One is enslaved with her own consent

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The discourse began with a spontaneous play on the theme of FREEDOM. Enacted by volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation.

Acharya Prashant: Can anyone tell the storyline, please…

Listener: There is this girl and she sees, there was this group of people who were saying “Azaadi, Azaadi (Freedom, Freedom)” inside the walls. So, she was very fascinated that what is Azaadi, what is freedom. So, when she asks them the meaning of freedom, they say, family, religion, jobs and social media are providing us freedom.

So, she also joins them but she doesn’t feel good there. So, she asks questions that I am not feeling free, if the family is freedom then why am I doing what my father says. Then a man comes and he pulls her out of those walls and tells her that the sky, mountains, nature, this is Azaadi.

But later on, he finds that the girl again goes to those chains. And when he again goes after her to free her out of those chains, then she herself kills the man. Continue reading

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What is Shame?

gen 1Question: What is shame?

Acharya Prashant: What is shame? Can shame exist without ideals and comparison? Does shame cure and heal? Is there shame in love? Does shame lead to betterment? These and more are the questions we want to talk over.

Man is the only creature that experiences shame. It is a simple and direct fact that reveals so much about the nature of shame. Man is the only creature that experiences shame. Which means that there can be no shame inherent in the biological scheme of things. The child is not born with shame. Shame is a taught phenomenon. And like everything else that is taught, shame too is taught with the purpose, with the hope that it will lead to betterment. Continue reading

The song of the Heart

BFB1 Hiding in this cage of visible matter

is the invisible life bird.

 Pay attention to her,

She is singing your song”

~Saint Kabir

 

ACHARYA JI:  The invisible is difficult to be attended to. How many of you have ever looked at the invisible? How many of you ever touched that which cannot be touched, or heard that which cannot be heard? But if there is something available to be touched and seen and smelled, it is within your province. You would have some experience of it.

We like to live in the dualistic domain, the dualistic domain is a domain of comfort, the dualistic domain says “I can know and experience while remaining myself.” Continue reading

To help yourself, help the other

21762214_1227353527370622_921021697824714700_nQuestion: Acharya Ji, What does Osho mean when he says, “You help the other be alone so that you do not remain a need for the other”?

Acharya Prashant: This is with reference to a relationship. There is a relationship, a relationship apparently involves two. And if the two are lonely what are they doing in that relationship?

Just fulfilling their own self-interests. Because the lonely person has nothing but ‘himself’ in his world. The world exists for his sake so that he might be fulfilled. For the lonely person, who is paramount? “Himself, his needs.” And his needs are great! Why are his needs are great? Because he is missing the Absolute, so his need is the? Absolute. And if your need is Absolute, nothing can fulfill your need. The Absolute is? Infinite. If you are missing a little, then a little can fulfill you. If you are missing a little, then a little can fulfill you. But what if you are missing the Absolute. Then what would fulfill you? What hope is there? Too bad. Continue reading

How to transform lust into love?

gen 1Question: Is the transformation of lust into love somewhat related to a transformation in the energy which will sometimes refer to as Kundalini? Does this process of transformation of lust into love occur in moments when one joins hands and gratitude and in moments of complete attention or peace? It is possible that one might be physically experiencing the rise of this energy in one’s head very prominently when one meditates? Does remaining attentive to the present moment lead to this transformation and freedom from lust and pleasure-seeking desire of the brain?

Acharya Prashant: There are a lot of assumptions contained in this question. We need to first unearth those assumptions. The first assumption is that lust and love are necessarily separate. The second assumption is, one of them is inferior to the other. The third is that there is something called the experience of the Truth. Let us look at them one after the other.

Lust is to Love, what the world is to the Truth. Lust is to love, what the Manifest is to the unmanifest – they are one. One is expressed, the other is not. Just as there is nothing called a transformation of the world into God, similarly there is nothing called a transformation of lust into love. All these concepts and assumptions are based on the negation of life and the world.

One wants to say that there is something inferior or ungodly about carnal love, about lust, and hence one must rise above it. One wants to then reject all that which is life and blood, all that which is objective, all that which is material, and one wants to then rise into an imaginary world of timelessness and spacelessness. A conceptual world where there are no objects that one can be lustful of, and there is only a pure love that is not objectified.

Love is to see the essence of lust. Attraction towards objects is lust. That is the direct and simple definition of lust. It is so simple that one cannot miss it. One is attracted towards objects and that is lust. That object might be anything. Even if you are attracted towards the butterfly, it is lust. Even if you are attracted towards a utensil, a pen, a building, a motorcar, it is lust.

Looking at a material, looking at anything material, and being pulled towards it is lust. You could say that lust is the relationship between object and object. And lust is not merely expressed as attraction, even to be repulsed is lust. Objects attract each other, objects repel each other, and objects are also sometimes indifferent to each other. All three aspects of the relationship between objects are lust. That is why we said lust is the relationship between object and object.

So, to the extent you, the person, are an object, you are bound to dwell in lust, you cannot escape lust. Your eyes are bound to like the butterfly. Yes, of course, you can train them, you can compel them, to not to like the butterfly or to be indifferent to the butterfly. But still, whenever a rainbow would decorate the sky, you will find yourself being compelled to look at it. Looking at the rainbow arching the sky is lust, and it’s beautiful.

What it love then?

Love is to be a right participant in the game of lust. Please listen to this very carefully because you might not have heard of this before today. The game of lust is the game of Prakriti. It continues. The child is born and when a shiny object is brought in front of it, his hand automatically gets stretched out, it is lust. Nobody trains the child to look with focus at a frog, but when the Frog is hopping around, look at the eyes of the child, they lit up. The child starts looking with focus, exclusively, selectively, at the Frog. This is lust -object meets the object.

And when the child is looking selectively at the Frog, the child is ignoring the bland walls around him. The child is ignoring, the slippers that he is wearing. The child is ignoring the trees around. The child is ignoring the earth under his feet. This indifference to some objects too is lust. Lust is the very game of Prakriti, the game in which all objects participate. This is lust.

One does not have to teach the child to reach out to the mother’s breast, the child knows. One does not have to teach the child to suck his own thumb, the child knows. Every object, according to its Prakritik configuration, does what it does. That is lust. When I Prakriti, I mean physical nature. Nature expressed physically is Prakriti.

The Truth, when it takes the physical expression, it is called Prakriti.

So, according to his own Prakriti, his own physical nature, every object plays its role in this great game of life. That is lust. You too have a role to play. When you look at a flower, when you look at a shiny object, when you look at a rainbow, when you look at money, when you look at a woman, all that which is objective within you is called into action. You don’t have to grant your permission for that. That will happen automatically.

Bad odor enters your nostrils and automatically out comes the handkerchief. You don’t have to allow that to happen. And even if you do not consciously do it, your system, your face, your nostrils, will try to find a way away from the bad odor. Bad odor is an object, your nostrils are an object, the electrical impulses arising from the walls of your nostrils too are an object, and those electrical impulses travel to another object that is the brain, and all of that is configured action, all of that is Prakritik and automatic action.

In all this game of things happening in a configured way, in an automatic way, in a lustful way, where are you? You have a great role to play here. Where are you? You know what is your role? If you know your role, then you know love. When everything in you, around you, is participating, you too participate. But participate rightly. Just as everything else is participating rightly, you too participate rightly.

Let’s go into it.

What is everything doing in this great game? In this great game, everything is following its nature, its configuration. The nostril is configured to not to allow bad stuff to enter the lungs, that is the configuration of the nostril. The nostril is doing what it must do, what its appointed role is. So, to know what your role is, you must also know what is your nature. The nature of the nostril is to serve as a gateway to the lungs, as a conduit. The nostril plays its role to perfection.

Have you seen how the fingers rise and close the gates of the nostrils? Have you seen how there are hair inside the nostril track so that if some dust or other impurity enters, it is caught in the hair? Do you see how there is a lining of phlegm in the nostrils inside? It is so that any dust particles that enter are caught. Everything and everybody is doing what it is naturally meant to do.

What are you naturally meant to do? What is your role? How do you participate in this great drama? To answer that you need to ask what is your nature because your role is determined by your nature. In fact, your role has to be identical to your nature. What is your nature? Ask. When do you feel really really comfortable? If you can answer that question honestly, you will know your nature. Because your nature is that state or non-state of your being in which you are fully totally absolutely comfortable. When are you absolutely comfortable? Please answer that.

Let me ask you, are you not very comfortable when you are sleeping? Are you not? Anybody here who is uncomfortable even in his or her sleep?

You might be suffering from the worst and the most painful disease in the world, but what happens to the discomfort associated with that disease when you go off to sleep? You might be imprisoned, but what happens to all the trauma associated with prison when you go off to sleep? You might have faced the great loss in business, what happens to great loss when you have fallen asleep? You are the most comfortable when you are asleep. To be asleep means to be untouched, unaffected. To be asleep means to be in a state of not-knowing, in a state that is untouched by information and knowledge. To be asleep means to be not obliged to move. To be asleep means to be in a state of no responsibility. That is when you are the most comfortable. That is your nature.

In fact, that is the very definition of nature. Nature is the state in which you do not feel like budging away from that state. If you are in a particular state and you keep feeling that you must attain another state, then that first state is not at all your nature. Your nature is that state in which all imaginations and desires of other states are lost. Your nature is that state, having attained which, you do not want to attain anything else. That state is represented by sleep. It is not exactly sleep, but sleep is a good representation, that is why I am using sleep as a symbol.

So, when the great game of Prakriti, when the great game of lust is being played around you, your role is to keep sleeping. Now that is a little difficult because the eyes too are objects. Because ordinary sleep is bound to be broken after a few hours. So, obviously, you cannot keep sleeping in the ordinary way. It is impossible. In the ordinary way if you have to continuously sleep, that would mean physical death.

So, your role has to be more subtly understood. Your role then is to keep sleeping even when your physical apparatus is awake. Your role is to keep sleeping even when the eyes are open. Your role is to not to stray away from the most comfortable and relaxed state of mind. That is called Jagrat Sushupti. That is also called Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

Now, Samadhi, the state of rest, is Nirvikalpa. Nirvikalpa means it does not depend on any object, it does not depend on anything around it, it does not depend on space, it does not depend on conditions, and it does not depend on sleep being interrupted. “The eyes may open, the eyes may close. The world might exist, the world might not exist. It might be heat, it might the winters. It might be day, it might be night. My rest is unabated. My rest is unpunctuated.” That is your role, and it is a great role.

You must keep sleeping, that is your role in the great drama of lust. When lust is dancing all around you, you keep sleeping. And if you can keep sleeping, that is love. That is why, I said that listen to this very carefully, you might not have heard of this before. Love is that great sleep which is unaffected by all lust. That great sleep, mind you, does not seek to transform lust. That great sleep, mind you, does not want to do anything to lust. That great sleep just lets lust be.

Obviously what else can sleep do? Things are dancing around you and you are asleep. Obviously, you are just letting them dance. You are participating by non-participating. This sleep is also called witnessing. This non-participation is also called witnessing. But mind you, this witnessing, this non-participation, is absolutely the right participation. This is the only way you can participate, you must participate. And participate you must.

Often witnessing is taken as withdrawal. No, not at all. Witnessing is beautiful participation. Witnessing is samyak, right participation. This game invites everyone. When even objects are invited, how can you be left out? You too are invited. In fact, you are the chief guest in the party, in the function. You are the most celebrated presence in this occasion. How can you remain absent? But you remain present by remaining asleep. That is the way to be present to lust. When lust is there all around you, you remain asleep. This sleep is love. This sleep, you know what it means, it means you love something so much that you will not leave it even for the sake of all objects.

The mind is getting attracted to something, and when the mind is getting attracted to something, that mind tells you “Please come along, we will have a good time”, and you know what you tell the mind, you say, “Dear mind, you go to the object that you are getting attracted to, let me remain with the one I love”, and whom do I love? I love peace, I love sleep. God is another name for total sleep. I love my sleep so much that I won’t desert him. I am totally loyal, I am totally committed. I have met my lover, I have met my husband. I will not leave him. You go wherever you want to, I will not stop you. Just as I am committed to my love, you remain committed to your attraction because that is your Prakritik configuration.”

“You are designed to run around, I am designed to stay centered. You are designed to remain in consciousness, I am designed to remain in deep awareness. I will do what I must. When you are around, it is called lust. When I just sleep, it is love. Sleeping is love.”

Sleep means sleeping with the one who is worthy of sleeping with. Sleeping with the one who won’t desert you in your sleep. Sleeping with the one whose company can give you total relaxation. A lover who is so reliable that you can relax in his arms. You remain there, you do not want to leave your peace. Peace is the name of the lover. God is another name for peace. You remain there, that is called love. You participate in the great game by being with your own lover.

The eyes go to their own attraction. Okay, why insult the eyes. Let me just say, the eye goes to the one they love. The eyes love the rainbow, the eyes love the butterfly, two eyes love the handsome man or the dainty woman. Let the eyes go where they want to go. Don’t stop them. If you stop the eyes from wandering, that means that you don’t have trust in your own love. If you are afraid of the loitering of the mind, it only proves that you are insecure about your own love.

You must be very very self-assured. You must know that even if the mind runs away a thousand miles from the center, yet you will remain at the center, and then let us see how far the mind can go away without you. Let us see. And if it does go away, let it go away. If it does not go away, let it come back.

Coincidentally, the mind is nothing but the entire environment around you. If you decide to stay firm at the center, how far away can the mind go? But if you start chasing the mind in order to bring it back, then the mind has gone away, and you too have gone away in your effort to bring the mind back. It’s like a little kid running away from home and being chased by the mother, and the kid is running fast and the kid has gone away two kilometers, and chasing it, ostensibly with the purpose to bring it back to home, the mother has also come away two kilometers from the center, from the home. So don’t change the mind. Don’t try to bring it back to home. You remain at home wherever the mind goes. That is love.

The movement of mind is lust. Your commitment to the center in the middle of all lust is love. No transformation is needed. Both are parallel, both are simultaneous. When you are tethered to the center, then the movement of the mind gains a wonderful quality. Lust remains very much as lust. Objects do get still attracted to each other. But something touches the quality of that attraction.

Man would still touch the woman, but the quality of that touch would change. If you do not have eyes, that can see, all that you would see is that a man is touching a woman. But when the ego is centered, then the fingers get something of that center. Now, when these fingers will even lustfully touch a man or a woman, there would be lust and there would be something beyond lust also.

To know what is beyond lust, you too will have to be a lover of the beyond. To uneducated eyes, to conditioned eyes, it will appear that flesh is up touching flesh. And you cannot be blamed because materially only flesh would appear to touch flesh. That is all that your eyes will be able to see. Body is meeting body, skin is rubbing against skin, and flesh is touching flesh.

But don’t condemn it. What else can the flesh touch, and what else can be flesh be touched by? Flesh will touch flesh. Godliness lies in the quality of the touch. Kindly do not imagine that the godly man or the godly woman stops touching, or start abdicating flesh. No. The touch is still there. The flesh is still there. Flesh plays its designated role, but God enters the union. Now it is a union between man, woman, and God. It’s tripartite now. Mind you that man and woman are still there, so lust is still there. Lust is still there. But there is something beyond lust as well.

That is incidentally also the way to live in the world. Let the mind do what it is designed to do, you remain in your Samadhi. Let the business of the world go on, you remain centered. You remain firm. Let flesh do its own thing, you do your own thing. When you are doing your own thing, then God comes to touch your lust. Lust is then not destroyed but sanctified. It is not as if lust then disappears. Rather, lust then comes accompanied by another one. That other one is called purity.

So, you could even say that when you are loving, then your lust is pure lust. That is what is meant by the presence of God in the lustful relationship.

Now, you will know that even as the game of attraction, repulsion, bodily configuration, etc is being played, this game is meaningless and purposeless because it cannot give anything to you. You are already in your highest state. You are already asleep. You are already so very blissful, that no orgasm can add to your bliss.

Now, orgasm is no more something that you will covet. Now, you will not be mad to just sexually engage with another person. You’d still engage, but that engagement would be free of the avaricious madness that you see all around. You would not now want to exploit the other’s body. You would now not look at the other’s body as a means of your personal fulfillment. Now, it would be pure lust, in the sense that it would now just be body meeting body. It would not now be about using the other’s body as a means of something beyond.

You know what we look at the other’s body as? Because we don’t have contentment and fulfillment in our daily lives, so we want to use the other’s body to get that fulfillment which we otherwise cannot have, do not have. When you are anyway contented and fulfilled, when you are anyway at the top of your game, then others body is just body. Then you do not say that the other’s body is a gateway to heaven. Then you do not say that if you can get the other’s body then you will have the highest bliss that is possible. You now already have the highest bliss.

So, why will you seek the highest bliss in a man’s or a woman’s body? Now the body is just a little body. Now your lust is just pure lust. Now, your lust is not a symbol of some greed beyond itself. Are you getting it?

Love is to love God. There is no other love. When you love God, then God is freely and easily available. Now you have no other desire left. Which means, that now you can leave the petty desires to play their own little petty game. And that game is now so petty, so petty, that it cannot threaten anyone. You can allow that game to continue, you can now allow the game of lust to freely continue. Now lust is no more a danger.

That will also help you see why religious people all over the world and all through the centuries have been condemning lust. They have been condemning lust because they have found lust threatening. When you are really in Samadhi, then lust is no more a threat. Then you will not condemn lust. The really wise man, the really Samadhist man, the really natural man, will not condemn lust. He will do his own thing. He will let the body do its own thing. And when you are doing your own thing rightly, then the body also knows that it must do its own thing rightly. In fact, the body always knows, the mind always knows, the intellect always knows, it is you who interferes.

When you do not want to interfere with the body, mind, intellect your own business is that deep sleep called Samadhi. Mind your own business. Let the body take care of its own business. The body too arises from the same source as you do. Just as you are intelligent, the body too has been blessed with intelligence. The mind is nothing but the intelligence of the body.

Let the body do as it pleases. Let the body please do as it pleases. Kindly do not become a policeman upon the body. Kindly do not let your notions of morality and spirituality become an unnecessary load upon Prakriti. Prakriti is heavenly. Prakriti is godly. But, Prakriti is heavenly and godly only when, first of all, you love God and you do not interfere with Prakriti.

Lust needs no transformation. You need transformation. And your transformation is just about you moving into your essential nature. Go there.

You talked about Kundalini and other stuff, they are names. Mind starts this business of naming, and defining, and running around, and hopping and jumping, only when it does not have the real thing.

When you are really breathing, do you want to give the breath a name? How many names will you give to each of the million breaths you take in a day? When you are really splashing around in the water, how many names do you want to give to each of the droplets? When you are looking at birds playing around, do you really want to give each of them a name? A pack of wolves, do you give them a name? A flock of birds, do you give them a name? Why name? Just being with them is sufficient. Let the mind do what it does. If the mind wants to give a few things names, it is alright. You remain in the nameless. You remain in the formless.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to transform lust into love?



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How to not be lonely?

Acharya Prashant: The word ‘loneliness’ or ‘lonely’ is actually a misnomer. The one who calls himself lonely is actually never ‘lonely’. If lonely means not being with anybody, not having anybody to accompany you, then the one who is lonely is actually never without company. He or she always has company. Yes?

And whose company does this person have? This person always has his own company. Okay?

This will make it easier for us to understand.

Traditionally, generally, it has been said that the lonely person is the one who is needing somebody else’s company, right?

You look at it a little differently. You go a little deeper into it. The lonely person is not just needing somebody’s company, in fact it is possible that at times, he may even think that he does not need anybody’s company. He may think that he is not in need of somebody’s company, because he already is in the company of his own thought.

The fellow is thinking that he does not need anyone. And why does he not need anyone? Because right now he has his thoughts to accompany him.

So, the lonely person is one who is always with himself. Do we understand this? The lonely person is one who can never leave himself. The lonely person is one who is always talking to himself, always looking at himself. Are you getting it?

He is always acutely binded to his consciousness. Now we will understand this that what does that mean. The feeling of ‘I’ and the feeling of ‘other’, both exist only in the consciousness. Right? The consciousness consists of two. Which are these two? ‘I’ and the ‘world’. Whenever you are thinking of the ‘I’, you have to, you compulsorily have to simultaneously factor in the world. There is no way you can think of yourself without thinking of the world. That is the way of consciousness. The ‘I’ and the world are always together.

So, the lonely person is always attached to his consciousness. And in his consciousness exists a figure of himself. This figure is a limited figure. This figure needs protection. This figure lives in fear. Fear of what? Fear of the world that he is parallelly thinking of. So, look at what is going on there. He is not lonely at all. There is much to give him company. There is his own figure, and then there is the image of the world. So much is there. That is the lonely person’s mind. There is a lot there.

That is why I began by saying that the word loneliness may mislead.

The lonely person is actually quite full. He has so much in him and going through him. Are you getting it? And at the center of this crowd that always occupies his mind, sits his own figure. Can you see the mind of the lonely person? It is not at all an empty mind. The entire world is there. The entire world is there, and at the center of that world who sits? He himself sits. So, he is sitting and the entire world is there. That is the mind of the lonely person.

Now, this world may sometimes appear friendly to him. ‘Appear’, so he thinks. This world may sometimes appear unfriendly to him. ‘Appears’, so he thinks. But whether the world appears friendly or not so friendly, the one at the center is always limited and hence afraid. When the world appears friendly, he cannot trust it. He knows he is not really deserving of the friendliness. He knows the world too cannot really be trusted. Things come and go. And when the world is unfriendly towards him, then obviously he has reason for despair. But to him, the crowd around him is the only reality. That is the lonely man. He sits at the center and around him is a crowd. Can you look at his eyes? Full with desperation, with hope, with hunger.

He’s looking at the world, “I may get this, I may get that. Who may hurt me, who can becalm me, who is going to be the next one to attack me, who will be the one to comfort me?” He is always looking at the world. Right?

The lonely person is always thinking. The lonely person is always busy with himself. The lonely person just cannot get rid of his own personal concerns. That is loneliness. It is far from an empty dinner table. It is a restaurant choked to capacity, and serving distasteful dishes. Let not the world make you visualize a barren desert. Loneliness is not at all a barren desert. Loneliness is a teeming crowd. People people people everywhere. The world the world the world everywhere. A world that is unknown. A world that really can never be fully known. Nevertheless, a world that is the only hope of the lonely person.

Are you getting it?

The lonely person is always walking with his own shadow. And he has so much attraction and attachment to his shadow that he is always looking only at the darkness which he calls his shadow, which he calls his friend, and to which he is physically attached, just as your shadow is physically attached to you. He’s so engrossed looking at the darkness that he will not turn back to look at the source of light. When you are busy looking at your shadow, surely you have turned your back to the Sun. Have you not?

That is the state of the lonely person. He is always with himself. And what is he doing with himself? Thinking of his own welfare, “What will happen to me? There is me, there is the world. What will the world make of me? What can I get from the world? And how do I save myself from the world?” It’s a strange relationship that one has with the world.

Like in a game of Kabaddi. There is me, there is the other. I have to necessarily engage with the other. If I go to the side of the other to engage with him, I may win some exploits, or I may get caught there and lose everything that I have. That is the relationship of the lonely person with the world. He is always thinking of himself. Afraid. Insecure. And always thinking of himself in relation to the world. He is very concerned about his self-interest.

So, do not be misled please. Just because you may be social, just because you may have people around you, with you, most of the time, do not call yourself not lonely.

To be lonely is to be surrounded. Surrounded not necessarily on the outside, but surely within.

Are you worried about yourself? Is your self-interest paramount to you? Do the thoughts of future keep chasing you? Do memories keep haunting you? You are lonely. You are very very lonely. Do you want to hold on to your relationships? Do you count your numbers? You are lonely.

Who then is alone? The fellow who is alone is the one who is not with himself, just as the lonely fellow is always with himself. The fellow who is alone is rarely with himself. Because he is not with himself, he becomes available. He becomes available. Available to be with that which is.

You can compare the lonely fellow to a man who is driving through a beautiful terrain, lovely terrain, in a car. But his windshield is a mirror. The windows of the cars are all mirrors. In front of him is the windshield which is a mirror. Behind him there is another glass which is again a mirror. And he is driving through a beautiful terrain. He is always with people. Who are those people? Himself. He is very occupied. With? Himself. And that is why he is never available to watch the beautiful…? He’s not available at all.

It’s like you are sitting at a coffee table with two chairs. There is a center table, there is a chair, and there is another one opposite to it. On one chair are you seated. And on the other chair, again you are seated. And you are busy conversating. To whom? To yourself. You are always talking to yourself. And there’s a huge world, a huge reality around you, but you cannot look at it because you are always talking to yourself. That is the state of the lonely person.

And I said that the one who is alone becomes available. Now you know what availability means? What is availability? What is availability? So, now you know what enjoyment means. Enjoyment does not mean entertainment. It only means availability. If you can be present to what is, that is enjoyment. That does not mean you will have a special feeling inside of you. It is a simple presence. Are you getting it?

The fellow who is alone is with everything and everybody except himself. And the fellow who is lonely is with nobody except himself.

Are you getting it?

The world that the lonely fellow lives in is very different from the world that the alone fellow lives in. The lonely fellow’s world is his own construction. It is a dualistic world. It is a world that exists centrally in his own consciousness. It is a world that is the dualistic opposite of his own self image. He does not really live in the world, he lives in his own mind. He lives here (pointing to head). Just as he has an image of himself that always needs protection, correspondingly he also has an image of the world. His self image and his image of the world coexist. Right? And both are his own fiction.

The world of the second fellow, the one who is not lonely, is different. In this world, there is the world without himself. Understand this please. You may look at a car, you do not look at a car just as a car, you look at the car in relation to yourself. How big is it compared to my car? When can I have that car? The driver of that car zoomed past me, did he mean insult to me? The color of this car is similar to the color of my first bike. That is how we look at cars. “I have to overtake this car.”

What is common between all these statements? There is the car with reference to ‘me’. Because I am always busy with myself hence I cannot look at everything except in relation to me. That is how the lonely person’s world exists. It is a dualistic world. He looks at the world in relation to himself. That is the world of the lonely person, because his is a self-centered world. He looks at a car with respect to ‘I’. He looks at anything with respect to ‘I’. Are you getting it?

The world of the fellow who is not lonely and who is depicted by the word ‘alone’ is fundamentally different. In that world there is just the car. The car as it is. Not the car with respect to the person. The car just as it is. Nothing added to it. Nothing subtracted from it. Just the ‘fact’. There is nobody within this person who needs to borrow his identity from the car. There is nobody here who is so hungry that he would look at a car and pounce upon it in some way or the other. He is alright. He does not need the support of the car. He is not afraid, so he does not need to reject or disparage the car. So he looks at ‘just’ the world. Hence, this is not dualistic perception.

Perception is dualistic only when the observer becomes a function of the things he observes. If you observe something and that which you are observing changes you, then your observation is dualistic.

You look at something exciting and you become excited, then your perception is dualistic and you are lonely. Because now you know that your self depends on the world. You look at something and that which you look at changes your state, then you are lonely. Are you getting it?

So, a strange thing happens in the case of this fellow who is called alone. The world keeps changing its shapes, forms, keeps getting modified, keeps flowing, but this fellow does not quite flow with the world. Because he does not flow with the world, so he is free to understand the world as it is. In understanding the world as it is, he becomes free of the fear of the world. And when he is free of the fear of the world, he becomes free to plunge into the world and flow with the world.

But that looks so illogical. We began with saying that he does not flow with the world, and we are ending by saying that he indeed does. You must get the difference between flowing and flowing. He is not carried away by the world. He is not spoiled by the world. Remaining himself, in his own utter inner security and permanence, he is free to give himself to the world, “I know it and it cannot harm me, so I flow.” Whereas the lonely person is compulsorily driven, and even as he is being driven, he is being changed all the time by the driver.

When the fellow who is alone is with the world, he is not being changed by the world he is with. He might be with any color, any part, any mood of the world, something inside him remains free of all moods, he therefore becomes available. To the lonely fellow, the world, as we said, is both a danger and an opportunity. Hence, he cannot become available. He is necessarily attracted to some part, and afraid of the remaining part.

Which part is he attracted? The part that he takes as an opportunity. From where does he escape? The part that he takes as a threat.

Is that not our story? There is this world sprawling outside of us. Somewhere in this world lies the opportunity to make good of myself. And at other places in this world lie mortal dangers, I better avoid them. So how can fellow be then available? He is not available to either part. Obviously he’s not of available to the part that threatens, but equally he is also not available to the part that attracts. His love is bogus.

He must say that I desperately want to go to this part of the world where my sweetheart lives. But he’s not going anywhere, because he is always with only one thing, his own shadow. Even his sweetheart is a part of his own projection, his own shadow. He does not love anyone because he is always only with himself. The one who is self-centered cannot love. He cannot love because to love there must be somebody to love. This fellow only has his own imaginations, that is the most he can love. Even the one he is attracted to, even the parts that he takes as an opportunity, are just his own imaginations.

Even when he is with so-called friends, he is talking not to the friends, but to his projections of who they are. Fighting enemies, he is fighting phantoms. And loving friends, he is loving dreams. All his love is dream stuff. And that is why his love so frequently gets hurt. His dreams are so vulnerable, they so easily get shattered. He is never available, neither to attraction nor to repulsion. Even while making love, he is merely ideating. His body is active, so is his mind. He thinks that he has enimities, and he thinks that he has friends and lovers. He actually has nobody. So poor is he that he does not even have enemies. And that is true.

You are really quarreling hard with someone in a room, and suddenly the room catches fire, it’s a sudden and big fire, you will forget all your enmity, you’ll cry out to the only available person in the room, your enemy, and say “Please save me.” The two of you will suddenly become cooperative. All the enmity will be gone. We do not even have solid enmity. Even our enmity is opportunistic, occasional.

The occasion changes, enemies quickly become friends. The occasion changes, friends quickly become enemies. Husband and wife are breaking each other’s head, and a third person comes in, and the two get united and turn upon this third person. Have you not seen that? “In between the two of us there can be quarrel, but when it comes to an outsider, we are a united front. Our hell is our domestic matter. Conversely, all our domestic matters are hell.” “Only I deserve to crack open the skull of my husband. No outsider will be allowed that privilege.” “Only I deserve to rape my wife. No outsider will be allowed that.” Enemies quickly become friends. Friends turn enemies. All our dream stuff passing, passing, passing. Nothing has permanence. Nothing has depth. Are you getting it?

There was this movie, the man was wailing over the dead body of his son, and he appeared inconsolable, and then a messenger from the government comes, quietly expresses his condolences, and whispers into the ears of the wailing man the exact compensation amount that the government has sent on the death of his son.

Just for a second, just for a brief passing second, the man changes his expression. The inconsolable father, in that brief passing second, upon hearing the news of the large figure that the government has offered as compensation for his son’s death, is made to think of something beyond this grief. The second is brief, it passes. The man again resumes his wails. But that one second is sufficient. Very sufficient. The son is gone.

The grief appears to be deep. But even that deep grief has been assuaged even if for a brief secondby the mighty figure that he is recieving as compensation for his son’s death.

What if the figure was ten times larger? How long would have been the old man’s pause? What if the figure was hundred times larger? What if  the figure was a million times larger?

Nothing is deep enough. Nothing is so deep that something else cannot fill it. Your grief for your son might be deep, but it is not interminably deep. Yes, ordinary money will not fill that depth but a lot of money would. And the consequence of that is that if the grief of death can be forgotten, even if for a litle while by the dazzling presence of money then sufficient bedazzlement can cause to not only to not grief over his dead son but even cause to actively kill his living son.

And that is why you have, sons, killing fathers and fathers killing daughters.

Because nothing is deep enough. Because the lonely one is always living for himself. Because everything is within the purview of calculations. The son has gone. Yes, when we console the grieving family, we tell them that yours is an irreparable damage. Don’t we say that, it is an irreparable damage? But it is not actually irreparable. Nothing is deep enough.

All damages are with respect to oneself. One is at the center of his world, his lonely world. And because one is limited, hence all the damages to oneself are also limited. And because one is limited, hence all his pleasures and even his love are also limited. Hence everything can be purchased and sold off. Hence there is a price tag on everything. Every price tag is a number, and anything that is limited can be captured in a number. So, everything is on sale. It is just that you need to quote the right number. You can buy anything.

The man will sell anything. You only need to bid high enough. There is nothing absolute there, and hence there is nothing absolutely out-of-bounds there. There is nothing absolutely unthinkable there. Everything can be thought of. And hence everything can be put into action. That leads us to the world – absolute and unthinkable.

In the world of the man who is alone, there are absolutes. There is stuff that carries no price tag because it is not stuff at all. And there is stuff which is unthinkable, because only stuff can be thought of, and this stuff is special stuff that cannot be thought of. If you are somebody who thinks of everything, then kindly wake up because whatever you think of can always be put up for sale. Whatever you think of is not yours, it will be lost. Either you will actively sell it off, or time will forcibly take it away. Only that you cannot lose which you have anyway never thought of as yourself, or yours.

It is strange. That which you have never thought of as yours is the only thing that really belongs to you. And that which you think of as yours, is not even yours in your own intention. Or it is yours only till the time you decide that you want to now do away with it. Whatever you know of as yours is yours only as an item put up for sale in your shop. A shopkeeper has many things in his shop, and he rightfully calls all of those things as his own, and they are his own, are they not? But everything that belongs to a shopkeeper is also up for sale. So, it belongs to him, and it belongs to him therefore he wants to sell it off for something else. He is always looking for profits. He is never okay with himself. He wants more. He has stuff, but he does not love stuff.

Ever seen a shopkeeper who is really in love with his goods? If he were really in love with his goods, would he sell them off? We too have stuff in our lives. We have ideas, principles, friends, people, families, all of them are like items kept in our shops. The shops might be beautiful. The shopkeeper might be taking care of the items in his shop. There might appear a really friendly, neat, amiable relationship between the shopkeeper and his wares, but the fact is that nothing is absolutely unsalable, because there is no absolute. Everything is just relative. Everything comes to an end.

That is the world of the lonely person. Everything there is conditional. He will never say, “I will never do this. Such a thing can never happen”. He can do anything. It is just a matter of the depth of contingency. It is just a matter of the bid. Anybody can be betrayed. Anything can be deceived. Anything can be sold off. He really can never commit himself to anything or anybody. That is why he lacks devotion. So now, there are three things that are missing in the life of the lonely person, and are present with the fellow who is alone. The absolute, the unthinkable, and devotion.

The fellow who is lonely just cannot be devoted. He can admire, but he cannot be devoted. Because to be devoted is to give up the right to withdraw your devotion. If you still have preserved your right to withdraw your devotion, then your devotion is not complete, because you have not devoted the right.

Are you getting it?

Everything is revocable. Everything is conditional. The fellow trusts nothing but himself. And that is obvious because in his world there is nobody but himself. So, who else can he trust? He will listen to a Buddha, then analyze him, and then if his own analysis says believe he would believe. Whom does he trust, the Buddha or himself? Not only does he trust himself, he trusts himself over the Buddha. Ostensibly, he may go to read books, to listen to teachers. But even when he is reading books, he accepts those parts that his own self approves of. Even when he listens to teachers, he decides when to go, what to listen to, what to make of it, and whether to accept or not. Who is he listening to? Himself. Because in his world there is only him and his shadow. Nobody else. Are you getting it?

What does that leave you with? Yourself. Had there been an absolute, there would have been an absolute effect on everybody, right? But do you see that the effect of this session on you is relative to who you are. Had there been an absolute, then the effect would have been absolute, not relative, not differentiated, not different, but the effect is so different. Because you are not listening to me you are listening to yourself. And when you’re listening to yourself, you may find yourself so boring that you doze off. Yes? (Smiling) laughing at your own jokes.

The books in front of you are different books, your faces are different, the clothes are different, names are different, and personalities are different. And if I ask you “What have I said?” your versions will be different. Where is the absolute?

The lonely man takes pride in confidently saying “The absolute does not exist.” In fact, to him the absolute is merely dogma. To him the absolute is merely an ‘-ism’. Fundamentalism. He’ll say, “Everything is relative.” And yes, if you are living with your shadow, if you are living in the ego, then everything is absolutely relative. Relative to what? Relative to your own ego. There can be no absolute then. Your ego is the center, and relative to your ego exists the world. The world exists relative to your ego.

That is why this lonely man takes great pride in his opinions. Because if absolutes do not exist, then the only thing of value is your opinion. And if absolute does exist then your opinion is of no value. This lonely man would even call himself a liberal who celebrates diversities of opinions. Obviously, if you want your own opinion to be respected and accepted, then as a reciprocal measure you have to at least show that you are accepting and respecting the opinions of others. In giving space to the others ego, even if temporarily, you manage to secure a place for your own ego.

You say “You be with your opinion, and let me stay in the comforts of my own.” This fellow will not meditate, he will debate. Meditations do not clash with each other. Debaters clash with each other. This fellow has opinions, to prove your opinion over the other you have to debate. All debate is with respect to the other. And all meditation has no other in it. In meditation you do not need to prove anything. You just know. And what you know is not always something that can be proved. Are you getting it?

The topic of this series is “God and guilt”, have we kind of come upon God already? It is very necessary for me to not use the word ‘God’, or at least not use it frequently. It is a very heavily loaded word. It conjures up just too many images. But have we come upon the word God already? Have we? Yes? Which one?

Listener: The Absolute.

AP: The absolute. So, the lonely person is the one who has no God. The lonely person only has things relative. Relative to his own self. He has no absolute. God is absolute. God is the only absolute. The lonely one is the one who has no God. So, if you have no God in your life, you will be necessarily lonely. We’d be going through four sessions in this series. The first session is titled ‘incompleteness’. Now you know what is incompleteness? What is incompleteness? Have we come upon the word incompleteness? Which word is that?

L: Loneliness.

AP: Loneliness. Now you see what is the relation between God and incompleteness? What is the relation? The only complete is God. The only complete is the absolute. Obviously. Absolute is a synonym for completeness. No God, no completeness, just a blind search from door to door. If you are someone who has been begging from man to man, from woman to woman, from relationship to relationship, check, there is no God in your life. Check and check again, there is no God in your life and that is why you are a beggar.

I may say “God makes you complete.” But even that would be a frivolous statement. God is the only complete. To live without God is to not live at all. And the fellow who is lonely is actually not living at all. We said that his being is a function of his observation, so he becomes what he sees. Now where is he then? For you to be something, there must be something unchangeable within you, and that unchangeable is called absolute. Now if you are changing as per the situations, conditions, observations, climate, then do you exist? You don’t exist because there is nothing absolutely unchangeable within. Only God exists, and if there is no God in your life do you exist? Do you exist?

And if you don’t exist, you are very very afraid. You do not exist, you are very very afraid. If you do not exist, then fear exists, and so it’s a strange situation. Fear exists and you do not exist then to whom is the fear? It’s a stupid contradiction. Your thoughts, your actions, your being, is proof that you do not exist. But still to somebody there is this thought. There is somebody who is in touch with immortality and do not want to keep vanishing second after second. And that is why he is befuddled. That is why he does not know what to make of life.

You are living against yourself. You are believing that you do not exist. You are thinking that you are dead. You are shouting that you cannot speak. You are reading a book, and the book is convincing you that you do not have eyes to read. It’s a strange paradox. Do not call it strange, because that is the paradox in which we anyway live our lives.

What is a paradox? Fundamentally, a contradiction. Don’t you see what kind of contradictory life we live? Look at your face right now. A small mirror is the best book one can carry in his pocket. Look at your face, just your face, look at your face as it is while sitting in front of me, and then look at your face as it is when you are at your workplace or at your home or with your friends or family. Look at your words and thoughts, how they keep changing from situation to situation. Look even at your intentions. Your honest intentions, not the intention that you profess. At one point you have one intention. Then you reach some other place and your intentions change. This is the contradiction of a lonely life, because there is no absolute there, hence everything is prone to change.

There is that moment in which you really feel that you belong to somebody, you are not lying, and you say ‘I love you and I will be with you for this whole life, and for seven more lives’, and in that moment, you are as honest as you can be. But just only as honest as you can be, because there is no absolute in your life so you cannot be absolutely honest. Two days later, or two months later, or two years later, or two decades later, you are cursing that moment when you offered your commitment. You are very honestly cursing that moment. You are just as honest in this moment as you were when you were committing yourself to the other person. You are not to be blamed. You are as honest as you can be. But your honesty cannot stand the test of time because it is not absolute.

No God, nothing permanent. No God, just time and change. No God, just the slavery of circumstances.

Today he appears handsome and she appears beautiful, tomorrow your honest assessment of each other changes.

Now, we have said two things. We have said that the fellow who is alone is the one who has the absolute God. We had also said that the fellow who is alone lives only with himself. Now you will know why the Upanishads had to say that “You are God”.

The fellow who is alone lives with God, and we also said that the fellow who is alone lives only with himself. Himself, not his image of himself. The fellow who is lonely lives with his shadow, his image of himself. Equally, we said that the fellow who is alone does not live with anybody. Now, what does that mean? Connect the three statements. That means that God is a nobody. The alone has the absolute, and the fellow who is alone has nobody. Hence, the absolute is a nobody.

Now you have the Buddha talking.

The absolute is a vast nothingness. When you are comfortable living in nothingness, then you are alone. When you are not comfortable living in nothingness, then you start living with mirrors. You start talking to your own shadows and images. Are you getting it? Even when there is nobody around you, have you noticed, you are busy, busy with yourself, that is called loneliness.

The fellow who is alone has nobody to talk to, conversely he has God to talk to. When you are talking to nobody, in that silence, there is you and God. And if the silence is absolute, then even the word ‘and’ just drops. You and God, and the ‘and’ is gone. Absolutely gone. So, you are God. Are you getting it?

Whenever you need something to survive, whenever you need somebody to depend on, you are taking your shadow too seriously. We’ll go back to the basics before we take up the questions.

The lonely fellow is the one who is always with somebody, and that somebody he is with, is always his own image. So, the lonely fellow is always surrounded, surrounded by himself. Even if he appears surrounded by others, those others are all in relation to himself. So, the lonely fellow will actually never appear lonely, he will always appear surrounded, he will always appear surrounded. In fact, he will not be bear, tolerate, to remain lonely. It is his inner obligation towards himself to remain surrounded.

You leave him not surrounded, and he will start feeling suffocated. He cannot do without his mobile phone. That is the sign of a lonely person. Always surrounded. And we repeat that the thing that surrounds him appears to be the world, but it is actually just image of himself.

Right?

And the fellow who is alone is the one who is just with the absolute. He needs no images. He is not with himself. ‘Himself’ can be the most sacred word and the most painful word at once.

The word ‘You’, the word ‘I’, the word ‘Himself’, the word ‘Self’, can point either to you as you really are, or to your shadow. When they point to you as you really are, they are called the ‘Truth’. You are then the Truth. I am then the Truth. When the word ‘I’ points to us as we really are, then ‘I’ is the Atma.

And when the word ‘I’ starts referring to my self-image, or to my shadow, or to my ego, then it is the dirtiest word. Then it is not Atma, then it is Ahanta. The word ‘I’ refers to both. The world ‘I’ can be used for both Atma and Ahanta. In the case of the lonely person ‘I’ refers to Ahanta. In the case of the fellow who lives alone ‘I’ refers to Atma.

Clear?



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Balancing personal and professional life?



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How to balance personal and professional life?

BFB1Acharya Prashant: Opal is asking, “What is more important, personal life or professional life? We are often split between these two. “

Opal, life is indivisible. Life does not have two parts or twenty parts. Life is one. Machines have parts. Life has no parts. Just as you are one. Are you many? No, you are one. You try to become many. But, in spite of all your efforts, fundamentally you are one. Life too is one.

This distinction between personal life and professional life is a very artificial distinction. It’s a very stupid separation created by people who have no understanding. Anybody who has ever told you that personal life and professional life are separate and must be kept separate does not know life. Forget about professional life or personal life, he does not know life itself.

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