Do we seriously want love?

Do you love from the heart? And if you love from the heart then you’ll not really come to know that you love. Man is strange, his take is more in knowing, knowing as in ascertaining, validating, certifying. Man’s take is more in certifying than in getting. It is as if a hungry man wants to be certified that he is full. He does not want food, he wants the certificate that he is…Full.

If a hungry man does that you’ll call him just mad. But that is what the entire mankind has been constantly doing. When you are hungry, we do not look for the real thing- the food. We look for certification, the thought, the inner validation that we are full. You do not look for love, you look for impressions of love, you look for behavior that confirms one’s images of love.

Do we seriously want love? No. Do we seriously want innocence? No. We want behavior that looks like love. We want behavior that looks like innocence. And if from a loving heart, behavior comes to us that does not comply with our images and expectations of love, we go as far as to say that this is not love and love at all. We say, “This fellow, is not love,” because he loves only when he comes to me with such and such behavioral patterns. Only when he smiles at me would I agree that he loves. Only when he gifts me, Only when he says sweet things to me, would I say that he loves.”

We don’t have love. We have stuff that looks like love. If we don’t get that stuff we feel severely disappointed.

We don’t know innocence. We have images of innocence.



Read the complete article: We don’t want love, we want behavior that looks like love

We don’t want love, we want behavior that looks like love

SR Generic_ EnglishQuestion: Acharya Ji, what is the difference between ‘conscious innocence’ and ‘innocent consciousness’?

Acharya Prashant: If you are consciously innocent, or if you are consciously loving, or if you are consciously truthful, or if you are consciously simple, or if you are consciously religious, then all your religion, love, truth, simplicity, innocence is just thought. Because you are conscious about it because you are doing it consciously.

To do something consciously is to act from the center of the little self the ego. So, conscious innocence is no innocence at all. Conscious truth is no truth at all. Conscious living is no living at all. Conscious spirituality is no spirituality at all. Then, it is not the real thing. Because consciousness does not live in reality.

Consciousness lives in duality. Consciousness lives in images. If you are consciously innocent, then you’ll have an image of innocence and you’ll try to comply with that image. Then the image of innocence will predate innocence itself. Not only predate but also dominate. Then your innocence will not be rooted in Truth, then your innocence will be an idea of behavior, of action, of personality, and you will just try to abide by that idea.

Not only will you try to abide by that idea, you’ll also assure yourself, console yourself, that in behaving as per the idea of innocence you have actually become innocent. Consciousness equates reality with the image of reality. And, because reality, the non-dual reality is beyond dualistic consciousness, hence consciousness always makes do which images themselves.

Consciousness has a great stake in avoiding the real. Because, where the real is there dualistic consciousness itself will evaporate. So, how can consciousness be fond of the real? When the real arrives then consciousness with all its dualistic insistence, sings, settles into silence, into just pure awareness. An awareness that has no object, an awareness that does not want to do anything, an awareness that does not know anything. So, it cannot be called awareness in the usual way we use it in language.

Now it’s an opportunity for all of us to figure out whatever we are is it consciously that. You say, for example, that you love someone, all that someone loves you, hmm. Is not our love a very conscious attempt at loving? And when we want to ascertain whether or not we are being loved. Don’t we do that with consciousness? Consciousness is mind, with all its impressions.

Do you love from the heart? And if you love from the heart then you’ll not really come to know that you love. Man is strange, his take is more in knowing, knowing as in ascertaining, validating, certifying. Man’s take is more in certifying than in getting. It is as if a hungry man wants to be certified that he is full. He does not want food, he wants the certificate that he is…

Listeners: Full.

AP: Full. If a hungry man does that you’ll call him just mad. But that is what the entire mankind has been constantly doing. When you are hungry, we do not look for the real thing- the food. We look for certification, the thought, the inner validation that we are full. You do not look for love, you look for impressions of love, you look for behavior that confirms one’s images of love.

Do we seriously want love? No. Do we seriously want innocence? No. We want behavior that looks like love. We want behavior that looks like innocence. And if from a loving heart, behavior comes to us that does not comply with our images and expectations of love, we go as far as to say that this is not love and love at all. We say, “This fellow, is not love,” because he loves only when he comes to me with such and such behavioral patterns. Only when he smiles at me would I agree that he loves. Only when he gifts me, Only when he says sweet things to me, would I say that he loves.”

We don’t have love. We have stuff that looks like love. If we don’t get that stuff we feel severely disappointed. We don’t know innocence. We have images of innocence. The proof is, if I say innocence, and if I say kindly say something about innocence, all of us will have something to say. If I say, draw innocence, you’ll be able to draw innocence. If I say, give me an image of Truth, you’ll be able to give an image.

If 10 paintings are put up here, and you are asked to say which of these differs to The Truth, there would be nobody who would say how can image differ to the Truth. You’ll be able to point your finger at something. You would not be pointing your finger at the Truth. You would be pointing your finger at your version of the Truth, at an image of the Truth. To you, Truth looks like that.

And that is what we’ll be happy with. Getting what we feel is our version of Truth. And, that is why most of us live totally truthless and loveless lives. Because love is something we anyway in our want. What do we want? We want stuff that…

Listeners: Looks like love.

AP: Looks like love. We want happenings that we have been told are love. Somebody comes to you with a bouquet of red roses, it is…

Listeners: Love.

AP: Somebody is chivalrous enough to open the car gate for you, that is…

Listeners: Love.

AP: Somebody doesn’t say bitter stuff to you that is…

Listeners: Love.

AP: Somebody notes your mistakes that is..?

And if the opposite of this starts happening, you’ll waste no time in saying that the fellow is loveless and the relationship os loveless. Is that not so? Because for us everything is conscious. Conscious means thought out. Conscious means living in images. Conscious means mental creation.

Then, the second phrase used was ‘innocent consciousness’. His question was, “What is the difference between ‘conscious innocence’ and ‘innocent consciousness’?” What is, ‘innocent consciousness’?

Innocent consciousness is a consciousness innocent of the ego. Innocent means free. Innocent means not guilty. Innocent means not corrupted. Innocent consciousness means a consciousness that is not been corrupted by the ‘I’ center. So, thought is still there but the thought is not to worry about the self.

One might be thinking, but one is not necessarily thinking with the objective of self-preservation. One’s thoughts are now not in the narrow direction of furthering one’s self-interest. And, if and if they are then one’s self-interest have now not been narrowly defined to mean the personal self. That is innocent consciousness.

A consciousness that is not full of fear, insecurity, ambition, violence, that is an innocent consciousness. That is an innocent mind.  That innocent consciousness will show up not in the quality of thoughts, but obviously in the quality of entire being. An innocent consciousness radiates as innocence in the whole personality. Your eyes, your walk, your living your talking, your holding, your touching, your eating, your breath, your touch. All have a very special quality about them that cannot be captured in images.

You cannot put your finger on it and say, “This is innocence,” yet it is there. It is not something that can be perceived with senses, it is not something that can be named with the worlds yet it is there. You will never be able to categorically defined it yet it is there. How do you come to know of it? Well… you cannot tell that. But you do know of it. That is innocent consciousness. Yes?



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: We don’t want love, we want behavior that looks like love.

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1. Advait Learning Camps (ALC): Advait Learning Camps are monthly 4-day retreats under the guidance of Acharya Prashant in the Himalayas. To participate in the camps, Contact Sh. Anshu Sharma: +91-8376055661 or Sh. Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998

2. Course in Realization (CIR): Course in Realization is a seven-day scripture based learning program led by Acharya Prashant. To join, either physically or online, contact Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

3. Month of AwakeninG (MAG): Attend Satsangs from Home! MAG is an online series of discourses on handpicked topics by Acharya Prashant on practical and relevant topics like Love, Fear, Achievement etc. To join the online discourses,contact: Sushri Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917 +91-9818585917

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Contact Ms. Anu Batra:+91-9555554772

Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

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What does it mean to be devoted to the Truth?

In the world, we have two kinds of movement: One is the movement towards Truth, powered by the Truth. The other is the movement when we see something in which we do not see the Truth, yet we see it as attractive. Does it not happen with us?

You see something, and you don’t see the Truth in it, and yet you find it attractive.

To be devoted to the Truth means: “I will not give value to this attraction.”

And you cannot use this as a formula or a principle. Not giving value to something, is something very intrinsic, it happens. It happens when you see that, that which you are pursuing, is something that you have been pursuing relentlessly since long, since centuries, since the beginning of time. And it has only given you suffering. And then your steps freeze. Then you do not want to proceed. Then you see that this particular chase is no different from the chase of yesterday, which was in its turn no different from the chase of day before yesterday. And all these chases have only resulted in a situation where you need to chase more and more.

If you need to chase today, and if you were chasing yesterday, was yesterday’s chase of any avail?
Had it be of any consequence, would you be left to chase even today? Chasing yesterday, if you have to chase even today, it only means that these chases are generally futile, and lead to the suffering. Lead to this stage where you have to chase even more. And then your steps freeze. And that is devotion towards the Truth.

Man is not born to adjust and compromise and somehow tolerate his seventy, eighty years and then at the end of the journey say, “Thank God the seventy years are over. It was a nightmare, glad, I am out of it. Death is such a nice thing.”

When you die at eighty, you say, “Mercifully I am out of it.”

That is what we are heading for. “Thank God we are out of it, such an ordeal”
What to do with life? Bear it? Tolerate it?
Look at the child, look at the animal; they love themselves, at least they don’t hate themselves. We have our two dogs and you may cajole them, temp them but if they don’t want to eat something they will not eat it even if it breaks your heart. You may give them the best of dishes right from your own plate and if he doesn’t want it, he will not take it. He will say “My health comes first. Your love is alright, thank you. I don’t want to take it, too oily for me. I don’t want to become like you!”
The child knows self-love — he will never harm himself to please others, never. “Why should I force my bladder? Your bed sheet is not more important than my bladder. I will do what I want to do. You may have bought a rupees-three-hundred ticket for the movie; I want to enjoy in my own way, not your movie, not the movie of the entire audience present in the whole theater, nobody is more important than my urge to shout out. I want to shout out, I will shout out. I don’t bother, call it selfishness if you want to, I am selfish.”
But then somebody has taught you to not to be selfish and that translate into not having self-love. So you will bear anything; bear.
The child does not want to please anybody and that is innocence. He is not requesting favors from anybody — that is innocence. We want something from somebody that’s why we keep tolerating that’s why you keep tolerating; greed. You want something from somebody, so keep tolerating.

Further Reading:

The Flying Kiss to the Sky

cover_fksA Flying Kiss to The Sky, is a collection of excerpts from various discourses of Acharya Prashant, arranged in a special order which makes it the ideal first book, for all who want to come close to the facts of their own lives.

The book is divided into three parts, each part helping the reader to appreciate the working of his own mind and hence, the world in more clear and precise terms. Its unique one-page-one-chapter format makes it even more simple. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a book for all: Reader, or non-reader; Professional, or Spiritual.

Paperback: Advait Publications Page

Love yourself enough to say that you deserve the ultimate Truth

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Question: How does an identity bound person gets true freedom?

AP: Who is asking this? The identity bound person herself? Now, the identity will never ask “How to get rid of identities?” Who is asking this? You need to respond.

L1: I was just saying that this is a kind of question which is somehow clear on the surface level  but still there is some confusion.

AP: How is it clear? Alright, tell me. How?

L: How the freedom would come if I am a bound person? I am still confused.

AP: Do you want freedom or do you want this knowledge? What do you want?

L1: Freedom. Continue reading

Guru’s words

If you see problems in the Guru, if you see imperfections and lapses, will you ever really take his medicine? Will you really have confidence in his prescription, let alone faith?  But when you are smart and stubborn then you have confidence only in yourself. No Krishna, no Shiva, no Brahma, no Vishnu can save you; you are your own teacher!

Remember what Ashtavakra is saying, remember what Krishna is saying. These words are not for somebody who lacks in penance, who has not put himself through the fire of self-purification. These words are not for somebody who is not totally devoted to the Truth.

Guru’s words are not at all for somebody who has the slightest of doubt in the Guru.


To read the complete article: On Ashtavakra: The self uses the words of the Guru to defend itself from the Guru

How to ask the right question?

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Listener: My question is: what to ask and how to ask? What is the question? My only quest is: what to seek?

Acharya Prashant: It is a beautiful situation. If one sees and admits forthrightly that there is a seeking but no clear image of the object to be sought—it a very honest point to begin with. Mostly, people begin with a pre-conceptualized image of what they want. When you are already so adamant about what you want, then you cannot get anything other than you want. What you want is just your own projections.

So, one stands at a particular place–let’s say this domain, this table is the expanse of the mind. The very question of question arises because one doesn’t like the boundaries, neither does one like much of what is within this expanse. But all that the mind knows is this (indicating the tabular surface). This is the mind—this dimension, this surface. All that the mind knows is this. So it would be arrogant rather preposterous for the mind to talk of anything beyond it.

But the so-called spiritual mind is fond of pointing to something that transcends it; pointing towards the beyond. That is not very wise, that is just a trick of the ego to claim that it knows something beyond the boundary. The fact is – all you know is the surface and the boundary. Beyond the boundary neither this expanse is there nor are you there. You and the expanse are one.

So, one is at the surface and it offers very little tranquillity, very little peace. That separation, that distance from what one really wants – that is the only enquiry; there can be no other enquiry. Where is that which I really want? Apart from that, all enquiries are just enquiries within the surface. Within this, you have very well seen that you are not finding that which can give you peace.

So whenever one talks of enquiry in the spiritual sense, all enquiry is just one question—Peace. No other enquiry is meaningful. One could also say all spiritual enquiries can be reduced to this basic question. Asking, “What is the difference between the two principle types of yoga? What is the difference between karmsanyas and Karmyog?Is Tantra any good? Does the Koham method work?” you could be lost in a maze of curiosities. All of that will just add to your knowledge. And all knowledge belongs to this—the surface. None of that will take you beyond this and you have known, you have seen, known it for a very very long time that within this, whatever is there, that contributes only to an inner chaos.

So what is the right question?

The right question is “I am here and I do not know where That is, so I do not even know what to ask?” And that is one’s honest position that is a predicament of all of the mankind. ‘I am here and I do not even know where to go, which means I can’t even ask the question.’ Suppose you are on the road to Chandigarh. You at least know from Dharamshala you want to go to Chandigarh. If you are lost, you can catch hold of someone and you can ask.

Here you don’t even know where you want to go. So what would you ask? And that is the most innocent question—Where is That? Where to go? Where would I find That? All I know is that I am not getting it here. Where would I get That? If I assume it then I am just being arrogant and stupid for myself because I would not be helping myself by claiming in advance that I know that I must go to Chandigarh.

Where is That? What is That? Who is that?

Is That?

The really inquisitive one would actually ask very little.

He very well knows that all his questions emanate from himself and hence, cannot take him beyond himself.

No answer can be beyond the question that you ask. So, the answer never satisfies the question. The answer only creates the ground for the next question. So the really inquisitive one doesn’t come to seek answers; he comes for solutions. So he doesn’t ask much. Sometimes he may not ask anything not because he is hiding something but because he knows the pointlessness of asking a limited question.

A limited question would only elicit a limited answer.

And a limited answer can never be a solution to the question.

To allow the teacher to offer a solution one has to let go of any limitation. If one has decided in advance that one wants to asks and wants to know only this much (indicating the limited capacity of the palm) then how will life or the teacher will be able to give him beyond this much. The question says this much is my curiosity, the solution to the question is always immense. It’s only in the vast ocean that all question dissolve. But if one says this is what I want to know, then how will one receive anything beyond this much?

Now by that, I, of course, do not mean that one must not talk or not ask. But one must also know that it is not through his questions that his solutions will come. The questions only demand only an answer; never a solution. So then one doesn’t take his questions very seriously. One just puts his situation forward on the table and leaves it there. One just says, ‘This is where I am’ and then the whole thing proceeds from there.

It is actually the same thing from both sides.

A real interaction is not like a press conference or a classroom in which politics or economics or science is being taught. In a real communication, neither the student is very interested in asking questions – though, he would ask a few questions, of course, there would be a few exchange of words – nor is the teacher is greatly interested in giving answers. So if an outsider happens to listen to what is going on, he may find all that very absurd because what the Teacher is saying has very little to do with what the student has asked.

It is never a direct answer.

The question is this much (showing the capacity of the palm), the direct answer will also be this much. What is the point? Has one come here to maintain his limit as this much? So, it’s a strange thing going on—Silence talking to Silence, openness talking to openness? Somebody has just said something and then the other one too says something. What is being said may sound quite incoherent and yet something magical has taken place. Magical only for those who are immersed in it, not for those who may look at the recording later on or read about it or hear about it or are watching from a distance.

It is somewhat like this – Have you seen a mother and a son? Have you seen them talk to each other? The kid, the son, the daughter, the infant maybe 6 months old or one-year-old with a very little introduction to the language and yet they are talking. What are they saying to each other? “Motherese” have you heard this term. It’s a great language, it’s the most ancient language. A very lively conversation is going on and both the parties are very sincere about it but you will watch from a distance and say, “What language exactly is being used? What is this grammar?”

The same happens with lovers—the lips are talking, the eyes are talking and they are uttering all kinds of nonsense and yet very deep communication is there in which they are utterly close. To an outsider, it is all nonsense. Even to those lovers, it would be nonsense later on, if they recall; if they use memory, they will find it nonsensical. But it is the most relevant scripture for them at that moment–those words–the only scripture that matters. So, be it between the mother and the child or between lovers or between teacher and student—it’s the same thing. The teacher is the mother, the Teacher is also the lover.

One just talks, one doesn’t think what to say. And same with the mother – she just talks, she doesn’t think what to say. It is from point of thoughtlessness that the worlds emerge. And it is from the point of thoughtlessness that the questions emerge. Now, it doesn’t matter what the question is and it doesn’t matter what the answer is. What has been established is that there is a point of thoughtlessness and that’s all that matters.

Somebody believes that he can’t walk and something magical happens and he starts running, running absurdly, chaotically, randomly running and stumbling, running and reaching nowhere, running around in circles sometimes. So, if you will try to find out ‘where he has reached’, you will find that he has reached nowhere. If you will try to find out how much distance he has covered; if you will try to find out a reason and an objective, a pattern in his running, you will say that his running it useless.

It is not useless.

This running has established that he can run.

His fundamental assumption was that he can’t walk.

Are you getting it?

That is the nature of this conversation. We live in thought, we live in planning, we live in the organization, we live in questions and answers, we live in protocols, orders. The very fact that you could say something which you could not otherwise say establishes that it is possible to speak, live and act from the heart. And the very fact that the teacher could reply without an apparent order, without an apparent structure establishes that it is possible to live lovingly, meaningfully without using the order established by the mind and that’s all that there was to establish. Done. Proven.

Proven to oneself; the obvious has been proven once again. That is man’s comic tragedy—he has to prove the obvious again and again to himself; he has to prove the obvious again and again to himself that he is. That’s what we do.

People talk of seeing beyond the obvious.

Man’s situation is that he can’t see even the obvious.

These sessions are just about seeing just the obvious.

The beyond can wait.

Don’t you see that right now you are not what you usually are? If your friends, relatives, acquaintance look at you this moment, they won’t be able to identify you. That’s what we are here for— to see that it is possible to be more authentic, more real. That it is possible to spend time in this way and hence, it is possible to live an entire life this way. If you can be what you are right now why can’t you be the same the entire life?

The entire personality changes, the whole countenance changes – the expression on the face, the look in the eyes. I have seen people when they are here sitting with me and then their faces in other in other situations, they are not the same. This establishes and proves to ourselves that we are this, we can be this, this is more authentic than what we usually are. These moments are a great reminder they bring us back to ourselves.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to ask the right question?

Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant
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Innocence is the sky that cannot be stained

Innocence is that silence; that background, that doesn’t change no matter how much the voices change.

It is that emptiness that remains no matter how many universes come and go.

It is the sky that cannot be stained, even if you emit the entire world’s smoke into it.

It simply cannot be dirtied.