Acharya Prashant: How to really listen to the Guru?

Question: In one video, you said that to listen to Krishna, you need to be Arjuna. To Listen to Ashtavakra also you need to be Janak.

To listen to you, what should the person be?

Acharya Prashant: The person should not be insistent on being the ‘person.’ That begins with not seeing the speaker as a person and not imagining the listener to be the person. If here a person is speaking sitting on this chair, then surely there is another person sitting on another chair who is listening. Now, listening cannot really happen. Because persons cannot really relate to each other.

A person is a limitation.

Limitations can associate with each other. But limitations cannot relate to become limitless.

You take one limitation and you associate it with another one, you do not get limitlessness. What you get is another limitation.

One person listening to another person will not listen to the Truth. He will come to some opinion, some conclusion, something of the mind or attitude. But he won’t come upon Truth or silence.

To listen to me you need to forget all about yourselves. And you need to forget that what you are listening to is a person’s personal viewpoints.

If you will insist on saying that what is coming to you is somebody’s personal opinion, then no person ever has the obligation to be non-resistant to another person’s opinions. Opinions by definition are meant to be analyzed, judged, dissected, then partially accepted or rejected.

You will have to see that that which speaks from this chair is the same that listens from that chair, or listening simply doesn’t happen.

Till the time there is A speaking to B, listening cannot happen.

Only Truth listens to the Truth.

Only that within you can listen to me which speaks from within me. And they are one. Which means that there has to be a certain unity between the ‘listener’ and the ‘speaker.’ I said,

to listen to Krishna you need to be Arjuna. But it’s not really Arjuna who listens to Krishna. It’s Krishna within Arjuna that listens to Krishna. No Arjuna can ever know Krishna. Even to look at Krishna, Arjuna requires eyes that are bestowed upon him by Krishna.

You’ll have to give your listening a total chance, a total freedom. And that is a very impersonal freedom. You’ll have to simply drop giving importance to all that is personal about the speaker.

If the speaker’s mannerisms or choice of words, or dress, or past, or accomplishments, or attractiveness matters to you, then all you will come to know is the personality of the speaker. You’ll never come to know the essence of the speaker. And personalities are personalities.

The speaker will remain a personality for you till the time you are adamant that you will hold on to your personality.

Who am I?

A serious one. If you remain the serious one, I remain a distant speaker.

Who are you?

The jovial one. If you remain the jovial one, I will remain a distant personality to you.

Who are you?

An ardent seeker. If you remain an ardent seeker, I will remain some teacher with whom you can have no real relationship.

Are you getting it?

The more you hold on to yourself, the more you will see ‘me’ through your own personal lens.

And through your personal lens, all you can see is persons.

And persons cannot state the Truth.

Persons can never be given the status of a Teacher. Persons are persons.

Discipleship means the discipline of not letting the person take over.

And the person will keep clamoring. The person will keep throwing his unsolicited inputs upon you.

Now, is this something that is in contradiction to all that I’ve ever read or heard? Yes, it is. Of course, the person has contributed. And what a contribution this is. These sessions are not casual coffee table discussions. It’s not about a Man talking to a Man. To be fully available to listening is to be already at the peak of life. After that nothing more is needed. After that, you and the speaker are one.

Are you getting it?

You need not to burden yourself with the responsibility to listen. The speaker himself will listen to the speaker from within you.

The one who speaks does not really leave it to the listener to complete the process of listening. If the speaker has really spoken, he is also the one who is really listened.

So don’t do much.

Just relax.

From understanding do words arise.

And into understanding do these words dissolve.

You cannot contribute to this.

Just don’t obstruct this.

Right?

Listener: The problem is that everyday a person arises based on whatever experiences I get and I form an image or whatever. And so one day I was wondering that why this person arises at all if the person has to fall? Or the person already has come at all in the mean. Naturally, the senses are there which are communicating something to the brain and it’s getting processed there and forming that. So that’s where the difficulty comes in that while intellectually I can understand that the person shouldn’t be there, but over in my Heart, I, again and again, feel that the person is there.

AP: Who feels that the person is there?

L: Maybe the person.

AP: The person, right. So, do you want to give a lot of weightage to this feeling?

L: I don’t but at times I give.

AP: Who gives?

L: Again the person.

AP: Again the person. So, do you want to give a lot of weightage to the feeling of the person?

L: No.

AP: By making the feelings of a person a problem. Are you not making the person more important than he really is? Remember that the false can never trouble the Truth. The True is never really bothered by the false. If the false bothers you, you must know where you stand.

Where do you stand?

In the false.

So,

when the false bothers you, do not try to drop the false, drop the botheration.

Are you getting it?

When something bothers us, in the worldly sense, our reaction is to get rid of that thing. But botheration itself is the proof of identification with the false. If I know something to be really false, and false means nonexistent if I know something to be non-existent, would I bother to fight it? Do you fight dreams or do you wake up from them? Don’t drop the false. Simply stop caring about it. Let it be there.

Yes, of course, the senses provide inputs. Yes, of course, life presents a lot to us that we know to be untrue, intellectually as you said. But still, life keeps bombing our senses and mind with all that stuff.

You can either go and challenge life and fight that process. Or you can simply say, let it happen, who bothers.

And even if I bother, who bothers about bothering.

Let it happen.

Let it happen.

The proof that you have really known something as false does not lie in labeling that thing as false.

To know the false as false is to be free of the false.

The proof lies in freedom.

If you have really known then you’d go beyond.

If you’ve really known then you’d walk past.

Walk past. Keep walking past. At no point in this whole process of living as a human being, as a body, as a person, would a stage come when the senses would become so considerate and benign that they would cease to provide your inputs.

As long as eyes are there, you would perceive the world. Let the little senses do their little work. Why must you be unsettled? Let the person arise. Let him shout. Let him quarrel.

Give him total freedom to do all his mischief. Giving total freedom to the person means a total absence of the fear of the person. I’m no more bothered about the person can do to me.

And you can be totally free of fear of somebody only when you’ve known him to be powerless.

And the only thing that is totally powerless is that which does not exist.

If it exists, it’ll have some power.

So give complete freedom to the person – do whatever you want to do, and be free of the person.

The person has his own territory. Let him jump around there in that territory.

But far beyond the territory of the person is an open space, an open sky that belongs to you, to which you belong.

The space of the person is a very small place in that open sky. Let the person run around. His space is anyway very limited. Why do you want to further constrict it?

You relish your being. It is infinite. You can never know your infinitude directly.

You know your vastness only when you feel comfortable and confident in allowing the mischief of Life to freely happen.

I’m so powerful that no mischief can harm me.

The person is a monkey. And who am I? A gorilla, if not a man. What can this monkey do to me?

You are not in the True when you are waging a war against the false.

You are in the True when you feel no need to wage a war against anything.

When you are not waging a war against the false, that is when you’ve known the false just as a shadow of the Truth. Now you can see the True even in the false. And now Life is so beautiful.

Now you don’t complain. Now you don’t say “Oh, this mischievous person keeps raising his head.”

Now, even in the naughtiness of this vandal, you see the naughtiness of Krishna. And that is Leela. Is it not?

One thing must be very certain and clear. Spirituality is not about waging an inner battle. Spirituality is not about becoming a host to a civil war. For most spiritual persons, spirituality is like having a mind similar to Kurukshetra. One part of the mind fighting another part. The moral aesthetic so-called spiritual path trying to contain the so-called ugly, rebellious, conditioned part. That is not spirituality. That is just a game of division. And divisions, enough we already have.

When we said the trick lies in not blocking, it lies in not blocking even the person. An Immediate reaction might be if we don’t block the person he’ll be a nuisance. He won’t be.

Not blocking whatever is arising within you is the same as not giving it energy because your blockage is what provides energy to that which you are blocking.

L: But it irritates you by interfering.

AP: Can it interfere if you don’t have a barrier? A bird flies in the sky, can it interfere? Can it? ‘Total freedom’ cannot be interfered with. But a bird can enter your room and interfere with your ‘superficial peace.’

I remind the false can annoy only the false.

When the false arises, there is no obligation to be annoyed.



Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant: How to really listen to the Guru?


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