Acharya Prashant: I want to talk about something that is fundamentally, tremendously important to all of us. Most of us are here for a reason. Most of us are anywhere for a reason. What is the reason? The reason usually is the desire for something new, or a dissatisfaction from something that appears to be existing.
I want to talk about continuity and cessation. There is something that is continuing. There is something that the mind wants to continue. There is something that the mind wants to cease. We say we want to stop what is going on and we want to begin something new. This search for the new takes several forms – spiritual quests, material ambition, efforts towards relationships, travels, many a things. That’s what I meant when I said that most of us are here for a reason.
So, there is something that is going on and there is something that you would rather have continued, begun. And these two interact, these two are enmeshed. Are they not? If we look at our daily lives, the very need for the new, the very need for something different arises from our response to what seems like existing.
So if boredom seems like existing, than there is a need for excitement. If the gross seems like prevailing, then there is a need for the subtle. If dryness seems like prevailing, then there is a need for something to melt. So the new that we want, the difference that we are chasing is always related to, in a sense being born from that, which we want to do away with, that which we want to escape. And that is the reason behind our endeavours.
You see, you will not extend your hands towards a glass of water, if first of all you are not feeling thirsty. The demand for water, the demand for a satisfied state arises from the current state, which is, one of dissatisfaction. The current state not being there, the other state would not have appeared desirable. Are we together on this? Does this follow from our daily experience? It is a simple matter that deserves great attention.
I repeat: Whatever be the new that we are after, is always a product of the old, the stale, which appears to be already present, which appears to be continuing. Right?
So what we are saying is, if you have notice, that the new that I am desiring will be in someway a product of the old. So I am not quite happy and hence I am chasing happiness. I am not quite happy this state of not being heartfully happy has been continuing and since it has been continuing, I want it to cease; I want the situations to reverse in some way. So continuing in this state, I want its opposite. Continuing in a state of “being not happy,” I want to be happy. So assumption is that: happiness can be a product of the actions that I take when I am not happy.
I am not happy today. Tomorrow I want to be happy. Today, as an unhappy mind, I take certain actions – I go and read a book, I go and visit a country, I call up someone, I engage myself in some practices. And why I am engaging myself in some practices? Precisely, because the mind is in the state in which it is. And, what is that state? What is that state? It is a state of being unhappy. As an unhappy mind, I am chasing happiness; and as an unhappy mind, I am trying to find ways that will take me to happiness.
So what it is that I am accepting as a principle? What I am accepting as a principle is, that the new can emerge from the old. What I am accepting is that from duality, non duality can emerge. What I am accepting is, that from the cycle of happiness and sorrow, suddenly freedom can emerge. In other words, what I am accepting is that from me, as I am, the ego centred system, the Divine can emerge.
Actually, it is just to believe in this, that I search. If I am searching, if I am trying, then fundamentally I am saying that ‘I can achieve’. You see, if you are searching, obviously there would be some kind of way, a technique you would figure out how to get. You would do something; that is what search implies. Right? You would may be seeking counselling you would may be watch a video, you would may be practice a Yoga pose; you would may be read a book or simply go to a sleep; but whatever you would do is ‛your own’ method. ‛Your own method’ arising from the mental state that you are in; the same mental state that you despise.
Whatever you would do to go beyond yourself is an activity arising from within yourself.Now this is a little funny!
I am not content with myself, I aspire to go beyond myself and to go beyond myself, I am adopting a method that arises from myself.
So ‛I’ decide what to read, ‛I’ decide whom to surrender to, ‛I’ decide where to go, ‛I’ decide when to wake up, ‛I’ decide the precise methods to adopt to get freedom from whatever state I am in. This evening is a wonderful occasion to remind ourselves that
From one end of duality if something can be born, it is just the other end of duality.
One type of fake-ness can surely be born from another type of fakeness, but not The Real. If you feel that you are trapped in something that is not quite real; if you feel that The Real is eluding you, then do not “continue,” do not ‛try’, do not depend on your ‛own efforts.’ Only The Real can give birth to the Real. Only The Divine can give birth to The Divine. Only health proceeds more health. Sickness will not give birth to health. Ways of the ego, methods made by man will not lead to The Divine. What man has made will only lead to more of what man has made.
It is something that is so simple and as we said, follows from an observation of our own daily lives, yet it is so easy to miss. And in this missing, probably lies, the whole suffering of mankind. “I am not quite Okay the way I have spent my life”, and what I have done all my life? Why I am not okay with the way I have spent my life? ‛My’ life has not been centred, I have been influenced, I have acted in conditioned ways. society, culture, religion, all these taught me a few things and I have just gone on living according to them.
One influence, another influence, and so what do I do? I decide that I have had enough of worldly influences, now I’ll have a spiritual influence. Yes! Something does appear to have a changed. Now You are not probably chasing corporate houses, now you are probably chasing Ashrams. But the chase is still continuing. It is just that the quest has changed from so-called material to spiritual, which are just words. Internally, the same old game of the mind is continuing, and why it is continuing? Because of that same flawed principle that I talked of. That flawed principle is that The Divine can emerge from man-made activity, mental activity. The same flawed assumption that my efforts can lead me to The Truth.
How will ‛more of myself’ give me ‛freedom from myself?’
There was a time when the mind was filled with one thing and there is a time when the mind is filled with another thing. I just arrived in Rishikesh a few hours back, arrived from the Capital city of this country, and it’s quite remarkable. You see, the professionals, the corporate goers, they have one kind of dress and mannerism, and behaviour pattern. And then there is a centre of armed forces closed to Roorkee, en route to Rishikesh and there if you meet soldiers, they have another kind of discipline, another kind of uniform, another set pattern of behaviour.
So I looked at the professionals, the corporatears, I looked at the military men and then when I came to Rishikesh, I look at the spiritual seeker. And here we have another prevalent code of dressing. Here we have another prevalent code of walking, talking, behaving.
You go to a commercial city and you find lines and lines of one kind of delivery centres; you can call them shops. They are selling something, they are promising something; and you come to Rishikesh and here you find another kind of delivery centres lined all along the way. They too are selling something, promising something. What has changed? This is what happens when the mind seeking relief from commercial activity tries to find refuge in spiritual activity. He does still the same thing. He still wears the uniform, just that the uniform changes. He still maintains a code of conduct, just that the code changes.
In the professional district of Gurgaon, it is normal, regular to find people wearing neck ties, formal trousers, waist belts, leather shoes, corporate jackets, and all, that goes along with it. And here it is equally fashionable to find people wearing other kind of stuff. The pattern maintains itself by showing a superficial changes. Nothing changes because something is appearing to change.
When the mind was seeking redemption and deliverance, through money, progress and career or business, then that was one method that the mind was adopting. When the mind is seeking deliverance by abiding clothes to a river in a holy city in the company of holy men, then that is another method that the mind is adopting. Do we see that?
The man who goes to his office everyday or sits in his shop everyday for twelve hours, too is seeking the same thing that the so-called spiritual seeker is after, just that the name is different. He calls it reputation or progress or bank balance, here we call it Moksha, or heaven or peace. But the seeking remains; the method remains.
Will you tell me what is a method? A method is lack of trust. A method is faithlessness. A method means that I cannot reach the destination directly, that I cannot be there right now, that I need an intermediary, that I need some kind of path. You know what, a belief in some kind of technique shows? It shows that The Divine, The Centre, That which you are crazy for, The Self or The Atman, is far away; because it is far away, hence a road is needed.
Now when the fundamental assumption, when the self created principle itself is so flawed, then how will you get success in what you want by proceeding on a flawed principle? You want to reach yourself. Is that not so? You want to reach your own centre, your own heart, and you are saying, “you need a method.” By saying that you need a method, you are saying that you need a road. By saying that you need a road, you are implying that you want to reach somewhere else. Do you need a road to reach where you are sitting right now?
If you will take a road, you will only reach some place distant. But we all take roads. not only do we take roads, we take long-distant flights; international flights. As if the flight will take us where we want to reach, as if we already not had not enough of flying. Only That, only He can take you to Himself, not your search, not even the way suggested by the wisest of men. Because even the wisest of men are chosen by ‛you’.
You decide which wise man to go to? So, ultimately you are the one on top. And when you are the one on top, the same thing is on top which troubles you. By keeping that on top which troubles you, you want to get rid of that thing. By trying for a method, you have made the method your God. By using man-made principle or a man made city, you have put the man again on top. You have elevated man on the pedestal which belongs only to God. And that is, to put it mildly, apostasy.
Can we not just stop? I said I want to talk about continuity and cessation. Do we see that the so called changes in our lives are not changes at all? They are just a continuation of the same thing, in a different form. But those of us who have eyes that can see will surely see that superficial changes are no changes.
You are fond of dressing and when you are fond of dressing, what do you do? You wear one dress, then the next day you try another dress and then you go and purchase something else and then you figure out what is the fashion these days, the next set of garments, right? If you are not careful then you say “something is changing.” What is changing? The garments are changing everyday, the exterior, the apparel are changing everyday. But if you have any wisdom, you will say that nothing is changing. It is a continuation of the same trend. The same trend of being attached to the exteriors.
Change often implies continuity. You cannot break continuity by changing. You can break continuity by ceasing.
This is one mistake that mankind has always been making. I repeat that this is one fundamental mistake that is so easy to make and we all keep making. We believe that ‛That’ which is continuing can be broken by changing. No! Change will not help because all change will arise only from that which is continuing. The next step that you will take will come from the same mind that took the previous step and hence the next step, even if it is in different direction, is still a continuation of your old ways.
So continuity cannot be dissolved by changing. Change only means more continuity. Change only means a furtherance of the ego in some other ways. Oh! You are bored with your old relationships, let us enter into a new relationship. Bored of the old job, let me switch jobs. Ah! This old house look so stale, let me change the colour of the walls. All these are such superficial change. It means nothing. It just means that you want to continue in the same house. It just means that you might be switching jobs but you still want to continue in the same old professional pattern of earning.
The continuation, the stream, must cease. And cessation is something that we so dislike. You are here. If I say “stop,” you will not particularly like it. But if I say, “Go in that particular direction, that is a new and unexplored direction, you haven’t been there before.” You might find something new there, then you will like it. You will find it exciting. That will give you a new experience. Just as sitting by the Ganga and sipping Tulsi Tea, is a new experience. The ego is all right with that; well contented by that. Because experience ultimately belongs to the ego.
So change in experience, a new kind of experience, all right. But don’t ask ‛me’ to stop. Don’t ask ‛me’ the cessation of that which experiences the experiencer itself. That is too much. “Tell me, which is the next country I should go to? Which is the next country I should visit? Tell me the next holy man I should listen to? But don’t ask me to stop what I am. Stop it right now. That is unbearable.”
That is unbearable only to the one who torments you. It is not unbearable to you. You are the sufferer. It is unbearable to the one who is causing you suffering. Stop! The moment I say, ‛stop’; you still continue. How do you still continue? By projecting an image of stopping. “Allright! I can do nothing else, then atleast let me do this much.” How much? ‛Imagine.’ You see imagination is action? If nothing else can be done, at least I can enter into the game of imagining. “So this speaker, do not know who he is, where he comes from, strange thing he is saying, ‛Stop!’ All right! Even if I say that I have to stop, then there must be some kind of an assurance, a guarantee, that the stopping will yield me a desired result.” Desired by whom? Me; the old one. Ah!
And how do I verify that guarantee? By imagining what will happen after I stop. My friend, if you are still imagining, what will happen if you stop, then have you really stopped?
Stopping is complete faith. Stopping means surrender. Stopping means I move no more. ‘I move no more’ and by saying that I move no more, I am saying that I belong to The One, I wanted to reach. In one instance, in one strike, I have reached the destination. Now having reached the destination, let Him make me move along whichever path He wants. But I have reached the destination. Now let the journey continue. It’s a beautiful journey that continues after you have reached the destination.
But if you are travelling ‛to reach’ the destination, then the journey is pain because every point of the journey, you will be reminded that you are still not Home, that the destination is still far away. Reach the destination first. You reach the destination by stopping. Just stop! Just stop! And you cannot stop if you think about stopping, you cannot stop if you try to imagine what stopping is like.
Stopping does not mean an effort at stopping. Cessation does not mean trying to cease. It simply means not having a false belief in yourself any longer. It simply means not taking yourself seriously anymore. It simply means that your judgement simply does not matter.
And if I want to put it a little bluntly, it means ego is stupid; and if I remain too long with it, then I too would be stupid. That is the meaning of cessation.
Cessation means ‛I’ will not decide, ‛I’ will not conclude, ‛I’ will not say that I like or dislike and if there is somebody who wants to say that, even if it is sitting inside my head, I let him say that. Just let him. Keep saying. You are accustomed to saying. You have been saying from so long that probably you cannot cease immediately, but I am ceasing. You have a strong momentum from the past, a current is carrying you. alright! You continue. “You are a product of time, maybe you will take time to stop, I am not a product of time.”
The moment you say, “I am not a product of time, and hence I do not need the next day to stop.” That is when you have gone beyond time, that is when you are Home, that is when you are home wherever you are. Then wherever you are, the Ganga is there. Then wherever you are, you are in Rishikesh – even if you are in your study, even if it is the lawn in front of your house.
No holy place is never a geography friends. Never. And if holy places were geographies, you surely could have taken a flight to heaven as well. If one river is sacred, then every drop water of river is sacred because the same drop is being circulated in all pots – large and small.
Is it any different? You know, when we were small, we were told that it is a nice thing to go to kindergarten. We went there. We grew up a little, we were told that it is a nice thing to study economics, or mathematics, or biology or sociology. We did that. A little more and we were told that the world operates by earning; so it is a nice thing to earn. We earned. Then we were told that these are the five or ten streams along which the world goes. We too went along.
Then we were told that the world marries; there is something called the Institution of marriage, we obliged. Then we were told that you must have a house and a kids, and raise a family, we complied; and then we were told that if you have some kind of spiritual ambition, then these are the places to go. Just as you go to a Yale or a Howard or a London to study Business. Similarly, you go to a Tiruvannamalai or a Kashi or, Rishikesh for spirituality; we went.
How are we any different from the ones who are found, I repeat, how are the ones who are found in other established centers of whatever? There are centres of shopping, there are centres of production, there are centres of distribution, there are centres of education, and there are centres of holiness. Is the same trend not continuing?
Listener: What is this stopping? How to stop?
AP: If I say this is the way to stop, then that way, firstly be suited to you and acceptable to you.
L: Stop what?
AP: Stop this. Stop this that is asking, rising, climbing, doing, thinking, imagining, acting, not acting, This! This! This! That is enquiring.
L: How to stop this?
AP: Ah! That is what I was talking of. If there is a way to stop it, that way again must be acceptable to you and if it is acceptable to you, it would still be the same thing that you are. Because ‛you’ are accepting it. So there can be no method to stop. The method would be the continuation of the old self. If I give you a method that you did not like; you are asking how to stop?
I am telling you a way to stop. Will you accept that way even if it appears dangerous to you? Once I asked a lady; she asked: How to surrender? I said; go climb that hill and jump from there, that is the way to surrender. She said: “Are you kidding?” I said, “You started it.”
You will only accept a way that you like. Right? And if you are accepting what you like, then you are still being what you are. So how can be a method ever useful? But we are trained to live in methods, we are trained to live in processes. It is the same training that we want to get rid of by getting more training. How will that help? How will that help?
You see, what is wisdom? A Sufi says,“Wisdom lies in not falling in the same hole twice.” Once is all right. Man is born as a creature prone to mistakes. So once is all right. But twice is foolishness. Have we not already had enough of our ways, our methods, our likes and dislikes? None of us are two years old, right? We have lived long enough to see that we have been living in our choice, our discretion, our decision, our so-called individuality. And we have seen that, that has brought us to a point where we are seeking liberation from our own ways. Our own methods have brought us to a point of desperation and still we want one more method. We want more of that which is our basic suffering.
If you were so wise that you could decide on a method to reach Truth, then using that same wisdom, you would have reached Truth directly too. If you are smart enough to decide on a path, then you are already there. Kindly pay attention to something very fundamental:
Only Truth reaches Truth.
L: I want to understand how to do this? How can God come out and stop my mind?
AP: So, you are assuming that there is something called ‛here’, that there is something called ‛here.’ Or God come ‛here’ or I can go there. If you can just pay attention to what you did right now, then everything will be clear. First of all, we ‛believe’ that there is a thing called ‛God’, out there or up there. Second, we believe that there is a possibility that He can come here and this can rise up there. Now is God saying all of this? Is God saying all of this? So we are smart enough to locate the address of God; some divine GPS system may be.
Don’t you see that our “own” beliefs are what we keep us supreme, our ‛own’ beliefs are what we take as God. So why do we need God then? We have already given the supreme positions to our own beliefs and thereby ourselves; that is what the ego wants.
You know, Khalil Gibran, in a very pithy story, he says, that ‘the moon has only one desire: That the sun should sink; that the sun should disappear.’ The ego too has only desire; to keep itself on top of everything. “I am supreme. I am so supreme that I am even able to bring God within my mental domain.” I can figure out Who He is.” Don’t you see that it is the accumulated effect of decade of conditioning that you immediately starts pointing your finger upwards? What is this upwards? Is God a thing in space? Is He living somewhere in the moon?
AP: Are things like space and time any real when you are talking of basic spiritual enquiry? Then what do you mean by ‛here’, ‛there’, ‛up’,‛down’, ‛God’, ‛me’; and if you are saying ‘God had come to you,” your basic assumption lies in separation. You are saying that there is a division. You are saying “God is ‛there’, away from me.” And if you are starting from a position of separation, how will you ever come to a position of union? You see sir, there is a difference between the ways of world and the ways of Truth.
In world, if you have to reach somewhere, first of all there has to be a distance. Is that not so? If you say, you have to reach ‛that’ side of the river, first of all you have to be ‛this’ side of the river. There has to be a distance. In the ways of the Truth, if you have to reach somewhere, you have to already be there. You can reach somewhere only by first being there. First, be there and then try to find a path. Now it is fun, now it is Leela.
Already there, now I am trying to locate this, figure that out, stumbling, falling, searching for the diamond, with the diamond already in my pocket; now it is just like playing. But if you are serious about your laps, if you are serious about your loss, then you will keep feeling that you have lost it. You already have a feeling that you have lost it. That is why the forehead is so freckled.
Stopping means seeing that this is freckled not without a reason and that the reason is false. That is the meaning of stopping. Stopping means seeing what I am already doing. What am I already doing? ‛Interpreting’, ‛Concluding’, ‛Trying’, stopping means not trying, not doing. Stopping does not mean doing something new, so what ‛how’ is needed? How is needed only if something else had to be done. I am saying, no; nothing else; not just stop this that you are already doing. Now the challenge is to first of all discover what am I already doing.
Most of us live such unconscious lives that we do not even know what we are doing. Do we understand this? Most of us are not even aware of, let alone aware of, even conscious of what we are doing? That is spiritual practice.
When you know what is going on, then you are liberated from that which is going on.
The frown is back. Know that it is going on. It cannot be there without a reason, it is not there when you are in deep sleep. And if the frown is there on the forehead right now, it means something is going on; stop that. You can stop that only if you pay attention to that. You cannot stop that till it lies on a dark corner; throw light on it. Now again throwing light is not a ‛how?’, throwing light is not a new action. Light is already there; You obstruct it. Stop obstructing! Stop obstructing!
Stopping is no new action. Stopping is no new action. In this world, greatness is achieved, whatever that greatness means, by acting.
In the domain of The Real, greatness is rediscovered by not acting. By more action, by more methods, by more how’s, you will continue to be in your same old domain, it will continue. The stream will keep flowing; and it is the stream of suffering; as the Buddha said.
L1: Following what have been said, those talks, any talks are useless.
AP: Very useless. Absolutely useless; including this one.
L1: It’s(Mind) still feeding.
AP: Yes! Obviously.
L2: You have to just breathe….
AP: Do you breathe or breathing just happen? If you breathe, please stop breathing. It is very dangerous. Please understand. If you breathe, please stop breathing. But if breathing is happening, then you are anyway not there. Does breathing cease when you are in deep sleep? So that means you don’t breathe. Breathing happens.When you breathe, then there is only medical disorder. Do you run your heartbeat? If you don’t run your heartbeat, then how do You breathe? You can only stop your heartbeat.
L2: I can stop eating.
AP: Do you eat?
L2: It’s my will.
AP: Yes! Do you see, there is a great lesson here. When you eat, you decide what you will eat. When an animal eats, then the body decides what it will eat. That is why animals don’t get most of the ailments that man gets. Most of the diseases that we get are because of what we decide to eat. Man does not get ill because of the starvation, mostly. Man gets ill because of what ‛he’ eats. Don’t eat. Let the body decide what to eat and when to eat.
Things will happen. They happen. Existence has a way of functioning. You obstruct it. Try breathing on your own; try deliberate breathing; see how uneasy you will feel. Try thinking about the next breath. See whether you can breathe even for five minutes. Even breathing will become a burden on the head. Breathing is just there, simply there, in a relaxed way; only when you don’t have to think about breathing.
Our disease is that we have to think about breathing, our disease is that we have to think about everything. And if we don’t think, then we feel that we are not in control and who wants to be in control? The one wants to displace God. When you are not in control, The Divine is in control. But you want to be in control. You say, I will breathe. Why not let him run the breath.
You see sir, it is very easy to suggest a method. It is extremely difficult to come to The uselessness of all that man’s mind can produce; given what we are. It would be very easy to gather an audience and by coming up with a fanciful method, a new name, a new technology, with a little bit of science thrown into it, attractive jargon. But is that what you really want? To be thrown back again and again to the same cycle to be cheated, duped and robbed. Is that what you really want?
L2: Is there fear in stopping?
AP: Yes! Yes! And that is life; that is life. Right? It wants to continue because it is afraid and when it comes to cessation, there is such great fear. You know what is that fear?
L1: To disappear?
AP: Yes! Yes! That is the fear of meeting The Beloved; that is the fear of God. We have become so accustomed to ourselves that anything beyond ourselves appears frightening. When these eyes open and look only at the world, when these ears hears only the sound of the world, then the very possibility that the world might cease is like the possibility of my non-existence.
When do you feel alive? Even in medical science, what is the definition of consciousness? You feel alive only when you see and touch and smell. Is that not so? When do You call a man conscious? When he can say, here is a wall, here is a light, here is something that I can touch. That is what you define as consciousness; me and the world. So your definition of your existence depends on the world being there, out there. Am I right?
Stopping means the world holds no further attraction; and if the world holds no further attraction, then you too go along with the world. But that appears frightening. But tell me, would you rather continue with that which has been troubling you, bugging you, eating you, inside out?
L1: Theoretically no, but practicality, yes.
AP: Practically yes! And answer then, is not a method but a small, innocent prayer. Only that can relieve you from this fear. I can keep talking and keep talking and intellectually I can convince you that this fear is useless. But you would still be afraid. Freedom from the fear comes only by the action of The Divine, not from the action of man. We call it grace. Theoretically, you too call it grace.
But like everything else, you reduce Grace to a word. Not to something that lives, breathes, and is dependable. You don’t depend on it. You talk of it as a concept. You may try your maximum, keep trying. Not for this life but for a thousand lives, you will not reach because the more you try, the more you assert a belief in yourself. Every step that you take is a step in blasphemy.
L3: But some Yogis have tried and practiced and they have achieved what they had to achieve. So you can keep trying, trying and trying and finally, you could achieve.
AP: You have grey hair; you have lived a life. Do you really need to talk of the Yogi? Seriously? Do we not have even our own set of experiences? Are we not living it every moment? Are we not wise enough? Do you really have to depend on somebody’s biography? Somebody’s sermons? And how do you know what really is going on ‛in’ the Yogi. All you know is his words. You are the one who interprets his words.
Are you sure that the Yogi is successfully able to formulate in words, in language which is happening or not happening to Him? And even if he able to somehow put it in words. Are you sure that you are able to decode his words? Can you reach the same emptiness, that he probably might have reached, just by reading his words? Yes? And even if you can, why do you need it? Are you an alien? Are you not alive? Is the world not there for you? Did the Yogi descent from some other land? Was he specially blessed by..
That which you call as the ‛depraved’ and that which you call as the ‛divine’, that which you call as the ‛bhogi’ and that which you call as the ‛Yogi’ are all within you. Why do you need to look hither and thither?
AP: Yesterday, I asked someone, there is a home in which many-many kids live. Something happen and all kids gets lost in the Jungle surrounding the home. All the kids are now lost in the jungle and they are at various places, different places in the jungle. Now they all want to return home, will they all take the same path? Yes? Will the same path be useful to all of them? Remember, that their home might be the same but right now, they are all located differently. So, will the same path bring all of them to home. So how will the path of the Yogi be suited to you? Ah! But that brings in the question of responsibility. Then I have to be responsible for my own life. Then I cannot follow the footsteps of others; and that is a great ask. “Ah! I’ll have to do it with my own.” Yes sir! Self-service here. Self service; ‛Self’ with a capital S.
I very well know that what I am saying is not pleasant to hear. Most of us would rather have something more entertaining, more nice, more sweet, more promising, more drenched in hope. What I am saying brings the conventional patterns of hope to an end. What I am saying brings the entire onus upon us. What I am saying brings us to an immediate stop. Obviously! It is not pleasant.
But we have already had so much of pleasantries all our life. Have we not? We have always been attracted to that which appeared nice and sweet, lucrative and pleasant; and what has that given us? You want to continue like that? Yesterday, you were attracted to a sweet girl, today you want to go to a sweet guru. And then the guru is providing you much the same that the girl promised to provide you; body, material, pleasure.
L3: So, we need to stop the ‛desire?’
AP: When you wake up in the morning, something starts running. Does it not?
AP: Can we be attentive to that? Just knowing that, stops that.
Something starts running. The moment you wake up, something starts running.
L3: So be alert; and see what happens. And then stop.
AP: Don’t stop. Just see!
L3: Just see.
AP: Just see! Okay. It is not as if you have not already had accepted a lot of things. You do not need to accept something new. You are asking do I need to accept this or that, as if we are not already too full of acceptances. You know what is something that you have accepted? It is a belief; it is a principle; it is an assumption. Are you not already full of them?
I am not here to ask you to believe in something alternate. I am not here to suggest a substitute belief to you. I am saying we already believe in a lot of things; can we just see what we are believing in? Can we see that the mess we find ourselves in, that the entire world finds itself in, is a product of those very beliefs; and even the very fundamental beliefs. Beliefs like, this is something that I am sitting on. Beliefs like, I am talking to that man. Beliefs like the sun rises. If that is too abstract, then at least a few superficial few beliefs; this is good and that is bad. Are we not already full of these? And if you are already full of these, then you do need another beliefs.
Spirituality is not accusative. It does not add. It does not give you new experiences. It does not give you an ‛Aha!’ It does not give you something that you will find something nice and cozy. It is freedom from all that which you have accumulated; because which you have accumulated is the trouble, is the disease, is the disorder. But there is always a lot of talk of new experiences. And they always appear so attractive.
Blue light, orange light, saffron light. Somebody feels the sound of the conch reverberating in the heart. Somebody feels a snake or reptile rising up his spine. More experiences, experiences. Have you already not had enough of experiences? And are these new experiences going back to the fundamental thing that we started with? Are these new experiences not a continuation of the same old pattern of experiencing. Somebody likes a particular sweet, somebody likes another kind of dish and the spiritual connoisseur, he likes the sound of the conch in his heart.
L3: You said that if the water is holy every drop of water is holy. You also came here in Rishikesh………..
AP: Where else would I find you?
If one part of the body is swollen, where do I apply the ointments? Where? If one part of the forest is burning, where do I spray the water? Where else would I find you?
The most critical of patients can be found only in the holiest of places.
I came here not for the Ganges. The Ganges flow here in my backyard. I came here for you.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What to stop? How to stop?
Connect to Acharya Prashant:
1. Advait Learning Camps (ALC): Advait Learning Camps are monthly 4-day retreats under the guidance of Acharya prashant in the Himalayas. To participate in the camps, Contact: Sh. Anshu Sharma: +91-8376055661 or Sh. Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998
2. Course in Realization (CIR): Course in Realization is a seven day scripture-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant. To join, either physically or online, Contact: Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240
3. Month of AwakeninG (MAG): Attend Satsangs from Home! MAG is an online series of discourses on handpicked topics by Acharya Prashant on practical and relevant topics like Love, Fear, Achievement etc. To join the online discourses, contact: Smt. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917
4. Meet the Master (MTM): Meet the Master is an opportunity to meet and seek detailed guidance from Acharya Prashant, either in person or online. Contact: Smt. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917