Acharya Prashant: How does an inquiry begin? How does man decide that the state in which he exists is not really sufficient for me? What is the need for spirituality at all? Why must we sit here and talk, or meditate, or break our heads together? why?
Listener 1: Stability to our existence?
AP: So, if we need stability, then what is the state in which we are in an unstable state.
Listener: When we are perturbed, disturbed and agitated, then we are in the state of instability. When something is endearing and because we have recognized certain good things and that state continues to exist in us that is stability and we are in for spirituality because we want greater stability in our lives.
AP: Let’s simply say we experience a lack of stability. Whatever we experience simply doesn’t prove sufficient. It does not provide contentment. Hence, is the need to dive into the deeper realms of the mind.
You say, “I exist somewhere. But, I see that something else in there that I don’t really know of and I have an inkling that that’s where peace lies for me. I don’t know what that is. I probably don’t haven’t ever been there, yet there is a pre-intuitive memory, yet there is a knowledge-less realization, an uninformed realization, that something special lies there.”
How do I know that? Well, I don’t know. What I can say with certainty is that this that I am in, is not that – of this I am confident.
I exist in this world with these notions, with these formations, with this kind of a mental model and this keeps deceiving me. Things simply don’t turn out the way they ought to according to my model. My algorithm is incessantly at work and it keeps predicting; my predictions fail. What I sort out to do simply doesn’t happen and often what I set out to do doesn’t get done at all because I lose the urge to do it.
Forget about knowing others and being able to know them, judge them, or predict them, I often find that I know so little about myself. I keep on getting betrayed and deceived. The sun keeps rising from not only the west but also from the North and the South.
Now, upon getting cheated, and betrayed, and deceived a thousand times, one gets fed up. One says, “I have to figure out what’s going wrong.” And that is the beginning of all spirituality.
Spirituality does not begin with intrinsic joy.
Spirituality begins when you find that what you have known as love has given you greater pain than pleasure or relief.
Spirituality begins when you find that everything that you have considered as kindness or immortal has proven to be conditional with respect to time and situations.
Then you say, “I am fed up of getting kicked up in the butt. I want to find something reliable, I want to find something that does not change with time, space, situation.” And this factor of unchangeability is called un-conditionality.
Let the conditions keep getting changed, please give me something that will not change with the seasons. That is called getting something unconditional in your hands. Unconditional means free of change, free of conditions, free of everything that is the function of time. Let time keep coming and going, let people keep coming and going, let situations keep coming and going, kindly give me something that I can totally be dependent on, kindly give me something that I don’t have to keep checking, verifying.
Give me something that I trust with open eyes and closed eyes. Give me something that I don’t have to keep looking at over my shoulder, “Oh, is he still there or is he gone? Is he loyal or will he betray me?”
Even if I don’t have to look at him, I still know he is there. Even if I look at him and I don’t find him there, I still know I am not getting deceived. That is man’s search for something unconditional. Unless we don’t get that, we remain uneasy, we remain suspicious, doubtful and that is such sorrow.
Now, when you begin looking for the cause of your pain or deception or sorrow or suspicion, what you find is that all these are dualistic states closely linked to their opposite. So, when you want to be free of pain and you enquire into pain, you inevitably have to look at pleasure.
You cannot know pain without knowing what pleasure is. Similarly, when you want to know what is the frustration related to love, you’ll have to understand what is this pleasure, related to love. You cannot say that when pleasure is there keep on enjoying it, and when pain comes then inquire.
And, even if you say that when you inquire into pain you have to step into pleasure. So, sir please understand that it is not possible that we keep enjoying the titillation of pleasure and keep pain aside to be discussed as something isolated from pleasure. Pain and pleasure cannot be separated or isolated from each other. Whenever you want to inquire into sorrow, you will also have to inquire into happiness. Without knowing the nature of happiness you’ll remain in darkness about the sorrow.
So, Love, unconditional love, and conditional love. First of all, please understand that there is nothing called as unconditional love. All love is purely conditional. And spirituality is not about affixing labels to stuff. Love, as we know it, love that can be named, pointed at, is always going to be conditional.
What does it mean to have conditional love?
A few examples were being discussed here regarding unconditional love.
You said that the love of the mother to the newborn baby is unconditional. In no way, in no way. And it should be apparent. Does the mother love the baby of the neighbor? And is this not the condition that I will love the baby only if she is my baby? This is the biggest condition that there can be.
Unconditional love means, my love is totally free of all kinds of terms and conditions. I am not setting any boundaries. The baby is there and it doesn’t matter whether the baby belongs to me, or to the man next door or to somebody from an adjacent country. The baby is lovable.
And, why must only the baby be lovable, why must not the same quality of love extend to grownups?
Why must only human grownups be lovable, why must not the same love reach out to plants, animals, and birds, and insects?
And, why must only be the sentient beings be lovable, why must not the same warmth of love envelopes trees, and mountains, and rivers, and sands, and the entire universe?
And, why must one stop at one universe then, why must not all universe – real, imaginary, substantial, or conceptual be loveable?
So, never say that the love of a mother to the baby is unconditional. Of course, not. There are huge conditions attached. And you remove those conditions and the love will vanish. Tell the mother, the baby doesn’t belong to her and see what happens to that love. In fact, the love to the baby varies with the gender of the baby. Don’t you know that? Don’t you read that daily? How do you call it unconditional then?
There is only conditional love, there is nothing called unconditional love. And that doesn’t make conditional love despicable. That doesn’t mean we are labeling it as inferior, or aberrant. We are only seeing things as they are, we are only seeing facts as they are. And the fact of our humanness is, everything about us is conditional. Simply, because we too are products are conditions. The one who is a product of conditions, how is he going to know un-conditionality? Are we not products of conditions?
We are products of evolution, we are products of climate, we are products of our economic situations, we are products of religion, our upbringing, our education, our knowledge, the times we live in, our age, our gender. All about us is just conditional. So, there is no surprise in it that our love is conditional. And let love remain conditional. Man falls in love with a woman; why the only woman? Don’t you see this is such a huge condition?
Woman falls in love with a man, and that too man of a certain age bracket. Don’t you see this is a certain condition? And this condition will remain, there is no need to call it foul. Are you seeing this? Till the child is of a certain age, mother loves him or expresses her love in a certain way. The child reaches a certain age or adolescent and a way of relating changes. It must change, let it change. Or, will we say that the love was false, and hence it has changed with time?
Just as everything about us is conditional, our love too is going to be conditional, let us not cultivate a utopian belief in unconditional love. Many spiritualists tend to do that. They say that unless love is unconditional, love is rotten. And we don’t want to have any of that. That will only lead to hypocrisy because you will never be able to come to achieve unconditional love.
Love will always be conditional and at the same time, you are saying conditional love is poor. So, you will be doing two things parallelly – one, engaging in conditional love, and second, calling conditional love as poor, or unconditional. Which will result either in hypocrisy or in loss of self-worth? Hypocrisy would mean I am labeling my conditional love as unconditional. And, loss of self-worth would mean I know that it is conditional and I would fall into my own eyes.
I come to know that my love is conditional and my self-worth drops. None of them is needed, neither of this is needed. Neither do you need to lose self-worth, nor you need to engage in hypocrisy.
You just need to see that this session is happening under certain conditions. I was late today for a session; a particular condition was not met. And so the session couldn’t really take off. Don’t you see that even this session is conditional? This body is conditional if this body dies, would I be sitting in here? to talk? Would you be sitting there to listen? A small thing, such as the presence of this fan or air conditioner creates a lot of difference even in our listening, or does it not?
You see, we can be pious crudes and say that no, even if it is 70 degrees centigrade we would still be listening with utmost attention. But, come on, let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen. The temperature rises by just 5 degrees and the session would be sweated off. Right?
All about us is conditional. Is it not? Is it not?
And that does not make us inferior. That doesn’t mean that we are lesser beings. You go back to your wives, not to your neighbor’s wife. And that is not really a shame, or is it? But sometimes it is.
Mother’s love for the child is conditional. It is alright. Kids need that. They need that.
Listener: Then going by this logic, all the love we have for anybody, even the love for you, becomes conditional?
It hurts right? It hurts.
It hurts and it liberates, it liberates us from the obligation to act as if our love is unconditional. You don’t have any obligation to act as if our love is unconditional. ‘As ifs’ hardly have a place in honest inquiry.
Assumptions cannot be the foundation of the spirituality. Spirituality rigorously rests on the honest facts. Spirituality asks, “Tell me, what is. Don’t talk of what it should be, or what can be. Tell me, what is.” And, from there one enters the Truth, “Tell me what really is.”
The ones who are shy about facing the facts will never enter the temple of wisdom. They will keep roaming in their dream palaces, dreamy worlds.
Listener: The ‘is’ we are talking about, could also be a perception?
AP: No, no, this is could very well be a perception. And, hence when you something is, you add this caveat to it, “This is how I perceive it.” Now, this makes it very complete. “It is so, in my perception.” And, because this ‘in my perception’, is indispensable to any honest statement, it must necessarily be there, hence it can be done away with. Are you getting it?
When something is necessarily present in whatever you are trying to say, then it becomes redundant to be spoken. Then you can do away with it. Then you can say that it something that goes without saying. Even if I don’t say that it is obvious, that it is what I perceive it to be.
Yes, sometimes to emphasize, sometimes to provide the greater clarity you will use those words that this is my perception. But, even if you are not using those words let it be clear that this is how one sees it. Even we do not say that then you are saying that this is Truth, not the fact.
You see, that is the difference between the fact and Truth. Truth is not how you see it, Truth is. It doesn’t matter how you see it and whether you see it. Fact is that which you see honestly. And, imagination is that which you escape into.
So, I, the seer, is present in both fact and imagination. I, the seer is not present in Truth. You cannot say, “I know the Truth, or, I am seeing, or stating the Truth.” It is an absurd statement. But you can always say, “I am stating the fact.” I is present in fact and I is also present in imagination. You’ll say, “I imagine.” The difference is that in facts the ‘I’ is not afraid to state things the way they are. In imagination, the ‘I’ is a renegade, an escapist. That doesn’t want to state the facts so he is creating a fairyland of his own. Are you getting it?
So, the fact of love is that all love is conditional. Now, what then is unconditional love? To know unconditionally that all love is conditional is unconditional love. When you know without exception, that all, that I say is just my saying, then you have said something that is independent of you. I’ll repeat this.
When you say that whatever is being said is dependent on me, then you have said something that is independent of you. When you accept that whatever be the flavor, the color, the climate, the relationship of love that you are talking of is always conditional. Then this always is unconditional. What do you mean by always? Something that doesn’t change. So it is unconditional.
To know change as change is to be seated in the unchangeable. Are you getting this?
We don’t know changeable things as unchangeable. Please look at this. You fall in Love with a woman. When you are lost in that love, does it ever comes to you that this is a matter of seasons? Does it ever strike you? And even if it comes to you, what do you do with that thought or realization?
You shoo is away, you say, “Go away. You are spoiling my dinner.” And if you are on the bed, that is going to spoil your entire mood. The thought that she may not be there tomorrow. The thought that death may strike, or situations may strike, or that the bed may collapse, you don’t want to entertain those thoughts, or do you?
So, for us, it is very difficult to accept the changeable as changeable, because it threatens us because it makes us feel insecure. We don’t want to think, we don’t want to entertain the possibility that our stable world may not be there tomorrow. It feels scary, does it not?
So what we do then? To the changeable, we ascribe the quality or the name of unchangeable. What do we say? “Oh, our love was immortal. You and I are going to be together to the end of time.” Don’t you say that? All movies end there – ‘And they lived happily…?’
Listeners: Ever after.
AP: Now, this is venturing into the domain of timelessness immortality. They are trying to venture into spirituality from the back door. This is backdoor entry into the Upanishads, which is prohibited. They will be thrown out. Do you get this?
It is very difficult for us to live in an insecure way. It is very difficult for us to hold somebody’s hand and parallelly admit to ourselves and also tell us “This is for this evening.” Do you get this? Even the thought of doing so makes us feel jittery.
Listener: Doesn’t that means that we are not totally into it, because if the coherency is going on then this can change.
AP: You see, when do you feel the need to de-temporalize something. Do you understand de-temporalize something? To make something timeless. When do you feel this need to have a guarantee that she will return tomorrow? When you are afraid that she may not return tomorrow. And, that fear is there right now, which means the depth in the relationship is not there right now. When you are not sure of her right now, then you want to say that our relationship is timeless and immortal.
And, when you are really there with her right now, you don’t need to feel or guarantee to yourself that she is all mine because the question does not arise. And, in fact, if the question arises you say, “Ye, of course, she may not be there tomorrow, but who cares.” You’ll not respond by saying that no, no, no I’ve found the love of my life, she is totally committed, and she will surely be here tomorrow again, even death cannot take her away.
Do you see this? The need to have a permanent something arises from insecurity and when you are totally into something, then thought about future and certainty hardly find a place and if they do come and ask aggressively and all that you say is, “Of course, you are right. What you are saying is not merely a suspicion and that is a certainty.”
The thought is coming and trying to arouse a suspicion in your mind that she may not be there tomorrow. And what you tell thought that “Sir, this is not only a possibility, but it it is a certainty that there will come a tomorrow that whether she will not be there or either I will not be there. Time changes everything.
For sure there will be one day when we will not meet. But why are you telling me all this? Please go away. I respect what you are saying and what you are saying is factual but what is the need to tell me all this. I know this. And, even as I know this, even as I fully accept and respect this, right now I am holding her hand. And fully I know that this is conditional, now let me enjoy the union.” Do you get this?
Now, there is a touch of timelessness in this statement. When you accept the time-bound as time-bound without a touch of shame or fear, then you must be sure that that courage is provided to you by the timeless. When you accept the changeable as the changeable then you can rest assured that the courage is provided to you by the changeless.
Listener: Then it is not driven by the conditions.
AP: Then it is not driven by the conditions.
If you have not being touched or blessed by the timeless, from where will you get the fearlessness to admit that all is conditional? You see, you may be surrounded by a lot of fake currency notes. Fake notes. It’s an ocean of fake currency and you are in the middle of it. Apparently, there is so much money around that you can never really earn in your life. You feel a strong urge to say that at least some of that money is genuine. But, then you suddenly remember that you have a debit card with a limitless amount in your pocket. Now, will you feel tempted to all the false as true? Are you getting this situation?
You are in the middle of countless fake notes. If you are really a poor man, what would you be tempted to do? Treat that notes as real, hope that they are real or, at least search for the real among the fakes. Hope that at least two percent of these might be real notes. So, you’ll be attracted, attached. You’ll not really want to call all of them as fake in one go. You’ll want to say, “Well, well, well, let’s say… Not all of them are fake, some of them might be conditional.” Right?
Consider another situation where there is a debit card in your pocket, which has no upper limit of withdrawal. You can draw as much real money as you want and when you want. Now, will you have any motivation to look at those notes around you or search for the Truth in the false? Now you can boldly declare all of them to be fake. With a sweep of your hand, you can say, “All of these are false.” You don’t need to rethink, right?
Similarly, when the unconditional rest here (Pointing to heart), then it is easy for you to call everything as conditional and yet be peacefully in it. Where else can I go, I am living in this world and in this world, everything is seasonal. Even I am seasonal. This season lasts sixty years or eighty years or hundred years. And like the fruit of a tree, it appears, it ripens, it falls. Right?
I am a conditional product of a conditional world. You can say this with courage, honesty, and fearlessness only when you are sure of the unconditional one within. Something that time can’t take away, something that time hasn’t given to you. Are you getting this?
Kindly do not commit the mistake of searching for the unconditional. And kindly do not commit the blunder of finding the unconditional. There are those who search for it, and there are those who go on to find it. Those who say, “They have found it,” are of course believing in it.
First of all, that search must not start. And, if it has started it must abort. Kindly do not ever rise up to say that you not only started to search but your search also culminated in discovery. You can never discover the unconditional. It is not outside of you. Any woman that you ever find can only give you conditional love. Any work that you find can only give you conditional love. Anything, anybody, any God, any Guru, love is always going to be conditional, always, always.
But, the courage that you say this is unconditional. That honesty is unconditional. And because we are capable of that honesty, hence unconditional love exists. But, it doesn’t exist as a relationship between man and man, it does not exist as a relationship between man and woman, or man and thought, or man and thing, or man and ideology.
Unconditional love is not something that you can detect with your senses. Unconditional love is not something that you find in the world. Unconditional love is something that exists only in the Heart, the urge towards Truth, “I must honestly say this.” That is unconditional.
Please pay attention to the words – The urge towards Truth, the urge of the mind towards Truth, the unconditional attraction of the mind towards Truth, it exists. It definitely does.
But, even as the mind is unconditionally attracted to the Truth, which means that come whatever may, the mind always loves the Truth, even when the mind is in the lap of the false the mind is still in love with the Truth. The mind might be spending all its time with the false, yet the mind is perpetually in love with the Truth and this is called unconditional love. Are you getting this?
So, with unconditional love in the heart, go ahead and make conditional relationships, and celebrate them. Are you getting this?
With joy in your heart, go ahead and celebrate pleasure and pain. With a white serenity in your heart go and celebrate all the colors, all the shades, all the hue of the rainbows. And the rainbow comes and displays its colors and vanishes. It is conditional. So, what do we do? Call it names? Throw stones at the rainbow?
That’s what our spiritualists do. Whenever they see a rainbow they start throwing mud at it, “Oh, it is conditional. See, it is time bound. It is false.”
You too are false, just like the rainbow has come and will go, you too have come and will go. If you throw the stone at the rainbow, I’ll throw the stone at your face. Is there any difference between the rainbow and man? Rainbow has many colors; we too have a lot of colors. The rainbow is never straight; we too are never straight.
Listener: Sir, does that debit card exist?
AP: That debit card exists. But, for you to look at that debit card, you’ll have to look at the heart. What if you are so busy looking at the world, groping fake currency. The more you look at fake currency, the more you forget to look at your heart. The debit card does not exist out there, it exists here (Heart). And, if you are so occupied to with things there (Outside), how will you look here (Heart)? Are you getting it?
So, when you come to know that you are with someone and because you have changed, or situations have changed, or economics have changed, or age has changed, that person doesn’t quite like being with you anymore, do not start wallowing in self-pity. Do not start saying that the world is a bad place. The world it is not a bad place. The world is the world. And, it is its nature of the world to be conditional.
You very well know that your co-passenger in the train is talking to you only because he happens to be seated adjacent to you. Had he been in some other bogey, would he strike a conversation? Would he? So, you very well know that this conversation is conditional. Is it not conditional? It is there only because conditions were favorable. Now, does that mean you’ll hurl your shoe at him, “You conditional fellow and your conditional relationship? You are trapping me in falseness?” Would you do that? Or, rather celebrate those two hours.
Knowing fully well that there will come a station when he will de-board then he will no more be there, or you may no more be there. Don’t you know that? You even know that name of that station. You boarded the train and you will deboard as well.
It is like life, it starts and is surely bound to end and in between, you meet passengers, all of that is conditional. Do you want to look down upon these things? Do you?
AP: Then, celebrate the conditional. Know fully well that he is coming to you only because you look pretty. And yet respect his approach. Don’t say, “Oh, you are coming to me only because you know what, I can give some knowledge to you, you are coming to me only because I am young and pretty. Of course, he is coming only because you are pretty. So, what?
If he will not have this reason to come to you, then he will have some other reason. But, reason will always be there, the condition will always be there. How is one condition better than another condition?
A woman comes to me because I am physically strong. A student may come to me because he wants knowledge. Both have their reasons. Where is unconditional and unreasonable love, it doesn’t exist. Are you getting this?
Listener: Isn’t there a thing such as quality relationship?
AP: A relationship is only as genuine as the people in the relationship. What is the mind with which you are looking at the relationship? If you are going to the relationship, expecting that the relationship will take you to the Truth, in other words, the relationship will provide you the glimpse of unconditional, then you are just escaping from yourself.
The unconditional is here (Heart) and you are trying to find the unconditional in the relationship between you and the other person; it is an escape. Don’t you see that? Every relationship is there for a purpose. And because we are spiritually tuned to think of purposes as vile, so we do not like to hear this. We want to hear that at least some relationships will be free of purpose. No, they are not, purposes may vary, but purposes necessarily exist. Are you Getting this?
Know the purpose and honestly accept the purpose and that is the touch of the unconditional. Only Truth is unconditional. To live honestly is to live unconditionally. And there can be no honesty without fearlessness. Only fear prevents us from being honest. Are you getting this?
Listener: Only fear prevents us…?
AP: From being honest. Otherwise, you know everything. Don’t you? You very well know, what the contours, domains, the whole anatomy of the of relationships. But, accepting it is difficult because if you accept there will be repercussions. You are afraid that you might not be able to withstand those repercussions. Getting it?
The butterfly is frolicking with the flower. Not with the mud, not with the roots, not even with the shoots, but only with the flower. Of course, this is conditional, do you want to kill the butterfly? Do you want to call the flower, false? Know fully well what it is and then enter it. This is unconditional living.
Enter whatever you want to but never for a moment must you delude yourself, never for a moment must you deceive yourself. Know fully well what it is and then boldly enter it. Let the butterfly know that it is going to the flower. Because it is conditioned to do so because it appears more attractive, more colorful, more compelling than the leaves.
Let the butterfly know that the flower in some way a device of mother nature to further itself. And then let the butterfly go to the flower in full recognition of what the process is like. Know fully well, why a particular woman attracts you. Know that it is not much more than her body. Know that. And then go to her and let things happen. And then see the magic.
The problem starts when we start faking when we start saying that I work in a particular organization because I love the job. You are faking and the problem starts when you start claiming that you return to a particular house every evening because it is your personal heaven. Know fully well, why you are returning to that door every evening, know and then keep returning if you want to if you still want to.
This knowing is unconditional. This knowing is the Truth sitting in your heart. You can not do without this knowing, you can’t suppress it. If you suppress it then you keep wandering here and there, you keep knocking doors and yet you get nothing.
You see, man lives on the earth and aspires for the sky. Man is not equipped to fly up to the sky. But, when man admits that he is the creature of the earth, it is the sky topping. It is the only way man can reach the sky, by admitting that he is the creature of the earth. The more man wants to conceal this simple fact; the more man distances himself from the sky because the sky itself is the simplicity that speaks when you say, “I am the earth.” Are you getting this?
Man lives on the earth and thinks of the sky as something, someplace outside of himself, distant from himself. So, what does he do? He fills himself with contempt for the earth. He says,, “You know what, I belong to the sky, and it is just a tyranny of circumstances that I am being made to be on the earth. My destiny is the sky, and that’s what all the scriptures have told me, that’s what all gurus have emphasized upon, that I am from the sky and I must reach the sky. If I must reach the sky, what I am doing on earth?”
What is the result? Man becomes full of humiliation. Man looks around and says, ” A new morning, and I am still there on the earth. Why am I not meeting my destiny, as all the big books have told me? My teacher told me, “I am Brahm.” But, this morning I have again woken up as a body. This morning again I have to brush my teeth. Now, Brahm doesn’t have to brush his teeth. Brahm doesn’t have to eat food, but I have to.
And Guruji is constantly telling me that I am the limitless Atman, yet when I extend my hand to reach that wall, I cannot reach that wall, because my hand is so limited. When I go to the gym and lifts weights, I can not lift weights, because my strength is so limited. But, Guruji told me that you are not even Aparimit, but you are Aparimey. You are so vast that you are immeasurable. What immeasurable, I can’t even lift twenty kilograms.”
Now, you aren’t only confusing yourself, but actually insulting yourself.
A creature of earth must remain on the earth and in willfully embracing the earth he is showing something of the star. Because, that’s what the nature of sky is, to embrace the earth.
Listener: So sir, if you see illusion as the illusion, that’s the first time you see reality?
AP: Of course.
And you will never see the reality except in the illusion. Those who try to look for reality as a standalone element, apart from illusion are furthering the illusion. Get into the illusion and the courage to get into the illusion comes only from?
Listener: The sky.
AP: The sky, the reality. Are you getting this?
Spirituality is not about escaping from this world.
There is no other place, there is only the world. You can have versions of the world, you can have as many versions of the world as you want. But, they would still be just the world.
Listener: The whole talk about being free from happiness and sadness, then it seems that the pain is inevitable.
AP: You see, what does it mean to be free from both happiness and sadness? It means being free from obligations to label happiness as joy. It means being free from obligation to label sadness as loss of self-worth.
When you say, “happiness is happiness you are free from happiness, when you say sadness is just sadness then you have gain freedom from sadness.”
Being free from happiness and sadness does not mean that you will prohibit yourself from experiencing happiness and sadness.
Let happiness come and when happiness comes, you must allow it unrestricted entry. This boldness to not to restrict happiness is the Truth. It is unconditional. You are saying, “Happiness can come in without conditions. Now you are free of happiness, now happiness doesn’t matter to you.”
Listener 1: How do I live this way?
AP: When happiness has notions attached to it, then happiness is no more happiness. When happiness becomes significant to you, when happiness means much more than happiness to you, then it is no more happiness. Happiness becomes a proxy for joy.
Spirituality means, to know happiness as just happiness. Spirituality means, happiness is not a proxy for joy, so I do not need to label the conditional as unconditional, so I do not need to label the changeable as unchangeable, so I do not need to label happiness as contentment.
Are you getting this?
I can then celebrate happiness, I can then celebrate sadness, I can then celebrate all change. I see all of that as happening in front of me and I sit here in the center unchangeable, unshakeable, untouchable.
Do you get this?
Listener 2: Celebrating sadness, this is the difficult part…
AP: You see sadness becomes much more than sadness to us. Let me ask you something, can you be sad forever? Is it possible to carry on your sadness for long, for extremely long? Is it possible?
Listener 2: No, may not be possible…
AP: I know of fellows, who become extremely sad when something unwanted happens to them. Let me pick up an example. I was in college at IIT and there was a fellow, a topper from his school and he would come after exam and say it went really bad and he would appear tense and nervous and my condition would hardly be any different, I would say, “For me too, it went quite bad and then we would you know, sit gravely facing each other. And after a while, one of us would start giggling and then it would turn into an uncontrolled laughter.
If you let sadness go deeply into you, there is no way it is not going to touch joy. The joy of laughing at your misery is an unparalleled joy, and I really hope that you have experienced it at some point or another. It is great when you can laugh in your happiness, it is greater when you can laugh at your happiness, and it is greatest when you can laugh even at your sadness. Are you getting this?
And when I say, “Laugh,” I do not mean an ordinary laughter, I mean something that really arises from your heart. You are laughing at your own destruction. Is that not what egolessness is? You are being destroyed, you are being brought down brick by brick, bone by bone and you feel like giggling, like a madman, like an idiot. What else is joy? What else is joy? Do you get this?
There is such deep joy in looking at yourself being undone, “I am dissolving, I am going, I am dying and I am winking.”
We have all, for too long, thought that it is possible to smile only when we are being furthered, only when we are being secured and enhanced, I assure you that all spirituality is about smiling when you are being annihilated. That is the really spiritual man. He knows, he is being shredded, he knows he is going, he knows that he is being reduced and he finds it funny. He finds it’s a joke.
“You know what, I just lost my other arm also, what a joke.”
So, why have you come to me?
“Because I can no more click a selfie. Now, can you do it for me? What funny pic it would be, no arms anymore, and by the time you will click, I would’ve lost a leg as well. And that’s funny, that’s quite funny.”
That’s the spiritual one, who celebrates his disappearance. You get this?
Happiness and sadness are both wonderful, are both welcome. But, in some deep sense, sadness is a little better than the happiness, it teaches us a little more than happiness does. It elevates us a little more than happiness does. It has a certain purifying effect that happiness does not quite have. This does not mean that happiness is not welcome, both are welcome, happiness is welcome, equally welcome.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: All love is conditional
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