Acharya Prashant, with students: Brain and Intelligence


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 on Khalil Gibran: You know your real face, and your real home?

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“Your life, my friend,

is a residence far away from any other

residence and neighbours.

Your inner soul is a home far away from

other homes named after you.

If this residence is dark,

you cannot light it with your neighbour’s lamp;

If it is empty you cannot fill it

with the riches of your neighbour;

Were it in the middle of a desert, you could not move it to a

garden planted by someone else…

Your inner soul, my friend,

is surrounded with solitude and seclusion.

Were it not for this solitude and this seclusion

you would not be you and I would not be I.

If it were not for that solitude and seclusion,

I would, if I heard your voice, think myself to be speaking;

Yet, if I saw your face, I would imagine that I were looking into a mirror.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Acharya Prashant: Poets have a way, of presenting the Truth. The way helps. The way is beautiful. But as happens with all ways to the Truth, the way itself is a bit of a hindrance to the destination.

What Khalil Gibran is saying here, is essentially very straightforward. The inner seclusion and solitude that he is talking of, is nothing, but your calm, peaceful, silent, immovable, center.

Seated at that center, with the calmness, the immovability, of the center, vested in the mind as well; the mind gains intelligence, the mind gains discretion.

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk


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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Acharya Prashant: Ambition and anger

Acharya Prashant: What is your name?

Listener: Kshitij Aggarwal.

AP: The question asked by Kshitij is why do needs often dominate ambition?

And he surely thinks that it is quite unfortunate that needs to start dominating ambitions. The reason is simple, he probably gives a lower priority to needs and higher priority to ambitions because he thinks that the ambitions are his. He has kept ambitions very close to himself. He believes that they are his own.

So, he deeply wants the ambitions to be fulfilled. But finds that instead, something else has to be done, first of all, we will understand this conflict. And we all face this conflict, this conflict is not only in Kshitij’s mind, this conflict in the mind of every single one of us. But we are all confused, we rarely know, what to do. There are always one or more options in front of us, and we are unable to see clearly which one is suitable. Right?

This happens not only once in six months, at the time of admissions or at the time of choosing a job, it keeps happening daily, day in and day out. What is this conflict? you will have to understand.


Our mind is dominated by ‘external influences’ which we have so far called is the development of ‘Ego.’

Our mind is not our mind, our mind is a collection of all external influences.

Our mind is divided into many many segments and many parts, and there are so many different forces that are controlling these separate parts. So, one part is being controlled by parents, one part is being dominated by media, one part is being dominated by society, one part by peers, one by corporations, one by thoughts of career, one by XYZ, and very very large number of parts.

Now, these different parts are your different masters. It’s like a person is tied to fifty different ropes being pulled by fifty different people in fifty different directions. Will that person be able to move towards any definite direction, any one direction.

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Just grows

Whatever you think you are, is one identity that you are carrying. And that identity can have no possibility of any Love. So, forget it that there can be any ‘self- love’! No self-love is possible. ‘Self -love’ is an oxymoron.

The Great man is not a Great man. That Great man has to be Great, every passing moment inattention.

The Great man, retains his understanding of himself, as somebody who is different from his concepts. He does not get identified with his thoughts.

A cancerous cell is very very ambitious! It multiplies like hell. That’s ambition. A normal healthy cell, does not grow out of ambition. It just grows. Just grows.

Growth is your very nature. It happens spontaneously out of understanding. It does not require ambition. You don’t need to be ambitious in order to grow.

There is no target, no ambitionThis is Self-love.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Self-love, and difference between self and the Self


Acharya Prashant: Self-love, and difference between self and the Self

Acharya Prashant: What is self? Me, I.

This thing that you refer to as the self, is not one thing. Understand this.

Let’s for the purpose of understanding, call it, self with a small ‘s’ and Self with a capital ‘S’. Understand this!

This is what you think you are (pointing at the ‘self’). This is what you are (pointing at the ‘Self’). We operate incessantly with this only (‘s’). With our thoughts. And here, there is no possibility of any Love. Just ruled out.

So, when you say self-love, it’s actually a redundant term. If you are dealing with yourself in this (‘s’) domain, Love is anyway not possible and this (in the domain of ‘Self’) is nothing but pure Love. Not the kind of Love that you know of while sitting here. This is an unknown thing to you, a totally unseen beast, of which you have no idea presently.

Here, nothing called self-love can be possible (in the domain of ‘self’). Here, only tension, frustration, attachment, obsessions are there. It’s another thing that you name them Love. You can call your pre-occupations as Love, you can call all your desires as Love, you can call your attachments as Love. You can call all your dependencies as Love, you can call all your possessiveness as Love. This all, what you call love is only going to give you trouble. It would be narrow, it would be jealousy-ridden, it would be insecure. And it would be of no avail at all. Are you understanding this?

But, unfortunately, this is the Love that we know of. And this operates only here (in the domain of ‘self’). What is this self that you know of?

Listeners: With a small ‘s’

AP: This is that self in which if I ask you now, that write ten statements starting with ‘I am’ which all end in some kind of noun, you will easily write them. What would you write?

You would write, “I am a daughter”, “I am a son”, “I am a student”, “I am an Engineer”, “I am an aspiring professional”, “I am an Indian”, “I am a Hindu or a Muslim”. “I am a North Indian”, “I am a male”, “I am a female”. “I am smart”, “I am intelligent”, right?

“I am thin”, “I am long”, “I am fat”, “I am suave”, all such things? Correct?

All these self-concepts, belong to this (indicating at ‘self’). Because this is what you think you are! Are we together till this point?

Whatever you think you are, is one identity that you are carrying.

And that identity can have no possibility of any Love.

So, forget it that there can be any ‘self- love’!

No self-love is possible.

‘Self -love’ is an oxymoron.

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Core value is ‘Clarity’

Why can’t my response to a situation arise directly of my out of my intelligence? Why do I need an ideal? Why do I need an ideal to show me the way? Why do you need to give me ideals? Don’t I have the power to understand? And can’t my action come out of my own power? Why do I need the support of an ideal? Why?

Every course of action and its opposite course of action both are alright in a different situation. So, how can there be an ideal response? 

Your very fundamental core value is ‘Clarity’ except that there is no core values.

Ideals obfuscate ‘clarity.’ So, anybody who will have ideals as core values will find that he is missing out on clarity. That clarity has also been given the name of ‘emptiness.’ Emptiness because it is clear, clear of everything. It is empty. That is the only core value. A little ahead that core value takes the shape of a few other core values. They are called Truth, Joy, Love, Freedom.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Your ideals will always limit you