Question: Is this something like one truth is bigger than another truth? Like, if I want to pursue a path, right. But if I pursue that then there are chances that I might be losing some important aspect of my life. And that is also a truth. So which truth should I follow and should I listen to?
AP: How many truths do you know of?
L: As of now I’m talking of these two truths.
AP: What if two or four more come?
L: They may.
AP: So how many are possible?
L: I don’t know.
AP: Is it possible that something is Truth and something separate from it is also Truth? If there is Truth then everything apart from it is bound to be?
AP: He has to admit.
L: You cannot say that.
AP: You forget about your life. Look at it objectively. Look at it in a detached way. If there is a truth then everything that is separate from it is bound to be?
AP: So, how can there be multiple Truths? But, there can be multiple falsenesses. Wherever you see multiplicity, instead of trying to figure out which of these is the Truth, just know that all of them are false. Wherever you see various possibilities, kindly do not engage yourself in the delusion that one of them is the Truth. All of them are false. So, forget about reconciling various Truths, not even one of them is the Truth. When you say that you have three options and all of them appear the Truth to you, and you are asking how to reconcile these three. I am saying, forget about three truths, the moment you see that there are three, not one, you can rest assured that all three are false.
Because the Truth cannot be many. The Truth cannot even be one as per your wish. You use the word important. You said, “There is one thing that attracts me and then there is another thing that is important to me. Was this thing that is important to you today always important to you? Since your first breath? Was it always important to you?
AP: Since your first breath?
AP: Seriously? What is that one thing that is important to you since your first breath and is still important today?
AP: When you took your first breath, were your parents really important to you? Did you even know your father’s face? Had you been told that somebody else is your father, would you not have been taken in? Then why can’t you just admit that? Had somebody else nursed you as your mother, would you have refused?
Now think of all those things that have been important to you over the years. The stuff that was important to you at the age of 15, is it still important to you? A lot of that has just passed away. What is this thing about something being important to you? It is a matter of time. It is a matter of situation. It is a matter of influences. It comes and goes. What appears important today, tomorrow loses its shine.
What is not at all in your purview today will become tremendously important to you tomorrow. These are games of time. They hold no Truth. Truth does not lie in what appears important today and will not be important tomorrow. Kindly do not think of your interests, your inclinations, as the Truth. Yes, they dress up as the Truth. In fact, they appear truer than the Truth. If you are given a choice between that which appears important today and the absolute truth, you will choose what attracts as important to you.
The mark of the wise man is, he does not let these impermanencies become too big on him. He knows that it is a game of situations. Today this thing, tomorrow something else. They are not loyal to anybody. They are not committed to anybody. They will not stand by anybody. They are fleeting. They are impermanent. The entire crux of Buddha’s teaching is this impermanence.
And that is one of the most important hallmarks of the mature mind. It does not give too much weightage to the impermanent. And when it looks around, all that it finds is impermanence. Hence, it cannot give too much importance to anything it looks at. Who are you? You just came. You came in without my permission, without my active volition. And you will disappear just as you came. How can I be a fool to tie myself down to you? How can one be attached to a dream?
There is a story. It might sound a little strange to you. But nevertheless do listen. There was a man whose son was dying and he was greatly fond of his son. He was looking after his son and looking after, and looking after, and looking after. And since four five days he had not slept because he was continuously tending to his son. Then because of physical tiredness he fell asleep.
In the sleep, because he had been looking after his son, he had a dream. He saw that he has ten sons. All of them healthy, happy, playing. And he was engrossed in the dream. Then he was shaken and woken up by his wife and the wife was wailing. The wife said, “Just when you were asleep the son has passed away.” The man woke up. He looked at the son’s body. He didn’t utter a word, he just kept looking at it.
The wife was aghast. She said, “He is your only son and you have loved him more than your life. Now that he is no more, you aren’t even crying?.” He said, “Just a while back I had ten sons, they are no more now. For whom should I cry? For whom should I cry? The dream taught me that they come and they go. It is their nature. And, how do I know that this son is any more real than the one in my dreams? When those ten sons were with me, they also looked equally real.”
In the dream the dream is very very real. In the dream nobody can say that he is dreaming. In the dream everybody is experiencing nothing but his own personal truth. And then you wake up and the dream is gone. These personal truths are the enemy of Truth. These things that you personally call as important are the enemy of that, which is really important.
What you are talking of is a fairly common situation. It has got nothing to do with the Truth. What you are talking of is a fractured mind caught between two influences. What you are talking of is a fettered and enslaved mind caught between two masters. It happens very frequently. The wife dominates one part of the mind, the mother dominates another part of the mind. The wife is pulling the mind in one direction, the mother is pulling the mind in another direction, and the fellow comes up and asks there are two truths. No, they are not two truths, there are two women. And the woman will go away just as she has come. There is no Truth there. The Truth by definition is that which is timeless.
On one side is the boss who is demanding that you give more and more time and energy to the job, on the other side is the kid who is demanding that you give more time and energy to him. And then you say oh there are two truths, the kid is pulling me and the job is pulling me, now which Truth to choose? None of these are truths. They are influences, they are situational. If your question is, “What to do in any life situation that involves decision making?” The answer is, “Being what you are, you will only decide as you currently do.”
So, the question is meaningless. Remaining what you are you cannot just change your decisions. So that is what all of us want. We want that we make wonderful decisions while we remain awful. You remaining awful, how can you make wonderful decisions? If you want to make wonderful decisions, then become wonderful. Only from a wonderful mind will wonderful decisions come. If you want to have beautiful decisions, become beautiful.
And the word ‘become’ here is just loosely put. When I say, “Become wonderful, or become beautiful,” what I mean is, discover your wondrous nature and a wonderful beauty. Remaining awful you will only make awful decisions. Your entire life will need to transform, for even the smallest decision to transform. Even for the smallest real change to come to your life your entire life will need to change. But, that appears like such a big price to pay. Right?
We say “Oh! For me to be able to choose correctly the color of my trousers, will I need to change my entire life? ” Yes. If your life in its entirety is not right, you cannot make even the smallest right decision. Forget about choosing the right wife, you cannot even choose the right shirt.
So, transform in totality. Look at everything that is false about you and you do have an intuition of that. You do have an inkling of that. Get rid of everything that you are unnecessarily carrying with you. And then you will find that the quality of your life and decisions is improving. As long as you are living the same life, I repeat, you’ll keep on making the same and the same decisions.
As long as you are surrounded by the same people, how can the quality of your decisions improve?
As long as you are absorbed in the same daily routine, how can the quality of your decisions change?
As long as you are coming across the same faces and the same situations every day, how can the functioning of your mind change?
L: Since morning we have been discussing this. Does it mean when we surrender we should not have any thoughts and no feelings?
AP: I’ll say, “Yes.” And will you be able to comply? What will you do with my answer? What will you make of my reply? If I say, yes you should surrender, will you go ahead and surrender? Is it given to you? Is it within your powers?
L: How to acquire those powers?
AP: You cannot acquire those powers.
Surrender is not something that you do. Surrender is something that happens as a result of right living. You cannot drink six days of the week and on the seventh day surrender your drunkenness. Your drunkenness is exactly the same stuff that you have yourself willingly acquired over the six days. Now, how will you surrender it? In fact surrendering it means nothing. Real surrender means that you change those six days.
When you change those six days, then on the seventh day as well as on those on the past six days, you find yourself a different one. How do you change those six days? First of all there has to be a strong enough reason to change. The only reason can be your own imperiled condition.
If everything is alright, then is there a reason to change it? There is no reason. You have to first look at the way you are living, the way you are relating, the way you are earning, eating, sleeping, and then see what it is doing to you. You have to be very sensitive towards yourself. And then, that which is not needed, that you are unnecessarily carrying gets dropped. This dropping, this spontaneous dropping is called surrender. You do not do it. It is spontaneous. It is a result of honest observation.
L: When you say right living, how do we define right living?
AP: You decide for your own. You are living in a particular way. You have to find out what it is doing to you. There is nobody who is so insensitive or dead that he doesn’t feel the convulsions of wrong living. And that is the very definition of wrong living – that which makes you feel spasmodic, that which makes you feel nauseatic. And we all feel that. It is just that we have become so accustomed to it, that we bury it or dismiss it.
There is nobody here who does not know where he is stuck. In a moment of honest acknowledgment, each of us will brilliantly capture what is going on in our lives. We all know. There is nobody here who does not know. Honest observation means having the guts to accept it, acknowledge it, and live it. Not hide behind defenses. Not hide behind arguments. Not use words like ‘if’, ‘but’, ‘then’, ‘I understand, but’, ‘yes, this should be done, but’, ‘yes, I will do it in the future’. No, not stuff like that. Once you know what is right, you proceed with it. That is what is called honesty in living.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Can one Truth be bigger than another?
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