Tag Archives: Action

Past life karma, goal of life, and liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Past life Karma, goal of life, and Liberation

Question: Acharya Ji, do you believe in past life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: That is irrelevant. Will I find you after your death? Will even you find yourself after your death?

Listener: I may be in a different body.

Acharya Ji: In a different body, will you have the same psyche, the same identity? You are a ‘person’, and a person is driven by identities. Forget about having a new life after death, even in this life, if I give you the option that your personality will be totally wiped out, your memory will be totally wiped out, your body will be totally changed, and you will be taken to a different place, a different planet, will you still say that you are ‘you’? Will you still say that you are ‘you’?

Even in this life, if your memory gets wiped out, do you remain what you are? Then why do you talk of ‘past life’, and ‘future life’?

Even in this life, if somebody strokes your head with a hammer, and your memory is totally gone, which means your identities are totally gone, you are as good as dead. You are no use to anybody then. You do not remain. You have disappeared, because you are a man of identities, because you are a personality. You live in a personality. And once the personality is gone, once the ‘person’ is gone, you are no more.

‘Eternity’, and ‘continuity’, is a word for those, who do not live in the personality.

If you live in the personality, you need not wait even for your physical death. You are dying continuously. Even tomorrow, you will not be who you are today, then how will you continue to be the same, in your next birth?

Even today you are not, what you were, fifteen years back, are you? Then how will you continue to remain, two hundred years from today? But, it is such a stupid thought, still very common. Do you feel one, or identified with, the self that you were, when you were ten years of age? Go into this!

You, as you see yourself, were once ten years of age, right? Today do you find much in common with that ten year old kid? Today, in fact, ninety percent, is not common, with that ten year old kid. Right?

In the same life-time, you are almost a totally different person, are you not? Then how will you remain the same after death, even if there is a rebirth? So what is the point in talking about this and that?

Listener 1: So, thirtieth birthday means, thirty years of death?

Acharya Ji: Yes, nice. Good.

Listener 2: Acharya ji, we said that memories being wiped out, is equivalent to you not being there. Now, this is a bit confusing, as we talked about we not being the body.

Acharya Ji: But, are you the Atman. I said that ‘Eternity’ and ‘Continuity’ are words applicable only to those, who live as the Atman. Do you live as the Atman? If you live as the Atman, then you will not talk of this birth and the previous birth, because the Atman never really dies, so how can it take the next birth?

To take the next birth, something must firstly die. Atman is eternal, it does not die. How can it take a new birth?

Question: Acharya Ji, many religions like Hinduism, Jainism, they talk of past lives and rebirth. You do not want to be consistent with them.

Acharya Ji: What do you want?

Listener 3: I just want……

Acharya Ji: Those who just want anything, do not get anything. Talk of one thing that you want, and then don’t talk of anything else.

Listener 3: I want the Truth.

Acharya Ji: Yes. So, Truth is – freedom from the false. See what all is false, in the way you currently live. Currently live. Currently live. Two things – ‘currently’, and ‘living’. Go into your life, right now.

How do you spend your day?

Where do you eat?

Where do you earn your money from?

These are the questions that should bother you. Not fancy intellectual questions.

Listener 4: Is it part of spirituality, the worldly matters – what I do, and all that?

Acharya Ji: What do want to do with ‘spirituality’ and ‘worldly matters’? The one who is in trouble, wants freedom from trouble. If the name of that freedom is ‘spirituality’, fine. If the name of that freedom is ‘worldliness’, fine. What the person wants is – freedom.

If I am thirsty, I want want water, you want to call it ‘jal’, ‘ambu’, ‘waari’, anything, I do not mind. Give me that, which will quench my thirst. Full stop.

Question: I have the same question related to thoughts. He said that thoughts increase the level of concentration. How can we manage that level of concentration?

Acharya Ji: Goal.

Listener 4: How to magnify and amplify that goal?

(laughter)

Listener 2: I am not even asking about amplifying the goal. In the example that you gave, when we were playing football, you mentioned that there was a clear distinction, that each team knew where their goal post is.

In real life, there are ten goal posts being shown, and each one is trying to instruct that this is where you have to reach. Unfortunately, sometimes the goal posts look similar also, and one gets confused.

Acharya Ji: Who is suffering?

Listener 2: I am suffering.

Acharya Ji: So who will know, whether or not you are getting freedom?

(silence)

Who is suffering?

(silence)

It is like this – “I am thirsty, one guru tells me to put water in this hole(the ear). Another guru tells me to put water in this hole(the mouth). Another one talks about the other holes of the body. Who is thirsty? You are. Don’t you know when your thirst is going to be quenched. Why are you acting so ignorant?

Don’t you contact with your own thirst, with your own suffering? Don’t you know when it is being quenched?

Listener 2: I have not even reached the level where my thirst is being quenched.

Acharya Ji: At least you know when it is not being quenched. This much, at least, you know?

Listener 2: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Next time, don’t put water in your ear. Reject the guru who teaches you to put water in your ear. At least this much you can do? Do this much.

Listener 2: But the problem is, I will give a parallel example. When one is thirsty, it is the water that one needs. When one gets a cool drink near by, one is tempted to take it.

Acharya Ji: Try it, immediately.

Listener 2: You are already thirty or forty years old, or may be, twenty-five. How many more trials do you need? Have you already not given everything a shot? Are soft drinks, or ice creams, or petroleum, new things to you? You have already tried them a thousand times. Are you still not fed up?

If you are not fed up, give them one more chance. And then, be absolutely fed up. But please, at some point, learn to be honest. Learn to quit. Learn to honestly face the mirror, and tell yourself, “I have been cheating myself all my life.” If you don’t do that, there are thousand kinds of fluids in the universe.

You will keep trying them endlessly.

Water is simple water – pure, direct.

I have no issues, if you want to give various things, various methods, various means, various books, various teachers, a chance. Please do that. But do that with all honesty. Having given the chance, ask yourself, “Is the thirst being quenched?” If ‘yes’, then stay put. Then don’t budge at all. If ‘no’, then you have no business looking at that face, ever again.

Man is strange creature, you know. He develops a stake, even in thirst. If you have conditioned yourself, to find pleasure in thirst, in suffering, in non-sense, then…

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the significance of sleep? What really happens in sleep? What is the spiritual significance of the sleep?

Acharya Ji: Are your problems in your sleep time, or are your problems related to your waking state? Just don’t be interested in miscellaneous knowledge. Focus on the goal. Any kind of knowledge that does not lead you directly towards the goal, is merely a burden. Disregard it.

If you have genuine problems, sleeping disorders, then talk to me about sleep. But if your problems are related to your life, stuff that you think of in your waking state – your relationships, your transactions, then why be interested in sleep?

I can speak for fifteen minutes on sleep, but that will not help you.

Be direct, be honest.

Question: Acharya Ji, why is mu mind constantly trying to become something?

Acharya Ji: Everybody is trying that, because nobody is contended with the current state.

The only problem is – you want to change, but you want the changed state to be a derivative of current state.

You want the changed state, to be organically linked to your current state, which means that you really don’t want to give up your current state. So, all ‘becoming’ fails. All change is defeated.

It’s like just changing clothes. That will not cure you of your lung cancer. It’s like wearing make-up. That will not fundamentally cure your any skin disorder.

Change is wonderful.

When you want change, see what you really want.

Don’t change halfheartedly.

Change fully.

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

Watch the session:  Past life karma, goal of life, and liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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When to think and when to act? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

When to think and when to act

Question: Acharya ji, all my thoughts are unable to come to expression because of fear of judgement or social restraints. Should I free them only by deeds? Kindly throw light on this.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes, Parmeshwari, of course. There is no more a final arbiter than action, deeds, life. What else is life? A continuous flow of actions. One finally has to give oneself the liberty, to do it. Talking, as a precursor to doing, is alright, acceptable. But, talking as a substitute to doing, is evil.

If you want to use talking, or thinking, or discussing, as a preparatory method, before leaping into action, it is okay. Sometimes, the beginner needs that. Sometimes, everybody needs to think a little, before one takes a leap.

Sometimes one needs to talk to herself, sometimes to others. All that is understandable. But, if one becomes a professional thinker, specializing in nothing but thought and deliberation, and therefore vacillation, and therefore inaction, then it is merely self-deception. Also, I must warn you against the temptation, to be fully sure at the level of thought.

No absolute clarity is possible, at the level of thought.

Thought can bring you a certain level of clarity.

It would be a relative level.

So, if you insist that unless you are totally clear with your thoughts, you won’t move, then you have ensured that you are never really going to move. Then you will always have  a reason to think a little more. Because thought by it’s very design, can never be fully certain. An iota of doubt would always be residually present. And you can very well exploit that last iota, to keep stretching the thought.

This is where Faith is important. Faith is needed so that you can act, without being fully certain even at the level of thought. Thought is still, raising it’s habitual objections. But you say to thought, “You might not be clear. I am clear.”

Have you ever found thought coming to a final conclusion? That which appears like concluded today night, reopens for discussion tomorrow morning. Because final conclusion would mean the death of thought. So, why would thought ever lend itself to conclusivity? Thought would always leave a little scope for doubt to remain. And then based on that doubt, that uncertainty, more thinking can be justified.

So, think, if you must.

But never expect thought to come to a solution.

Thought is useful.

But in matters of living, loving, and Truth, the utility of thought is limited.

Do not try to over exploit thought, you will end up being exploited. And Parmeshwari, if you are saying that social restrictions etc., are preventing you from enacting what you you know, then you will have to weigh the security that you get from social conformity, against the suffering that you get from this willing avoidance of your destiny.

What is bigger – your demand for security, or your love for Truth? This answer will determine your life.

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

Watch the session:  When to think and when to act? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Begin from where you are, and what you realise || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Begin from where you are and what you realise

Question: Acharya ji, I am only a beginner on spiritual path, and my experience complicates things. Which tool can I adapt for myself, to take the right decision?

Acharya Prashant: The response is hardly spiritual in the classical sense. I will not say that for life’s decisions, kneel down in front of the unknowable. I will not say that what you need, lies beyond the grasp of your mental faculties.

I am saying – live by what you already know. First of all, you have no other option. Secondly, what you already know, is very sufficient, to make a beginning. And you said that you are a beginner.

The trouble with most of us, is not that we do not know some transcendental, ecclesiastical Truth. The trouble is: we just don’t live by that which is within our mental province.

It is not as if we have come to the boundary of our knowledge, and our limited realisation. We haven’t. If we come to our own boundaries, then the beyond, cannot be far enough.

The boundary of the little self, is where the Truth stands to greet  you.

So you don’t have to really search for the Truth.

You just have to come to the boundary of your own province. 

Come to your own boundary, and there you will find something, of the beyond.

But, do we care enough to come to even our own boundaries? I am not telling of leaping out of your self. You don’t need to leap out of your self. But, at least, putting in a very cliched way, do the best you can.

If you cannot go beyond your self, at least, do the best you can. And when you have come to the utter limit of your personal resources, there you find something, a bit magical happening.

Our situation is strange! We do not do, what we can. We cannot challenge ourselves enough. We do not make the best, utter, and desperate use of our own, personal, limited resources. But we want some kind of a helping hand, to descend from the heavens.

It won’t!

And this is good news. Because it means that each one of us, as he or she is, is fully capable of helping herself or himself. May be we cannot see, beyond the hills. But there is nobody who does not see clearly enough, to take even the next step. And that is all that you need. 

Inspiration, energy, and clarity- just to take the next step. What after the next? That’s not our business to ask. Sitting where we are, let us not demand the whole blue-print, the road-map of the entire state. Then we are transgressing.

One step is sufficient.

And that one step, each one of us, is endowed enough to take.

That one step happens to be so simple and obvious, that it does not appeal to us. We want things – big and glamorous. Just as in the material world, size and shine appeal to us. Similarly, in the spiritual domain, we want things – colossal, magnificent, sensational, to happen.

Instead of those things, if we are advised to take, one little, baby step, it appears like a bit of let down.

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

Watch the session:  Begin from where you are, and what you realise || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Does love lie in action? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Does love lie in action

Question: Can love be in action?

Acharya Prashant:

Actions can be in love. Inaction can also be in love.

Love is far bigger than action and inaction.

In love you act, in love you don’t act.

In love you act in one way, in love you act in totally different way.

In love, you sometimes act as Shirin(the questioner). In love, you sometimes act as somebody else.

In love it is not your name that is important. In love it is love that is important.

Sometimes you are a lover, sometimes you are a nanny. Love plays dice with your identities. Love makes a mockery of your names.

Somebody agrees.

(laughter)

Now, you are a learned scholar, and after a while you are a caretaker. Who are you? Love does not allow you to remain anybody. Love remains, all else is negotiable. Sometimes you move left, and immediately you move right. Which action are you talking of? Any particular action? No, love is not there in any particular action.

Love is there, only in being particular about love.

That was some applause! So, yes, love shines forth in action, but not in any particular action. Neither in any particular action, nor in absence of action. In love, anything is possible, and to anybody, because you are no particular self, in love.

To be in love, is to see your face changed, and distorted, and beautified, in the mirror, a thousand times a day. As if  a smoke shield is covering your face, and when again that haze clears-off, you see a different face. Who are you in love? Nobody, but the lover.

All other names come and go. All other actions too, come and go, because actions too are a function of the actor. When the actor himself is appearing and disappearing, how can actions remain constant, and consistent. Therefore, love appears like such a big madness. Not only are the actions changing, even the actor is changing.

But, deep in the heart of these actors, is the one desire, called ‘love’. The faces are changing, the Heart is the same.

Some people mistake the changing faces, for disloyalty. Good luck to them!

Some people mistake the constancy in faces, as fidelity. Good luck to them as well!

What is it about faces that obsesses you so much? How will you then love the one, with no face, no particular face?

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

Watch the session: Does love lie in action? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Read more articles on this topic:

Acharya Prashant: What is love?

Acharya Prashant: The fallacy of expression of love

Acharya Prashant: Is it selfish to love oneself first?

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What is luck? How to get lucky? || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

What is luck How to get lucky.jpg

आयहू हर रस कर्मी पाइआ सतगुर मिलाई जिस आय

~तिलांग, पहला महला, शब्द हज़ारे ( नितनेम)

The Essence: Name of the Lord, His love, is obtained by good luck, good deeds, when the True Guru: the True Master, meets and tells you to recite the Name of God.

~ Tilang,1st Mehla, Shabad Hazzare (Nitnem)

Question: Pranam Acharya Ji, can you please help me understand what does ‘luck’ mean, and what role it has in our life?

Acharya Prashant: The use of the word ‘luck’, merely means – something that is beyond cause and effect chain. When you do something, and you get something as a result of your doing, then you do not call it ‘luck’, do you?

Then you claim ownership, and therefore is ‘Ego. The ego loves the cause and effect paradigm. The ego says, “The effort is preceded by a cause. So, if I can cause something to happen, I will get the desired result.”

“I can cause the effect,” says the ego.

‘Luck’ or ‘Grace’, or as some people may call it, ‘randomness’,

lies outside the cause-effect framework. 

Therefore the word has been used here. The Ego will not get it, using its doership. That which, a thing brings, cannot be of a quality, dimension-ally superior to the thing itself.

Please understand this.

The effect cannot be dimensionally, beyond the cause. Which is to say – the fruit of the action, cannot be dimensionally superior to the action. Which is to say – the fruit of the action, is actually just the quality of the actor.

The result is dimensionally same as the action, and the action is dimensionally the same as the actor.

Therefore, the result is in the same dimension as the actor.

But the ego does not want to believe that. The ego wants to believe that all the possible dimensions, are contained in its one little dimension. So it keeps hoping, its entire little life, that it will be able to obtain, something of the beyond, while just remaining itself.

It feels that it can remain, continue to remain, in it’s own lowly dimension, and yet through its actions and cleverness, and manipulations, obtain something of the beyond. That’s the false hope of the ego. But the ego does not see it as false.

The ego says, “I can remain earthly, but through my clever tricks, I can attain the sky.” The ego does not want to leave the earth. It is scared and attached. But, it also has the longing for the sky. It is stuck. The ego says, “I would remain on earth, but I will devise a trick through which I can also have the sky.”

That is not going to happen.

Now you see, why the word ‘luck’ is used? Your actions, your plans, your cleverness, your manipulations, all will fail, in getting the desired result, because that which you truly desire, is beyond you. Whereas, your actions, and your plans, and your thoughts, would always be..? Just like you.

Are you getting it?

You want to get Him through your actions, but your actions are just like you.  And what is it that you want? A beyondness from your self. You want to go beyond your self, being yourself. That won’t happen.

“How does it happen then?”

“Who knows. Let’s call it – luck.” It’s very difficult for the ego to submit to this statement.

“How does it really happen?”

“Neither do I know, nor can I ever know. It is not merely unknown, it is unknowable.”

The ego does not want to accept that. So it continues with its blind efforts, gets tired, and expires. And expiry does not mean liberation. For the ego, the expiry means – re-birth. Re-birth not in the sense of assuming another body, re-birth in the sense of just coming back, as another type of ego. Ego in another name.

Old wine in new bottle, that’s what re-birth is all about. Re-birth is not about the Atman in a new bottle. People often say that this(the body), is the ghat, the bottle. And the Atman moves from bottle to bottle. No!

The Atman does not move from anywhere to anywhere.

It is achal, it is unmovable.

Re-birth is – the rotten old wine, in an apparently new bottle. And then, another cycle of effortfulness starts. The ego again says, “I will cause the effect.” What is the effect that it wants? Liberation. What is the effect that it wants? God. But how does it want to have that effect?

Listener: By  doing something.

Acharya ji: It does not want to surrender to that effect. It wants to cause that effect. In other words, the ego wants to cause God. Whereas God is the one, who is utterly uncaused, unborn.

The ego in wanting to attain liberation, is wanting to give birth to God. If you can cause something, you are it’s father, aren’t you? If the ego can cause liberation, then ego becomes the…? Father of liberation. Such is, the ego of ‘ego’.

(laughter)

Such is, so deep, the egoistic darkness. It wants to cause Liberation. It wants to cause Godliness.

Can it be caused? No. It just happens. And therefore, it is referred to as – luck.

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

Watch the session:  What is luck? How to get lucky? || Acharya Prashant, on Nitnem Sahib (2019)

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Worrying about results of work? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Worrying about the results

Question: Acharya ji, what does it mean when you say, “Do not worry about the results”?

Acharya ji: Satyam, when I say, “Do not bother about the results,” I am saying that, with the condition, that you are already, assuredly, doing the right thing.

I say, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the result.”

I am saying, “Do the right thing, and do not bother about the results.”

But to those, who are not doing the right things, I say, “Look at the results of your actions.”

Jesus very clearly says, “A tree is known by the fruits, it has.” You might by thinking that you are doing something selflessly, but how much do you know yourself? You are assuming that you are doing something selflessly, that your action is right. That is your assumption. It is needed that you must check this assumption, is it not?

Do you not want to enquire the veracity of your assumption? And how do you enquire into your assumption? By seeing what actions are leading to. Are you getting it?

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’ – is the utmost and final condition.

‘Do the right thing, and forget about the result’- that condition is possible only to someone, who is already liberated of the future.

But those who are not liberated, those who have even an iota of doubt, about the center from where there actions are arising, must use the results of the action, to know the source of the action.

The source of the action, and the result of the action, correspond with each other.

If the action comes from the center of holiness, then the results are bound to be – holy.

If the actions come from the center of nothingness, then the results are bound to be – nothing. 

Similarly, if the actions come from the center of vice, or deception, then the results are bound to be distressing.

You can deceive yourself, about the source of your action, because only you know the source of your action. You are the declaring authority, and you can declare anything. You can commit the foulest of crimes, and say that this is being done with a holy purpose. In fact, the foulest of crimes, have been mostly committed, citing holy purpose only.

And it cannot be cross-verified. Nobody can peep into your interiors, and prove to you that you are operating from a wicked center. It cannot be demonstrated, because it is an internal thing, right?

What is it, however, that can be demonstrated, rather that which is not going to remain hiding the results? So, look at results. Even if you have successfully deceived yourself about the source of your action, the results will demonstrated to you, what the real source of your action was.

An action which has led to peacelessness, could not have come from the right source.

An action that leads to lovelessness, has definitely come from a loveless center.

So, do mind the results. The results will tell you where you are standing right now. Much later will you come to a point, from where you will not need to bother about the results.

That is liberation!

Then you just are. Doing what the Heart commands. And the Heart knows no future. And you are fully and firmly, settled in the Heart, so you too know no future.

But look at your current condition. Right now, are you someone who knows no future? No. Right now, you are not there.

So, do mind the results.

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

Watch the session: Worrying about results of work?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

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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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