Category Archives: English

Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting|| Acharya Prashant

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Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

Question: Acharya Ji, how to attain stillness of the mind?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘Stilling the mind’, or ‘Stopping the mind’, are very popular and lucrative catchphrases. There is a small problem. The problem is – for the mind, everything is a verb. Everything is a verb. Everything denotes action. So when the mind says, “Stop,” even that means – ‘do’ the act of stopping.

Mind only knows movement. Mind does not know anything called ‘stillness’, or ‘stopping’. So we may find it tempting, to talk of stopping the mind. But the moment yo usay, “Stop the mind,” you have started a new action.

Do you get this?

The moment you say, “Stop the mind,” you have just started a new action. Now it doesn’t matter whether you want to make the mind ‘do’ something, or whether you want to make the mind come to a pause. Essentially, you are doing the same thing. You are ‘doing’. Essentially you are doing the same thing, which is that you are ‘doing’.

In making the mind run to a particular place, you are ‘doing’ the running.

In making the mind stop, you are ‘doing’ the stopping.

So, this stopping is no stopping, and hence all attempts of stopping the mind, or stilling the mind, are necessarily going to go waste.

For the mind, even ‘silence’ is something, even ’emptiness’ is something. Even ‘nothing’ is something. So, language is not very useful here. Language may lure us into believing, that we are stopping the mind, but all that we are doing is that, we are still ‘doing’.

That is why, methods that aim at stopping the mind, tricks, techniques, that all fail, because they are all actions.

And no action is going to lead to non-action.

It is not possible, to run harder, to stop. Yes, you may get exhausted and fall down, but the tendency to run, will remain. It is possible to keep chanting a particular phrase, for hours and hours, for many years. And that may make the mind, so exhausted and bored, that when you enter into that activity repeatedly, it just stands in one place, out of frustration and boredom. But that does not mean, that it’s tendency to run around has stopped.

The moment it gains favorable conditions, it will again start running. That is why effects of traditional meditation, do not last. That is why you have to repeat the practice, over and over, and again and again.

One must ask a basic question: what kind of peace it is, that comes and goes? Is it peace at all? That which comes and goes, necessarily has to be a movement, a  wave, an action. Only ‘something’ can rise and fall.

How can peace rise and fall?

Peace, by definition, is an absence, a nothingness.

If you have to exert yourself, again and again, in order to retain your peace, it only proves that it is not peace at all.

It is some kind of enforced silencing, of the mind.

Like kids, that hush down on seeing the teacher. Would you call that silence? That is mere temporary wordless-ness. Out goes the teacher, and out goes the so-called silence.

Do you get this?

So, first of all, one has to drop this belief in one’s capacity to silence the mind, or even in the concept of a ‘silent mind’. There is nothing called ‘a silent mind’. There is something called ‘Silence’ which is beyond something-ness, which is an absolute, which cannot be used as an adjective, to describe something else.

Are you getting it?

You cannot have a ‘silent mind’. Mind, when silent, dissolves in the Silence. All that remains is Silence. What do you mean by a ‘silent mind’ then?

But we want to believe, and we have a stake in believing, that just as we, the ego-sense, try to control its destiny, through a thousand ways, through ten kinds of efforts, through multiple attempts arising from doership, it would also attempt to, and succeed in, controlling the mind, or silencing the mind.

What is the mind? Some kind of an object? Who would control the mind? Who are you who would whip the mind in submission, or trap it, or seduce it, or counsel it? Who are you, who is stalking? When you say, “I will silence the mind,” who is this ‘I’? So, even after silence, this ‘I’ would remain. What kind of silence is this?

Is it not obvious?

Silence and Mysticism, Spirituality and Mysticism, they are one.

They go together.

And Mysticism, is about being comfortable, with the unknown.

Not having that urge, to be in control.

Not trying to be a master of your destiny.

“I do not know whether the mind can be silent, I do not know whether any method will succeed. I do not know whether there is this thing called ‘silence’. But I will honestly know that, which is in the purview of knowledge. I will know that which can be known. And beyond that, I will not venture. It is not my province. Why should I dare enter forbidden areas?”

“And it is not even about forbidden. It is not as if I have the capacity to enter it, and I have been just outlawed from there. I do not even have the capacity to enter it. I do not even have the capacity to imagine entering there. I do not even know what lies there. I do not even know whether actually, there is any place called ‘there’.”

This, crudely, is the beginning of Mysticism.

There, you do not claim to be knowledgeable.

There you do not claim to be the doer, or the master.

There you just submit yourself.

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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: Those who want to silence the mind will keep wanting

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What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?: Acharya Prashant

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What is rebirth What takes rebirth

Question: What is re-birth? What is transmigration of soul? What travels after death? What carries forward?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘You’ do not carry anything. A few things must be clearly understood. ‘You’ as a ‘person’ are not a very important carrier. That which carries, is the total stream of mankind’s consciousness.

(Referring to the people sitting in the audience) Her mind, her mind, his mind, your mind, his mind, her mind, the mind of the kid, the mind of the old man – we all are carrying remnants, carry forwards from our collective past. That is what is carried forward.

See, it is like this. There are waves in the ocean. One particular wave, is carrying, a little sugar, a lump of sugar. Now the wave rises, and falls. What happens to the lump of sugar? It gets distributed throughout the ocean. Now it belongs to everyone. That is how things are carried forward.

What you do in your life-time, has gone to many, many, many.

Through every single action of yours, you are impacting the entire mankind.

In other ways, you are responsible for forming the mind of entire mankind.

In turn, your own mind, is being formed by the entire mankind, because you are an active recipient as well.

The subtle becomes the gross. The more the mind is impacted at some point, many, many years later, that also changes your body. Have you seen that when you are angry, your face changes? When you are in love, your eyes change. So, the subtle has a way of changing the gross.

If you are impacting the mind of the mankind, always you are also impacting, even the form of the mankind. That’s how it happens. Otherwise, all that is ‘personal’ about you, gets burnt down in funeral pyre. There is no way, something can get carried forward from there. All is reduced to smoke and ashes. Nothing remains. But, what you have done in your lifetime, that remains. And that is going to affect all future generations.

Take it this way.

Suppose you are a teacher, and you have taught hundreds and thousands of students. And you are a good teacher, just for the story’s sake. Good teachers are rare. Now the students have really imbibed, what they received from you. You can say, that the rubbish in the minds of the students has been cleared-off, by your teachings. Either way.

You die, and one of your students gives birth. You die, and one of your students becomes a father, or a mother. The kid that is born, would be raised by your student. And, because your student has been a good student, and he has really imbibed your teachings, so those teachings would go to the kid. The kid would have the same, pure quality of mind, as you had.

In a poetic sense, you can say that you are being re-born as that kid. In a poetic sense, as a metaphor, now you can say that the teacher who had died, has been re-born as the son or the daughter of the student. But the re-birth has not taken place, because something arose from the dead-body, and entered the womb of the student. The re-birth has taken place, because of the stuff that has taken place, during your active life-time. Not after your death.

Whatever one person does, impacts the consciousness of entire mankind.

And that is how re-birth takes place.

And, therefore, re-birth is taking place every moment, because I might do something just now, which may cause you to transform. Now, haven’t you been re-born? That’s re-birth. And, you have been re-born, not because my soul entered you. You have been re-born, because the Truth transmitted to you, via me.

The opposite is also possible. You might be otherwise an innocent person. But you acquire bad company. And the bad company overshadows all your innocence. Now, you have been re-born, because the innocent one has died. The innocent one has been died, and someone else has been re-born.

That’s how it happens – through your actions.

You see, subtle truths cannot be conveyed very subtly, to everybody. And therefore they were figuratively, communicated. So that people somehow, at least partially, get a grasp on them. Therefore, you must not be too concerned with the literal meaning. Go deep into the myths of transmigration and such things, and figure out what they really would mean.

You know what, it is also possible, that the kid which is born to the student, has something in his eyes, that resemble the dead teacher. That doesn’t mean, that the dead teacher has physically fathered the kid. It’s just that, all eyes that are peaceful, have something in common.

All eyes, that are peaceful, have something in common. So, when you would look into the eyes of the newly born kid, you would be reminded of the dead teacher. And you would be then justified in saying that the dead teacher has taken re-birth, as this kid.

Questioner: Then why do we have such rituals after death like Tehravin, on 13th day, etc.?

Acharya Ji: No Upanishad says that. No scripture, worth it’s name, says that. The Puranic literature, that talks of such stuff, is stories and fancies. It is not serious metaphysics. It deals with a lot of imagery, a lot of fables, a lot of things that are there, just to involve you, engage you, even entertain you.

One has to understand the difference between the Upanishads and the Puraans. They are not in the same dimension. You cannot take Isavasya Upanishad and Garuda Puraana, and compare them.

The stuff that you are talking of, would be found in Garuda Puraana.

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: It’s alright. Read that. But understand that, in the light of the Upanishads. If you want to read the Puraanic literature, read it in the light of Upanishads. Then you will not be misled.

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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?


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False concepts regarding mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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False concepts regarding mindfulness

Question: Acharya Ji, some teachers say that one should never forget that one is a watcher, and teach oneself to be mindful while watching, eating, sleeping, etc. Is it doable? What is its significance?

Acharya Prashant Ji: I just do not subscribe to this. It is quite harmful, in fact.

The mind is already too eager to gather news from here and there, like a very suspicious old man – what is happening, where? It needs rest, not more news. Because any bit of news, any bit of information, that comes to it, would only be mis-utilised. And it already has millions, and trillions, of Terra-bytes of information.

Could that do any good?

Isn’t it far better, to just forget everything? Why add to your existing and overflowing repository of information? Just forget everything, and be engrossed in rest. Ignore these things, they belong to the body. The body will take care of them: eating, walking, sleeping. If you start being observant about every step that the body takes, you will go mad.

Such advice have managed to sustain, only because such advice have never been fully implemented. If somebody could actually fully implement these advice about watchfulness, and mindfulness, then the dangerous nature of these advice would be exposed.

The mindfulness industry has managed to survive, only because nobody can practically do, what they are advising. If even one person can practically do, what they are advising, he will prove the very debilitating nature of that advice, through his madness. He did it fully, and he went crazy. And that would be the end of these teachings.

But, fortunately for these teachings, they are so impractical, so crazy, that they can never really be implemented. Nobody can be watchful about every morsel of food, or every blink of the eye, or every round of respiration. So people just survive, going mad.

And when they cannot implement these teachings fully, they feel that they are guilty, and have therefore not benefited from the teachings. “I could not benefit from them, because I could not implement them fully.” The bugger does not know that if he could implement them fully, he would go crazy.

A saint has never, never been known to be the one, who is observant about these minor microscopic things in life.

The saint’s heart is elsewhere.

He in fact, ignores these tit-bits, called ‘daily life’.

You look at his clothing, and it is possible that you may find that something is torn somewhere, and he is oblivious of it. He totally ignores these things. He is carrying some utensil, and utensil has a hole. You become conscious of that hole, the fakir(saint), keeps ignoring that hole. Forget about ignoring the hole, if you tell him that there is a hole in your vessel, he will say, “Is there? Where? Where?” He is lost, he is somewhere else.

That’s hardcore spirituality. Not this.

There is the famous tale of Sohni and Mahiwal in Punjab. Sohni used to cross the river using pots. They don’t sink. So, she used to use them, to help her cross the river Chenab. One day some jealous woman, kept a raw pot for her, not a properly baked one, an unbaked one. Sohni just picked it up and went into the river, and drowned and died. That’s the heart. That’s ‘real love’.

You are so lost in your beloved, that you do not even bother to cross-check about these things – what am I eating, what am I using for my physical defence? The mindfulness industry would have said, “Oh! She was not mindful enough. That’s why she died.” Obviously she was not mindful enough. And that is why she was a lover.

Who said that lovers are mindful?

Questioner: Acharya Ji, but then why do saints put high emphasis on observation?

Acharya Ji: That observation is inner. Not the observation of the food you take, and the steps you put, and this and that. The observation there is, just this – “Am I with the beloved or not?” There is just one thing, that you have to watch out for. It doesn’t matter where else I am. It’s either  a zero, or a one. One, if I am with ‘him’. Zero, if I am anywhere else. It doesn’t matter where I am.

You are born with a purpose.

The purpose is your primary concern. Otherwise, why are you alive?

You are born to get rest.

You are born to get freedom from your restlessness.

And therefore, that is what you must be fully occupied with.

That is your central mission.

Everything else is incidental. Everything else, is stuff, worth ignoring. Not something you can afford to get entangled in.

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

Watch the session:  False concepts regarding mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)

One day, we will have such a Temple

 

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Question: What is a ‘Temple’, and what purpose should it serve?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A ‘Temple’ must definitely, have elements, that elevate your consciousness.

Being at a place, being with elements, being with people, being with structures, being with sites, scenes, sounds, that remind you of the beyond, that take the lowly consciousness to a high point, where it becomes receptive to signals from the sky.

That’s a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, a ‘Temple’, first of all, must have those elements. Secondly, wherever those elements are present, that place is a ‘Temple’, even if, you call it by some other name.

So look at the effect, the whole situation, the arrangement, the whole architecture is having on you. Is it taking you beyond, the mundane things that keep circulating in your mind?  If ‘yes’, then it deserves to be called, a ‘Temple’. If ‘no’, then it is just another place – entertaining probably, imposing probably, but not elevating.

The aspect of elevation, is central.

‘Temple’ is a place, where you are elevated.

If you are not being elevated, the place is not a ‘Temple’.

And, if you are being elevated, in some place, that place is most definitely a ‘Temple’.

Are you getting it?

So, ideally, today’s temples must be great centers of learning. Temples must be spiritual universities. A ‘Temple’ cannot be just a place, where there are some stone carvings, and such things. Real Education must have to be imparted in temples. That’s elevation of consciousness.

Temples have to be centers of, not only scriptures, they must also be centers where education is imparted in arts, and sciences. Because, unless you are scientific, it will be very difficult for you, in today’s age, to be really spiritual.

In fact, I have this vision. Vishranti (Monthly Spiritual retreat) was organised in Udaipur, in the month of February. I was with Anshu (one of the volunteers), on one night, till 2 a.m., and we saw a temple on a hill-top. And I said, that one day, it is possible, that we will raise a Real Temple. Not the one where we go, ring the bell, and get the prasad. Not a temple where all kinds of superstitions breed. But, a temple that would be a center of real scientific research, a place where fine arts find great expression. A place where human consciousness is refined, broadened, elevated, in all possible ways.

I remember, I said to him, “In a temple, there must be a center of contemporary studies, where one is taught about all the current worldly issues.”

A ‘Temple’ must really be a university, in purest sense of the world.

Great creativity, must arise out of a ‘Temple’.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place where great ideas must be discussed.

A ‘Temple’ must be a place of great conversations, and healthy debate.

Great scholars from all directions, and dimensions, must converge in the ‘Temple’.

When people go to a ‘Temple’, they must return enriched.

You are able to listen to a profound lecture, or to an animated debate. You come to know of things, that you anyway do not know. Economics is being discussed, geo-politics is being discussed. The recent, cutting-edge research and advancement, are being discussed. There are physicists, there are medical-researchers, there are geologists, there are cosmologists.

And, they all are present in the ‘Temple’.

That’s what a temple must really be like.

And, obviously, when I say that, the foundation of the temple, has to be mystical.

I am only talking, of those things, that are currently missing in temples. I must correct myself. Actually, mystics too, are currently missing in temples. So I must talk of them as well.

So when consciousness is raised, only then it becomes capable of transcending into the mystical dimension. Consciousness, under the burden, with all its shackles, cannot fly away, cannot gain freedom, from the worldly entanglements.

First of all, it must gain clarity, with respect to the world. When there is clarity and knowledge, with respect to the world, only then there is a possibility, of going beyond the world. So, a temple, must first of all, be a place of knowledge, then a place of learning, and then a place of mysticism. It has to be a composite thing.

One day, God willing, we will come up with such a ‘Temple’.

Let’s see.

How would it be, to find a lab of nuclear physics, in one quarter, and an aggregation of the world’s best dancers on the other side. Both in the same campus. How would it be?

Live long everybody, to see that day!

I hope, I also live long enough, to see that day.

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

Watch the session:  One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them|| Acharya Prashant (2012)

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Questioner (An engineering student): Acharya Ji, what made you inclined towards Spirituality, after education from premier institutions like IIT-D and IIM-A?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A couple of decades ago, I was on that side, where you all are sitting now, in another engineering college, IIT-Delhi. We too used to take a lot of things lightly. We too would fool around in lot of sessions, tutorials, lab sessions. But we also knew what is not trivial, not casual.

Once in a while, such a thing happens, and then we should be awake to the happening.

We will be together.

So, one of the members of your organizing committee, immediately asked this question, when he met me. His question was: After IIT, after IIM, after Civil Services, and after a few years of successful corporate life, why this?

I said, “Let me first look at the anatomy of your question.” Your question pre-supposes, assumes, a couple of things. The first is: Education gives you a few specific directions to move in. And that is why, you are surprised, even shocked, that someone is breaching those directions, violating those directions.

Before we discuss the breach of violation, it is more important that we see whether education is supposed to be a liberating force, or a constraining force.

If you look at people, who are not educated, you will find them captivated, you will find them option-less. We  could even say, ‘enslaved’. They can say, “Because we are not educated, because we did not have that kind of luck, or merit, so we are forced to take up, just these kind of jobs. Our spectrum of choices, is very narrow.” That is what a person with little luck, or ability, or understanding, would say.

Now, if you go into an institution of higher learning, even a couple of such institutions, and then you would say, “I cannot find the entire life open for me. I cannot see that all kinds of possibilities, and opportunities open up for me, irrespective of the direction they come from. Then what is the use of such education?”

Is education there to widen your choices, or is it there to constrain your already narrowed down choices?

If the purpose of education is to liberate, then why should you feel that after your educational degrees, you must follow a particular kind of script? Why must you move in only pre-determined directions?

The questioner is surprised at me taking a particular direction. I am surprised that why do you do, what you do.

A particular company arrives in campus, for campus placement. When I was a consultant, in corporate sector, then I would go for the campus hiring, to the best of institutions. And it would be quite amusing, as well as insightful to observe them.

So, four hundred students from fourth year, would have applied for the same job. And if you ask them , “Why have you applied for the same job?” half of them would directly say that this particular job is their dream job, and other half would indirectly imply this job is their dream job.

I would listen to them with patience, but at some point during the discussion, I would start laughing. I would ask them, “How is it possible that all four hundred of you, have the same dream. Is there any individuality, or are all of you, meant to follow the same current?”

Now, what is more surprising: that intelligent, empowered students, are all following the trend, or that a few break away? Breaking away should be the norm, breaking away should be the trend. Breaking away should not be the exception.

In fact, I should be the one, who should turn around, and ask the premier students, in the premier campuses, in the country and the world, “How is it possible, that after all your education, you constrain yourself to a narrow pattern of working and living? How is it not possible, that you branch out in all directions? How is it so, that an already chained life, becomes all the more chained, after going to an IIT, or an IIM?”

A fellow, who has not had the best of education, would say, “I can accept any job. I can start any kind of business, because I do not have any background in anything.” But I have seen, not only as a matter of principle, but actually practically, that unfortunately it so happens, that we become even more constrained, limited, in our decision-making, because we have been empowered with an elite degree.

That must not happen. That assumption is invalid.

If life has given you power, use it to blossom.

Use it branch out.

Use it to express all your creativity.

Do not feel pressurized.

Do not feel limited. 

You are not obliged to follow the trend.

You must, first of all, try to gain maximum clarity, as to what is right. And then, the only remaining task, is to commit yourself wholeheartedly, to what is right.

Know what is right.

Do what is right.

Nothing else matters.

Most people do not know what is right. Obviously, they lead their lives in ignorance, in darkness – a drunken kind of living. And then, there are others. Others, who have the intellectual capacity, to know what is right. And it is absolutely tragic, that such people, in spite of knowing what is right, do not ‘do’ the right.

Now, this would be  very impotent life.

One could have been forgiven, had one been totally in the dark. Had one not known at all, what to do. But, if you know, and still do not ‘do’, then your life itself is a punishment. You would be leading an incomplete, and compulsorily blind life. 

A man, with eyes, who has been forced to act blind, his suffering is limitless.

So, please get the first assumption, out of your mind. If you will go into it, if you will question it, then it will be easy for you, to surmount it.

The second assumption that you have is that – somehow technical or managerial work, is superior, in it’s class and dimension, compared to Humanities, and specially compared to Wisdom and Spirituality. No, if such is the opinion that you carry, then this opinion is misplaced.

I understand why this opinion gets the better of us. It is because, whatever happens in the field of Science and Technology, is quite tangible, quite direct, quite measurable, and precise. Whereas, what happens in the field of mind, in the field of words, rather than numbers, is intangible. Often hazy.

But just because something is intangible, it does not mean that it is valueless. It only means that it’s value is subtle. Something may have a gross value, (referring to a bottle kept on the table, in front) this may have a gross value, but there are other things that have a subtle value. Things like Joy, things lie Understanding.

I can hold this bottle in my hand, I cannot hold understanding in your hand. You cannot hold love in your hand. You cannot hold clarity in your hand. Just because there are certain things, that are not material enough, to be formed, to be weighed, to be experienced through senses, it does not mean that they are valueless.

You are right now listening to me. Even ‘listening’ cannot be held like this bottle. But then, if you are listening, you very well know the value of listening.

All education, all civilization, all progress and advancement, is for welfare.

And what is ‘welfare’?

That which gives man peace.

Yes, material welfare does give man peace, and is quite important. But there is another more important, and dimensionally higher component of welfare, that needs to be addressed. As engineers, you work for welfare – others’ welfare, and your own welfare.

Spirituality too aims at welfare. And what spirituality can accomplish, the other fields of human endeavor, cannot.

So, it becomes obvious now, why one can move into the field of understanding life, if that can be called ‘a field’, at all. Life itself is the field, because it is a terrific field, because it is the most important field. Because that work is more important, than the work of an engineer, or a manager.

That does not belittle the work of the scientist. It’s only to say, that – the work of the scientist, is ultimately, to bring welfare and peace to man.

Science addresses only that, which is measurable, numerable, experiencable, perceivable through senses.

And there is a lot, that involves human welfare, but cannot be the material subject of any science, any technology, any mathematics.

That must be addressed, otherwise, science will remain blind.

Otherwise, the products of science, the entire area and produce of science, will be channelized, only towards devastation.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant, with students: An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them


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How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


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Why blame social media? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Why blame social media

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Question: Acharya Ji, Namaskaar. My question is not related to Spirituality. I am sixteen year old, and many of my friends who are of my age, are stuck to social media. They are lost in the visual world, and it is affecting their personal lives. How can they get rid of this? Is social media good or bad?

Acharya Prashant Ji: How to get rid of their personal life?

Questioner: No. All youngsters have this same problem.

Acharya Ji: So you want to get rid of other’s problems.

Questioner: No, it’s my problem too.

Acharya Ji: So why are you talking of others? In the spirit of philanthropy?

(laughter)

This is how we are. You are talking of your own Facebook account. It’s as particular, and as personal, as that. It is so personal that you would not share the password even with me.

Questioner: I will share the password with you.

Acharya Ji: And then change it.

(laughter)

But I will talk as if I am talking of a global menace. “Oh my God! You know, it is affecting the American elections you know. The Russians got Trump elected by interfering. And therefore I am concerned.”

Why must you put it this way?

So, what is wrong with Facebook then?

Questioner: There is nothing wrong, but it is addictive.

Acharya Ji: So what’s wrong with being addicted?

Questioner: It wastes time.

Acahrya Ji: How does it tell you that time is being wasted?

Questioner: We are continuously opening the app and checking notifications.

Acharya Ji: That’s okay. But how does it tell you that time is being wasted?

Questioner: Our parents say that.

(laughter)

Acharya Ji: So now you bring the Global Parents Association in the picture. So you are saying that on one hand, Facebook attracts you, and on the other hand, parents stop you. That is your condition.

It is as simple as that. Why don’t you put it this way? That would make it easier for me and you. “I want to do a lot of Face-booking, but Mumma tells me that it is bad habit. And I do not know what to do. Though I know what to do. That is what I do everyday. I tell Mumma to go away. But still she keeps bugging. That is the problem.”

So, the question boils down to – how to keep pestering parents away?

Questioner: No, how should we minimize our time on Facebook?

Acharya Ji: And still get as much satisfaction.

(laughter)

More bang for the buck. Yes. Small packet, big return. Yes.

Do we know what we want? Do we even understand what our wants are, and where they are coming from, and what do they actually mean? Do we even articulate them rightly? Do we?

Alright! Let’s go into it. So you say that time is being wasted on social media. When do you call something as ‘wasted’? When do you call something as ‘wasted’?

Questioner: When one doesn’t gain anything from it.

Acharya Ji: (Holding a mug) There was tea in this mug some time back. If the tea would have spilled from this mug, would you have called it ‘wastage’?

Listeners: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Why would you call it a ‘wastage’? If I sip the tea from the mug, it would be emptied. And if I spill the tea, then also the mug would be emptied. So, sipping it, or spilling it, in either case the mug would be emptied. So, would do you call it a ‘wastage’ when the tea gets spilled over?

Questioner: Because it didn’t serve it’s purpose. I couldn’t use it.

Acharya Ji: It didn’t serve it’s purpose. So when is time called as ‘being wasted’?

Questioner: When it doesn’t serve the purpose.

Acharya Ji: When it doesn’t serve the purpose. But for that, you must know what the purpose of time is. What is the purpose of time? Before you say, “I am wasting time,” or, “He is wasting time,” you must know what is the purpose of time. Only then can you rightfully claim whether it is wasted or utilised.

So what is the purpose of time?

‘Time wastage’, ‘Don’t waste time’ –  all these are very popular phrases. Aren’t they? So how do you use them then, if you do not know what is the purpose of time? How do you call something as ‘wastage of time’?

Listener 1: When you are not doing, what you are supposed to do.

Acharya Ji: What are you supposed to do?

Listener 1: (Referring to the questioner) He is supposed to study usually…

Acharya Ji: Why is he supposed to study only. He is also supposed to login to Facebook. What do you mean by ‘supposed to’? Which scripture will tell you what you are ‘supposed to do’? Please tell me where one can find that Oracle. Where is that Oracle which would would determine to us, what we are ‘supposed’ to do? Yes.

How do you know what is the purpose of time? What is the purpose of time?

Questioner: It must give me satisfaction.

Acharya Ji: If Facebook is satisfying you, you cannot call it ‘wastage of time’. Full stop.

If the purpose of time is your satisfaction, and if doing all kind of this or that, and non-sense, satisfies you, then you cannot call it as ‘wastage of time’. And I am leaning upon your own premise. You said that purpose of time is – satisfaction. If that be so, then do whatever fetches you satisfaction.

If it satisfies me, to spill this tea on this table, then you would not call it as ‘wastage of tea’. Or would you? If it satisfies me to abscond from this session, it would be a great use of my time. I may be running around on the beach. A gala time on the beach.

What is the purpose of time?

Listener 3: It can be different from person to person. So, as a body, if one is a student, the purpose of time is to study. As a seeker, if you are seeking something, to get it to the next level, is your purpose for the time being. So it is different…..

Acharya Ji: With what purpose are you a student?

Listener 3: For academic qualifications, and all.

Acharya Ji: Because you are ‘supposed’ to that. So that brings us back to the Oracle. So, either you use common sense, or you fetch the Oracle. Otherwise, you are stuck.

Whenever I ask you that what is the purpose of this or that, you say, “This.” And when I ask you, “Why?”, you say that because you are ‘supposed’ to do this, because you are ‘supposed’ to be like this.

Now I cannot proceed with that. Who is the one, who brought all these suppositions into your mind? How do you ‘suppose’ so much, and continue to live on, based on suppositions, assumptions? Or, please bring the Oracle here, so that I may have a frank word with him, it, or her, or whatever.

How do you know that you are ‘supposed’ to be a student?

What is the purpose of time?

Of special note are those, who have been with the Courses and Camps, since long. At least theoretically, one may explain this.

Listener 4: Practically, it is for liberation. And in the course of getting that liberation, if something is stopping you, you get rid of that, and finally reach it!

Acharya Ji: So, is Facebook good or bad?

Listener 2: Depends on what we are using it for.

Acharya Ji: That is the answer.

The only thing that determines whether time, or money, or any other resource available to you, is wasted, or properly utilised is, whether it aided your liberation.

Anything that contributes to your liberation, is a thing, well utilised.

Anything that impedes your liberation, is a thing, badly wasted.

If Facebook can contribute to your liberation, Facebook is great. But if on Facebook, you are just adding to your non-sense, to your conditioning, then obviously, it is very wasteful. And the blame does not lie with Facebook, the blame lies with the use you are putting Facebook to.

Amongst you, there might be a few, who might have found me on Facebook. Facebook is wonderful for them. Or, you could also access all kinds of trivia, and non-sense, and rubbish on Facebook.

You know what, social media is so addictive, so addictive, that half the volunteers of the foundation, are only watching YouTube for fourteen hours a day. Thank them for that. Thank them for their addiction. Otherwise, these videos would not reach you.

Now, is YouTube good or bad?

It depends on what you are doing there. Half of the foundation, I repeat, is only watching YouTube fourteen hours a day. Is YouTube good or bad? Even as I say this, thousands are watching the videos on YouTube. Is YouTube good or bad?

Good or bad?

Depends on what you are using it for.

Depends therefore on, who you are.

Now, remaining who you are, if you de-activate your Facebook account, that would still not help you.

Addicted to Facebook, you are a slave to all the content on Facebook that you watch. And if, due to pressure from some quarters, you de-activate your Facebook account, then you are still a slave. Slave to the direction from where the pressure came. Facebook might have gone, has your slavery gone?

Influence came from one direction, and you opened an account. Influence came from another direction, and you closed or suspended your account.

Have ‘you’ really changed?

Have you?


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

Watch the session:  Why blame social media? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here


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