Question: Is yoga, meditation, and reading of scriptures really necessary?
Acharya Prashant: What else are you doing right now, is this not meditation. Everyday I ask the same question, I have to ask it today as well —how will you meditate while driving your car? And if you can’t meditate while driving your car, then is not meditation worthless? How will you meditate while having sex! Will you put your legs up in the air and say this is some kind of Aasan. And if you can’t meditate in your most intense moments, when else would you meditate?
How will you meditate while taking a shower! How will you meditate while eating! And life is all this or is it not? How will you meditate when you are on the soccer field. Passing the ball to someone and instantaneous reflexes are required from you, how will you meditate? And life is all this. Or will you sit down in the middle of the field to meditate?
How will you meditate while swimming? How? And why don’t you ask these questions, because life is all this, this is life?
L: Food restrictions, are they necessary?
AP: Everything in the world knows what to eat; why do you not know what to eat. The bird knows what to eat, the fish knows what to eat, why you have to be restricted? Because somebody else is there who is unnecessarily forcing you to eat something else. The commercials are there and they are attracting you all the time – new potato chips, new sauce, new dish, new recipes.
L: I was asking about killing animals.
AP: Everything in the world knows whether or not it should kill. Why do we not know when is the right time to kill and when not to kill.
I am asking you again a very simple question — have you ever seen a camel drinking the milk of a goat? The camel knows that it must drink the milk of its mother and only for a few months, is that so or not. And the camel needs no Guru for that.
Have you ever seen a horse drinking the milk of an elephant?
Why do you drink the milk of a buffalo, are you a buffalo? Why do these simple things not occur to you? Does the buffalo come and drink your milk? If the buffalo is so intelligent that it won’t come and suck at your wife then why do you want to go and milk the buffalo?
Everything in existence knows its proper diet, why do we not know. Can you just shrug away all the unnecessary knowledge, like this (shaking head)? So that you immediately know, what you know.
Have you ever seen an animal violate its diet-patterns? Try feeding grass to a lion, try feeding flesh to a cow, try. How is it that we do not know what to eat and how is it that we over-eat?
Man is the only animal that dies of over eating. How is it possible, figure out.
From where is this knowledge coming that obfuscates our sharp intelligence?
Our sharp intelligence is lying buried under the load of acquired knowledge, why can’t you reject all this acquired social knowledge.
The moment you reject it you know everything.
You already know everything.
L: But if you are hungry, is it any different?
AP: Try feeding grass to a hungry lion. I am asking you, try feeding grass to a hungry lion.
L: But we are not animals.
AP: Who told you that? (Smilingly)
We are not animals only in the sense that we are worse than animals, only in that sense.
Right action comes only from the right source.
If you are asking what to eat and when to eat and how to decide what to eat in a particular situation, it need not be a decision, it is an instantaneous response.
When you are alright and at peace with yourself then the response, the decision is so quick that it can’t even be called a decision.
It’s like this — ‘No, I won’t eat this.’ Why? I don’t know. But I know I won’t eat this. You ask me a reason, I won’t be able to convince you. But I just know. This word ‘JUST’ is tremendously significant – I just know, without any reason it’s an uncaused knowing.
I just know, I don’t have to explain it to you, I just know. And we all, I assert and I remind you, we all just know. You too just know. It is impossible to not to know.
Ask the Heart! In everything and anything that matters, ask the heart, it just knows.
Have faith, it just knows.
And when you come to know that you know, don’t be afraid because often that which you know, will scare you.
Your beauty scares you, don’t reject it, embrace it.
The heart is not a dictator, it only suggests it depends on you whether or not to heed. Obviously, if you will not heed then you will suffer but still you may decide not to heed.
Be your own friend; Don’t decide to reject the heart, listen to it. It’s continuously guiding, it’s guiding even right now! Do you see that it is guiding you right now; don’t you see that?
L: Something is obscured.
AP: Pay attention to that which is not obscure. When you are driving in a foggy night, what do you pay attention to — the road or the fog? Yes! So look at that which is not obscure; don’t talk too much about the fog. The fog intensifies when you talk too much about it.
L: Once I am at peace with myself, is there something after it, or is that it?
AP: Is that question coming from peace?
AP: In peace, you do not bother about future.
But you are asking what will happen after peace! This question cannot come from peace. And is it not obvious? Why you need somebody to point this out? It is not obvious because you have been trained deeply in the language of before and after. Marry me and after that we will have a nice family, after…
L: And there is a lot of talk about enlightenment, is that enlightenment? What is enlightenment?
AP: When you know, that is enlightenment. When you refuse to know it is darkness.
No person is enlightened.
If right now you understand, you know, you are already enlightened. You can choose to remain enlightened or you can again wallow in the darkness.
Enlightenment is not something that you attach to a person, ‘Oh, he is enlightened.’ No.
Enlightenment is Truth, the very essence of all.
Surrender to the Truth, you are enlightened.
L: We have sort of industrialized everything that we do. And there is a label of? growth on it, how much can we grow. Aren’t they all pursuits
AP: They all are trying to create a future for you. They all are trying to take you somewhere. and whenever there is talk of progress, of betterment, of G.D.P growth and such things, you are always being pulled away from what you are. But if you have a political leader who wins votes by offering you a better future, then don’t you see what you are doing. But you love those leaders, don’t you, Who offer you a better future.
L: Then we shouldn’t be engaged in those false promises.
AP: Great! that you are figuring this out.
Maybe you need a totally different kind of mind, a totally different kind of politics, an entirely new way of living.
Maybe the shopping mall and the ashram are part of one rotten system and both sustain each other. Maybe the office and the weekend retreat are part of one system and both sustain each other. Maybe both have to go together — the commercial centre and the spiritual centre both have to go together because both co-exist, and both can ‘only’ co-exist.
Maybe you need an entirely new world; a totally new humanity. But the new comes only from that which is immediate. The new will not come from a distance, the new comes from here.
L: The only question arises then, although that seems like a bad pursuit, but that’s part of the truth, overall. Even if its destruction of the planet and the human beings it’s still truth, isn’t it true?
AP: It doesn’t matter whether it is truth. You have to live your life, ask yourself, how you feel about it. You maybe shredded into pieces it is still the Truth. But, what does that do to you?
All this is not being told to the Truth. We are not trying to educate Truth, about Truth. You are the recipient of all this. So, ask — what does all this do to me.
Forget the Truth; look at yourself.
We don’t have Mr. Truth sitting here to receive these teachings. It’s between you and me.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: You already know. There is nobody who does not know
Advait in Everyday Life
Advait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.
This book is a much needed and rare attempt to bring spirituality and philosophical teachings to everyday life. The author’s genius lies in being delightfully able to bridge the abstract world of theorizations and principles with day-to-day circumstances, happenings, emotions and relationships.