Tag Archives: Buddhism

Acharya Prashant on Ashtavakra: What is stillness of mind?


सुखे दुःखे नरे नायाॆं संपत्सु विपत्सुच ।

 विशेषो नैव धीरस्य सर्वत्र  समदर्शिनः।।

अष्टावक्र गीता ।।१७-१५।।

For the one of still mind, for the one of equanimous vision, there is no difference between pleasure and pain, Man and woman, good luck and bad luck, circumstantial happiness and circumstantial sadness.

Ashtavakra Gita, Chapter 17 and Verse 15

Acharya Prashant: For the one of still mind (Sthitpragya), for the one of equanimous vision (Samdarshi), there is no difference between pleasure and pain, man and woman,  good luck and bad luck, circumstantial happiness and circumstantial sadness.

What is meant by one of still mind? What is equanimity? The mind is movement. The mind is detected only through change, only in diversity and differences, only in space and time. Hither and thither the mind wanders, object upon object keep appearing in it. There is something that it is searching for in all its wanderings. That which it is searching for, it tries to find it in the entire world around itself and it has numerous options. The world means an infinite variety of objects to be hopeful of, to choose from, to depend upon. Continue reading

What is Moksha?

Acharya Prashant: What is Moksha? Moksha means liberation; liberation from root of all that which bothers you, freedom from all that which can ever trouble you. When the mind says it wants freedom- it only wants freedom from the objects that it considers troublesome. Now that will always be partial freedom because the mind lives in parts. The mind will say this is the entire universe and this part of the universe doesn’t bother me and this part of the universe bothers me.

So the mind will always seek only partial freedom from the world. Even as the mind will say that this, this and that need to go away (pointing in one direction). With equal intensity it will say that, that and that too as well need to stay (pointing in other direction). It will want freedom from pain and will continue to remain attached to pleasure. Such is the nature of mind. It sees only one side of the coin ever.

It cannot do anything else, mind knows only duality. Duality is the very substance of mind. Comes then a different dimension of mind- a wise man. He has been able to see through the entire thing. He is not obsessed with only one side of the coin. He says “yes, yes, of course I too want freedom from suffering but I see that if I remove one part then I have actually removed nothing because nobody can remove just one side of the coin. If I want to get rid of pain and want the furtherance of pleasure then I have continued to live in pain”.

Continue reading

Creativity arises from nothingness


Question: The creator is in every bit of the creation, then why do we call the world illusionary?

Acharya Prashant: Don’t call the world illusionary. “The creator is the creation” is not merely an aphorism. If you can look at the wall and see just creativity here, then wonderful, continue looking at the wall. Do you know what is creativity? Creativity is something arising out of nothing. So basically, if you can look at the wall as emptiness then it’s wonderful. First of all, the wall is not creation because if this is creation then there has to be a creator in the past. The wall is creativity and if the wall is creativity then the wall has to be emptiness. Creativity is exactly that — something arising from empty space. Continue reading

Individuality and Personality


Question: Sir, when it is said that ‘Individuality is nothing’, then how is it correct to say that ‘Individuality is being yourself with self-awareness’?

Acharya Prashant: Very pertinent question.

At the root of the question lies image-formation.

“When we say individuality is just nothing, then how is it appropriate to say that individuality is being yourself with self-awareness?”

Whatever we say, we create an image of it. So, even when it is said, ‘Be yourself’, you mean ‘be something’. Be what? Be yourself. And that yourself is something. It is impossible for the mind to conceptualize nothingness. And that is the problem you are facing — If individuality is being yourself then how can individuality be nothing? Because I am something. So, how can individuality be nothing?

Do you realize her question? Continue reading

In attention, the full moon shines


L:  Sir, you said that the choice of being in deep contentment and in abyss lies with us. Is it really the case?

Acharya Prashant: Yes, yes there is this choice.

See, the choice has to be there because you as you are you, take yourself to be the chooser. Now if there is a chooser, how cannot there be a choice? And if you are not a chooser at all, then you already are beyond this rubbish. You take yourself as a decision maker always, don’t you?

“I will decide whether to go out, whether to stay in.” The choice is there, always there. Self-deception is also a choice. Or do you think it’s your nature? You do it, it does not happen. You willfully, deliberately execute it. It all happens right under your nose. It does not happen behind your back.

So there is always a choice involved and that’s the whole purpose of observation. Catch yourself making those choices. See when you decided to take a step in the wrong direction you will catch yourself doing that. It happens. There are very clear and discrete moments. You will see, “Ah! here it is, it happened this moment”.

You have not finished your work and you decide to go off to sleep. Don’t you know it when you are getting up from the chair? Don’t you know that, that is the moment of the choice? You had the choice to remain sitting, right? Didn’t you decide, didn’t you choose to get up?  Or, did it happen on its own? So, you very well know that it is a choice and if it is a choice better make a right choice.

L: But do I really know that the choice I am making is a wrong choice?

AP: We know that 🙂

You see, this ‘Knowing’ word here, is to be understood. The choice is being made, that is a fact. ‘Knowing’ that it is a choice of such nature happens only in the presence of ‘Knowing’. And, even that ‘Knowing’ is a choice. That choice is called ‘attention’. Had that choice not been available why would teachers talk to you about ‘Attention’?

Because you have it in your powers to choose to be attentive and teachers talk to you about it so that you choose more and more to be attentive.

Knowing is not something automatic. Experiencing is automatic. Knowing waits for your invitation. Knowing is something related to God—present, yet, entering, manifesting, speaking, only when asked to. Like a silent teacher sitting in this room, very much present, never absent, but not vocal, not expressive unless asked to.

That ‘asking to’ is the choice. You have to ask your ‘Knowing’ to become functional. It lies dormant unless you ask it to get up and tell the Truth, you can conveniently remain in falseness.

That choice is there.

L: It is said that when there is full moon attention span rises up and it gets maximum when stars form a certain pattern. Is there something reality in them?

AP: When you are attentive, then you attend to the full moon. The moon comes later, attention comes first.

Otherwise, the full moon is there, who attends to it? Do you know, the full moon is quite near?  Do you know?  You do not even look towards the sky?  Now, will the moon bring you to the attention or the attention will bring you to the moon?  Or attention brings you to the moon?.

L: But being inattentive how can we have a choice?

AP: Because inattention will give you suffering and suffering always comes with a call for action. Suffering says, “Do something, I am feeling bad”. Thereby the choice is provoked. Whenever you are told by suffering to do something, you are being called to act. And now you are being called to thereby make a choice.

L: So, the inattention is not complete in itself?

AP: Inattention will always seek a solution and the solution is attention.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: In attention, the full moon shines

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1:  Attention and time

Article 2:  Attention must be like heartbeat, continuous and quiet

Article 3: Attention wipes your sins away

25th Advait Learning Camp with Acharya Prashant is being organized
Dates: 16th to 19th October
Place: Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand

To apply, send an email to requests@prashantadvait.com

Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant are available on AMAZON:


The Language of Emotions


Question: Is getting devoid of all emotions a part of feeling contented?

Acharya Prashant: Can you do that?

Why must we give importance to hypothetical questions? Can you really get rid of all emotions? And if you do, would that person be the same as this one? And if not, then why must this person ask an imaginary question about that person?

You live in emotions. What makes you so afraid or resentful of emotions? Do you even know what they are? A letter comes to you, in some alien language, would you tear it up and throw it away, because you cannot comprehend the language? Do you know French?

(Pointing to some other listener) You write a letter to him in French, what is he to do?
“Oh! French! I don’t know this language.” (Gestures of the letter being torn)

Do you know the language of emotions? Do you know what they are telling you? Why don’t you read their language? Why don’t you listen to what the mind is saying through emotions? Why do you want to dismiss all emotions? I am not saying patronize emotions. I am just saying, first of all, know what something is, before doing anything about it. And is that not simply obvious?

What are emotions? 

It’s an intense wave in the mind, powerful enough to have physical signs. 

A little bit of disturbance in the mind, you call it anger or irritation; seismic waves in the mind! And your cheeks flush and your body starts shivering and then you say you are getting emotional, right? From where is the emotion drawing its energy? What is contained in your subconscious? Are emotions not a beautiful opportunity to learn from your mind?

Don’t you want to know, why you got furious? Don’t you want to see, what saddens you so much? We cannot often read the subtle language of the mind.

Emotions are gross, you cannot miss them; thoughts can be missed. Faint signs can be missed; emotions cannot be missed. You are weeping, you are crying hoarse—it’s impossible to miss. Or you are beating somebody up. Now, neither you nor that person can miss what is happening. If you miss, it will pain a lot.

So, emotions are a good opportunity, they speak very loudly—listen to them. And by listening to them, I do not mean, again, patronize them. I do not mean that you must supply more energy to them. I do not mean that you must take them as the Truth. Of course, they are mental activity, but whatever they are, they tell something about the state of the mind.

Why not read the letter? Rather than asking questions like “Who am I?”, if you just pay attention to how you are behaving, how emotions are rising within you, you will see you know already everything about who you are.

Through your personality, nothing but the Truth expresses itself.

If you have any dislike for yourself, then you are disliking the Truth.

That does not mean that you must like yourself.

Not disliking is sufficient.

There is hardly anybody who really likes himself. We are just too full of contempt towards ourselves. Even the ones who are called as narcissists are really self-negators like everybody else.

See what is going on without condemnation, without feeling the need to correct it.

There is nothing random that is going on.

All the happening is rooted in you, to know the happening is to know oneself.

.. From the book, ‘The Beautiful Heart’ by Acharya Prashant ..


This book takes you very close to the ever existing notion that says: Mind and Heart- Twain shall never meet! And if that be the case, how does a man get rid of this restless feeling of being torn between the mind and the heart.

Author has extended an invitation through this book to come close to the beautiful heart of yours and see how enchanting it is to live by it. His words, poetic in nature, will take you to the peace that one craves for all the time.

Many a times, he also expounds on the mystical verses of Kahlil Gibran, Hafiz, Rumi and many other sufi mystics, and helps us to go close to their sublime meaning without getting into any complexity, bringing the mind at ease, to it’s essential nature.

The Beautiful Heart, a paragon, will introduce you to an extremely different way of living, not professed by many before; a way that is far away from calculations and manipulations and cautious, fearful steps that is conditioned into us since childhood. Living by the Heart is a harmonious way of living.

The book is available at:

Love is not just an external action. When Truth shines within, Love is its radiation.

Speaker: ‘If you want to love, you have to love a man with all his limitations.‘ That’s the quote.

If you want to love, you have to love a man with all his limitations.’

The question is that, ‘This has been said, but it is so difficult to do.’

You don’t want to Love, and you don’t have to Love. This surely is a wise man whom you have quoted. The disconnect is, this man didn’t speak this directly to you, and you have no idea to whom it was said and why it was said. That is the reason why books can be dangerous. Continue reading