Acharya Prashant: How to really listen to the Guru?

Question: In one video, you said that to listen to Krishna, you need to be Arjuna. To Listen to Ashtavakra also you need to be Janak.

To listen to you, what should the person be?

Acharya Prashant: The person should not be insistent on being the ‘person.’ That begins with not seeing the speaker as a person and not imagining the listener to be the person. If here a person is speaking sitting on this chair, then surely there is another person sitting on another chair who is listening. Now, listening cannot really happen. Because persons cannot really relate to each other.

A person is a limitation.

Limitations can associate with each other. But limitations cannot relate to become limitless.

You take one limitation and you associate it with another one, you do not get limitlessness. What you get is another limitation.

One person listening to another person will not listen to the Truth. He will come to some opinion, some conclusion, something of the mind or attitude. But he won’t come upon Truth or silence.

To listen to me you need to forget all about yourselves. And you need to forget that what you are listening to is a person’s personal viewpoints.

If you will insist on saying that what is coming to you is somebody’s personal opinion, then no person ever has the obligation to be non-resistant to another person’s opinions. Opinions by definition are meant to be analyzed, judged, dissected, then partially accepted or rejected.

You will have to see that that which speaks from this chair is the same that listens from that chair, or listening simply doesn’t happen.

Till the time there is A speaking to B, listening cannot happen.

Only Truth listens to the Truth.

Only that within you can listen to me which speaks from within me. And they are one. Which means that there has to be a certain unity between the ‘listener’ and the ‘speaker.’ I said,

to listen to Krishna you need to be Arjuna. But it’s not really Arjuna who listens to Krishna. It’s Krishna within Arjuna that listens to Krishna. No Arjuna can ever know Krishna. Even to look at Krishna, Arjuna requires eyes that are bestowed upon him by Krishna.

You’ll have to give your listening a total chance, a total freedom. And that is a very impersonal freedom. You’ll have to simply drop giving importance to all that is personal about the speaker.

Continue reading

It has to begin with you

When you say that it is possible to challenge the false, then your life has to be a proof of that challenge. And when you come up to people not only with your words but with the backing of your life, then people appreciate it, then you are credible. Otherwise, you are just talking.

So, it has to begin with you. First of all, you have to be that who can be the messenger; who can be the Teacher.

In repeating the knowledge, you are only perpetuating misery because they already have a lot of knowledge.

And do you know what happens if you are not living what you are saying?

Then you produce more and more cynicism in people. people say, “Another one from the fake ones and because I see only the fake ones hence it is proven that Truth does not exist.” So, instead of being a teacher of Truth, you become a messenger or rather a proof of the false.


To read the complete article: Do you know the most dominant religion today?

Before judging others, know yourself

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Listener: Sir, I have often realized that most of the time, I keep on judging things, people and situations. The mind is never calm and always indulge in judging. What to do?

Acharya Prashant: See, the judging that you are talking of is an action.

No action is right or wrong. 

All that matters is the center from where the action is arising. 

Here, specially in the west we have this notion – ‘Don’t judge’. It’s not quite correct. Judging is an action like any other action.

It’s not important to not to judge; it’s important to not to judge from the wrong center.

From the right center, you can say that this person is afraid and that will be harmful for him. You have judged, but this is a very useful and auspicious judgment. But let’s say if you have your own needs for appreciation, then you’ll compare yourself to others and judge them.

Let’s say, one is not rich enough in her own imagination, so she looks at rich people and says, ‘Ah! Murderers, I know how they have collected their wealth’. Now, in fact, she might be factually right. The one she is pointing towards might actually be a murderer and might have actually collected his wealth through loot. But the comparison is coming from the wrong center. She is saying all this only because she wants to feel superior. So this judgment is from the wrong center. Hence, this judgment should not be made even if it is factually correct.

Factually what she has said may be right, but facts don’t matter, what matters is life, and in life what matters is the place you are operating from. If you are operating from the conditioned mind, the ego, then you’ll only get suffering, even if you are speaking the facts. So, judge; but judge from the center of compassion; of love; of integrity. If judging someone is wrong then all the judges in the courts must go to hell. Obviously, it cannot be wrong. But it is surely wrong when you judge just to uphold your own feeble ego.

And don’t we often do that?

We judge others so that we can feel superior in comparison to them. We judge others so that our own evils appear smaller in comparison to them. Then such judgments are indeed evil.

Look at the lives of the Saints and the Prophets. They have often very clearly declared the wrong to be wrong – which is in today’s parlance – a clear case of being judgmental. They were very judgmental, but they were judgmental because they were compassionate. Such judgments are alright.

Was not Christ judgmental?

Look at his utterance, and you will see several of the things that he said, if you say them, people will say that you are judging. Was not Kabir judgmental?

You get the right to judge others only after you have first judged yourself rightly, and that requires honesty.

When you know yourself then you also get the right to know others and also declare what you know; only then.

Before you look at others, before you try to measure them, firstly look at yourself and see who you are.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Before judging others, know yourself

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: How to help others see the truth?

Article 2: Before you understand others, silence your mind

Article 3: How to keep others happy?


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant 

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant
Flipkart:  https://goo.gl/fS0zHf

What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

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Question: Why human beings have the capacity to question each and everything?
Acharya Prashant: You question only when you do not find something fitting in your patterns. Right? If everything is alright, you don’t question it. You don’t question why I am able to hear what you’re saying. But if I am not able to hear what you’re saying, you question it. Is that not so?
You believe the pattern to be real and when the pattern is falsified you question it. I believe if I throw a ball then it must reach there. And why it must reach there? Because I have always found it reaching there whenever I have thrown it. So this is a pattern. Throw it, find it falling there. This is a pattern.
Now, if I throw a ball and the ball hangs in the mid air then I’ll say what’s this! What’s going on? Now there is a question. So we question because we believe in the pattern. Hence, questioning can come to a mind that has first known the pattern. But this mind has known the pattern but has not seen the pattern to be false. So it starts feeling little uneasy when it finds the pattern broken. It questions.
There can be a mind lower than this—that has not even seen the pattern. This mind will not question. It is such a dumb mind. A mind that is not even  conscious of the pattern will never raise any questions. And you would have met minds like those. They don’t question anything, whatever may keep happening they don’t find any need to question it.
Then there are those who question, those who questions believe in the pattern.
And then there are those who say, “Aah! pattern!” it may continue or it may break, how does it matter; just as a dream may continue or break.
Continuation of a dream makes it no more real than a broken dream.
Then they just sit in silent; they too don’t question. We have all these three categories of people here also. Some are not questioning because they don’t even see what I am talking of is so disruptive. So they don’t question. “Oh, there is no need to question. It’s all okay much the same. Why should I question?” There are some who are questioning, they are questioning because they are seeing that what I am saying is growing against the grain of what they have been believing. So they are questioning, they are asking repeatedly.
And then there might be another category who is so absorbed, so immersed that it finds no need to question. A question is like a dissent, a question says a pattern must be continued why did it break. And if you have no affixation with the pattern then you don’t question, then you’re just silent and immersed.
May there be more people like those here.
But if you can’t be like the one who is not attached to the pattern and hence doesn’t question, then at least question!
Are you getting it?
If you can’t let it directly come to your heart, if you find that the mind is standing in the way then do express the resentment, the dissent of mind; then, question.
By questioning you may probably come to a place where you have no need to question.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is the value of questions in the spiritual process?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: The one answer to every question

Article 2: On Jesus: Faith does not answer questions, it laughs at them

Article 3: Attend to the facts and your imaginations will fall in place


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant 

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant
Flipkart:  https://goo.gl/fS0zHf

The right role of parents in the life of child

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Question: Sir, what should be the right role of parents in the life of a child?

Acharya Prashant: The role of the father and mother is to give birth. Really to give birth not just physically. Physically it is very easy—hormonal, chemical, simply biology, really to give birth.

Listener 1: In which many fails.

AP: Hardly anybody succeeds.

To be a father or mother is not something physical, it is not about having sex, getting impregnated, bearing a baby and nursing it. It is about not only giving a body but also taking the kid to That which is beyond the body. That’s the role of parents—to not only give the body but also then unburden the child of the body. Continue reading

All attitudes are dangerous, whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’

Question: What is the difference between ‘right attitude’ and ‘wrong attitude’? If external forces ask one to change his or her attitude, then how does one know or decide that what is ‘right attitude’ or ‘wrong attitude’?

Speaker: What is the attitude? Attitude means mentality. Attitude is a predetermined, frozen set of beliefs. Attitude means, “I already know.” Attitude says, “I already know.” Attitude says, “I have beliefs about this, and this is it.” Attitude says, “Even before I know the reality, I have made up my mind.”
Continue reading

Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’

Spontaenity

Question: While reading the various articles on your blog, I feel that they are like medicines for the mind, but despite having gone through several of them, I am still not able to cure the mind from its illness.

Acharya Prashant: You have several diseases, several illnesses, and what do you do? You go to a pharmacist. You go to a large pharmacy shop and thousands of medicines are there. Will you be cured by going to a pharmacy shop? Yes, indeed the blog is full of medicines, just as a pharmacy shop is full of medicines. And you are full of illness. So you go to the pharmacy shop, the shop is wide open to you and you have all the choice to pick anything as per your convenience, as per your likes and dislikes. And the medicines are there. These are complicated medicines. They have come after years of research. And you are standing there, all the medicines are there, and you start popping pills.

“I want that one, the deep pink! Aah! This syrup looks nice, this smells of alcohol! Give it to me!” And what will all these medicines do to you? Which medicines do you like? Do you know how these cough syrups sell? The government actually had to regulate their sales. You know people with drug addiction, they just like to taste things like Iodex, even Fevicol.

How can medicines help you when ‘you’ are choosing the medicines? All the medicines might be available, but which medicines will you choose? The one which has alcohol or the one which has the glossiest cover, or the one which is branded. That’s the one you will choose. (Referring to the questioner) So that is the reason our friend chooses to read what he chooses. That is the reason why Anshu would come here and then go back and send an article, explaining how spirituality is exploitation and how all the gurus have only exploited everybody, that too right on the day when he has been advised on closeness.

When you choose that particular article, you choose the medicine for yourself, and all the medicines are available.

I sometimes do feel that this is one of the worst injustices that can be done to mankind: to give it a free hand in picking up their medicines. When you allow just anybody to pick up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, then you are actually harming that person. He is not eligible to read the Gita, why is he being allowed to lay his dirty hands on Krishna?

You do not know a thing about spirituality, you do not know the Guru, but with great confidence in yourself as a scholar, you are sending those mails. Pitiable, pathetic. Without a prescription, must you pick a medicine from the pharmacy? Then why do you just roam about picking up any book and reading it? You will be greatly harmed. In fact, don’t read at all, that is better. But to read the wrong book is like consuming poison. And I assure you that you will only choose poison for yourself. That’s all that you can choose.

So I will advise you . . . your life is so dry, it has no movement, no liquidity, it is like a rock, a fossil . . . so I will advise you to sing and dance and go to the saints. But you will not go to the saint, you will go to J. Krishnamurti. And there might be a superstitious fellow who is steeped in belief and he is all the time only reading Ramayana by Tulsidas, to him I would say, “Go to J. Krishnamurti.” But he would not go to J. Krishnamurti. He would say, “No. My chowpais (quatrains) are enough..  I only know Ayodhya and Vrindavan.  Radhe radhe. No Krishnamurti for me.”

The one who must not read Krishnamurti is drawn towards Krishnamurti. The one who must read Krishnamurti is drawn towards some other rubbish. Because you are so clever, you want to choose your own medicine. That’s what you do with the blog as well.

I have recently heard a very, very clever statement from one of you: “Sir, we don’t need. After all, blog is there. Whatever you will say in the camp will ultimately be posted on the blog and the blog is available.”

Have you not heard that?

“Sir, all the videos are there. Why do we need to come to the Clarity Session?” There is no need. Why travel all the way from Lucknow, Kanpur or Moradabad? There is no need. After all, whatever will be said, will sooner or later appear on the blog or on YouTube. So there is no need.”

And we will choose. We will decide what is important, what is not important.

And there are others who say, “Alright. Let him prescribe the medicines. I will not take any medicines outside the list that he prescribes. But from within the list, I will choose. So, if he tells me to do three things, I will do one, and I will choose which one to do. After all, I cannot be harmed. Had it been harmful, he wouldn’t have prescribed.”

You see, I take some Methotrexate, which is a poison. But along with that, my doctor has given me something which is a remedy to the side effects of that poison. So he has given me two medicines together, and he has cautioned me to take both of these. One will treat your illness, but will also give you a side illness. The second medicine will treat the side illness. But I am so clever. What do I do? I take only the first one and I avoid the second one. What do I say? “After all this is the real medicine. This cures the illness; why do I need the second one?” So what will I get? I will get a new disease. I am so clever.

And there are some others as well. “My doctor says, Take both these medicines, but do not take alcohol.” So, what do I do? I say, “See, I am not taking anything which he did not allow me to take. I am not going outside this list. Am I taking any medicine outside this list? No. And whatever is there in this list, I am taking. But why should I follow the other rules that he has set for me? I will take alcohol!” So that’s the kind of mind we have.

“Sir has given us certain books to read. We will read them. But why should we write daily reflections? That is not needed.”

What you do not realize is that the entire thing works together. Even if you take all the medicines and yet do not take the precautions that the doctor has advised, it will not work. The entire thing has to work in totality. But you are so clever: “Why should I do it?” And then look at your face, then look at all the sickness that is there. I am so clever. In thirty different ways you apply your cleverness, and in three hundred ways you suffer. Don’t you see?

Don’t you see? You pick up a book. The book might be by a great master, by the so-called enlightened ones. But don’t you see that you are the one who decides which chapter to read? And don’t you see that those answers were given to somebody else? Are you sure that had you asked that same question that is there in the book, you would have received the same answer?

Let’s say that you are reading Krishnamurti . . . and there is a question and an answer . . . that is the format of the book. Is Joydeep asking that question?

Listener: No.

AP: Is the answer for Joydeep then?

L1: No.

AP: Then how can you be so stupid? Is that answer for you? Look at this very venue, look at this occasion. If Manjeet asks me a question versus if Anushka asks me a question versus if Rahul asks me a question, will I give the same answer? But you record the answer that I gave to Anushka and play that answer to Rahul. What will happen? Will he be helped?

That’s what a book does to you. You don’t even realize that what Krishna is saying in Bhagavad Gita, is for Arjun. Are you Arjun? But you love the blog: “Blogs are good. I am a reader. I read so many other things as well. I am a very well-read person.”

What do you get after reading so many other things? Concept is all that you get. You become a walking inventory of medicines. You smell and reek of medicines. When you talk, you only talk of medicines. In fact, the medicines talks, you are nowhere to be seen. And it can be pinpointed that this statement is coming from this Upanishad.

Yes, speak more, “Yes! This is from the bible.” Speak a little more, “Aah! That one was from Nisargadatta.”

So medicines are talking. Where are you?

Have you seen those patients who take many medicines daily? Now, only medicines are there, like a patient on ventilator. Only the ventilator is there, the man is long gone. The ventilator is breathing. The ventilator is pumping blood. Only the medicine is remaining, you are no more there. But books are such a consolation – “I will read.”

I start feeling a little jittery when I see people who are very well-read. It is very difficult to talk to them, very, very difficult. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t read. I don’t know what you will make out from these words. Next time I advise you to read, and you will say, “Yuck! Poison”

(Laughter)

“That day you said that never read. And now you are saying read!”

L1: Sir, isn’t the choice of book related to what is going on inside?

AP: Yes, yes. Obviously. Always.

L2: Sir, I am pursuing a particular course of study. So I have to read. I sometimes feel guilty that the knowledge given in that course, is in a different light as compared to the discussions that we do here. Yesterday I was reading something, but I was not able to concentrate, because I felt guilty, because I thought that this book will only substantiate my ego. What should one do in that case?

AP: See, one does not go to a temple with the same mind that he has while bargaining in the market. You are not pursuing a spiritual course, you are pursuing a marketable course. When you are in a market, you should know that this is the market and this is knowledge. I must know what the rate of potatoes is. That is what your education teaches you. So you must know that these are potatoes, not a Shivalinga – just a potato. You cannot take it seriously. Alright, you are pursuing some academic course. Is that what you are saying? Which course is it?

L2: English literature.

AP: So all these poets that you read in your English literature course, are they Kabir or Jesus? You must know that this is something for livelihood, and there is the poet who is saying this and that. A poet is not a Rishi (Sage). Is he? So read the poet, it is alright.

Bhagavad Gita is about the mind, and so are the Upanishads. One of you is pursuing a psychology course, and that too is supposed to be about the mind. But will you pursue a psychology course assuming it to be spiritual? There is nothing spiritual about it. It is like looking at the mind just as one looks at the shop. There is no self-observation there. It will never take you to the root of the mind. In fact, it will be very difficult for a psychologist to turn spiritual.

And Bhagavad Gita too is just psychology – how the mind functions.  But you cannot take these two, try to compare them, and co-relate them, and what not. These are just toys that man has made for his entertainment –this study, that study. Let them be there. It’s alright. You must have a reason for pursuing that course. It’s alright. Pursue it, pass it, and get that degree. Don’t take the whole thing so seriously. There is no need to feel guilty about it.

There is this bread here and there is jam inside. The jam has a particular color and I am feeling guilty about the color. How can I take it so seriously? It’s alright. I may eat it; I may not eat it. In fact, I don’t want to eat it! So, it’s alright.

You eat it, it’s alright. You do not eat it, it’s alright.

You must know, what is to be taken seriously; that itself is called vivek (discretion). What is vivek?

The art of knowing what to take seriously and what not to take seriously.

L3: Then the question arises: Who is saying it?

AP: Okay, but at least in the moment of your seriousness, if this can arise, “Does it deserve it?” then there is some possibility. “Does it deserve that seriousness?” When you are fighting and quarrelling with your wife, in that moment if this thought can arise, “Does she deserve this seriousness?” Then you will just shrug the whole thing off and maybe get out of the house, take a walk, sip nice tea somewhere and come back. “She doesn’t even deserve this much of seriousness. How can I even fight with her seriously? You want to shout, keep shouting. I don’t take you seriously enough to fight with you.” This is called discretion, vivek. But obviously, it must arise at that moment, at that time.

L3: How can this arise at that moment, because at that time emotions are very high?

AP: Nothing can be done at that moment, because your mind is a product of time. So everything depends on what you have been doing in time.

On Sunday afternoons it will be difficult for you to fight with your wife, assuming that Sunday mornings are being spent here. So, what you have been doing in time, how you have been spending your time, decides the quality of your time. Are you getting it?

Spend your time wisely and then your spontaneous response will shape up. We talk of ‘spontaneous’ response. But remember, that to have spontaneous response in that moment, you must first have gone through an entire process of cleansing – cleansing in time. A time drawn process, a long process. So the response is spontaneous, but to reach that spontaneity, you must first pass through a long period of time in which there has been an effort, a devoted effort, to take care of the mind. And then you become capable of spontaneity.

L3: Sir, my looseness in this moment will welcome the trouble in the future . . .

AP: Yes, obviously. Wonderful.

That is Karma, fruit of the action.

L3: I am regularly reading Kabir. Chances are that I wouldn’t get into a fight. On the other hand, if I am reading a magazine, I would get into fight . . .

AP: Yes. So there is a man who is attending the session right now. His chances of remaining peaceful in the afternoon and in the evening today are more as compared to a man who is reading a magazine right now, or to a man who is spending Sunday morning lazing in the bed. Evening depends on the morning.

L2: Can that be sustained?

AP: Depends on how desperate you are. Depends on how much your wife has beaten you.

There can be no other answer. There can be no other motivation. You must see that you are suffering. You must clearly see, clearly realize that your ways are of blindness. That they are only giving you pain.

L 3: Sir, a few days back, I read a blog article on anxiety and fear because I was feeling anxious and fearful. Would reading that article harm me?

AP: (Sarcastically) You have already taken it. The medicine has gone in and done whatever it had to do. What is the point? It happens in families where there are small kids.

“Doctor, my son has taken in phenyl.”

“When?”

“Two days back.”

Now what had to happen has happened. Maybe it is because of reading that article that this anxiety is there.

You read something on anxiety and now you are anxious. “What will happen to me? I have read that!”

The medicine will show its effects . . .


– Excerpts from a Clarity Session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1 : Whatever you choose will bring sorrow to you

Article 2 : Your own essence is the Guru, the essence of everything

Article 3 : Why do we choose to suffer silently?