Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love

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Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?

Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?

If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.

Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.

But that is not the true meaning of religion.

Real religion cannot be changed.

What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.

Because there are no different religions.

True religion is just one.

How will you change it? There is no second religion.

Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.

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Acharya Prashant: Attention wipes your sins away

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Question: How is the karma of the past linked to my current state of mind?

Acharya Prashant: What you call as your current state of mind is always a friction, a conflict, a tug-of-war, between two opposing forces. One is the ‘force of the past’, one is the ‘force of conditioning’, and the other is ‘the call of peace’. The call of the untouched, the call of the core.

What we call as the mind is nothing but a sandwich between these two. But it is not a normal sandwich, it is not a normal conflict, it is a conflict between two parties in which the first party is the first party, and also the power provider to the second party.

Are you getting it?

So, there is that which you can call as the core, and then there is that which you can call as conditioning, or illusion, or Maya. What is happening in the mind? A tussle between the call of the core, and the lure of the Maya. But in this, we will remember that Maya is not really a power opposing the core, because Maya itself is being powered by the core. So, two parties are in conflict. Yes, there is a tussle, yes, there is a tug-of-war. But, it is a special conflict in which one party is powering the opposite party as well; that’s why it is called ‘Leela’. I want to have a good time, so you know, I am powering the other party.

Sometimes, it happens, when you are very playful. Let’s say you want to have a race, a sprint, with someone, who can’t run too fast. So, what do you do? You run slow, or you give him a lead. You say, alright, I will cover 100 meters and you have to cover only 60 meters. So, you are powering the other party, because you want to just have a little bit of fun. That kind of a war it is. But nevertheless, it is a war, and the mind is a battleground.

When you say, ‘Is my state of mind, a result of my karma, my past?’ Yes, it is.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Brain and Intelligence

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Acharya Prashant: We can live in two kinds of worlds. How? Even as I am speaking to you, some of you are listening, and the others might be thinking and wandering and lost in imagination, Right? Do you see that? You have to be together in this. Is that alright?

So that means that it’s possible for man, and each of us is a human being right? So whatever is applicable to us is applicable to mankind in general. We can easily generalize whatever is applicable to us. So, it is possible for man to be simultaneously living two kinds of lives. One is that you are sitting here. The other is that you are thinking about something else. Correct? The very fact that which really is known as reality. Whereas that which is imagined, which is thought of, is called ‘the mind.’ Can you see this that even though you would be sitting here, it is possible for the mind to be at a totally different place? You could be in Disneyland or at your home or at any other place. Now is that for real? Where is a reality? Reality is that which is. Everything else is imagination. This imaginary aspect of us is what is the ‘mind’. Now, what is this thing called the mind? Write down. The mind is ‘brain + intelligence’.

Brain — Matter, Product of Evolution, Just like a computer hard disk, Just like a computer hard disk, Automatic, Prone to Conditioning, Like the Fan.

Brain is like the fan in the sense that it’s totally material. It is a slave to the commands of somebody else. You switch on the fan, you switch off the fan. Does the fan have any intelligence or any will of its own?

Remember it’s very efficient. It keeps working all the time. But does it work according to its own understanding? Does the fan know what is going on in its head? Does the fan understand what electricity is, what electromagnetism is, Faraday’s law, Ampere’s law, anything? Does it understand? Yet it keeps working. It keeps working according to the design provided to it by external forces.

Who has provided the design to it? Man – an external force. Not the fan itself. The Fan is a mechanical device which is a slave of others, albeit very efficient, efficient but dumb. With the result that everybody else can exploit it, can make use of it. It’s mechanical, dumb. You can write all these things for a brain. Everything that applies to the fan also applies to the brain. Alright? Except for one thing that the fan does not have a memory chip, the brain has a memory chip as well. The fan cannot really recall the events of yesterday. And that too can be done. You can have a fan with a memory chip. That’s not difficult at all. That’s not at all difficult.

You can have a fan that can keep registering what is happening day in and day out, and after one year when you will take that chip it will have all the data accumulated on it. That on which particular day how many hours of rotation was there, at what time, at what speed, all that can be done, right? That’s not at all difficult. You can do that as a project. Then it’ll become exactly like the brain. Then it’ll become exactly like the brain. Are you getting it?

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Acharya Prashant, with students: You are the mother of all importance

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Acharya Prashant: All your student life, you have been talking and studying about this and that. The languages, Science, Social Sciences – History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry. Now, Technology.

But there is one entity that you have forgotten so much, that it is very difficult at this moment, to even remind you of that entity. That entity has never been in the domain of your education. You have studied about a lot of things, but there is one entity that you have never studied about. Never bothered to attend to.

What is that entity?

Listener: Personality.

AP: Personality?

You will get to study a lot of Personality.

In fact, you have been studying about nothing but ‘Personality’!

‘Personality’ by definition is nothing but what you gather from outside.

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Acharya Prashant on Gurdjieff: Man is a machine

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Questioner: Acharya Ji, Pranam.

Gurdijieff said, ‘Man is a machine’. Please shed some light over this statement.

Acharya Prashant: Very practical, very precise, one simple observation, man is a machine, man is a programmed machine. It is just that, the mechanics, the functioning of the machine remain hidden behind the belief of consciousness.

Just expose how we function as machine, make it very obvious, how programmed we are and, in that exposure something new happens.

He was not very bothered with what is that new.  He just left that, surrendered to that. But, he was a master in devising a lot of ways, that helped expose functioning of the machine. Some of the ways were quite crude. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, including himself, probably he is the only Teacher who conduct experiments upon his own body.  The experiment as esoteric as banging one’s car deliberately against a tree to figure out whether one can witness the fracturing of the bones. That kind of a teacher!

‘Is it possible to remain centered even when you have ten cracks in your body and forty-eight wounds?  Is it possible to remain centered?’

Must have been a pretty faithful fellow. With out deep faith, you cannot risk that kind of an experiment and he was very choosy. Very choosy.

Q: What was the result?

AP: He managed to survive! In fact, he walked all the way to the nearest hospital.

Q: Is he aware of what he is doing?

AP:  Yes, of course, deliberately, and of course he was aware that he has not to bang the car beyond a certain speed, he wanted to be physically alive to witness.

He would call students to a particular location, and many would come, and when they would come and they would find a notice saying that Gurdjieff will be found at a place 200 miles away tomorrow morning. And then most of them would evaporate and only few reach there. And, there they would find another message saying, ‘Oh, we have returned to the base’, and finally only 3 or 4 will be left. Then he would impart his teaching.

He was a pattern-breaker. So, if you go to him and tell him that you would never get angry then he would ensure that he provokes into anger. You go to him and tell him that you don’t take alcohol, he would fill you with alcohol right till up to the throat.

So, while some people really liked him, there was also a big cross-section that, who don’t, he inspired many people after him, led a controversial life.

Have you heard of the book called ‘The Fourth Way’?

Ouspensky?

Even Osho took a lot from Gurdjieff.


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant on Gurdjieff: Man is a machine


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Acharya Prashant: Is plunging into sex a method to gain freedom from sex?

Question: Acharya Ji, you have said in a previous session while discussing the attraction towards sex, that one does not need to get entangled even to overcome or suppress. One rather needs to leave sex behind. One should seek that for which one is really eager. All the energy should go in that direction.

One is not rejecting sex, one is just prioritizing correctly. One is saying that the one that has a lower priority must wait because there is something immensely more important that is higher up the priority. That which is higher up the priority is so immense that it would never get completed, never get over. So the one who is waiting for his turn, the one who is lower down the order would just keep waiting.

He would not need to be killed, he would have just been permanently postponed. And she says that, in the same session, Acharya Ji has said “In the subconscious, there is a lot that terrifies you and you try to escape that fear by not trying to know more about it. When you first enter, you will find ‘that’ will scare you but if you stay with it courageously you will meet the one that delivers you from that fear.

If a person doesn’t meet ‘that’, which scares him and how you meet the one that liberates from the fear. Therefore, on your way meet all your imperfections and impurities and it is only after that you will meet the one that purifies, perfects and completes you.

So having quoted these two excerpts from a previous session, the question is, In the context of the pull of Maya and the worldly, here relating to the pull of the sexual energy, does one acknowledge it  and transcend it by focusing on the ‘Ananth’ or God ? or does one drop the defences against Maya, go through the worldly and only then arrive at the door of the Ananth.

Thank you.

Acharya Prashant: So, two excerpts have been quoted and apparently the two excerpts are in contradiction. The first one says that you do not need to get entangled, and the second one says that you need to meet all your fears, all your impurities, all your imperfections head-on.

So the questioner is a little confused and she is asking what to do? Does one seek to cleanse herself or does one need to plunge into her own conditioning? I will repeat the question for you. In the context of the pull of Maya and the worldly, here relating to the pull of the sexual energy, does one acknowledge it and transcend it by focusing on God ? or does one drop the defenses against Maya, go through the worldly and only then arrive at the door of the Ananth?

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Thought is not bad

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not. The question is, who is the thinker? If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Is the river of your thoughts pure enough to allure Shiva to dance in it? And Shiva will not dance in a stream impure.

There is understanding without thought and there is understanding with thought as well. Just as there is Truth, formlessly, and there is Truth, formed as well. There will be occasions when the Truth will strike you like a thunderbolt, like a flash of lightning. And understanding will be complete in a split second. And there will be occasions when you will be required to think.

But I understand your predicament. All the spiritual masters are treating thought as the worst offender. As if thought has brought in sickness and disease to your life. Not really. Thought is your expression, just as action is your expression. As you are, so your thought is. In fact, thought is so very helpful. You cannot look at your tendencies, your vrittis, directly. But thought is gross, palpable, definite, it can be watched.

When you think, you come to know of yourself. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have known. The thought of jealousy or the thought of fear arises, it helps you know that deep within somewhere, you are? Afraid.

Thought is not bad. ‘Useful’ or ‘Useless’ is the place, thought is coming from.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?