Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Various religions, and their view of animals

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Question: How to understand religions, the treatment of animals and the role they play in religions?

Acharya Prashant: When you say religions, just for the sake of the conversation, I would want to divide them into two streams:

1. The Abrahamic stream

2. Indian.

So, the Judeo-Christian view is that God has dominion over man and man has dominion over animals, something similar also comes up in the third Abrahamic religion, Islam, which talks about Allah having created all the animals, fish, insects for the sake of man.

And, then there is the view of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism which talk of Ahimsa, Ekatva, which is non-violence and oneness.

But I am not really convinced that when we use the word religion, we must really talk of the view that organized religions take of this matter. The moment religion is organized, it becomes something man-made.

So, I will take your question to mean, that we want to talk about religion as such.

Man, animals, man’s inner world and man’s relationship with the so-called outer world including animals.

So, there is man and man lives according to himself in this so-called universe, this universe that appears to him through his senses, there is no other way a man perceives universe, he perceives it through his senses and he interprets it through his reason, through his intellect and through his knowledge and memory.

Now, how does man relate with the world?

How does man know what to do, how to approach, how to touch, how to live, how to eat, how to talk, how to connect, that to me is the essence of religion.

Man’s relationship with himself and the world, that is religion and that is also the essence of all the organized religions.

Hence, I find it more beneficial to talk about religion itself than the various organized religions.

I have named just six in the course of this talk. But as you of course know, there are hundreds of them. It would be more useful to directly go into the one rather than the hundreds and get lost in the maze, that is not very useful.

So, man’s relationship with the universe; see, how do I look at anything or anybody, depends on how I look at myself.

If there is a pool of water and I am playful, then the pool of water is a sport for me. If there is a pool of water and I have a phobia, then the pool of water is danger for me. If there is a pool of water and I am thirsty, then the pool of water is physical sustenance and survival for me.

So, depending on who I am and what my self-concept and self-worth is, I take a view of the world.

Now, If I am someone who is always feeling incomplete within himself, if I am someone who exists in order to take something, snatch or extract something from the universe in order to fulfill himself, then my view of the universe will be very utilitarian, rather exploitative.

So, as there is that little squirrel there.

Even as we talk she is there with her tail up. How do I look at her?

I could look at her as food if hunger is what I most identify with.

I could look at her at as a companion too.

Whatever is the form she takes for me is very intimately related to the form that I have assigned to myself. The squirrel will disappear in a while, and she has indeed disappeared. She is no more there. She is all by herself somewhere. The squirrel will disappear but that which I carry as myself will not. I will carry it, I will keep carrying it.

If I am feeling incomplete, that incompletion will remain irrespective of the temporal presence and disappearance of anything outside of me.

If I always feel hollow and hungry, then everything in the universe is but a resource for me. I will want to exploit the man, the woman, the tree, the rock, the child, the animal, just everything.

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk

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Question: Acharya Ji, there are people who quote the Vedas and say “A Hindu is a good Hindu only if he drinks milk from the mother cow.” What is your take on that?

Acharya Prashant: See if you have named the Vedas, what is the central teaching of all the Vedic literature?

If you want to really know what the Vedic teaching is, you will have to go to the Upanishads. The Upanishads are called the “Vedanta”, which means the summit or the climax of Veda. And they go into the reality of man. What is the reality of man? The Upanishads are very forthright and unequivocal about it. They say, “Man is the Truth itself (Aham Brahmasmi).” Nothing else except the Truth. You are the ultimate finality. You are the total.

Now, if this is the position that the Vedic literature takes, then one cannot operate from a point of incompleteness, hollowness or desirousness. A lot of what we do, please see we do just in order to gain fulfillment. We say that the purpose of human Life is progress, don’t we? And we asses a human being according to how much he has been able to progress and contribute to progress.

And what is progress for us?
Knowing more; collecting more.

I’m not trying to unnecessarily be simplistic. Please go into it.

When you know more, when you collect more, is it something that happens only on the outside or does it also affects your self-worth? When you know more, your self-worth rises; when you collect more, again your self-worth rises. The Upanishads say, that your self-worth, that which you are, is any way infinite, you are anyway total. Now, go out and play. You are anyway perfect and complete. Now, do whatever you want to do. But do it from a point of perfection. Do it from a point of completion.

Do not do in order to gain something. Do not do in order to rise.

Act as if you are already there as if you are already complete.

That is what Vedas are all about.

Now, around this center, a lot has been said. Just a whole lot.

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Who is experiencer?

What is an experience? Experience is nothing but the experiencer.

You do not experience anything! You are the experiencer who is a bundle of his
conditioning.

Whatever you experience is not really ‘your’ experience. It is the experience that you have been conditioned to experience. But you think, Oh I am experiencing this. If your identity is changed then your experience changes totally.

The ringing of the temple bell is a delight for the Hindu and means nothing to the Muslim. The call of the Azaan is deeply significant to the Muslim but is a disturbance to the Hindu. Now, are you experiencing the ringing of the bell and sound of the Azaan? Are ‘you’ experiencing it? Or is it the Hindu that is experiencing it? Were you born a Hindu? Hinduism is something that was given to you. It is part of your conditioning. You have acquired it, you have absorbed it. Same for the Muslim. He has acquired it. Taken it in.

What is conditioning? The mind acquiring and acquiring beliefs and layers and layers of thoughts. That is the process of conditioning.

Individuality is that silence that untouched point, which can never be conditioned, which really looks and understands in an untouched way, Simple.

You need to believe when you don’t know. When you know then there is no question of beliefs. Only those who do not know, ‘they’ need to take the support of beliefs.



Read the complete article: Individuality is neither acquired nor influenced 

Individuality is neither acquired nor influenced

Question: My beliefs have come out of my experiences and my experiences have shaped my individuality. If I give up my beliefs, then I am giving up on my individuality?

Acharya Prashant: (quoting the questioner) My beliefs have come out of my experiences and my experiences have shaped my individuality. If I give up my beliefs, then I am giving up on my individuality?

If I ask you to write down what I just said in the last fifteen-twenty minutes and I say, write down in three clear points what has been said. And you write it down. And then I say, compare it with your neighbor, what he or she has written. You will be deeply surprised. You will be deeply surprised at the variation. You will look at your neighbors’ sheet and say, did he ever say this? What have you written?

Now I am one and I am saying the same thing, but all of you are experiencing different things. What is this experience? Where does it come from?

What is an experience?

Experience is nothing but the experiencer.

Kindly do not think that the experience is factual, that experience has any objective reality to it. You only experience what you have been conditioned to experience. Take a clear example. Even as we speak right now, a cricket match is going on. India versus England, right? Suppose we project the game here, live. On this side are Indians and on this side are Englishmen. And India quickly loses three wickets. What does this side experience? Gloom, disaster, three wickets in two overs, long faces. What does this side experience (pointing to the other side)? Cheerfulness, enthusiasm, right? Same happening, different experiences. Now, can these people call their experience as my own experience? Are ‘you’ experiencing it? Or is the ‘Indian’ experiencing it? Similarly, can these people call the cheerfulness their own experience? Are they experiencing it? Or is the Englishman experiencing it?

You do not experience anything! You are the experiencer who is a bundle of his
conditioning.

Born in England, you would be experiencing something totally different. You would be sitting on this side, same happening and you would be feeling glad. Are you getting it?
Listener: Acharya Ji, what is the experience

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Who is Jesus?

There is a certain environment in which every prophet speaks. His words have to be understood keeping that environment in mind.

‘Garden of Eden’ is the state of bliss that one enjoys as long as one keeps making the right choice.

Even as you are feeling delighted, blissful, you do not know that something else too is at work.

In your moments of bliss in the garden, don’t totally be off guard. Always remain close to God even if it appears that everything is settled.

If Adam and Eve were incorruptible, they would be JesusJesus is that man who is not quite a man because he is left with no choices. Adam and Eve still have choices, they can go this way or they can go that way. Jesus goes only one way, towards his father. Jesus, one cannot say is a man. Jesus, one cannot say is not a man either. Jesus is the highest potentiality of Adam and Eve.



Read the complete article: The highest potentiality of Adam and Eve is Christ


 

Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: The highest potentiality of Adam and Eve is Christ

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Acharya Prashant: Harshal has asked:

“Serpent denotes Kundalini(Helical) awakening in various cultures. In Hindu culture, it signifies the opening of the crown chakra. The serpent here denotes the evil or something else?”

Harshal the serpent here in a serpent. Why are you relating it with something else? You know a serpent? Serpent, Hisssss… that kind of serpent. Firstly, understand what the serpent is all about. Your concern must be to understand, not to relate it with something else. Whenever you relate something new to something old, then the new loses its newness. Now you have defined the new in terms of the old, and the new feels helpless. The new had come to bring something new to you, and you’ve co-opted the new. You defined the new as a function of the old. The new is now destroyed. It holds no lesson for you now.

You look at a man and you comprehend his actions in terms of what you have so far seen in your life, and you will succeed, and you have lost it.

Are you getting it?

Jesus says:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its flavor,how can it be made salty again? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by man.”

Alok Ji is asking:

Acharya Ji, why does Jesus say that you are the salt of the earth? What is the meaning of this statement?

It means you are the core of the material. You are the spirit of the material. Salt of the earth. Earth denotes the material. Salt denotes the essence of the material, that which is obtained when the material is distilled, filtered. From immense quantities of material, very subtle, very little bit of salt, essence emerges that is what Jesus means when he says you are the salt of the earth. In his own way, indirectly in the language of the commoners, he is saying – you are not material, you are the spirit. You are not the body, you are the Atman. The ‘earth’ would denote the ‘body’, ‘salt’ would represent the ‘spirit.’

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Creativity arises from nothingness

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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