Tag Archives: Birth

Why does one have ego? || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Lalleshwari (2019)

Why does one have ego

Probing inside, I came

Seeking the moon within me:

Sifting the chaff from the grain.

I went seeking

The like, Alike,

Thou art Narayan.

Thou art Narayan, then,

Why this will-o-wisp.

~ Saint Lalleshwari

Question: Acharya Ji, why do I  have ego?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Do not ask, “Why does the will-o-wisp, or the ego, or your personal center still exist?” If you ask, “Why does it exist?,” the answer is: your birth.

It exists because, you do.

When was the ego born?

When ‘I’ was born.

As long as you keep taking yourself, as the born one, as the one who took birth one day, and who would die one day, the ego is definitely going to remain. 

So, if Parmeshwari (the questioner) asks that why do ‘I’ have ego, do you see what comes before the ‘ego’?

Listener: ‘I’

Acharya Ji: What is the question? Why do ‘I’ have the ego? ‘I’ doesn’t even need to have the ego. The ‘I’, is the ego. Till there is Parmeshwari, there is bound to remain the ego.

Don’t you see what ‘Parmeshwari (the questioner)’ means? A body that is separate from the universe. That is ego – as someone who is localised, temporally, and spatially. Parmeshwari is in this hall at Twelve noon. Had she been the Truth, she would have continued, wherever she was. But at 3 p.m., she would be at the banks of river Ganga, not here.  So she is localized. She is localized. Similarly, spatially. At Twelve noon, because she is here, so cannot be at the banks of Ganga.

This is what is ego – a thing of time and space.

A thing that is severely limited by time and space.

And therefore suffers.

And is therefore debilitated.

Even if you want to, you cannot be at the banks, at this very time. And that you see, is at the center of a lot of your suffering. Were you not limited in time, you would have immediately gone back to the past and corrected it. But you are limited in time.

If you are here, you can neither be in the past, nor in the future. If you were not limited in space, then you would have controlled the entire universe, by being present wherever you wanted to. Or maybe by being present everywhere in the universe, and therefore, being the universe itself. But you cannot do that. And therefore, you suffer.

Do you now see what desire is? All your desires are limited to time and space. You could also say that, all your desires are related to your limitations in time and space. All your desires are related to your limitations in time and space. 

Had you not been limited, what would have you desired? If you are the entire universe, at all times, what is left to desire? Therefore, as long as, there is ‘this(the body)’ there would remain the will-o-wisp.

Now you have to see, what do you want to do, with this necessary limitation. That’s the human condition, you know. This necessary, this inevitable limitation. That is why, those who have known, the saints, they have said, that it was not the great thing that happened to you – the human birth.  But now that it has occurred, you better make the best use of it.

But it would have been far-far better, had you never really been born. Now that you are born, strive to come out of this incessant cycle of birth, and re-birth, and death. In fact,  that’s what is liberation. That’s how the orient has known liberation – liberation from the cycle of birth, re-birth, and death.

Because the moment you are born, that is born, from which you seek liberation.

The moment you are born, you are born along with that, from which you seek liberation.

So, why be born at all?

Listener: But we have taken birth now.

Acharya Ji: Yes, so now you better use it to the fullest. Live in a way, that is directed towards freedom. And it is equally, rather much more possible, to live in a way, that strengthens your bondages.

Hence, be cautious.

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

Watch the session:  Why does one have ego? || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Lalleshwari (2019)

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An unnecessary relationship

An addiction is defined as something that is external, very difficult to get rid off; nevertheless.

There are no good or bad addictions. An addiction is just what it is — “An unnecessary relationship.”

Addiction says that you need something. Need is the first addiction. Whatever you claim that you need that is your first addiction.

That which begins as ignorance and dreams, cannot end as understanding.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction


 

Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction

Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction is ‘man’ himself. ‘I am’ is the most fundamental addiction.

An addiction is defined as something that is external, very difficult to get rid off; nevertheless.

One can get rid-off an addiction. This feeling of taking oneself as one takes himself to be is the most fundamental addiction — the “I’’ tendency.

We are so staunchly addicted to it that it seems impossible that there can be oneself life without our conception of the “I.” It seems not only difficult but altogether impossible. It appears so difficult only because we are very deeply addicted. It is the addiction that starts with the first breath. It is the addiction that starts probably even before the first breath.

The tendency to take oneself as a limited being, as a body, as a personality, as a set of principals and concepts, as everything that one thinks himself to be. From that addiction, the hundred other addictions are born. That is why treatment of addiction is such a difficult thing because unless the ‘mother addiction’ is treated, treating the other addictions remains a problem.

It could be addiction of money, material, person, drugs, substance abuse, all kind of mental distortions. Whatever be the specific name of the addiction it invariably arises from the central mother addiction itself. That is why you remove one addiction and man finds himself trapped into another one. In fact, often addiction therapy is just about finding a suitable addiction. Don’t you see how addictions are commonly taken to be treated? A boy seems to be taking to drugs, the well-wishers would say, “well, let him indulge in sports” or if he is a little elder parents will say, “let’s marry him off.”

Do you see how one addiction is used to counter way another? It is because Man fundamentally can’t live without addiction. Because our fundamental definition itself is based on a great ‘attachment.’ Addiction is an ‘unnecessary attachment.’ For that which we are, it is totally unnecessary to be attached to that which we think we are. It is unnecessary but it becomes the foundation of life and that is all quite unfortunate.

There are no good or bad addictions.

An addiction is just what it is — “An unnecessary relationship.”

Whatever you can do without, is unnecessary and if it persists for long and deeply, is an addiction.

There is a lot that one can do without. The more you can do without, the better you do. The more you tie your existence to stuff, the more bulky, heavy, loathsome and tired you live.

Getting it?

Addiction says that you need something. Need is the first addiction.

Whatever you claim that you need that is your first addiction.

A need implies incompleteness. That which you call as ‘ego,’ is another name for an addiction to incompleteness, you may call it addiction to incompleteness or you may just call is incompleteness, they are the same thing.

Listener: Then addiction shows someway. For example, somebody is addicted to camp?

If someone is addicted to camps than he is not coming to camps at all then he is coming to some other place of his dreams.

L1: If somebody is addicted to some particular type of behaviors, can be his behaviors develop some understanding?

AP: Addiction in the beginning itself means that there is no understanding. What you are asking is similar to asking that if one dreams of camps, then will he benefit from a  camp? If one dreams of holy-scripture, then will he benefit from holy- scriptures?

The holy scripture is secondary, what is primary is the dream. Whatever is happening, is happening in the dream state. And in a dream state how can there be any understanding? It doesn’t matter whether you break your head with a brick or with a voluminous book? If you take a thousand page bulky book and bang it against your head, will it hurt less? The beginning of addiction itself is an absence of understanding. One must clearly see that the beginning of something cannot be different from the end of it.

That which begins as ignorance and dreams, cannot end as understanding.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Fall in faith, and you will be given wings


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You are a man of patterns

You are a man of mind. You are a man of reactions. You are a man of patterns. Who wants to talk to such a man?

An ordinary man in the name of learning from failures, Just tries to react differently. The second time a similar situation arises. And this he labels as learning from failure.

Zen is your essential core that reacts not, that it’s his own master. Has it’s own way of living.

Two or three years are needed so that all the pre-existing answers get clear. Not that the new answer is needed but the old answer need to go.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?


 

Acharya Prashant on Zen: Have you any God?

Acharya Prashant: Joshu went to Hermit and asked, “What’s up? What’s up?” The Hermit lifted up his fist and Joshu said, “Water is too shallow to enter here and went away”. Joshu visited the Hermit once again, a few days later and said, “What’s up? What’s up?” The Hermit raised his fist again then Joshu said, “Well given, well taken, well killed, well saved” and he bowed to the Hermit.

A few things Right-living, Wisdom, Spirituality, Zen are all about a non-reactionary way of living. A non-reactionary way of living. So, Joshu asks the hermit, “What’s up?” He isn’t parlance as indicated. It means, “Have you any Zen?” Now, Zen is not an object. Zen is not a part of ‘duality.’ The answer to the question that asks, Have you any Zen, can neither be ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ as such. When Hermit raises his fist. It is inferior to remain in silent. It comes across as a reaction to Joshu’s question.

The situation become such that Joshu’s question becomes actually a provocations, a stimulus to which the Hermit reacts this is not really the way of Zen. The question demanded no answer. The question demanded rather the stillness of Zen or the silence of Zen. The question, “Have you any Zen?” is aching to the questions — “Are you God? Is the universe same as or different from it’s source? Are you in God or God is in you? Have you any Zen? Have you any God? Have you the Truth? Have you Love?” All these are questions in the same dimensions. To such questions ordinary answers don’t suffice.

So, upon seeing the response of the Hermit, upon seeing the raised fist of Hermit. Joshu says, “The water is to shallow to enter here.” Zen is still an intellectual thing for you, ‘shallow.’ It is not yet reached your depth. Zen has not yet reached your depth. It has still not yet penetrated your heart. No point talking to you.

You are a man of mind.

You are a man of reactions.

You are a man of patterns.

Who wants to talk to such a man?

Joshu walks away. Who wants to talk to a monk? For whom, Zen is a matter of questions and answers. Then comes another day, Joshu goes to the same Hermit and asks the same questions.

Now, see what happens. The first time the Hermit has had an experience. The experience say that when somebody asks you about Zen and you respond by raising your fist, you get an insulting answer and the questioner walks away. That is what the experience of Hermit has been, right?

In one situation, the Hermit has given one particular answer and that answer has ostensibly not sufficed. The questioner has walked away dissatisfied. Not only has he walks away dissatisfied. He has blatantly on the face of the Hermit said, “The water is to shallow here.” Now, what would an ordinary man do then when faced with the similar situation again?

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To help the other, you have to be a nobody.

I have often and repeatedly said that to help the other, you have to be a nobody. Now, that sounds quite theoretical and abstract. What is meant by this statement, that to help the other you have to be a nobody?

It means that you have to be a someone, a no one, who has no choices or preferences of his own, except the preference to love. Except the desire to be loving, all other desires are now gone. Or, at least all other desires are now secondary. The primary desire is just love. All other desires are subservient to it now. Which means, that I am not really bothered about what I am doing, as long as it is serving the purpose of loving. I don’t have any choices, preferences left now. I will not say that I will do this work only my way. Then how will I do this work, which way will I do this work? Now, I will do this work, your way. If I am nobody then I get all the freedom to act as per your wishes. Are you getting it?

In trying to help the other, often a big barrier is the helper himself. Because, the helper says, “I will help, but only in this particular way. This particular way which is the right way according to my ideology. I want to help you, by helping you behave as per my wishes.” Now, that’s a barrier.

To help someone, you have to be a no one which means that your own dislikes and likes relegate to the background. Now, you look at the other. Now, you look at the others conditioned mind. Obviously the other is conditioned. Obviously the other is trapped, that is why he needs help.

So, you look closely at the mind on the one you intend to help. And you say, “I have no preferences, openly on a clean slate I will see, how this person can be helped? I have no ideology. I am not approaching this person with a preset agenda. Instead, I am seeing, that if this person is conditioned, what is the contour of the conditioning? What is the whole landscape of the city that he has built inside his mind? What are the patterns of his or her conditioning? And to liberate her, I will use those patterns. Now, in using those patterns the barrier is your own patterns. Because you say that if I use those patterns, then I am doing something wrong, something immoral. Or, at least I am doing something that I don’t stand for. That does not correspond to my ideals.”

The real helper is a man without ideals. The real helper is free to help. That is what is meant by being without ideals.



Read the complete article: One is enslaved with her own consent

Do we need to drop the family?

When you say, “Family,” are you talking really of persons, or a network of relationships? It appears as if we are talking of persons because the moment somebody says, “Family,” he says, “Father, mother, sister, brother.” So, what do you name? Persons. So, we get into an illusion that the family is made up of persons, but if we go a little closer to it, a little deeper, we will find that the family is not really persons. The family is relationships. The view that you have of the person is the person. Is the person anything except the meaning he or she holds for you? And the meaning that that person holds for you is your relationship with him.

There is a girl, there is her father. Is the father the same to the world as he is to his daughter? Had it been about the person, the person would have been an objective entity, same to the entire Universe, right? So, it’s not the father, it’s the relationship between the father and the daughter that defines the father in the daughter’s eyes, and the daughter in the father’s eyes. 

So, what do you mean when you say, “Do we need to drop the family?” Obviously, you do not need to drop the persons. But, don’t you need to drop all the poison that is there in relationships? Must you drop the persons, or must you drop all the harmful aspects of the relationship? In other words, the person remaining the same, can’t the relationship change? And obviously the person has to remain the same, one is not going to fetch a substitute pair of parents. They are not readily available, are they? The persons cannot be changed, not in most cases.

Then what do we mean by family, what do we mean by improving the family environment? Obviously, it means that the relationship has to change. If you are relating in fear, in anger, or in greed, then that aspect of relating needs to be dropped. And, that can be dropped only when the need to have that aspect is first dropped from within yourself.



Read the complete article: One is enslaved with her own consent