Question: What is ego tendency? What is maya? Why does the mind get distracted? How to be attentive?
Acharya Prashant: You see, we often say that suffering is when things start cluttering the mind. Kabir Sahib says, “Maya is that, which occupies your mind.” We need to ask, “To whom is the occupation?”
Let us say a girl keeps dancing in your mind. To whom is she dancing? Who is watching her? To whom has she come? Has she come to a nobody? Has she come to an empty house? She is dancing in your mind. To whom has she come? Had you not been there, would she have come? That’s the ego tendency.
Whenever you see something, you must that, that which you are seeing, is for you. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been there. Your universe is, for you. Otherwise, it is not there. That girl has come to your mind, for you. You go away from yourself, the girl too wouldn’t be there.
Listener: What is this ‘going away from oneself’?
Acharya ji: First of all, you are attached to the brain. ‘I’ tendency attached to the brain, is called ‘mind’. And therefore she comes to the mind. To merely the brain, she will not be a big trouble. But to the mind? She is a big attraction, or distraction.
A male dog does not keep dreaming of the female dog. That does not happen. But a man can keep dreaming of a woman, for fifty years.
You are so attached to the brain, that now there is all kind of mischief. So, now when things start appearing to you, when things start becoming important to you, when things start occupying you, you must ask, “To whom have they come?”
You must ask, “So many unwelcome guests have arrived. But who is the host?” So many unwelcome guests have arrived to the mind. The mind is the house. So many unwelcome guests have arrived to the house, but who is the host?
And then you will hear a resounding voice, “I am.” That’s what Nisargadatta teaches. The guests are surely all bogus. But who is the host? I am. Had I not been the host, the guests would not have arrived. So don’t blame the guests.
Don’t chase away the guest. Because even if you chase away the guests, you still are. You go away from the house, the guests too will go away. Which is the house to which firstly you came, and then the guests came? The body.
First of all, you are very attached to the body. And then, therefore, the girl starts circulating in the mind.
Listener: When you say that you leave the mind, what is this ‘leaving’? How can it happen?
Acharya ji: I don’t need to be here. I don’t need to be here. Right now you are in the house, just as a patient is in the hospital. A patient does not visit the hospital on his own, in his bliss. The patient needs to be in the hospital.
Similarly, you need to be in this house, that’s bad. Very bad. You have turned yourself into a patient, needlessly.
Had you been a visitor, a casual visitor to the body, an occasional visitor, it was okay. But you are here, as a new visitor, to the emergency. As a new enrollment in the trauma centre. Freshly admitted.
Listener: So is the detachment possible, of a patient with the hospital?
Acharya ji: You tried a lot of mischief, and you held yourself very wise. Now ask yourself, “Is the hospital any good? Am I being treated?”
First of all, you needlessly got admitted. And now kinds of things are being performed upon you. Are you liking it? Somebody is holding you to the stretcher. Two nurses who think that you are a helpless baby, are trying to nurse you, in your own personal ways.
One is may be the mother, and the other is the wife. They are trying to nurse you all the time. And one fellow, who considers himself a master surgeon, is rushing towards you, with a large saw. And now that you have started yelling at him, another one is dipping your face in anesthesia. They are trying to make you unconscious. Do you like this hospital?
Listener: No, but what is the choice available to me? Where to go?
Acharya ji: All places are within the hospital. There is nowhere to go to. That is your ‘to go to place’ – nowhere to go to. As long as hope remains, you will get relieved from Fortis(name of a hospital), only to get admitted to Apollo(name of another hospital). Your entire journey will be from one hospital to another hospital, from one trauma centre to another emergency ward.
You don’t need to be ‘anywhere’. You don’t need to be ‘anybody’.
There is nobody to hold onto, and there is nothing to defend.
You don’t need to protect anything.
You don’t need to safeguard anything.
There are no vulnerabilities.
You are not hurt.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: What is the ego tendency? || Acharya Prashant (2018)
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