Listener 1: Sir how can words have such a cleansing effect, don’t you think Silence speaks louder?
AP: Is there a contradiction between silence and words? Is there really? We have been silent since the last one hour. It’s such an eloquent Silence.
Listener 1: It’s still secondary.
AP: No, what do you think Silence is? If you think Silence is wordlessness then it is a very noisy silence.
Listener 1: How do you know that?
AP: Because you have taken silence to be something.
Listener 1: Then we are doing the same thing here.
AP: No, not really. We are not even talking of Silence. We are busy in what we are and this is Silence.
To not to think of Silence is Silence.
To have an image of Silence as wordlessness or anything is noise.
See that what happens, when you the sacred words as per their dictionary meanings. I am absolutely certain that the last one hour was in silence. It is silence talking. You think that silence is something of the lips. Why? If Silence is of the lips then know that Silence is Self and Self is also of the lips, then know that silence is Truth and then Truth is also of the lips.
Silence is that in which these words are said and heard. Do not equate Silence with wordlessness. You can be very wordless and still very noisy.
Listener 1: No, I don’t mean that. I mean inner and outer silence, when both merge.
AP: Yes and why can’t words arise from inner silence? When Krishna is talking to Arjun, is he noisy?
You’ll never know Silence, except through the manifestation of Silence.
Listener 1: But all the saints like Buddha and Ramana Maharishi, they all remain silent.
AP: When Ramana Maharishi was talking, was he not in Silence?
Listener 1: But he was also not, not in Silence also. He was picking words but he was also slipping into silence, wordless silence.
AP: I am talking of the moments when he was talking. All you know of Ramana Maharshi is his words, right?
Listener 1: Yes
AP: When he was speaking those words, when he was uttering those words, was he not in Silence? If he was not in Silence then those words are meaningless and useless and they have to be rejected.
L 1: I am not declining the words.
AP: It’s not the question of declining the words. You see, a word is beautiful only if it is arises from Silence, right?
L 1: Yes
AP: So when Ramana Maharshi is talking, is he not in Silence? He is in Silence.
L 1: It does not emanate from his long silences.
AP: It does not emanate from his past silences. It emanates from the silence then and there.
L 1: But where did he acquired that silence?
AP: It is not acquired, it is you.
L 1: Yes, but how did he come to that point?
AP: Nobody comes to that point, you just stop thinking that you are not there.
L 1: Yes, but he remained silent for many-many years.
AP: When you do not think of time and years and moments then you are there. Because you are loaded with so many stories about how it happened, how it did not happen.
L 1: So why are we not Ramana Maharshi?
AP: Who said you are not Ramana Maharshi?
L 1: Why are we not realizing that?
AP: Because you are realizing so many other things. There are so many other stories and you are preoccupied with them. You are sitting on the earth, you are nicely seated but if you find things near you very attractive, will you ever be able to pay attention to your foundation? It is there, you are already there, you don’t have to come there, you don’t have to acquire that seat but if you are so much occupied with the stories here and there then you will totally forget that which you have and that which you are. That is why the right teaching helps you forget. It is a dissolution. It is not something that gives you one more fairy tale. We are already too full of fairy tales.
Who is Ramana Maharshi? when you say why are we not Ramana Maharshi. Just a while back I said- Who is Kabir? didn’t I say? And if we are wedded to the body then we look at Kabir as a body. Now, is Ramana Maharshi a body? He is surely a body if I am a body. Otherwise if he is the One, the Self, then how are you not Ramana Maharshi? Of course it is only Ramana talking to Ramana here.
When Krishna was talking to Arjun, Krishna was talking to the Krishna in Arjun. Arjun as Arjun will never know Krishna.
or will he?
L 1: That is an intellectual understanding.
AP: That is not an intellectual understanding, that is a direct statement about not taking yourself very seriously. When you take whatever is there in your head, seriously, then you are bound to not look at that which you are.
L 2: Is it because we have divided the world so much with our mind.
AP: Yes of course. Not only divided it, firstly raised it. First of all we raised it drastically with our mind and then start believing in it, then start attaching meanings to it, and then also start looking for liberation in the world. So, Ramana Maharshi is out somewhere there and his books are out somewhere there and they will help me to get liberation. Now, who is Ramana Maharshi? He is just a projection of your mind. The real Ramana is sitting in your heart. But which Ramana are you talking of- the one out there, the one in time and space and then that’s why you are able to use such words like- many years, what happened to him, past tense, him- as a man. Only when something is out there then you can talk of him as an object.
Listener 1: If I already have attained that state or whatever you can say that, the inner state that is already me, I won’t be sitting here.
AP: You are sitting here just as one can sit here and search for the earth under his feet. You can walk a lot using your feet searching for the earth beneath your feet, not knowing that unless the earth is beneath your feet you wouldn’t be walking. So you have walked a lot, you are searching for that which is just beneath your feet. This search has to stop.
Listener 3: Sir for all those ten days we have been saying that- we think that we are unfulfilled.
AP: You know, all search proceeds on this assumption that you are unfulfilled, that something needs to be attained or obtained, that one needs to reach somewhere. All search proceeds on this assumption.
It is the search that needs to be dropped, not the Truth that needs to be attained.
L 1: So when we drop the search…
AP: Can it be an assumption.
L 1: Yes
AP: Seriously? Would the one that is there after the dropping, be someone you can imagine. If not, then we cannot proceed on assumptions. We cannot say- if we drop the search. It is like saying- if I meet God.
L 1: But the fact that we are gathered here means that we are all searching for something, right? If I was not in search of something, why would I be here?
AP: So that’s a fact that you are in search of something, so?
L 1: It’s a good searching.
AP: It is not good searching. If you are here as the searcher then even if you find, then what do you remain? I am the searcher. The searcher by definition is a falseness. Can the false ever meet the truth; having said that I am the false? We begin by saying that- I don’t have it. So who am I ? The one who doesn’t have it. Now if that’s the one that I am, the one who doesn’t have it then that’s what I’ll remain. This is not a usual worldly search in which you begin with not having and end with having. Here, to have something in the end you must have it in the beginning as well.
You have to proceed beginning from the right center, which means that the very word ‘search’ is a false word, and any action that operates out of the searching center is an action in defiance of the Truth. If I am searching for the Truth then definitely I am outside the truth, am I not? That means there is something outside the Truth. So I am saying , you know, the one I am, exist in a parallel Truth or in an alternate Truth. Do you see what kind of a rebellion it is against the Truth. All the seekers of the truth are actually trying to rebel against the truth. They are defiling the truth.
You can search ‘in the Truth’ but you can never search ‘the Truth’.
In the truth you can search, like the birds fly in the sky. But can the bird ever search for the sky?
L 1: No, that I agree.
AP: So, that’s all, which means that even when I feel that I have lost it, I must remember that I still have it. The bird can lose a particular tree but can it ever loose the sky? So you can never lose it. The very search is a ridiculous thing. It’s a distraction.
L 1: But if you ask me I would say that it’s a mere word.
AP: No, it’s just not a mere word, it’s a very driver of our life. It is the engine that powers us. Whether it is somebody living in a corporate or whether it is somebody traversing the country in search of whatever, the very center is an unfulfilled center. The one who is working for the sake of money and all, says – I will attain fulfillment through respect, prestige, power, promotion and the rest of that and the one who is searching in spiritual centers says – I will attain fulfillment through alternate means. Both of them are just the same. Both are searching, and both are unified in their common belief that they don’t have it. So it is not a mere word, it is very life. The false life that we usually live.
L 1: So what am I doing?
AP: If you are really present then you are not searching.
L 4: Sir it’s I think the conditioning that says that we must search.
AP: And we must progress. And that progress, the very concept of progress is so overpowering. You want to progress in the boardroom and you also want to progress in the temple. In both places you want to progress and you feel as if the progress is in different directions, you do not see that the very concept of progress comes from the same center, which says that- ‘I am unfulfilled’. If you proceed from there you will remain unfulfilled.
L 1: But then why proceed from the state of fulfillment. I don’t need anything.
AP: Can you again imagine that- If I proceed from fulfillment.
L 1: Yes
AP: No, you can’t. Lack of fulfillment is an imagination but fulfillment can never be an imagination. So you can never say – if I am fulfilled. I repeat, that is an equivalent of saying – If I meet God.
L 5: Sir same thing, we are looking for certain things. I want to be in the non domain, I don’t want to be in the uncharted terrain.
AP: Yes, and even saying unchartered terrain gives you certain certainty that it is a terrain of some kind. So you are still in the business of image formation. It may not even be a terrain, because the very word terrain pops up a path, an image.
L 6: Are you saying us to take little steps to the center that is Truth.
AP: Yes, of course. And that center is always present because the false center cannot exist without the true center. The false center and the true center are not separate. The false center rides on the top of the true center. The false center has no have legs of its own. The false center cannot have a life of its own, even that is energized by the true center. Can falseness walk on its own? Can falseness even declare that it is false? Just to survive the falseness has to declare that it is?
AP: True. So never be worried of giving up the false center. Always be assured that this may be false but if it is false then it has to rest upon the Truth. So, I can fearlessly remove it, without worrying that if this goes then my world will collapse. Your world will not collapse. Your world will just come to rest upon a more concrete foundation. It will be a different world, it will be a world that you cannot imagine right now. But you need not feel that it will be a collapsed entity. Actually you need not be feel anything, anything that you feel is an imagination.
L 1: Sir so as not a seeker of Truth, as a person sitting here, what would that make me right now?
AP: Nothing, just nothing, just nothing at all. Who am I speaking right now? Who are you listening right now and why must we be somebody as we speak and listen. And have you listened if you must be somebody, and can I speak if I am somebody? Just nothing. And why is that so horrifying.
L 1: No, it’s not horrifying.
AP: Or unbelievable.
L 1: It’s not even unbelievable.
AP: Then lovely.
L 1: So how does someone who does not want to know about these things .
AP: There is nobody who does not want to know these things.
L 1: Or may be not ready for this.
AP: No, they are ready for it in their own way. Everybody, I repeat, is a searcher. There is nobody who doesn’t want to know, there is nobody who is not searching. And the searching itself is the disease. Your problem is not that your search has not come to a conclusion, your problem is that you are searching in the first place. People feel that their search is not successful and that is the problem. The problem is that you began searching, that is the problem. Why did you began searching?
L 2: We were told to.
L 1: So we should not search, what we should be doing?
AP: Play, relax, dance, because we have never played, we have always searched. Even while playing we have searched for victory, results.
L 1: Sir, Shiva has always be known to be meditating in silence then why are we spending so much time in words.
AP: Shiva has spoken so much, you know how thick is the Ribhu Gita.
L 1: That’s the outcome of the silence.
AP: Don’t even call it an outcome, just say it is the manifestation of the Silence. It is how someone dealing in words looks at Silence. The Silent one looks at a speaking Shiva and hears only Silence. The talkative one looks at a speaking Shiva and hears words. Both are concurrent.
Silence is nothing objective, Silence will always manifest itself.
Shiva is Shiva and is Shiva separate from Shakti? You could just say that Shiva is Silence and Shakti is the words. And they are together, always together. That togetherness is represented in Krishna. You look at Krishna as a person, and his words and actions and even intellect and plans and all that which this world stands for- relationships, wives, war, victory, and you look at the essence of the Gita- there Krishna is just Shiva.
L 6: Sir how can possible that nothingness is beautiful and it manifests into somethingness and then again manifests into something else?
AP: Even the manifestation is a poor expression of what is happening. The fact is- nothing is happening. But because you are fond of happenings so we say manifestation, this, that but actually nothing is happening.
L 7: Sir why we are so fond of happenings?
AP: Because we take ourselves to be a happening. And if we are not fond of happening then we have to give up ourselves also. We only like that which we take ourselves to be. If you take yourself to be a body then you’ll like a lot of objects outside. If you take yourself to be an idea then you’ll be very fond of philosophies.
L 1: Yes we do have our preferences.
AP: Yes we do.
L 1: Some of us find the Truth through Japa, some of us through philosophies or anything.
AP: Nobody can find the Truth. Again the same thing, it’s not to be found. Take all of that as a pastime,
L 1: But it purifies.
AP: Yes it purifies. It burns away all that which you have taken to be the Truth. It never takes you to the truth, it just burns away that which you have assumed to be the Truth. And these are two very-very different things, extremely different things.
One need not search for the Truth, one just needs to be honest and see how one has filled up his mind with assumptions about the Truth; the daily facts of living – How one taken the Truth to be this and that; the respect that Truth deserves, how one has compromised that respect to this and that; the love that must be reserved for the Truth, how one has squandered that love over this and that; the eternity that vests only in the Truth, how one has come to expect that eternity from a man or a woman, or from fame. Do you see how one uses fame as a substitute for timelessness?
All these are false Gods – the wife is the false Goddess, the husband is the false God, the boss is the false God, fame is the false God. If you can remove all these false Gods from your life then God is anyway there, but see how many false Gods we have. Progress – a false God. Forget the false ones. The real one is anyway there.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Krishna, Shiva, words, and Silence
Article 3: The real meaning of Mauna (Silence)
Books by the speaker: