Acharya Prashant: The purpose of life is to come to purposelessness

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Question: What is the purpose of human life?

Acharya Prashant: See, we ask this question assuming that there is a purpose.

We ask this question assuming just as everything about us is purposeful so life must also be purposeful. Is there any validity to that assumption?

Purpose means a finality, it means an end. But if we begin right from where we are, then we always feel a purpose, don’t we?

Because we feel a purpose, so we want to know what is the right purpose. Correct?

That is our situation.

None of us is ever without a purpose, we may be confused about the purpose — and that is another matter — but a purpose or bag of purpose is always present. The challenge then is not knowing about whether there must be purpose, the challenge we face is determining the right purpose from many that we imagine.

What about freedom from this confusion?

What about not having to choose at all?

Maybe, that is the purpose of the life. Maybe, all our purposes, this entire bag is an unnecessary load, hence, maybe the purpose of the life is to come to purposelessness.

Of course, that is not something that we can absorb here from the speaker. We all carry purpose, maybe, it is far more important to see the limitations of those purposes. The very recurring cycle, the infinite loop those purposes are. Does any purpose ever end fully? Or does it simply makes way for another purpose? Have you ever had a goal which was the final one? Have you ever had a purpose the fulfilment of which will bring all the purposes to an end?

Yes?

Have you ever had a destination beyond which you would not need to travel?

Now that invalidates the very definition of purpose.

Purpose by itself means something which when attained would give us a sense of completion, fulfillment. You would say that the purpose has been fulfilled. But where is the fulfillment? In fact, the more you go on conquering purposes, the more purposeful you feel; because more your confidence grows that purposes can give you something.

You feel that you have not achieved that something yet, and your next conclusion is purposeness is not giving me something, so let’s try hard enough; it is not as if the very premise, the very assumption is flawed, it is just that I am lacking in effort so let me put in little more efforts; let me set the next goal even further.

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Acharya Prashant: Is it selfish to love oneself first?

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Questioner: Is it love to take care of myself and my belongings?

Acharya Prashant: Yes, it is love to take care of yourself; but to take care of anything you must know what that thing is. Can you take care of a car engine without knowing the engine? Can you take care of anything without knowing what that thing is?

Yes, love is about taking care of yourself; but really taking care of yourself, you must first know what your real problems are, you must know what you really want, you must first know what keeps you afraid, nervous, alert, and then you will be able to take care of yourself. and yes that is love.

Q: Is it not selfishness to love myself only and not the rest of the world?

AP: What do you mean by myself?

If your definition of myself separates you from the world, then this self that is separate from the world is anyway not worth loving. If your definition of love is that you and world are separate entities then this you is anyway not worth loving because this is not the real you.

First of all, figure out who you are and what your relationship with the world is, then you would be able to answer the question, ‘Whether it is possible to love yourself while simultaneously being indifferent to the world?’

It is not at all possible!

If you really love yourself while being apathetic to the world, that self-concept which places you as separate from the world is a flawed concept like all concepts.

That concept will only lead to violence.

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Acharya Prashant: What is effortless action?

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Acharya Prashant: It is true, where there is no action, there is no effort, but is it also true where there is no effort there is no action?

Is that true as well?

There is something called effortless action as well.

It is true where there is no action there will be no effort. True, that is right because effort itself is an action; because effort itself has born out of thought, and that thought itself is an action, whether or not it translates physically, but is it so that for action to happen there must always must be accompanying effort?

Is that so, if that is so then life is hell, because life is then labour. Life is action, and if action is effort then all the time you just have to keep labouring.

There is effortless action, what is effortless action?

It happens, happens without your planning, without your intervention, without your ownership. That is the fun of life, we don’t even know whether it is complete or incomplete, we don’t bother to give it a name.

Simple and direct, just like a raindrop falling down. Somebody has said like a flower opening in the morning. It is nothing but the mind and body expressing the Source.

Where there is mind there will be action.

Action in the form of movement in space, what you call as physical action.

So mind and body exist to act. That is the only way they know of being, action. So if they want to be in service of the Self — we talked of a faithful mind right — what can a faithful mind do?

Act in the service of the Self, act to express the Self, act as if it is the Self.

The mind has just become like the Self, the body has just become like the Self.

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Acharya Prashant: How to never make the Guru unhappy?

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Questioner: How to never make the Guru unhappy?

Acharya Prashant: By not thinking about what makes him happy or unhappy.

You cannot predict that; you cannot have control on that. The Guru if he is really a Guru is beyond you; you will not be able to anticipate his mind, his mind doesn’t work in patterns, so you will not be able to put your finger on any trigger, you will not be able to say that if do this then the output will be that. It is not so programmed with the Guru’s mind, it’s the mystic’s mind, it works mysteriously, you will never be able to detect whether a machinery exists there.

Not only that you will fail in your attempt, in fact your attempt indicates that you are quite arrogant.

If you can make someone happy you can control it, and if you can make someone unhappy then too you can control it. Do you see that if I can give you happiness you are my slave and if I can make you unhappy even then you are my slave.

If you can make the Guru happy, you are trying to get on top of the Guru, and if you can make the Guru sad even then you think that you are bigger than the Guru; so stop thinking of the Guru that’s the best you can do.

Take care of yourself.

That’s what the Guru wants.

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Acharya Prashant on Saint Lalleshwari: Who needs devotion and who does not?

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Life is given. Nothing is earned.

So, learn to serve others, not your own desire, greed and ego.

They steal your energies.

Whereas devotion builds your strength and protects the intelligent flame that leads to the Truth within.

~

Saint Lalleshwari

Acharya Prashant: So, Kamlesh is asking, ‘Is the intelligent flame vulnerable? Does the strength fade away too? Is Truth a by-product of devotion, intelligence and strength? Can I not be in Truth prior to it? Are devotion and serving others necessary stepping stone?’

Kamlesh, it is not a question of whether and if and assumptions. If one is firmly established in Truth, then one does not need devotion. The establishment is devotion.

If one is Lalleswari already, to the extent that one has given up identities with all sheaths, just as Lalleswari had given up her identification with the social regiment, clothing, then obviously serving others as a tool is not needed, then serving others is just an expression of who you are.

But one is not there. One is at a distance from one’s own heart; and therefore tools and methods are needed.

The distance is both an illusion and a reality. Absolutely seeing, no-one is ever at a distance from Truth; because Truth is the only reality, where else will you go? But relatively speaking, looking at oneself from one’s own eyes, from one’s own deluded eyes, one is obviously at a distance.

One does not look at himself as the absolute Truth. One looks at himself as a limited person. This limited looking and subsequent conclusion that I am this person, leading this life, mired in such responsibilities, troubled by such fears, hoping for such gains. This limited person needs that flame of intelligence. Needs the help of devotion. The limited person needs all the help possible.

Yes, later on a point may come when the transformed person may say, Oh! All that was not really needed! Oh! All that was just a game! But the fellow who says is not the fellow who is deluded right now. For the deluded one, help is needed. Methods are needed.

~ Acharya Prashant speaking at a Shabd-Yoga Session at Advait BodhSthal Ashram, Greater Noida on 1st October 2017


Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Saint Lalleshwari: Who needs devotion and who does not?

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Acharya Prashant, with Students: Should one start early to achieve in life?

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Questioner: Should one start early to achieve or excel in life?

Acharya Prashant: Siddharth, you don’t need to agree with me. You only need to understand what is being said. Agreement and disagreement come out from your conditioning. I am not looking for that. I am asking for your intelligence, so that you can understand what is here. And after understanding, you are totally free to reject it.

Who taught you that one must achieve in life?

The very foundation of what you are saying is that life must be an achievement. What you are saying is there must be targets and goals and life is a process of attaining them. Where are your goals coming from?

Don’t you see the entire process of conditioning that is behind it?

Do you see what is being said?

What is being said is, there must be a goal, there must be an effort in attaining that goal and to attain that goal one must start early. That is the line of argument that is being given. I want you to understand the basis of it.

The fundamental assumption is that life is nothing but an achievement, but mind you, all achievement is in the future. You have been told that life is something that is divided between success and failure. Do you really think that this is your own understanding?

No.

This comes to you from education, media, family, society. Since childhood you have been goaded to attain this, attain that, X percentage, Y percentage, clearing the JEE, getting a job and how has that process proceeded?

Through greed and fear.

If you attain something, there will be an external reward. If you do not attain it, there would be an external disincentive. So, what is happening?

A goal is being set from the outside. A reward is coming from the outside. All disincentive is coming from the outside.

Is there any bit of you in all this?

But because it is happening over a long period of time, you have started thinking, in the delusion that these are my goals that I must attain and to attain them I must prepare.

Are these your goals at all?

The goals are coming as a result of your conditioning, and all conditioning is nothing but a lack of understanding. All conditioning is making somebody a slave. So, it is like this, that I am a slave and I want to make the slave do a lot of things. So, I condition him thoroughly and I condition him so deeply that he starts believing that what he is doing is his own desire.

The slave starts believing that what he is doing is his own desire whereas what he is doing is only what he has been programmed to do. It’s like a computer starting to believe that it is functioning on its own. No, it is not functioning on its own. It has been programmed to function in a certain way.

And if the computer gets up and argues that, ‘Well Sir, I have certain goals to achieve, certain things to excel in, so I look towards the future’. And the one who has programmed him is standing by and smiling at the success of his programming.

I just invite you to look at your own minds and thought processes. Every goal is a desire, you understand that? How many of our goals are really ours? There would be so many amongst us who are sitting here purely because somebody else wanted them to pursue engineering. There would be so many here who need a particular kind of job because somebody else expects them to get that kind of job. There would be so many here who would be pursuing MBA after engineering purely because there are a couple of MBAs in their family. How many of your goals are yours? You can understand that only when you become attentive to the processes of your mind and when become attentive to the processes of your mind, of all that which happens in this moment, and in this moment you find there are no goals.

It is alright once you have understood what you are doing, after that if you want to pursue it with all the vigor, effort and planning you are most welcome.

Firstly, for your own sake, see what you are pursuing. Is it really yours? For a five-year-old kid, it is understandable, he has not yet developed the physical framework in which intelligence can prosper, but you are around 18 years, 20 years old. If you claim that you do not understand what is happening in your life, then you must understand.

It’s high time you understand because it is you who has to live your life, not the one who is conditioning you, not the one who is influencing you. You and your intelligence, that’s it, nothing else. These are not two things but one.

~ Acharya Prashant speaking at KEC, Ghaziabad on 24th August 2012


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

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Gurdjieff: Man is a machine

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Acharya Prashant on Gurdjieff: Man is a machine

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Questioner: Acharya Ji, Pranam.

Gurdijieff said, ‘Man is a machine’. Please shed some light over this statement.

Acharya Prashant: Very practical, very precise, one simple observation, man is a machine, man is a programmed machine. It is just that, the mechanics, the functioning of the machine remain hidden behind the belief of consciousness.

Just expose how we function as machine, make it very obvious, how programmed we are and, in that exposure something new happens.

He was not very bothered with what is that new.  He just left that, surrendered to that. But, he was a master in devising a lot of ways, that helped expose functioning of the machine. Some of the ways were quite crude. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, including himself, probably he is the only Teacher who conduct experiments upon his own body.  The experiment as esoteric as banging one’s car deliberately against a tree to figure out whether one can witness the fracturing of the bones. That kind of a teacher!

‘Is it possible to remain centered even when you have ten cracks in your body and forty-eight wounds?  Is it possible to remain centered?’

Must have been a pretty faithful fellow. With out deep faith, you cannot risk that kind of an experiment and he was very choosy. Very choosy.

Q: What was the result?

AP: He managed to survive! In fact, he walked all the way to the nearest hospital.

Q: Is he aware of what he is doing?

AP:  Yes, of course, deliberately, and of course he was aware that he has not to bang the car beyond a certain speed, he wanted to be physically alive to witness.

He would call students to a particular location, and many would come, and when they would come and they would find a notice saying that Gurdjieff will be found at a place 200 miles away tomorrow morning. And then most of them would evaporate and only few reach there. And, there they would find another message saying, ‘Oh, we have returned to the base’, and finally only 3 or 4 will be left. Then he would impart his teaching.

He was a pattern-breaker. So, if you go to him and tell him that you would never get angry then he would ensure that he provokes into anger. You go to him and tell him that you don’t take alcohol, he would fill you with alcohol right till up to the throat.

So, while some people really liked him, there was also a big cross-section that, who don’t, he inspired many people after him, led a controversial life.

Have you heard of the book called ‘The Fourth Way’?

Ouspensky?

Even Osho took a lot from Gurdjieff.


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

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Gurdjieff: Man is a machine


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Acharya Prashant Books and Merchandise are available on Amazon and Flipkart.

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