“When people see something as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.”
~ Lao Tzu
Question: Sir, we know this, as soon as the world regards something as beautiful, ugliness simultaneously becomes apparent. As soon as the world regards something as good, evil simultaneously becomes apparent. We see in media and television and everything that this is. We all are tuned into becoming one way or the other, without realizing the sacred text.
Acharya Prashant: You see that’s what Lao Tzu is saying.
He is saying, the moment man starts talking about beauty, ugliness has already crept in. Is beauty a concept of man’s mind? Can a man talk of beauty without contrasting it, comparing it, without having an environment of ugliness? The thing with the mind is that it operates in dualities. It cannot call something as good, without calling its opposite as bad. And hence, bad is necessary if you are to call anything as good.
It cannot call anything as white without having a background of black. It operates in pairs of dualistic opposites. Lao Tzu says, leave the essentials from your definitions—spare them! You start talking about love, only when love is receding.
Real love is when you do not even know that you are in love.
If you are calling something as love, then you are calling it as love only because, it is subscribing to, matching with, confirming with your image of love. And often what starts mattering more to us is the image rather than the substance.
Real Silence is one when you do not even know that you are silent.
If you know that you are silent, this knowledge itself is noise. You see this? And hence, the real, the essential, would never be something that you can be conscious of.
You see this? And hence, the real, the essential, would never be something that you can be conscious of.
I have traveled across the country and one of the frequent questions that seekers ask is about enlightenment or that ancient quest for God. Now, people have an idea of enlightenment, an image of God. We are seeking the God experience; we turn everything into an image and an experience. We say this is what must happen to me if I am to feel enlightened. And of course, that which they are calling as enlightenment comes to them from the books that they have read, from well, the miscellaneous sources.
Spare the real.
The real will happen on its own.
It is already happening.
Take care of the peripherals. Let the mind be involved in the small matters of life.
When the mind starts thinking about the essential, then the mind reduces the essential to a mental concept.
In small matters of life, be as clever and calculative as you want to be; only in the small matters.
In everything that really matters, live by the heart—Do not calculate, do not be so clever; let innocence decide for you.
The good news is, you cannot differentiate between small matters or big matters. Either everything is small or everything is big. So, it pays to live by the heart. One of the posters here says, “No amount of knowledge about peace will give you peace.”
It is a sorry situation that many of us have come to a point where knowledge of peace matters more to us than peace itself. Many of us are more contented with knowledge about love than love itself. Many of us want to talk more about joy, and oneness, and simplicity and freedom rather than being free and joyful.
Do you see the horror in this? And do you see how funny all this is? And do you also see how easy it is to get rid of all this?
You probably don’t. But it is in fact, easy.
L1: Sir, it is sorry that out of lakhs only one or two; I remember your poster that says – it is not the world but you who have woken up.
AP: Care not for lakhs; care not even for one or two. First of all, take care of yourself. People are asleep because everybody is too concerned about waking the other up. You know, we are all blissfully asleep, dreaming that we are trying to wake the other one up.
Take care of yourself first and in that, you will be able to help the world; to bring awakening and awareness to everybody. First of all, look closely at your own life, look at the facts of your life, see who you are and from there you will be able to help everybody. Even when you look at others, use that as a way to look at yourself.
We said, the man of mankind is one. If the other is violent, is that not the same violence that we exhibit?
L1: We also suffer.
AP: We also suffer. We also chase pleasure. We also experience sorrow. Right?
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Lao Tzu: The Real will never be something that you can be conscious of
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: You are a Lao Tzu when you don’t have a Lao Tzu as your ideal.
Article 2: Only light can illuminate others
Article 3: To go beyond yourself, come close to yourself
Books by Acharya Prashant are available on AMAZON: