Tag Archives: Cause and Effect

What is desireless action? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

What is desireless action

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Question: Acharya Ji, how will I get motivation to do some work, if I am not attached to the result of the work?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When you come to this hall, you are probably prompted by some desire, aren’t you?

Listener: Yes.

Acharya Ji: There are desires, there are calculations, there are pluses and minuses, you probably weigh the pros and cons. All those things are there. Sometimes there is a nagging question you want to get rid of, therefore you come. That’s how the thing mostly starts. That’s how the thing mostly starts. So this ‘sakaam karma’(the desire-oriented action). Your movement in this hall is motivated by a desire.

You want something, therefore you ‘do’.

This is the common ‘sakaam karma’.

You ‘do’ because you want.

So, the action is a means of fulfilling the desire.

This is normal ‘sakaam karma’.

That’s how things are at Twelve Noon. You are sitting ready to fire your questions. You have a purpose in being here. What is the purpose? – ‘I want my questions answered.’ You have a definite purpose. That’s Twelve noon.

Now, how is it like at 1:30 p.m.? You came with a question, but the question has not reached here. You do not even intend to ask the question anymore. At Twelve Noon, when you were listening, you were listening with an objective. What was the objective? The resolution of the query. And how are you listening at 1:30 p.m.? You are ‘just’ listening. You are ‘just’ listening.

Something is still happening. But the objective is lost. Now the ‘happening’ itself is very juicy. Now the ‘happening’ is not means towards an end. Now the means itself has merged with the end. It is as if, the means has moved into the end, or the end has come to the means to bless it.

Now there is no distinction. Now you are not saying that let the others’ questions be answered fast, so that the speaker may take up my question. Hence now, there is no gap. Hence now, there is no waiting for the result. Hence now, time has stopped for you.

This is ‘nishkaam karma(desireless action)’ – the ‘doing’ is not for some objective outside of itself.

The ‘doing’ itself is the objective.

What do you work for? You work for satisfaction. Call it ‘deep contentment’. Right? You work, for the sake of that. And therefore, work is never very satisfying, because work to you is not the last thing. Work is just a middleman, for the sake of a result. Therefore, work is just a necessary evil for you.

Had it been possible, you would have removed the work, the process, the time interval, from between, and you would have said, “Is it possible to come directly to the result?” And that is why man wants to keep gaining in efficiency.

Man wants to keep gaining in efficiency.

Do you see what is this continuous movement towards more and more efficient processes, machines and systems? It is because man works for a purpose. It is because, the work, and the time invested in work, is itself, not very likable. So man says, “Minimize the work, and maximize the result.”

‘Nishkaam karma(desireless action)’ means – work is life.

Work is life, anyway.

Even when you ‘think’, you are not working, you are actually working. So, no point fooling oneself, with the effort to minimize work.

Even when you ‘think’, you are having leisure, you ‘are’ actually working.

Therefore, why not work in a way, that transcends work.

That is ‘nishkaam karma’.

Work cannot be avoided. Life is work.

You are working, even when you are sleeping. You are working, even when you think, you are relaxing. Why not choose work, with such deep discretion, that work does not remain a load that you have to reduce, work no more remains something that you want to outsource?

Why not come to a situation, where you are no longer seeking happiness, in the reduction of work? Have you seen how the common man celebrates, when his work burden is reduced? That is ‘sakaam karma’.

Have you seen how students like to achieve results, without working? Were it possible to achieve hundred percent marks, without laboring at all, students would have been the happiest? Because as a student, or as a worker, you find no joy in the process. For you, joy is a destination, mostly. For most people. That is ‘sakaam karma’.

Now, we will come to the more horrifying part of it. Whenever, work is a means to an end, ‘the end’ is never really achieved. Ha! We are beaten both ways. First of all, we expended a lot of time, trying to reach – an end. And even if we somehow manage to reach that end, what do we discover? – ‘Is this where I wanted to reach?’ And then you proceed towards, other destination. And that is what is called, ‘the vicious cycle’.

So, those who work towards ‘an end’, find that they are defeated both in the work, as well as in the end. Double defeat. And those who work, without ‘an end’, those who work, because the work itself is service, devotion, they win doubly. First of all, work is celebration. Secondly, work is the end. So, you are celebrating your way to the success. 

You are dancing towards victory. You are not dancing ‘towards’ victory, you are dancing, ‘in’ victory. You are continuously victorious, and you are continuously celebrating.

Any takers?

And compare this to the picture of the one who is striving, toiling, fighting, with the dream of some distant success in his eyes. Remember that the success that he dreams of, is merely his concept. It is an image, because he has not yet come to it. Therefore, the success that he is talking of, is merely an image.

When you come to it, you find that it simply does not match your expectations. Double defeat! First of all, you are striving, toiling, and making life hell for yourself. Though with the pride, with the vanity, that you are a fighter. That you are a warrior. You will have that satisfaction.

So, it may keep egging you on, for a very long time. Probably, even for the entire lifetime.

Listener 1: So, it is all about the journey, and not the destination?

Acharya Ji: The destination is everything, but the destination cannot be distant. The destination has to be the first step in the journey. It is not as if, it is only about the journey, and not the destination. Obviously, the destination comes first. The journey begins, upon reaching the destination.

So, reach the destination first, and then keep traveling. Destinations, upon destinations. Do not travel as if the destination is elusive, and faraway.

Listener 2: Acharya Ji, how to make my work devotion?

Acharya Ji: The work has to be worthy of devotion, first of all. Therefore, choose your work very, very carefully, everyday.

Listener 2: Is it a matter of discretion?

Acharya Ji: Obviously, it is a matter of discretion. Obviously.

It is not ‘the work’, it is the destination that is commanding the work.

It is the destination that is commanding the work.

So, what is ‘the work’ that you are talking of? – That’s what you must look at.

The destination has to be absolutely compelling.

So very compelling, that you cannot even entertain the ‘thought’, that is is distant.

If you want something really desperately, do you want it five years hence, or right now?

Listener 2: Right now.

Acharya Ji: The destination has to be that very attractive. Not only attractive, it has to be that very indispensable.


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

Watch the session:  What is desireless action? || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Creativity has no past

Creativity is totally different.

Creativity means, there is nothing by the way of experience yet something comes up. Something comes up from nowhere. Something arises from nothing. Something arises from nothing. So, there is an absolute newness to it. It is not coming from experience. It is not coming from something that I have read or heard or gone through. It is not at all related to my past or the past of mankind.

From where is it arising? From where is it then arising? That point from where it arises, that is the mystical point called ‘the source’ or ‘the center’. It is that point. Creativity has no history. Creativity has no past. That is why creativity is so unpredictable. Even the creative mind cannot know what will sprout forth. Even the creative mind will be surprised by what it does or says or starts knowing. It will wonder, from where has this come. I never had this, I had never read of this, I had never planned this. From where has this then come? And that is why creativity cannot have any process.

Imagination on the other hand always has a history and a process and a thinker. Wherever there is a thinker, he would be limited by the domain of his thought.

Now there is no point saying that one should not imagine or one should be creative. These are not prescriptive things. This is not a moral lecture where one would say that you should not imagine. What else then the mind would do? The mind keeps imagining. The only thing is to know that creativity is at a much higher plane than imagination. They are different dimensions altogether. There are instances when you do imagine. And that is alright. In day-to-day living, imagination does play a role, so it is alright. But the two are incomparable.



Read the complete article: Are creativity and imagination the same?

Are creativity and imagination the same?

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Are creativity and imagination the same?

Acharya Prashant: You are getting muddled up between, building and creating. Creation is not a physical reality. Imagination is the mind rendering within its limited domain of experiences. Experiences that it has gathered through the senses. It might have seen something or read something or heard of something, right? That constitutes the set of experiences that the mind has.

Whenever you will imagine, you will never go beyond what you already know, beyond what has already happened at some point or someplace. Imagination will never take you beyond that. The last time I was here I asked you, can you even imagine that you are speaking the Russian language? Those who do not know that language, do not have any experience of the language, they can’t even imagine. Even to imagine, something about it must already be there in your past. Continue reading

Anything that promises to make you better is an allegation upon you

To be in Yoga is to not touch anything, anybody, any situation that causes a sense of littleness in you. Even if that littleness is induced in you in a holy pretext. Even if it is induced in you as an ostensible means of welfare. You refuse to admit it in.

Somebody may come and say, “You need protection.” You quickly see through what he is saying. You realize that what he is saying that I am weak. If I am not weak, why would I need protection? You refuse to entertain the advice. You refuse to take that person seriously, this is Yoga. Somebody comes and tells you, “You need God and God is all that you need.” You refuse to entertain this person. Because if he is saying that you need God then surely he means that you do not have God. He is proving that you are God-less. You refuse that person.

Somebody comes and says, “You need a lot of self-enquiry.” You immediately refuse this person because if you need to look, see and discover then surely first of all you must believe that you do not know that you are ignorant, which you are not. To be in Yoga is to refuse everything that keeps you little and limited. Littleness would not come to you as littleness. Littleness would come to you as friendly advice. Littleness would come to you as brotherly concern. Littleness would come to you as the sermons of a teacher. Littleness would come to you as a promise of security.

Had littleness would be honest enough to admit its real name, you could have easily refused it. But littleness rarely admits its real name. Littleness comes, wearing the mask of things that appears nice and sweet and promising. Be very cautious of all this stuff that is always ready to enter your mind. Anything that promises to make you better is an allegation upon you. Why is it an allegation? It is an allegation that you are currently not alright.

Anybody who offers to improve your life or help you realize that which you do not know, is actually proving to you that ignorance is what you are. The advertiser who is telling you that the next home or the next position or the next car will add something to your life, is actually causing Viyoga in you. Because he is proving to you that unless you have that house or that car, there is something missing in life. And you buy that in. Why do you buy that in? Arjuna too must have bought a lot of those things!



Read Complete Article: Action without attachment is Yoga

Action without attachment is Yoga

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योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि संग त्यक्त्वा धनंजय |

सिध्यसिध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ||

~श्रीमद भगवद गीता

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Perform your actions, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna),

Being established in or integrated with Yoga,

Abandoning attachment and

Remaining even-minded both in success and failure.

This evenness of mind is called Yoga.

~Bhagwad Gita

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Acharya Prashant: The science of uniting the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness, this equanimity is known as Yoga. Which equanimity is he talking of? Becoming equipoised in success and failure. Could you get a more concise and direct definition of Yoga? Perform your activities, giving up attachment and become equipoised in success and failure – this is Yoga.

What does it mean to remain equipoised in success and failure? Continue reading

Why do I feel lost? Why does nothing appeal?

himalaya1Question: Why do I feel lost?

Acharya Prashant: Because, you are asking this question.

We ‘think’ that we are lost, equally, we ‘think’ that we are not lost. The same place from where the thought, the perception of being lost, or not lost arises, that place is the same place from where this question arises.

There sits someone who firstly, thinks himself to be so knowledgeable that he can pass a judgement upon his situation. He thinks that he knows who he is and what is his situation is, and his location. He declares, announces, sometimes he says, “I am fine”, sometimes he says, “I am not fine”, sometimes he says “I am lost”, sometimes he says “I am home.” Are any of these judgments or questions or announcements valid, in absence of mental activity? Continue reading

We use words not to communicate, but to avoid communication

 

Question: You said that assigning words means that we are giving a meaning to something. So is it that a desire to communicate or a need to communicate the perfect barrier towards attaining meaninglessness?

Acharya Prashant:

You do not communicate through words; you use words to avoid communication.

That is why when you are really communicating, then words become so peripheral. That is why those who are really listening will not be paying much attention to my words. I often tell my friends, simply keep forgetting what I am saying. Simply keep discarding what I am saying. If you are really listening, then you do not need my words. Words are just some kind of pretence. At best you can call them, a vehicle. They are carrying something. Take what those words are carrying and leave the vehicle outside. Read the love letter and discard the envelope.

Continue reading