the last few days, I have been with you, taking in what you say and the result is that I am clearly able to see the fakeness contained in the world in the ways of mankind. And that makes me ask what is the point of carrying all that madness?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Very important question, because this is what breaches the whole flow of knowing, of realisation for so many people.
So, you are saying that the process of knowing, realisation begins and begins to identify what all is fake, artificial and conditioned in one’s ways, and as one goes deeper into realising this, one finds that there is no end to detecting falseness. Whatever you touch comes out to be false.
Something shows up as false immediately and something just waits to be shown up as false. In fact, after seeing what use to appear as genuine, solid, true is exposed as to be hollow, one loses confidence in all that still remains solid. One begins to see that the days on which I placed my confidence are numbered, where each and everything that is trusted, believed, lived by, is false one after the other, then the question that has just come is obvious.
The question is why must I carry on with enquiry?
Is this the purpose of honest observation? To come to know that all is just a deception, illusion, a fakeness. And even if I come to know that what is the point in it? What do I gain? I walk clearly seeing rottenness around me. How does that make my life any better?
In fact, one feels that one was better off not knowing anything. When you start knowing, you only see garbage all around and that makes living so uncomfortable. It’s like you have suddenly started seeing ghosts. All the rooms used to be full of ghosts even previously but you were not seeing them and now you are seeing them that makes you insane. Nobody else is going to see that ghost that you are seeing and that you also cannot communicate what you are seeing. Then, it is some kind of private hell in which only you are suffering, everybody is alright.
So the question is something that most people would relate with: Why to carry on with enquiry? What is the benefit of observing?
You have used the word ugly, you have emphasised on that word, you say all that you are seeing is ugliness all around. In the domain of spirituality, the word ugly can be used only loosely; it has no real place. In the world of spirituality, there are only two words that are Real:
- Absolutely — only Joy,
- and relatively — fun.
There is no third word here.
We will go into what I mean.
When one goes directly to the root of all phenomena and sees them as arising from nowhere, then one does not take them as important enough to even call them ugly. One does not call them ugly, one calls them non-existent. One calls them mutually dependent, co-dependent stories of duality coming from nowhere — day and night, black and white, pleasantness and unpleasantness, ugliness and beauty and one dismisses them totally, one becomes free of them. And when one becomes free of them, in that emptiness there is Joy.
Only looks at all the rubbish around him and the rubbish does exist in a particular way. One looks at all the ugliness around him if the ugliness seems to exists and one relishes in the fact that in spite of seeing all the rubbish and all the ugliness, one is still untouched by it. So untouched that one does not even bother to ask that why it exist? It may exist but it is not able to harm me, it is not able to penetrate into me; untouched, there is a spot in me which remains empty of all influences from all rubbish and that is Joy.
In pure Joy, you do not even want to call the rubbish as anything. It has become so insignificant for you that it does not arise in your mind as a thought. When something is totally meaningless for you, then it does not become your mind stuff. It does not come to you as mental activity and that is Joy — a neat, pure innocence. The world might be doing whatever it is doing but one is not even taking cognizance of it.
Sometimes this is not possible, sometimes the mind does get involve in what is happening the world and when the mind does get involve in what is happening in the world, then for the mind that is surrendered to its core Peace, even involvement in the world cannot take away the peace; then involvement is just fun, even involvement with suffering is fun.
“Yes, I am involved in suffering. Maybe as a doctor but I am involved with patients. I am involved in it in the sense that I am doing something about it and hence taking it as real. Though taking it as real, and doing something about it but I am not allowing the patient’s virus to infect me. The patient’s virus is that he has identified with the disease. “I will not identify with the disease, I will not take it seriously I am engaged with it but just having fun.”
These are the only two ways in which the student of enquiry can proceed:
- Either the world must not exist for you at all and then it is pure Joy or
- If it exists and you are engaged with the world then you are just having fun with the world.
The third way — where you are engaged and engaged in a way of identification is the way of suffering, that way gets crossed out. I repeat either one is not engaged at all, one is in his own dimension, not in the dimension of the world, so whatever is going, in spite of going on, one is kind of oblivious to it. A lot might be going on but one is totally oblivious to it, it does not matter to him because what matters to him is already available, he is seated in it, enveloped by it, taking bath in it. He is not saying – whatever might be happening, let it happen because he is so oblivious to what is happening that he doesn’t want to say even that much. That statement won’t occur to him — and that is being purely untouched.
And then we said that sometimes the world does demand your participation. As beings with bodies you are compelled to be engaged with the world and when you are compelled to be engaged with the world, then one engages in the world in a playful way. One does not engage with the world to get something, one says that ‘I already have everything I need. I am engaging with you just to have some fun.’
When you already have everything that you need, then all your engagements are just fun.
They are not goal-centric; they are not demand-centric. You are not relating with someone to extract something from him, you are not a beggar in front of the world. Now, you cannot be too serious, now it not a matter of life and death for you what others think of you, what is going on. So, even though you are engaged, yet you are just having fun. And this, I say, is the only way of living rightly in the world.
If you really want to live a life of innocence not stained by all the filth around you, then these are the only two possibilities:
- Either forget the world totally.
- Or if you are compelled to remember or if you are compelled to participate, then participate in a way of having fun.
Don’t open the third option ever because the third option will be of suffering.
Never ever open a third option.
Either Joy or fun.
Either Silence or music.
Joy is Silence, fun is music.
Everything else is noise. If you can’t have pure Silence then let’s have some music. Nothing exceeds pure Silence but if the situations have come where words, sounds are needed then let them be lyrical, let there be some music.
“But I will never satiate my demand for sound by embracing noise — that I will not allow myself to do.”
Either Silence or music. Either Joy or fun. No third possibility.
L2: Sir, but in the second possibility, there are more chances of the identification.
AP: So, remain with the first one.
If the second appears dangerous to you, do not go to the third; seek refuge in the first and that is Silence. If music is in danger of turning chaotic and sounding like noise then don’t side with noise, turn off the music player!
Silence is always available.
Silence is the only thing that is always available.
Just turn off the player!
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: If not Silence, then music. Nothing else