Listener 1: Traditionally this idea of ‘hankering around and everything that goes on in the mind is nonsensical’ has led to escapism. People have started saying that the pains that I experienced, the pleasures I experienced, the responsibilities, the duties that I have, are all nonsensical; neither would I go into pleasure nor would I go into pain; neither would I take up any responsibility and so on so forth.
And that is what I see with myself. When you said that all is nonsense, a kind of a nice breeze, I mean passed in my head. I can see that was not of the lightness you are talking about. That is actually of, “oh, I don’t have to do all that.”
Acharya Prashant: You have not gone deeply in your experience. Let me say something –
Escape is not at all a dirty word, if it is total escape. Total escape is liberation.
What most of us do is that we don’t escape ‘away’, we escape ‘to’. We don’t escape away from all, we escape to something. So then you hear a teacher saying that all is nonsense then you don’t mean “all is nonsense.” Then you mean that — Okay that means my responsibilities are nonsense, my studies are nonsense, my commitments are nonsense but fun is not nonsense, sex isn’t nonsense — all that which gives me pleasure isn’t nonsense so let me escape away to that.
When you say you are escaping, are you ever escaping totally from everything, no? You are escaping from something and going to something else. That is what you call escape. Our escape is never total. Total escape I repeat is liberation. The saint escapes totally. Totally whatever you do is divine. The word is total. The stress is on total, ‘total’. You never escape totally. You only reject that which your ego doesn’t like and that you call as escape. Don’t escape that way – this is partial escape and anything partial is ego. Partial love is ego, partial escape is ego and partial hatred is ego. Ego lies in parts.
Whatever you do, if you can do totally then that is the Self. Escape totally. When you reject something, also reject its opposite – when you reject the world, also reject an escape from the world; when you reject attachment, also reject detachment; when you reject professional life also reject spiritual life – that is total escape. That is complete liberation.
But what do we do. We use spiritual life as an escape from our personal and professional and worldly life. Now this is nonsense. Now this is self deceit.
What are we doing? We have begun another life here by quitting the life that we were living somewhere else. Is this an escape? No this is just partial. Yes? Escape but escape totally, totally. Don’t go to the opposite where you are. It is very easy to go become your own opposite and that is no transformation. Or let me say that is just transformation only and transformation doesn’t help. Because in transformation all you get is another form, ‘trans-form’. What you need is the dissolution of form, not a transformation.
You are wearing a neck tie till the other day. Now you are wearing a holy mala. This is just transformation. This is not the dissolution of form.You had one kind of society till the other day. Today you have a so called a holy society. Only the form has changed. The need to still be with someone hasn’t gone away. Aloneness has not yet descended. You need it to chat with your office colleagues till the other day. Today you need to chat with members of your holy society. What has changed? What has really changed?
I don’t denounce escape. I only denounced fragmentation. I only denounced existing in parts and acting partially; act totally. If you want to leave, leave totally. And if you are not able to leave totally, at least don’t entertain and console yourself by saying, “no no I have left.” Then live in the fact that right now you are unable to leave. Live in that fact; live in the pain and suffering of that fact.
L2: The part ever acts totally?
AP: As long as it wants to act as the part it will keep acting only as the part. The part must forget that it is a part. To remember that you are a part is to remember in your smallness, pettiness and inferiority. You will have to forget your beliefs about yourself. And when you forget your beliefs about yourself then you come into your own. ‘Forgetting’ is the key.
L3: Sir, can the part forget?
AP: Yes, just as it remembered, similarly it can forget too. Was the part always mindful of it being a part, always, always, always? The part has been trained and tutored to know itself as a part. If you can think of yourself as something. You can also forget yourself as that thing. Part-ness is not your intrinsic nature. It is an external influence.
L4: Forgetting something and something recites to the subconscious, how are they different?
AP: When something recites to the subconscious it still remains important. Forgetting means I don’t remember it because it is no more needed to be remembered. Pay attention to what do you remember? What do you ever remember? What do you remember from last one week? Only that which you called as important. Otherwise other things the memory deletes by itself. From the last one week what is it that you remember? Only those events which you called as important and what is it you called as important? You called only that as important which had a bearing, and an impact upon your self concept.
If somebody insults you, you remember that why because that hurts your self concept. If somebody praise you greatly that too you remember. Why? Because that inflates your self concept. So, memory remembers only that which ego commands it to remember.Memory isn’t automatic. Why don’t you see that so much is deleted? Have you ever paid attention to what is deleted and what is retained? That which you find as inconsequential with respect to your ego is deleted, the rest is retained.
The moment you start finding something as unimportant, you forget it. The moment you start seeing something as trivial, it gets dropped, it is forgotten. So, forgetting is the key.
One of the great blessings of a spiritual life is that you don’t live out of memory. You don’t remember too much. In worldly sense that leads to a certain discomforts too, because you keep forgetting. But in real sense it is such a blessing. You meet someone; you don’t even remember his face; why must you remember his face? One morning you may even forget your own name – wonderful. Was it of any importance any way? Just a burden. Just a carryover from the past. Forgot my name. Now somebody comes to you and asks you- who are you? Silence, beautiful silence.
You remember your name because you find yourself important.
Then you are free to take any name.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: If you want to escape, escape totally.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: How to escape the fruit of action.
Article 2: Planning is a dirty escape from present.
Books by the speaker: