To be free, first discover the nature of your bondage

21762214_1227353527370622_921021697824714700_nQuestion 1: What is success in life?

Acharya Prashant: What is success in life? What-is-success-in-life? Let me say, I am in a dream. In the dream, I am finding myself surrounded by all kinds of enemies and other hostile forces. There are demons, there are enemies and I want to fight them.

So, I ask a question, “What is the best way to fight them?” I ask a question, “When will I know that I have succeeded in defeating them?”

I repeat I am in sleep, I am dreaming, and in my dream, I am seeing the world as a dangerous place, as a competitive place, as a place where achievement is necessary. So, again and again, I ask the question, “What is the meaning of success? What is required to fight my enemies?” Would you answer this question?

Listener 1: When you wake up, the demons are gone.

AP: When you wake up, the demons are gone.

L1: Ya.

AP: When you wake up, the requirement for success is gone. Now, what do want to have – awakening, or success? The demand for success itself arises from being in a dream-like state. You want to succeed only when you feel that there is something missing from your life. You want to succeed only when you take yourself to be incomplete.

I am asking you, how many of you have pet animals at your places? Or, have ever had a pet animal? While playing with your pet, do you remember this question – ‘How to succeed in life?’. You are playing with your pet, then do you remember this question? Do you? Do you? You don’t remember it because that moment is real, and in real moments imaginary questions find no place.

In moments of awakening, questions of dreams find no place, they are gone. Not that they have found an answer, they have found a dissolution. They are gone. They are not there at all. When the question is not there, who wants an answer? Have you ever embraced a loved one? Passionately? Intensely? Reasonlessly? Have you?

Listeners: Yes.

AP: Who all have? Oh! And then in that moment of passionate embrace, do you ask, “How to achieve success in life?” Do you ask that? Is it not obvious that this question is asked only when you are feeling hollow from inside? Anybody who is chasing success is firstly a man who is crying. When you are smiling in joy, there is no way you would think of, talk of, or chase success. Ambition doesn’t go along with fulfillment.

When you are close to your fulfilled nature, then desire, dreams, ambitions, targets, and successes have no value. The more you are away from your central point, the more you are displaced from your source, the more is your demand and desire for success. Do we get this?

What is success? How do you measure success? You say, “If I achieve that particular target, I will call myself successful.” The target could be anything. That target depends totally on your situation and your condition. Do we see that the very fact that the targets keep changing tells something about the nature of success? Depending on the situation, depending on the external environment, that which we take as our goal keeps changing.

We reach a new situation, there is a new definition of success, and the nature of situations is to keep changing, the nature of the stream of time is to keep flowing. So, success will never be then complete. This question would forever, perennially stand an instrument of torture in front of us – What is success? How to achieve it?

The only way then is to live knowing fully well that one is already successful. Yes, there are things to be done. But we do not do them in order to be successful. We do them as if we are already successful. And these are two very different mindsets, mind you. There is one particular mind that says that if I reach there, then I will be successful.

Pay attention to this. There is one mind that says that I want to reach there, so that I may be successful. I am here, I want to reach somewhere else. I want to reach there, so that I may be successful. And, there is another mind that says, “I want to reach there because I am already successful.” We do not know the second mind, we only know the first one. The second mind, though very close to us, though being our very nature, is somewhat of a stranger to us. And with the first one, we have developed a close relationship. What is the first mind, kindly repeat?

Listeners: I want to reach there…

AP: I want to reach there…

Listeners: So that I can be successful.

AP: So that I can be successful. Implying that, right now I am not successful. We know only this mind. Whenever we do something, it is in order to achieve something. Whenever we do something, it carries a reason behind it, does it not? And hence, whatever we do is a measurable act.

Do you know the word measurable? The word measurable means limited. That which can be sized up. Whatever we do is a reasonable and measurable act, and how do you measure it? You wanted to reach there, if you reach there, you say, “Yes,” if you don’t reach there, you say, “No, not successful.”

There is another action possible from another quality of mind, and that action is not limited, that action is not measurable. What is not measurable is immeasurable, immense. In this second quality, you still work, you still dance, you still exhibit movement, but you do not work because you are feeling hollow, you do not work because you are feeling a certain desperation. You work because you feel already fulfilled. I am already so joyful that I can work a lot. Now that sounds a little strange too many of us.

We say, “If I am already fulfilled, why would I work at all?” No, there is a quality of a free, intense and a passionate dance in this kind of work. I want nothing, there is nothing that I want to get from what I am doing and yet I am doing it with all my energy, devotion and passion. I am almost worshipping what I am doing. What will I get from all these? Nothing. What is there in it for me? Nothing. Then why are you doing it? Just for fun.

Why does the river flow? Why does the wind blow? Am I not allowed to dance? Am I not allowed to love reasonlessly? Must I follow the prevalent dictates of cause and effect, of success and failure, of action, accompanied by the fruit of action? Can’t there be something called desireless action? There can be such a thing, it is not a hypothesis. In fact, if that thing, that quality of mind is not there then life is not worth living.

If we work only to get something, if all our actions, if all our relationships are just for the sake of achievement, if whatever we do is a calculated action, then the mind only knows transactions and business, it knows no love. Such a mind would forever be in a state of loveless desperation, crying for relief.

L2: Can I ask something? If I am following my heart, I am dancing and I know that I am at the right place, but how to get rid of others’ perspective of us?  That’s where my question arises from- When others’ are busy measuring you, or your existence in their units of measurement, then how to ignore that pressure? You know that you are woken up, then?

AP: The question is that one might be living from the heart, but there are so many others who are busy passing judgment, there are so many others who have their own perspectives, how to be free of them? As you asked this question to me, did you bother about what the others would think?

L2: No.

AP: No? But suppose you had something significant at stake, suppose you were greatly bothered about your image in somebody’s eyes here. Suppose there was somebody here who was to sign a cheque of a crore rupees for you and the criteria was the quality of question that you will ask. He was sitting here with a checkbook in his hand and measuring you by the quality of your questions, then would you bother about what the others are thinking?

Probably yes. Practically yes. Right? We go back to the question, the question is – One might be living by the heart, but there are others who have their perspectives, opinions, judgments, how to be free of them? I want to explore, what is it that first of all ties us to them. To be free of something you must first discover the nature of your bondage. Unless you know what your bondage is, there is no question freedom. So, you pay attention to what the others are thinking or saying only when you have something at stake, in other words, only when you are dependent on others.

If you are not dependent on others for something or the other, then you have no reason to keep considering what they are thinking, what their opinion of you is, right? The more you are dependent on others, the more you will keep looking at them. You will find it difficult to act free. You will keep looking back over your shoulder, trying to determine what he thought? What his reaction was? What she is saying about your life?

The deeper your dependency, the deeper your slavery. If you can have something about you that is totally independent of others, then you will be free of others. If you can know yourself in a way, if you can live in a way where are you abide by something that is totally free of others, then you will also be free of the opinions and dictates of others.

Usually, we identify so much with stuff that has come from others that it becomes difficult for us to have any center free of others within us. We identify with money, relationships, religion, respectability, knowledge, all of which comes from others. What comes from others can any day be taken back by others. What has come to you from the world, can any day go back to the world.

So, if you are too dependent on what others have given you, then you will live in bondage. I repeat this, “See the extent to which you are dependent on what the world has given you. The more you live by what the world has given you, the more you would be afraid, the more would be your need to please the world.”

L2: Isn’t existence interdependent?

AP: You have to find that which is independent. You have to find that which is independent of otherness.

L3: But, respecting others is also a way of life, isn’t it? Like, we all are interconnected.

AP: Please pay attention to what I am saying. Would you love considering the opinions of others? Would you go and have a social survey to determine whether or not you can go with a man? So, is it difficult to understand what I am saying? Unless you have something within you which is untouched by others, you would be living in slavery.

When you look at something, when you observe something, would you rather look left and right and ask others what it is? And here when I am saying something, I mean life. Right now as you are listening to me, would you let your deep attention explain me to you, or would you rather ask somebody else? How are you relating to me right now? Directly, or through others?

Are you bothered about what others are thinking of me and what interpretations others are having of my words? Are you bothering about that? Whatever is real is independent of others. Truth, freedom, love, joy, none of them are social. Are you getting it? What is social, may surely remain social. It has its own place, let it be there. But, our problem is that the social has intruded into the essential that the social which should have been on the periphery of life has barged into the centre, into the heart.

Yes, of course, you will have to use a social language, yes, of course, you will wilfully follow social rules of driving, of working and in so many other things where many people are involved. For the sake of convenience, you will go by the society, there is no point rebelling in small matters, but I again ask you, “Would you allow your God to become social?”

The more you are connected to that within you which is independent of any otherness, the more free you will find yourself to be. Figure out your dependencies, see what they are giving you and get rid of them. Figure out your dependencies.

The mind thinks itself to be too clever, the mind thinks that if it is obtaining something from somebody then it is just being smart. No, in obtaining something from somebody you are becoming dependent on that somebody. You will have to pay a big price, you’re already paying a big price. Don’t take. Your nature is freedom. Whenever you will be dependent on something that has come from somewhere, you will suffer. Live freely. Don’t be too attached to possessions, don’t be attached to opinions of others, don’t be attached to anything that is a product of time, that has come from outside, to be taken away. You are just preparing the ground for suffering. Are we together on this? Yes?

Listeners: Yes.

L4: If we want to, for me it’s not so hard to reach this space which is independent, joyful but it is not very easy to stay in that place, how can we stay connected to ourselves? What is that practice?

AP: How do I stay connected to myself? How do you manage to lose connection with yourself? How do you manage to lose connection with yourself? That’s an impossibility, how do you make it happen? Because it is an impossibility, so it does not ever really happen. How can one lose himself? So, really it never happens but unreally it can happen, which means it can happen in a dream, which means it can happen in thought, which means you can think that you have strayed away, which means you can also think that you have returned to yourself.

Neither do you ever go away from yourself, nor do you ever return to yourself, both of these are illusions.

There are some who will tell you how far you have come away from your centre and there are others who tell you the means and methods to return to your centre. Obviously, both are talking nonsense. It is only in thought that you go away and only in thought that you return. The proof is that in your deep sleep when you are not thinking, is there any question of going away or returning? All these questions arise only when you are in the waking state, only when you are in this thoughtful state.

Now that gives us a clue. So, all such questions arise only when I am thinking. So, it is not important whether I have gone away, it is also not important how do I come back. It is probably more important to investigate what this thing called thought is all about because only in thought do I say, “I have gone away or I am coming back.”

So, let’s keep the questions aside, let’s pay attention to this thing called thought. It makes me feel a lot of things that are not there. What is this thing called thought? Why does one think so much? When does one think? When does it arise?

L4: Are they impressions from the past?

L3: When we are not hundred percent present?

AP: Impressions from the past, not hundred percent present. Yes, what is this thing called thought?

L4: Lack of fulfillment?

AP: Lack of fulfillment.

L3: Imagination?

AP: Imagination. So, karmic influences from the past, imagination, lack of fulfillment, all these things that you just now said, are they not thoughts? Are they not thoughts? So, I asked you what is thought, because we see through the mischief of thought, and then trying to see through the mischief of thought all that we get is.

L4: More thoughts.

AP: More thought. So that is what thought brings to you – more thought. I am asking you what is thought and you are giving me loads of more thought, fulfillment, this, that, entire books, encyclopedias you can give.

L5: Thought is an experience.

AP: Thought is an experience and what is this? What is this statement? ‘Thought is an experience’- what is this statement?

L5: It’s a thought, expressing an experience.

AP: It is another thought. So, have we come any closer to gaining relief from thought or have we gone deeper into thought then?

Listeners: Deeper into thought.

AP: Whatever you will try to do with thought will only take you deeper into thought. Which means that there is only one relief from thought possible- to immediately see that it is worthless and not give it any importance. Not give it even so much of importance to find out its origin, or its cure. Nor do I want to know where it came from, nor am I interested in knowing where it would go to.

The moment you say, “You are not interested, the energy of the thought crashes, and it’s gone. And when thought is gone then all such questions are also gone. Remember that, in the real, there are no answers to questions, there is only freedom from questions. You have to come to a point where the question seems unnecessary. You have to come to a point where the question doesn’t rise at all. If thoughts are still rising, then there is no point trying to do this or that about you.

The point of a spiritual life is that you simply do not have too many thoughts. I repeat, the point of living rightly is that you simply do not have too many thoughts, especially not the kind of thoughts that are explosive, that are divergent, and that keep on expanding and inflating. Even if you think the stream of thought is convergent, it comes quickly to an end. That is the right mind that is the spiritual mind.

It finds very little need for thought, thought does not arise at all. When thought does not arise, obviously such questions do not arise. Kindly do not think that the wise man or the spiritual man has all the answers. In fact, only the ones stuffed with knowledge have too many answers. The really wise one, the really spiritual one will not only not have answers, his innocence lies in the fact that he will also not have questions. You go to him for answers, you will only get silence which incidentally, is THE answer. You get this?

The more you think about something, the more you are just expanding the dream world and even if you keep running in that dream world for centuries, you do not reach anywhere, you are still inside the dream. So, stop running, that’s all.

L6: How? Because the same thing I was thinking about not giving interest in my mind before, say, one and a half year, but the mind is here, it compulsively behaves and I don’t have any control.

AP: Yes, that’s right. He says, “I find it difficult to not to give interest to mind.” The mind does not like vacuums. If you want to take it away from one object, it asks for a substitute object. The big relief is that the substitute object is always available. Thought is imagination. Mind could either be in thought or as an alternative live in facts. The alternative, the substitute is always available.

If you say that mind, you should not think, and tell it nothing more then it will rebel because it wants something to play with, like a naughty child. The mind says, “No thought!? Then what? Give me something else.” Fortunately, that something else is available, that something else is called life. The very fact of life. When you are totally immersed in life then there is very little space left for unnecessary thinking. Right now, are you thinking?

If you are really listening to what I am saying, it would become more and more difficult for you to think. That is what happens when you attend to life. When you attend to life just as right now you are attending to this, then where is the space for thought? Are you getting it?

Attend to life just as you are attending to this, passionately, deeply, as if you are embracing it. But when life is there, facts are there, the whole existence is there and you have a contempt for it, a disregard for it, then you keep wandering in your la la land.  Have you not seen that? You might be in the most beautiful of places and what are you thinking about? You are thinking about your home loan EMI. Does it happen or not?

A naked innocent kid might be laughing in front of you but what are you thinking about? Office politics. Does that happen or not? When you are present to whatever life gives to you then there is very little reason for thought to arise and as we said, the great blessing is that life is continuously giving something to you. Life never leaves you poor, it is always with you. When life is with you, you too remain with life.



-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: To be free, first discover the nature of your bondage


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 +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 atrequests@prashantadvait.com
or,
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:

requests@prashantadvait.com


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2 thoughts on “To be free, first discover the nature of your bondage

  1. “Why does the river flow? Why does the wind blow? Am I not allowed to dance? Am I not allowed to love reasonlessly? Must I follow the prevalent dictates of cause and effect, of success and failure, of action, accompanied by the fruit of action? Can’t there be something called desireless action? There can be such a thing, it is not a hypothesis. In fact, if that thing, that quality of mind is not there then life is not worth living.

    If we work only to get something, if all our actions, if all our relationships are just for the sake of achievement, if whatever we do is a calculated action, then the mind only knows transactions and business, it knows no love. Such a mind would forever be in a state of loveless desperation, crying for relief.”

    Amazing and life changing excerpt. Thank You.

    Like

    • Dear remembrance1blog

      Greetings from PrashantAdvait Foundation
      (This reply comes to you by the volunteers of the foundation who maintain, the blog.)

      It is beautiful and amazing to see that you are reading Acharya Ji with such devotion.
      Below are listed some of the initiatives by the foundation through which you can connect to Acharya Prashant.

      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: requests@prashantadvait.com
      or,
      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 initiatives, send your specified application to:

      requests@prashantadvait.com

      Shubhakankshi,
      PrashantAdvait Foundation

      Like

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