The discourse began with a spontaneous play on the theme of FREEDOM. Enacted by volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation.
Acharya Prashant: Can anyone tell the storyline, please…
Listener: There is this girl and she sees, there was this group of people who were saying “Azaadi, Azaadi (Freedom, Freedom)” inside the walls. So, she was very fascinated that what is Azaadi, what is freedom. So, when she asks them the meaning of freedom, they say, family, religion, jobs and social media are providing us freedom.
So, she also joins them but she doesn’t feel good there. So, she asks questions that I am not feeling free, if the family is freedom then why am I doing what my father says. Then a man comes and he pulls her out of those walls and tells her that the sky, mountains, nature, this is Azaadi.
But later on, he finds that the girl again goes to those chains. And when he again goes after her to free her out of those chains, then she herself kills the man.
AP: So, is the little girl born inside the cage?
AP: Is the little one born inside the cage?
AP: No, she is not born inside the cage, but as soon as she is born, she is?
Pulled into the cage. In fact, birth and the occurrence of the cage are together, concurrent. They happen the same moment.
Those who have known, have been forced to say that just being born is to be born in captivity. In other words, they have said that to be born itself is the beginning of the ego. Only the ego is born.
So, the girl is born and then she is pulled into the cell, into the prison. What is this prison all about? And what does this prison say about itself? What is the prison’s own self-concept? How does the prison look at itself?
L: They are right, they are always right.
AP: Not only are we right, we are actually do-gooders. We want to do good to the little girl. We will provide her nourishment, security, upbringing, education. Right? And she is pulled in there.
What did you notice, if it was represented tellingly, regarding the environment inside the cage, the walls? What were the people doing in there?
L: Everybody is looking for Azaadi. They are crying, they want Azaadi.
AP: So, those who have raised boundaries are often the first to declare that they love freedom and they would raise slogans, and they would give a grand appearance that they are freedom lovers. They would have songs about freedom. In fact, they would be the ones who would be singing the loudest, of freedom. Or, at least that’s what we saw inside this fictional cage. It remains upon us to see, how far this fiction represents reality.
But those who themselves have raised walls, rather ‘are’ the walls, are the composers of freedom songs. Does the free one compose songs of freedom? No, the free one does not, the caged one does. And who is the cage? Is the cage something other than the caged one itself?
I repeat this question, you saw the depiction in the play, is the cage different from the caged one? Are the walls different from the ones trapped inside the wall?
AP: You see, when we started, I asked what was it all about, somebody said, “It was about how the society traps us.” The moment you say, “It was about how the society traps us,” what you intend to communicate, is that the trap is different from the trapped one. You are saying, “The society has caged me, so I am different from the society. Society is caged walls and I am the one inside the walls.” So, there are two.
Did the play suggest that there are two? The play said, “We are our own cages. We are not caged, we ‘are’ our own cages.” And not only are we our own cages, our incessant chants of Azaadi, freedom, only serve to keep us deeper in the illusion that we have been trapped by an external agency. And it is a great illusion. It helps us feel like victims. And if you feel like a victim, then you never look at yourself, then all your energy, anger is directed towards somebody else if at all there is energy and anger.
Even if you feel the pain of being a prisoner, the responsibility of holding you in prison is then turned upon somebody else. That’s the great benefit of victimhood, “I am a victim, somebody else victimized me. And if somebody else victimized me, somebody else needs to change, I do not need to change.”
Do you get this?
I am a victim, I am a victim of somebody else’s mechanizations. If I am a victim, then somebody else is responsible. So, if I am victim, then I might be suffering, and who is it who needs to change? Somebody else. The suffering might be mine, but the onus to change sits upon somebody else, not me.
The play wanted to challenge, among many others, this basic myth as well. If you are suffering, then kindly see that you have not been made to suffer, you ‘are’ the suffering. Anybody who has ever suffered has suffered only on account of himself or herself. Nobody else is responsible. Now, this hurts, I know this hurts. Far more consoling it is to hear, that an external enemy is there, with his nefarious designs, with his evil conspiracies, and he is the one responsible for our troubles and if we can shoot that enemy down then we will be free, liberated, Azaadi.
And, it is troublesome and hurtful to admit that there is no enemy outside of ourselves, man is his own worst enemy.
If we are trapped, then we are the trap.
Fortunately, it does not continue like that. Had it been just a game of cause and effect then this would have been an interminable trap. Somebody who was caught inside would never have been able to emerge out. You are born, you move into the trap and that’s all. Now, how do you come out? In this closed circuit, there appears no way out. Right?
But, at least the play depicts that there is a way out and that way out is provided not by the doings of the ones inside the trap, but by something else. What do we call that something else, from where a way of relief comes? Let’s just call that as grace. The ones inside the prison have done very little to deserve a helping hand. You can be helped against somebody else but how does one help one against himself? That violates the very definition of help. Are you getting this?
If you are in trouble then you can be helped. But if you ‘are’ the trouble, if you are not in trouble, but the trouble is in you, then how are you to be helped? Ordinary causation, can then cannot help. Because in ordinary causation, your prayers, your plea, is the cause of getting help.
The play depicts that help does come but it comes causelessly, in fact, it comes practically against the wishes of those who are about to be helped. Not only does it not come because of the wishes of the trapped one, it actually comes against the wishes of the trapped one. Left to herself the trapped one would say, “I am alright. I am alright in this routine between these walls. And yes, I do feel suffering, and when I experience suffering, what do I do? I find consolation in my Azaadi song. I escape away to my dreams of freedom. When I see that I am trapped, then I find many convenient escapes. One of them is, I am trapped, and somebody else is responsible. The other one is, I am trapped, and I will be free, day after tomorrow.
The next one is, I am trapped but there are pockets of freedom within the trap. So, let me go and take refuge in those pockets. As we all have. Small heavens of freedom within our cages. Freedom within the cage. Right?
But grace descends. Comes somebody, irrespective of our wishes, even against our wishes. He fights the walls, he fights the guards. In fighting those that he is fighting, is he full of animosity, hatred? Does he want to knock them down? Does he want to score a point? Does he want to feel good about himself? Is that his intention? Yes?
Why does the one who comes to help, offer help? Why does he help?
L: Out of compassion?
AP: What is compassion? Because compassion is not a new word for us. Compassion is an already loaded word.
L: Justify to himself…
AP: Is that so?
The one, who is outside, knows what is going on inside. And if he is outside, that means, that he is alright with himself. He has no self-interest in helping. Because he is already okay. Proof that he is already okay, is the fact that he is outside. Had he not been okay, he would have been?
He is not an insider to the cage. He is an outsider. He is alright. Why does he still trouble himself and appear to trouble others as well? Because what happens inside the cage, at least looks like a violent event. When he enters the cage, is he greeted well? No, there is friction, there is fight. That challenges our basic image of compassion. Does it not. According to us, the compassionate one is? Loving, helping, guiding, gently prodding, and indicating. Yes?
But here is the helping one, and he looks like fighting. And it’s a vigorous, animated fight. Does not quite correspond to the image of compassion that we have. If you find somebody knocking somebody down, it would be difficult for us to say, that this is a happening in compassion. We will say this is violence, we will say this is forceful, in fact, we will say that this is a negation of someone’s freedom. Why are you breaking into somebody’s house against his wish? Why are you compelling people, to do what they do not want to do? Surely this is neither freedom nor compassion that’s what we would say. Right?
But, who are we then? Mostly, people inside the cage. And if we are inside the cage, none of our definitions can be free, just as we are not free. We are trapped within ourselves, our definitions are trapped within us. Trapped definition lay claim over defining freedom. How can a trapped definition that arises from an enslaved mind, define freedom?
What does a slave really know of freedom that he would be able to capture freedom within his words, within his definition? Still, we have much too confidence upon our own definitions, our own concepts. And if the happening does not tally with our concepts, it is not our concepts that we seek to modify or dissolve. It is the happening that we then label and judge. Is that not so?
It happens to be a play being staged here, in a so-called spiritual setting, with a definite name, Azaadi. So, it is easy for us, convenient for us to say that the one who knocks at the door from outside, is a helper. But, I ask you, if the same thing happens in our homes, in our lives, would you still call that man a helper? No, that man won’t be a helper, that man would be an intruder, an enemy. Somebody who is challenging our norms, somebody who is bringing down our walls. Somebody who is destroying our homes. Right?
Kindly do not forget, that the play is not fiction. Kindly do not forget that the actors are all literally sitting here. Yes? Are the actors sitting here? Actors, please raise your hands.
(Listeners raise their hands)
Only these many? (Smilingly)
We are all here (Actors).
We are the actors, we are the play, and we are the walls. And, if we are the play, we are the walls, we are the characters in there, then our reactions, please note, are going to be no different from the ones that we saw in the play. The girl who killed the man who helped her is not a girl of imaginations. She is sitting here within all of us. So, the man breaches in, forcefully, fights, lands punches, and of course, the ones fighting him are not going to be considerate. They also pull back no punches. He gets quite a few on himself.
Still, the power of his heart, helps him liberate the girl. He is able to pull her out of the walls. And, at that point, he thinks he has succeeded, that his task is over. Goes away, returns. Returns only to find that the girl is…? Again, back in the trap. The presence of that helper had a magical effect, that presence was able to breach the walls, to show light to the girl. To bring her out of entrapment. But the moment he is gone, the old cycle again sucks her in.
We are not sure what happens after he is gone. We only come to know what happens once he comes back again. And when he comes back again, what does he see? He sees, that his friend, the one he had left as the free one outside the walls, is again, trapped. Goes in, fights once again, but is defeated this time. Defeated not by the walls, they have no power to defeat him. But he is defeated by the one he was trying to defend. He was stabbed by the one he was trying to rescue.
Why do you think, she stabs him? She must be having her reasons, right? Why does she stab him? Why must she think that the one who liberated her is her enemy?
What are the reasons, if we call her here and ask her, why did you this? What would she say? Of course, she would be having her justifications. What would she say? Why must she stab her liberator?
L: Because she thinks that the family, religion are her well-wishers and that man is trying to pull her away from them. Actually, those well-wishers are the one who trap the girl and the man is fighting with them. So, the girl thinks that the man who is saving her is his enemy.
AP: Something like this.
If we ask her, her story would run something like this. She will say, “Why did you fight my father, why did you fight my brothers? And you know what, when you were carrying me out of this prison, I got hurt. You were in the middle of a war then. Did you take care that I was not being bruised? You carried me out on your back. Did you know that when you were pulling me out, when you were lifting me on your back, my shoulder got a little sprained? Did you know that the walls that you brought down, are not walls outside of me, they are my own mind.”
“In bringing down those walls, you have hurt my mind, you have hurt me. You have hurt everything that I stand for. You have hurt my family, you have hurt my ideology, and you have hurt my self-concept. What do you think, you were fighting those around me? No. Those around me, are me. Those around me are me. So, in liberating me, as per your wishes, you are hurting me deeply.” And that is the trouble, the paradox, anyone who wants to help is confronted with.
The one you want to help is simply not prepared to accept that she needs help. In fact, that is your only challenge. To, first of all, let her see that she is in need of help. But, that seeing won’t happen. That seeing won’t happen by itself, in one year, in two years, in ten years, in ten births, it won’t happen. Because the agency that has been trusted with seeing, judging and accepting is itself the conditioned agency. How will you come to see that you are trapped? Your very definition of a trap has been supplied to you by the trap itself. So, you will never say, you are trapped.
Are you seeing the helplessness of the helper here? Are we together on this? The doctor wants to tell the patient, “You are in trouble, you are sick.” But the very sickness of the patient is that he has defined sickness as health. Now, how do the two communicate? How do the two really get on the same page? It is becoming impossible, do you see this?
The doctor says, “You know what, you feel insecure, you feel ambitious, jealous. You are sick.” But what is the nature of the sickness of the patient? That he has defined jealousy and insecurity as?
So, the doctor is saying, “You are sick because you are insecure.” The patient is saying, “But I am healthy, and the proof of that is that I am insecure.”
Now, the very foundation of relationship, the very basis of communication becomes impossible. Are you seeing this?
A few basic lessons.
If you really want to help, yourself or the other, but if your intention is to help; first of all, create conditions in which the helped one can see that she needs help. Because nobody is to be helped against the other. Everybody needs help only against himself or herself. And if one needs help only against himself or herself, then fighting others to liberate her, must be secondary. Because the others are only a secondary problem. The fundamental problem lies within the prisoner, not in the prison.
So, demolishing the prison would be no good because the prisoner is trapped around himself. You can bring down all the walls of the prison, he will go and find a new prison. And prisons are not difficult to find, are they? If the mind is confined, then the whole world becomes a confinement. You will be able to raise a confinement for yourself, boundaries.
At the end of the depiction, one hardly feels sorry for the helper. He lived beautifully. He was free and he tried to bring a taste of the same freedom to the others as well. Even in his death, he was as free as he was in his life. If one feels sorry, it is for the girl. Grace shown upon her, even against her wish, not as a result of her prayers, but as a result of her being, and she missed it. Not only has she missed it, there is no certainty that if a next helper comes, she will not repeat the same story.
You know, when you know that you are in a trap, then the more time you spend in a trap, the more intense your desire becomes to get out of the trap. But that is when you…? Know that you are in a trap. When you know that you are in a trap, then every passing minute, every hour, is a challenge. Then you say, “It has been these many hours, these many months, and I cannot bear it. Remaining enslaved is not my nature, I must come out of it.”
But, I repeat, that is only when you know that…?
L: You are trapped.
AP: You are trapped. When you know that you are trapped, then time becomes a reminder. In that sense, time becomes a helper. When you know that you are trapped, then the more is the length of the imprisonment, the more is your desire to break out. But when you do not know that you are trapped, in fact time becomes an enemy. Because if you say, that this is not my trap, this is my home, this is me, these are my friends, these are my thoughts. Then the more time you spend there, the more you become acclimatized, conditioned, the more you become habituated. Now time is an enemy.
And, most of us, have no realization that we are trapped. With the result, that now time, age and experience, become our enemies. If you are fifty years old then you have become so habituated to the trap that now it is doubly, trebly, difficult for the helper to convince you that something needs to change. Because you have spent time inside, you have invested your life inside the trap. Now, you won’t listen. Now, your attention would keep tethering, wavering. And if the fellow insists too much, then obviously there is the dagger. Or, the poison, or the gallows, or the cross.
Never rely upon the argument that time will heal things, that time will bring the Truth to the trapped one. Time will not bring the Truth to the trapped one, Grace may. And Grace is not dependent upon time. You cannot say that if I spend two years, then Grace befalls. So, avoid spending, even the next minute inside the trap. The more is the time that you spend inside the walls, the more difficult it will be for you to bring down the walls.
The conventional logic that one will ultimately get fed up of slavery, does not work. Nobody ever gets fed up of slavery, never. In fact, the longer you remain a slave, the deeper becomes your adjustment to slavery. Now, you are a well-adjusted and apparently satisfied slave. So, do not think that time can help. Time will not help. Time will only thicken the walls. Time will only raise another layer of dust upon the mind. Time will make your vision, even more blurred. This is not a disease that time can heal, for this is a disease that time itself has given. Kindly do not wait for tomorrow, time will not help.
If all this gives us, even the slightest indication, that we might be trapped, then do not wait. We have already waited long enough. Far longer than we should have.
L: Then, what to do Sir? we cannot leave our family. Because they are the people who have loved and nurtured us till this age. We cannot leave our job because that gives us financial independence. Then what to do?
AP: What’s your name?
AP: Jayati, the whole objective of the play, and we repeated that many a time; was not to communicate that others are enslaving us. Did we not discuss that? Is it about feeling victimized by the job or the family? Is that what we meant to communicate? That the family is the oppressor, that the job is the problem. Is that what the play intended to communicate? Yes? Is that what we discussed? Repeatedly, we said, “We are the trap.” We are our own enslavers. Do you have to rebel against the family? Do you have to drop the job?
How will you drop the job? You are the one who chose it. You, remaining yourself, how will the job change? Did the job drop from the skies? You made an application, you went to join there. And if you remain what you are, why do you assume that you can ever drop the job? It’s not about the job, it’s about looking at yourself.
The walls are all inside the mind. The mind itself is the walls. And, as long as the walls are in there, nobody can help. Least of all, can you help yourself. How will the wall help the prisoner? Are you getting it?
It is not about the job. It is about, what brought you to that job and what keeps you daily in that job? Had you really felt fed up, would you have stayed there? Surely there was something that attracted you to that place. Surely there is something that brings you every morning to that place. Find out what is it, within you, that tethers you to that place. Find out.
Do you go there, because you love it? Do you go there, because it offers peace? But still, you go there. So, surely you are looking for something, you are searching for something. And what you are searching for is apparently being provided by that place. What comes first, the promise of that place that it will provide you what you are looking for, or, your assumption that you are hungry for something and you will get it at that place? What is it that you think your job is providing you? What is it that you think, that you get by going to all the jobs and social circles that you go to?
Similar is the question of the family. What do we mean by the family? Is the family about the persons that you meet? Or, is every person actually, your relationship with that person? Let’s be clear on this.
When you say, “Family,” are you talking really of persons, or a network of relationships? It appears as if we are talking of persons because the moment somebody says, “Family,” he says, “Father, mother, sister, brother.” So, what do you name? Persons. So, we get into an illusion that the family is made up of persons, but if we go a little closer to it, a little deeper, we will find that the family is not really persons. The family is relationships. The view that you have of the person is the person. Is the person anything except the meaning he or she holds for you? And the meaning that that person holds for you is your relationship with him.
There is a girl, there is her father. Is the father the same to the world as he is to his daughter? Had it been about the person, the person would have been an objective entity, same to the entire Universe, right? So, it’s not the father, it’s the relationship between the father and the daughter that defines the father in the daughter’s eyes, and the daughter in the father’s eyes. Are we together on this?
So, what do you mean when you say, “Do we need to drop the family?” Obviously, you do not need to drop the persons. But, don’t you need to drop all the poison that is there in relationships? Must you drop the persons, or must you drop all the harmful aspects of the relationship? In other words, the person remaining the same, can’t the relationship change? And obviously the person has to remain the same, one is not going to fetch a substitute pair of parents. They are not readily available, are they? The persons cannot be changed, not in most cases.
Then what do we mean by family, what do we mean by improving the family environment? Obviously, it means that the relationship has to change. If you are relating in fear, in anger, or in greed, then that aspect of relating needs to be dropped. And, that can be dropped only when the need to have that aspect is first dropped from within yourself.
But, you see, what we do. We do not say that I will be courageous enough to change myself and hence my relationships. Instead, we quickly say, “I will change the person.” Or, at least that’s what the question becomes. The question about dropping the person, changing the person. And that’s a convenient thing to do, right? That appears difficult, but still that is more convenient than changing ourselves.
A relationship is not going smoothly. There are two options, one – change yourself so that the relationship changes; second – drop that person, and get somebody else to fill in the vacuum. Which of these two do we actually do? The second one. The second one appears troublesome. Why? Because then you will go out and cry hours, “I had a break-up.” But still, you have protected something. What is it that you have protected?
AP: Who you yourself are. That is protected. So, the world will think that you are in trouble, the world will think that you just passed through a disturbing event. And what was that disturbing event apparently? That you had a breakup. What the world will not see, is that in breaking up you have prevented ‘yourself’ from breaking up. And that ‘yourself’ is – ego. You have said, “I can let go of this relationship, but I cannot let go of my…? Ego. Even if the relationship is to crumble, let it crumble, I will remain what I am.”
The path of the really loving one is different. The really loving one does not ask the question, “Should I drop the family!” She then says, “Of course, if there is trouble within the family that is to do with the way people relate with each other. If I am the one, sensing the trouble, I am the trouble. I have to figure out how do I relate, and in attempting to change the way I relate, I will have to change. That requires courage. That requires devotion. Otherwise, this question becomes such a convenient escape. And that is why I am speaking at length on it.
Because it is very easy to go back after three hours from this place and say, you know what? The speaker said quite a few right things. But what he said, implies that I will have to give up on some of my relationships and that is why I cannot accept what he said. It is such a convenient excuse, is it not? What he was saying was right, but you know it is impractical for me. Why is it impractical for me? Because if I follow, or agree, to what he said, then I will have to create fault-lines within my family. And I want no disturbance in my family environment, so I would rather not be with the speaker.
Your argument, which is really an accusation, is imaginary. The speaker is all the time imploring you to turn within. He is repeatedly telling you that the family has not trapped you. Nobody can be trapped against his wish. All slavery is our own consent to slavery.
In fact, the play has brought out the very futility of bringing down the walls. A helper comes, a messiah comes, he fights the walls, and that’s the mistake he makes. That’s the mistake he makes, and for that mistake, he pays with his life. It is another question, whether that mistake was possible not to be made. Or, there was an element of inevitability in it? It is another matter that whosoever has ever come to help, is helpless in making that mistake. Even if he knows that it is a mistake, he would still be compelled to make it, because there is no option. One cannot wait. Waiting is useless. Yes?
L: Sir, in a way, if I would have examined the play, it ends on a despondent note. That’s the way of my looking at it. What happens in life is that the liberated one, or the one who has found that ray of hope or grace, f or him, this wall is falling brick by brick. It hasn’t collapsed totally. It is a stage of transition. Here comes the factor of time. Now, while this brick is coming down one by one, you yourself are going through this process, and you want to embrace your loved ones. Now, this requires time. Now, we will have to examine what you have said that time is enemy, and time must not be embraced.
You see, when I say “Time”, I talked of time in two ways. One is to use time as a psychological refuge. And, to say that, I am not doing anything because I feel myself incapable of action and let time solve the issue. That is one way of using time or looking at time. Now we are using time as some kind of escape, a shelter.
The other is, “I am entering into action right now. And if that action is consuming time, then so be it, I am not impatient.” There is a subtle but a great difference between these two. Please see, there appears a very difficult task in front of us. One approach is, the task is so difficult that I leave it to be handled by time. The task is so difficult that being what I am today, with my energy, my resources, my understanding, my knowledge, I am not equipped to handle this task. So, what do I do? I don’t look at the task. I leave it to some imaginary date in the future, or to some well-planned date. Doesn’t matter, both are the same.
The other is, “I know that there is urgency in the situation, I know that the right action needs to be done. But, the fruits of the right action are not in my hand. I do not know when the whole thing will bear fruits, will materialize. But, at least the action is happening right now. And when the action takes time, so be it.” And when I say, “The action takes time, I mean the appearance of the fruits take time. And the fruits obviously, come, only when they have to come. You do not know when your actions will bear fruits. And it is not wisdom, to keep thinking of the fruits. So, you do what you must do. You keep hitting on the walls, and if the wall comes down brick by brick, so be it. One has been given only limited energy and time and resources.
Life is not a ten-minute play.
What has been depicted over here, is the run of probably two decades. Two decades, summed up in ten minutes! So, obviously what has been shown here as the spontaneous crumbling of the wall, in life that will happen brick by brick, minute by minute, hour by hour, month by month. Here it happens immediately. Right? And that is much the same, that is not different at all. The only thing is one should not postpone it, one should not depend on the future. One must not say that I understand what is right, and yet I will not do it because doing it is impractical. And that is a very convenient argument with most of us.
The difference between the wise man, the spiritual man, and others is not that one understands and the other does not. The real difference is that one has faith and the other refuses to have faith. One says that I understand and I will do what is right. One says, “I understand what is right and I will do what is right, not bothering about the results. I will do what is right because I understand what is right.” The other says, “I too understand what is right.”
Remember, the other does not say that I do not understand what is right. Everybody knows, we all know what is right. So, the other one also says,” I know what is right, just as the first fellow does, I too know what is right. But still, I will not do what is right because I am afraid of the results.”
That is the essential difference between the spiritual mind and the faithless mind. The faithless mind, in spite of knowing what is right, does the opposite, because he calculates, he tries to predict the results. And, if in his own calculations and imaginations, the results are not as per his liking, he will not get into the right action. Is that not what our story is? Don’t we often say, “Oh, well I know what is right, but if I do what is right, then the repercussions would be unbearable? Right? Don’t we say that?
That is the difference between us and the seer, the sage, the spiritual warrior. He says, “Once it is right, it must be done. The consequences, we will see.”
Because the consequences of a right action cannot be wrong, the very definition of right action is that it cannot have the right consequences. Whatever are the consequences, must be taken as right. Consequences cannot be labeled as right or wrong as per my judgment. The only way to ask, whether a consequence is good or bad, is, “Is this the consequence of a right action?” If it is the consequence of the right action, then it is the right consequence. That doesn’t matter if it hurts you. And, if it is the consequence of the wrong action, then even if the consequence appears to be sweet, it is terribly bitter.
It is not the action or the fruit of the action that matters. What matters is, where is the whole thing coming from. Coming from the right place, it is right, even if it appears to be wrong. And coming from the wrong place, even if it appears to be pleasurable, it is terribly wrong.
L: There is a kind of situation that there are a few things which are right, we may not be knowing which is right which is wrong. We may have perceived notions, this is right, which probably may be wrong. So, how to differentiate between right and actual wrong which may be perceived right. That is a challenge that one faces. That is why we may continue with those wrong actions and which are resulting in wrong outputs, so how to differentiate?
AP: You see, this is not tricky or complicated at all. The question is, “how do we know whether an action is the right action?” It’s not a very complicated question.
Whatsoever makes you feel limited and small, whether it gives you pain or pleasure, that doesn’t matter, But whatsoever reinforces your belief in your limits, in your smallness, cannot be right.
You earn a lot for yourself, and you feel happy about it. Now, apparently this is a pleasurable event, right? I am earning a lot. But earning a lot ‘for myself’, and if you are earning a lot for yourself, then this is strengthening your belief in your limits. Similarly, you felt hurt and you are crying for yourself. Apparently, this is a painful event. But, whether it is pleasurable or painful, does not matter, what matters is that you are crying for yourself, and that again makes you feel as if you are cut off from the rest of the world.
Whatsoever makes you feel limited in time, limited in relationships, limited in being, whatsoever makes you feel like an island in the sea, or even an oasis in the desert, just cannot be right.
I could have put it more classically, more technically, and said, that the ego is boundaries and limitations and these things and how the ego is enhanced. What is meant by body centricity, and mind centricity, I could have talked about all those things. But, I am putting it very very simply – The more confined an action makes you, you must know that more it is emerging from confinement and it cannot be right.
Are you getting this?
And you will know this. My words may not be very sharp, may not be capable of communicating it to you very clearly, but if you are attentive to your own situation, then you know when it is not the right action. Your very attention is the final judge. In that honesty, you immediately sense discomfort when you are not acting from the right point. Then your responsibility is to not to let that discomfort continue. These are the only two things that matter. If you are attentive, you will come to know what is not right. Having come to know what is not right, if you are faithful, you will not do what is not right. Attention and faith. If either of these is missing, then life remains incomplete.
L: We are talking about the right action, and we saw it in the play that things can change that actually capture us. So, I am sitting here, I am immersed in the session. The moment I go out, things change, and they capture me. So, what would be the right action to remain immersed?
AP: One feels almost as if the girl in the play is talking.
In the presence of help, one feels free. At least, temporarily one feels free. But, the moment that presence is gone, one again falls in the same trap. The man pulls her out of the walls, and till that moment, she is alright. With freedom holding her hands, she too is free. The man goes and the old girl returns. Right?
Question is – ‘What to do about it?’ Before we ask what more to do about it, let’s examine the situation and see, at what place is the central mistake happening. The central mistake here is that the helper is a person for the girl. The helper is just Grace. Is he not? The helper is just Grace. Grace that has taken the form of the person. The form might be that of a man. But, we talked of it, that actually it is just grace.
And what do we mean by Grace? By Grace, we just mean, causeless help. Help that you have done nothing to deserve. Help that one deserves just by the virtue of her being. Because I exist, so I deserved to be helped because I exist, so I deserve a few things. That is Grace. That you don’t have to earn. That is just available. Predestined. You will get it. You don’t have to file an application, you deserve it, and it is innate.
But, the girl does not see Grace as something formless as something causeless. Because for herself, she is the body, so the rescuer too is just a person, a man, a body for her. And, if your friend or your teacher or Grace is a man or a person, then a man or a person has limitations. He will go away one day, but you were associated with the man, the person. You thought he is the one helping. And if he goes away, you are left in limbo. Now, you feel that Grace itself has gone away.
This is the result of associating Truth squarely with a person. I ask you after he had gone away, was there no other way to keep in touch with one’s inner Truth? Will one keep depending on the physical presence of a person? And I have heard this question so many times that Sir, as long as we are in this hall doubts don’t arise, there is peace and clarity simply seems to shine. But the moment we go out there is again the same old cycle. I ask them, that something cannot just change into something else. If there is peace and silence, it suddenly cannot turn into noise, there has to be a trigger in between. Something gets switched on in between. Why don’t you catch that?
I will tell you what it is. That is the point when you feel that the session is over. That is the point when the girl felt that the man is gone. You too feel that the man is gone. The girl too felt that the man is gone. The session is over, the help is over. The help is never over. The man might have gone away in one form. I ask you, are there no other ways in which that man might remain present? Even after this session gets over, are there no other ways in which you can be reminded of ‘this’ again and again? Is it necessary that some speaker, some helper from somewhere, keeps sitting in front of your physical eyes always? Are there no other ways to be reminded?
L: Usually we are trained like that.
AP: We are not only trained, we become dependent.
AP: I am asking you, “Are there no other ways?” And don’t give me this, that yes, our own inner Truth, can be a way. If the mind had been so devoted that it would have heard directly to the inner Truth, there would have been no need for any movement. But are there no bridges? On one hand is one extreme, what is that extreme? I would be peaceful only as long as my hand is been physically held. Like that hand of the girl in the play. I would be peaceful only as long as I am physically sitting in front.
And the other extreme is, “No I do not need any support, my own self is the only authority, I do not need to do anything.” Aren’t there bridges? Aren’t there other ways of reminding oneself? I am asking you, what are the other ways which you can use, to be reminded of that, which that helper brought to the girl? Why else are the scriptures written?
L: We can also remind to ourselves.
AP: No, see that is another extreme. I am not denouncing that extreme. That is a beautiful extreme. But I am asking whether that extreme is right now available to you, as you are. And, if that is available, nothing better than that. But even if that is available, are there other ways, methods? Are there not? Are there not?
Even memories can be a method. The same memories that remain a burden on the mind can be a method. Just as the girl remembers of so much of what has been taught to her, drilled into her, couldn’t she have also remembered the valiant struggle of the helper? I am asking this to you. Often I ask people, “Why is there a need to be given twenty minutes to read these books after you arrive here?” Why can’t these be read in advance, why can’t they remain with you throughout the week?
And won’t that help? And won’t that take away the excuse that right now we are not in active communication? Is reading a book not really active communication? I am asking this, please?
AP: And is it not surprising that if we can invest time in traveling and sitting, we find it difficult to invest time in simply reading. At the root of all this lies that question – Is not the Universe always offering help in a thousand forms? Or, does that existential help have to necessarily take one definite form? One definite form that too the narrow form of a person.
Does the teacher really have to be a person sitting in front of you?
Yes, of course, it is useful and convenient when he is one. But if he is not available in the physical form, what do you do? You become despondent, you cry aloud and you return back to the walls? Is that what you will do? I am asking you, please?
Will you return back to the cage? Because the teacher is now not there to guide or fight on your behalf.
Would you do that?
Of course, there are other ways. If you really intend to remain helped, why don’t you use those ways?
I know of a household, a household very close to me, very near to me. They are people who have known me since a long time, every single poster that you see outside, and many posters more than these, they have bought all of them, and they are here right now. Not less than, thirty, forty, fifty, posters they would have taken. And they have taken those with love. But, when I visit that house, all of those posters are neatly, cleanly, nicely, are stacked in a cupboard.
Obviously, at the time of getting them, the intention was not to keep them in a cupboard. But where are those posters relaxing right now? In the cupboard. Where are those books? None of those books have gathered even a speck of dust. They are all very clean, in fact, they can be resold. They are all very clean, because they have not even been touched. They have been bought and confined to the bookshelf. Is help not available? Is it not available?
But remaining within the walls, just as we have acquired so many things, we have also acquired the habit of? Dependency.
“Come and spoon feed us. On our own, we cannot even read a book, we cannot even watch a video.” Anouska, who has asked this question, is also one of the members of the team, who call up people across the week to remind them to come over. Some of you might have received calls from them. If you ask them on a Saturday, so how many people have genuinely committed that they would come? You know what would they say?
Anushka, how many committed to you?
AP: And where are the others? Where is Anu? Outside? How many committed to her?
AP: Same to Shivani. A total of 25 to 30. And I am so sure, not yet checked up, not more than 5 or 7 of them would have turned up. Not that people were lying at that time, the ones who were talked to, were genuine people. One must respect their intention, but the walls are then not outside of us, they are all within.
Something within us prevents us from receiving help, even when it is coming freely. Never blame the situation. Never say that the existence has been harsh upon you. Existence has been very large-hearted, in all possible forms, it has been trying to correct, to teach, to love, to heal. Whether it is in the form of the rain, the bird, the cloud, or the teacher. Instead, ask, “Am I prepared to take that help? Even if the book is present in my house, am I prepared to read it? Am I prepared to read? Am I prepared, to not even meditate, but simply to think?”
L: Sometimes people read religious books, just to be able to speak in the society.
AP: Even for that purpose! Am I prepared to read? Let the purpose be this. If you cannot read for any other purpose, just read in order to brag in front of others. But even for this purpose, at least read. Help never goes away. The protagonist in the play, never really left the girl. If you ask the scriptures, they will say, the Guru never deserts you. Even if he dies, he never goes away. Because he was in the first place, never a person. And, if he is never a person, how can he go away. Help is always present, ask whether you are willing to take it. That is the question to be asked. Getting it?
And help is nearer than what you might be thinking. It makes us take pleasure in suffering, when we say, “You know, my situation is so complicated, so intractable, that nobody can help it.” It is not so at all. I assure you, that even the most complicated problems are extremely easy to solve, provided you are prepared to solve them. Problems do not get solved because we have a stake in keeping them as problems. So, if receiving help is a problem, if absence of help is a problem, remember that it is a self-created problem. We have a stake in keeping this problem alive. The moment you say, I really need help, you have already been helped. The problem is fictitious.
L: If one wants to help, how does one go about helping? How does one create the right conditions for the other?
AP: The question is, “If one wants to help, how does one go about helping? How does one create the right conditions for the other?” Good, practical question.
I have often and repeatedly said that to help the other, you have to be a nobody. Now, that sounds quite theoretical and abstract. What is meant by this statement, that to help the other you have to be a nobody?
It means that you have to be a someone, a no one, who has no choices or preferences of his own, except the preference to love. Except the desire to be loving, all other desires are now gone. Or, at least all other desires are now secondary. The primary desire is just love. All other desires are subservient to it now. Which means, that I am not really bothered about what I am doing, as long as it is serving the purpose of loving. I don’t have any choices, preferences left now. I will not say that I will do this work only my way. Then how will I do this work, which way will I do this work? Now, I will do this work, your way. If I am nobody then I get all the freedom to act as per your wishes. Are you getting it?
In trying to help the other, often a big barrier is the helper himself. Because, the helper says, “I will help, but only in this particular way. This particular way which is the right way according to my ideology. I want to help you, by helping you behave as per my wishes.” Now, that’s a barrier.
To help someone, you have to be a no one which means that your own dislikes and likes relegate to the background. Now, you look at the other. Now, you look at the others conditioned mind. Obviously the other is conditioned. Obviously the other is trapped, that is why he needs help. So, you look closely at the mind on the one you intend to help. And you say, “I have no preferences, openly on a clean slate I will see, how this person can be helped? I have no ideology. I am not approaching this person with a preset agenda. Instead, I am seeing, that if this person is conditioned, what is the contour of the conditioning. What is the whole landscape of the city that he has built inside his mind? What are the patterns of his or her conditioning? And to liberate her, I will use those patterns. Now, in using those patterns the barrier is your own patterns. Because you say, that if I use those patterns, then I am doing something wrong, something immoral. Or, at least I am doing something that I don’t stand for. That does not correspond to my ideals.”
The real helper is a man without ideals. The real helper is free to help. That is what is meant by being without ideals.
He does not say that I will help in this particular way. He says that I will help in a way that is practical. I will help in a way that is useful. I will not help in a way that just makes me feel grand about myself. I will not say that I am standing on that high podium, and from there in a condescending way, I look at you and say, “Now you do what I command you to do. I will see, what will work in your case. I will see, what will work in your case, what is practical in your case. And I am not going to check whether what is practical has been sanctioned by religious commandments or social morals. Whether the commandments permit it or not, whether the society it as right or wrong, whether my own experience agrees with it or not, still I will go into it, because I have no preferences of my own, my only desire is to love.
My only desire is your welfare. And if my desire is your welfare, I am prepared to stoop down. I am not going to pull you up to my level because you are not yet ready for it. Instead, I will come down to your level to help. I am prepared to drop my grandstanding.
And that is a mistake, the arrogant lover often makes. The arrogant lover says, “I love you, so you must come to me.” Do you get this? “I love you, and I am taller and higher than you, so you must rise up to me.”
The real lover says “I have no preferences, I can be anywhere, and it does not matter to me, where I am. But it matters to you, where you are, you will not leave your position. It doesn’t matter to me, where I am, I can easily leave my position, so I will come down to your position.” In fact, now, saying that I will come ‘down’, is also a statement of arrogance. I am just coming close to you. I won’t even say, I am coming ‘down’ to you. I am coming close to you. I am coming close to you so that I can offer my help to you, my hand to you.
I know very well that you are fixated to your position, which is your ego. And you will not leave that. And if I just keep wishing that one day you will come to me, then it is not going to happen. You will never come to me. So, I will come to you. Maybe when I come down to you, that will help you come up to me. And then, down and up, both are gone.
Are we getting this?
Please see that often there is a lot of self-interest and pride and arrogance contained in helping. And that is why the help does not succeed. You are only left with wounded pride. You are only left with a self-ascribed license to say, “You know I did my best to help, still, the person did not receive my help.” Leave what the other person is doing, to himself. Whether he receives it or not is another matter. First of all, observe honestly whether you have done everything to help?
And, you know, the most difficult thing in helping is to drop the pride of being the helper. That’s a great pride. I am the helper, so why should I come down to you. I am the helper, why should I bend? I will remain in the heavens. And, from the heavens I will keep scolding you, imploring you, cajoling you, or whatever, to rise. But the one on the Earth has forgotten her wings, she will not fly. You say you have wings, right? You are the helper. You say you have wings. Use your wings, come down, and come down to her level. That’s humanity, basic humanity.
Come down from your enlightened heights. Do not keep sitting on the top of the mountain. The top of the mountain is a place of pride. You can sit there and keep cursing the entire world. You can keep cursing from there, that you know, I am inviting everybody. But, nobody is taking my invitation. If you really want to invite them, go where they are. If you really want to help someone, kindly take care, and be sensitive to understand his or her mind. Act as per his needs, not your preferences.
The mother does not give to the baby, what tastes good to her. She gives to the baby what the baby needs. Do you know what the other needs? That cannot be known through books. That can be known only through a loving and sensitive relationship. Yes?
L: Well, I think I see that I am left high and dry, sitting on that podium. And my love comes from a deep pride. I discover that there is a fear that if I lead, I will get sucked into that vortex again. I earned my own freedom in a way that is so dear to me, that I feel I could get sucked into that walls again. It’s not knowing yourself fully, that okay now if I just yield and give in, I will be gone.
AP: No, I assure you won’t be. You know, when you enter those walls again to help, then you are no more the same person.
There was a Siddartha Gautam who left the palace, and the city and civilization to go to the jungles, and there was the Buddha who again returned to the fold of civilization. He won’t be gone, he won’t be destroyed.
And kindly do not think that enlightenment is an event post which you get the license to go back to the World. No.
Going back to the world is a part of the Buddha’s Buddhahood. It is a continuous movement. In fact, you sit on that high podium because you want to defend something. Because your own freedom is dear to you. I assure you that freedom will gain fullness only when it is put to test. Only when it is challenged. In that daily challenge, in that daily testing, that freedom gets real nourishment, not merely ideological or intellectual. Sitting outside the arena, you can just keep imagining intellectually that you are free.
Sit, not just there. Jump into the arena. And if you have jumped, from the right center, with faith, in order to help someone; then continue to have faith. You may not be perfect, and nobody is. But, with a surrender to perfection, when you enter the battle, even while being poorly equipped, then someone else fights on your behalf. So, do not wait for the day when you will be fully liberated. You will never be fully liberated sitting in isolation. Liberation is not something that you gain outside of yourself, outside of relationships. Kindly get this myth out of your head. You will not get it by breaking, by severing your bonds with the world. Yes, a little bit of solitude is necessary, but that is not the same as staying afar.
L: But, Sir, absolute freedom only can be defined when you stay apart from all these.
AP: No, not at all.
Staying apart can never be in the physical sense.
L: Even mentally?
AP: What do you mean by staying apart mentally? Staying apart mentally is a subtle thing. It only means that you are not being corrupted by that which you are trying to cure. That the doctor himself is not catching the virus that he is trying to treat. Only that is, what is meant by freedom. What kind of health you have if you are still so afraid of the virus? To have health means, that my immunity is so strong that now I can face all kinds of pathogens. Instead, if you say that no no no, everything should be sanitized and I will stay away from the real world because I am afraid that pathogens, bacteria and such things will destroy my health. It only means that you have no confidence, no trust in your health.
You must have a deep trust, that even if you enter the grind of daily life, still daily life will not destroy you. Staying outside, staying isolated in no solution. And, when you enter daily life because you want to help, then you cannot impose your ideals. Remember, that you have returned just for the sake of the other. Not for your own sake. So, now you will let things happen as per the other’s wish. You will remain as a constant companion, guiding very subtly. Very very subtly.
L: If the person you are trying to help, you think is wrong. And you have to become a Karna, or a Krishna, the path you have to take…
AP: You see, this is what is meant by moral high standing. “The person I am trying to correct is wrong.” And the moment you say this, that the person I am trying to correct is wrong, it is guaranteed that he will stay the way he is. In fact, he will strengthen his position. Precisely because, you are constantly telling him, you are wrong. Nobody likes to be told, that they are wrong. If you really want to help, one thing that you must never feel or say, is that – I am right and you are wrong. That is the best way of not helping.
Nobody actively wishes himself ill luck. Nobody. Whatever is the state of the person, that person is in that state because he somehow thought that that state would help him.
Is there anybody who wants to remain in suffering, actively, consciously? No. There might be a deep tendency, but it would be a deeply hidden tendency. Hidden from the person as well. So, what do you mean by wrong? He is suffering and you are calling him wrong. Is that the language of love?
Are you getting this? Please.
If you are still dealing in the language of right and wrong, then you are just being violent towards the other.
L: If you are helping him, then your ethics will not allow you to a level where your ethics do not allow…
AP: What do you love more? The one you want to help or these ethics?
L: Will have to decide.
AP: Yes, please decide. The lover has no ethics. The lover has no ideals. Otherwise, you can keep your ethics and talk to them, live with them, eat with them, walk with them, sleep with them, kiss them. Ethics.
‘Your’ ethics, right? What does the other have to do with it? The others are living in a self-manufactured world. That world does not recognize your ethics. Your ethics will not be applicable there. They will be irrelevant there. Using your ethics, you will never be able to help the other one. To help the other one you will have to enter the other’s world. And in that world, your ethics mean very little.
L: You will have to compromise.
AP: It is not a compromise. When you are with a little kid and he says, that you become my horse. and you willingly kneel down on your fours and you have the baby ride on your back, are you compromising? Is that the word you use? Is that a compromise?
Lovers, cajoling each other, are slapping and stroking each other in love, do you call that a humiliation, a compromise, an insult? Yes?
A Mystic is singing, and he is referring to God as “Tu”, not “Aap”, not “Tum” but “Tu”. Will God say that his status is being compromised? Love talks an entirely different language than ego. There, words like compromise have no meaning. What you give away willingly is not a compromise, it is your joy.
But yes, in this, obviously you cannot give up on that which started you in the first place. What started you in the first place was an unconditional love towards the other which is self-secure, which is not worrying about one’s own welfare. That great sense of inner security is something you must never compromise on. On everything else, you can compromise. When one is helping the other, there is only this one thing that must never be violated, everything else can be violated if the need be. That one thing is your own inner devotion, your own inner self-sufficiency, and security.
Only when you know that you are not going to be tainted, you can jump even into a muddy pond, or even into a sewer. That inner confidence that I cannot be tainted, that must never go. Only when that is intact, that you will be able to jump into even a cesspool.
On everything else, please compromise. Except for the center compromise on everything else. And that will not be called as compromise.
We have talked for quite a while now, is all of this merely food for thought to you, or does it mean something beyond that. Are we doing an academic exercise here? Or are we really able to listen it from the heart and be open to it?
See, it is very possible to spend time. And time flies away. After a while, this session will be no more. And it’s possible to walk away totally untouched. It’s possible to be totally impervious. I came as somebody and I go out as somebody. And I will not allow anything to look at that somebody, let alone question it. Is that what is happening? Are we allowing our normal grind, our normal patterns to be present here as well? Or, is there a quality about this that we otherwise do not encounter. Remember that that quality is not something this speaker can provide you. That is a quality of your own mind, so only ‘you’ are responsible for it. In no way can I claim that I can bring a certain quality to the session, but still ‘you’ can have it. This is an opportunity.
L: Here, I can share my experience of this session.
I never knew what is going to be talked, and I just wanted to come and sit and listen. Because a lot of questions keep on bothering me, about daily life, so I thought it might be something that I may get out of this.
Fortunately, I can say that I got answer to one of the questions which were bothering me in recent past. I feel blessed to be a person who is already on the other side. Religion doesn’t affect me, job doesn’t affect me, and family doesn’t affect me, all the barriers that were creating the wall, most of them don’t affect me.
Only one factor that is the law of the land that affects me. I don’t treat it as a barrier for me. And I am confused for many months, what next? Probably I got some answer for it, it would not be possible for me to be able to explain it, but the answer is love and going back. And giving them some guidance, or some guidance, I am really thankful to you.
AP: While it is wonderful, to not to be affected. It is even more beautiful, more humane to be affected once again. This might sound as if I am appending, inverting, conventional spirituality. But, please listen to this.
To be wise, or spiritual, does not mean that one becomes impervious or unrelated to the world. At one extreme is the mind that allows itself to be ruled by the world. At the other extreme is the mind that becomes insensitive to the world. And these two minds are just one.
I will repeat this. On one extreme is the mind that is so worldly that the world rules over it. It follows the world’s trends, interests, world’s religions, world’s traditions, world’s fashions, all the dictates of the world it follows. This is one extreme. And on the other extreme is the mind of the renouncer, and he says I have totally given up the world, let the world do what it does, let the world go and meet its destiny. Let the world be destroyed, I have nothing to do with the world. The little that I have seen, I am compelled to say that there is no difference between these two minds. They are both self-confined.
There is another quality of the mind. This is a mind that is deeply troubled by the world and yet remains untroubled within itself. This is the mind of the compassionate teachers who would travel from city to city, from village to village, often barefoot, like a Mahavira, or a Buddha. What need do they have to engage with the world, but they do engage with the world. Or, a Nanak or, even a Kabir. They are deeply affected.
Says Kabir, “sab jag jalta dekh kar, bhaye Kabir udaas”. Do you understand that? He is feeling sorrow. He is not beyond human emotions. Spirituality does not mean that you have become some kind of a superhuman, who experiences nothing, neither feels nor shows emotions. No, not at all. “Sab jag jalta dekh kar, bhaye Kabir udaas, haad jaley jyon laakdi, kes jaley jyon ghaans.” Everything about this world is up in flames, and Kabir feels it like a stab in the heart.
“Haad jaley jyon laakdi, kes jaley jyon ghaans, sab jag jalta dekh kar, bhaye Kabir udaas.”
What need does a Kabir have, to suffer on behalf of this world? What need does a Jesus have to carry the cross? But they are affected, they are deeply affected. So, kindly do not become someone who does not get affected. It is no achievement, it is not at all a matter of pride. Are you getting this?
“Sukhiya sab sansaar hai, khaavey aur soye, dukhiye daas Kabir hai, jaagey aur roye” What need does a Kabir have to weep for the world? And kindly do not conflate the tears of a Kabir with the tears of the infected man. We all too weep, but we weep for ourselves. We weep for our narrow self-interests. We weep because we lost someone, we weep because we were insulted. Kabir too weeps, he weeps for the world, he weeps because he loves. So, please be affected, kindly do weep. Spirituality is not about taking away your Earthly nature from you.
Yes, there is the sky in your heart. But the rest of you is just Earth. Let the Earth blossom, do not be ashamed of your own flowers. And when you flower, then there would be relationship. When the Earth blossoms, then butterflies, and birds come to you and then there would be relationship. How can you say that you are isolated, how can you say you are not affected?
The sky in you is at least ‘for you’ an abstraction. But the Earth in you, is your mind, your muscle, your flesh, your bone, your blood. Let it take form, let it flower. And when the butterflies come to the flowers, please have a sensitive relationship. Then, do not say that I am not affected by the butterflies, I have no relationship with butterflies. Butterflies come here to distract me, I am a Yogi. I do not look at the butterflies.
Love the butterflies. And if you do not know that, then learn that. The sky contains all the butterflies. You have no right to renounce them. You have just no right to renounce them. When you see somebody suffering around you, you have no right to say that you remain untouched. In fact, such right is claimed only by those who are too afraid of being touched. There aloneness is still very fragile. So, they think, if somebody touches it, it might be broken. So, they raise a boundary, a protective boundary around their aloneness. They say “I am a renouncer, I am a spiritual man, I am a Sadhak, I am a Yogi, do not touch me, otherwise I will crumble.”
Are you so weak that you would crumble? Yes? Are you so weak that you can’t even weep? Are you so weak that you can’t even laugh? Are you so stupid that you can’t even act stupid? The wise one is not afraid of acting stupid.
AP: And only the stupid one feels obligated to keep acting wise all the time. You have no obligation to keep acting wise. You have all the rights to play the fool.
You are so clean that you can allow yourself to be drenched in mud and you would still remain clean. So, do not be afraid of the mud. You are insoluble and indivisible. The rains won’t dissolve you. So go and enjoy the rains. Don’t be afraid of getting wet. And, you are indispensable to the Universe. So, let yourself be put in risks. The Universe cannot afford to let go of you. You will remain. You are the essence of all this. How will you go away, have that confidence!
You do not need to protect yourself. Because you are central to all this. I know this sounds like an abstract statement, but just take it for a while. You do not need armors, defenses. Let yourself be vulnerable. And you can be vulnerable only if you are very very strong. You must know that no wound can hurt you too deeply. Be prepared to take the wounds.
Yes, of course, relationships have their highs and lows and relationships often tend to destroy people. Still, do not abhor relationships, know that you cannot be destroyed so you can play. When you know how strong you are then you are not afraid of taking risks. And all of us are very very strong. Stronger than we can ever imagine. So, don’t even imagine your strength. Whenever you would imagine, you would come to a limitation. Just know that you are extremely strong so you don’t need precautions.
If you find difficult to trust this, try this out.
Play the game, sometimes you will win, that’s what the ego is interested in – whether I will win the game or lose it. Sometimes you will win, then you are happy. Sometimes you will lose. I am inviting you to check whether the loss will destroy you. No loss can destroy you. Even if you meet successive losses, one after the other, after the other, the other, the other. Still, you will find that you are ready for the next game. And that alone is the proof of your strength. That alone is the proof that you know that the game is just a game. And you are ready for the next one.
Always be ready for the next one. I am not giving you dreamy imaginations. I am not saying that the world is simply what is proverbially called as, a bed of roses. I am not saying that. The world has its own thorns, and the world hurts badly. We all know that. What I am saying is that you are so strong that you can bear all hurt. So, do not be afraid of the hurt. Hurt will come your way. Even if you wrap yourself in cotton wool, 20 feet thick; yet the thorns would find a way of penetrating and hurting you. So, hurt would anyway come to you, you must know that you can bear all of it. Not only bear it but actually, rejoice in it. Yes?
And then there is a special quality to your smile, to your celebration. When you are rejoicing in the middle of hurt. And, only that is real rejoice, real celebration. Feeling happy anybody can celebrate. You must be somebody who can celebrate even in sadness. You must be someone who can celebrate even the pain, and then you are really human. I don’t know if you are enlightened or not, but then you are really human. Yes?
L: So, a lot of things I agree. But assumptions that you are capable enough of helping, assumptions that we should, when we say that we should be doing this, then we have to be open. But when we see ourselves, who we are, then it seems like a journey from this person to that. It doesn’t happen in an instant.
AP: Sir, there are two parts to what you said. The first part is – is the speaker instructing, that you should do something, should be open, vulnerable, sensitive and all that? That is the first part of the question and the second part is – I am at one point, one type of nature, and you are suggesting another type of nature and movement between these two natures is a journey, what about that?
Let’s take the first one first. The speaker is not suggesting that you should be open, vulnerable and take risks or sensitive. The speaker is saying that what you have been doing so far is unnecessary and you can test that. The proof that it is unnecessary lies in the fact that it has given us a lot of confinements. A lot of pettiness and a lot of doubt. We find ourselves grappling with life situations, unable to come on top of them. Daily life itself is a proof of the falseness of our foundations. The speaker is inviting you to test whether there is life beyond our assumptions. I am not offering you another assumption.
If I am saying, “You are strong,” that is not an assumption. Not at all an assumption. It is something that you can test for its reality. Kindly test it. Test it and see. And a simple test is – if you are weak, do you like it? And if you do not like weakness, how can you be weak. How can you be what you do not like? Then you are saying that man is born to despise himself. Because he is, what he does not like. Surely you cannot be something or somebody you do not like. Who, over here is fond of weakness? Are you? Are you?
Don’t you see that weakness cannot be your nature? Now, whether or not strength is your nature, you can go and test. But, what is certain is – weakness cannot be your nature. Insecurity cannot be your nature. Had insecurity been your nature, why would it have troubled you so much? That brings us to the second part of the question.
I am at one point and that is my nature. The first part has ended saying that what you are calling as your nature is not at all your nature. Please see that it is just an imposed self-image. A lot of what you call as your nature, you were not born with. And even that which you were born with undergoes changes. How can nature change?
The very definition of nature is that which is central to you. If nature changes, then you have also changed. Then there is nobody to say that “My nature has changed.” Nature by definition is something, around which, within which everything changes, but that itself does not change. I am not asking you to move from one nature to the other. Real nature has no substitutes. So, how can one move from one to other? You have only one nature and that is a shared nature. That is a nature of all of us. And that nature is not qualifiable. That nature has no qualities.
That nature is pure emptiness. You do not have a nature. Please see what you call as your nature. You call your habits as your nature. You call your acquired tendencies as your nature. Ten years back, something else you called as your nature. Ten years hence, something else you will call as your nature. Is this really nature?
And I also want to again clarify that I am not asking you to move to another set of qualities. I am not teaching moral virtues here. I am not saying that you must have all these qualities then you are a better human being. We already have so much. We use this as a way to figure out what we already have and whether we like it. We figure this out that whether this precious opportunity that we call as this life, is being wasted? So, what I am suggesting to you is not an alternate way or an alternate way of thinking. I am not saying that you used to think like this, now you must think like this. And, in between, there is a journey.
You already think so much, why must I ask you to think more. I am saying, “Figure out, what is it that you think so much about and whether it has helped?
The alternative, if any, would present itself by itself. In fact, it is always there. Yes? But to different people, it would come in different forms. Right now, you do not need to bother yourself with the question, “What next? Then what? This is alright, but so what?” No. That question is redundant. That question will only block the right action.
You are at point A and I am not talking of a point B. But yes, you are at point A. I am just asking you to be more attentive of A. What lies other than A, beyond A, neither do I know, nor do you need to know. Just have faith, you don’t need to know what lies beyond A. Whatever lies beyond A, would come on its own. Just know that that is what will be good for you. In what way would it be good, that too you do not need to know? Sounds like blind faith. Yes? Yes, of course. Your eyes are not needed there.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
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: Sushri 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: Sushri Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917
5. Blessings from Beyond: Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month. It involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.
Contact Ms. Anu Batra:+91-9555554772
Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.
6. A Day With Master: A day with the Master’ is a rare opportunity for genuine seekers from all across the world to spend 12 hours with the Master at the Advait BodhSthal Ashram – Greater Noida.
To register yourself, to spend the day with the Master, send in your request at firstname.lastname@example.org
call at: +91-9555554772
7. Triyog: Daily morning 2 hour Yoga feast for your total well-being. Comprising of Hatha Yog, Bhakti Yog, and Gyan Yog.
Contact: Shri Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998
Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.
To join any of the above programs, send your specified application to:
Books by the Speaker are available at: