Tag Archives: Mind

On distraction of mind || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2019)

On distraction of mind

Question: Acharya ji, I am unable to concentrate on anything. For e.g., I get easily distracted while studying my Maths book, and get attracted to playing online games.

What should I do then?

Acharya Prashant: You see, two types of things attract us.

One – where the attraction is tremendous. And the attraction is so tremendous, that you get totally lost in the thing that attracts you, and you are left with no space, or desire to enquire further.

Now something really spectacular, something really eye-catching, something really interesting, is attracting you. This attraction becomes so dominant on us, that we do not even want to ask that what that thing is, and why this thing is attracting us. And whether that thing holds any importance in our lives.

What the eyes see, becomes so heavy, that it totally occupies the mind. And the mind is then not free at all, to ask any questions. You could even say that we become dumb. We become dumb. But it’s a very pleasurable dumbness, because we are, as we say, enjoying that state of being attracted.

The one who is getting attracted, is getting totally lost in the thing, that is attracting him. And because he is totally, completely lost, therefore nothing is left of him, to make an inquiry, to ask a question.

What question?

“Why is this thing is attracting me?”

“Is it really important for me?”

“What would this give me, after the initial period of attraction?”

“Would I be left with anything substantial, for five minutes, or let’s say five months?”

“There would be a lot of pleasure, but what after these five minutes? What after these five minutes, and what was before these five minutes? What really happened, that this thing became so tremendous on me?”

These are important questions, but we are left with no space to ask these questions. Because the thing, the attractive thing, or thought, totally overpowers us. It overpowers us, it controls us. It has taken us in it’s arrest.

Now, we are left with no capacity to ask an intelligent question.

These are the first kind of things that we come across – attractive things. Attractive things, where the possibility of asking question, or inquiring, is impeded.

And, in contrast, there are other kinds of things, that do not look attractive on the surface at all. The moment you look at them, the moment you hear of them, the moment you think of them, no interest arises within. In fact, a disinterest may arise.

You may say, “O! What is there in it?” Or you probably don’t say anything, and just want to ignore that object. You would say, “It’s not exciting.” And now, what happens in this case? Please see.

It’s a step-by-step thing. It’s a scientific thing. Because you have already said that this thing does not interest me, therefore you are left with no possibility of asking a question. The matter has been closed, so why ask a question?

In the first case, why was no question asked? Because the thing appeared so attractive, that you were left with no time, space, or desire, to ask the question.

You didn’t ask, “What this thing really is?”

“It appears nice and beautiful, but what is it really, and what would it give me?”

“Am I being intelligent, by getting attracted towards it? Probably I am. Then I will allow myself to be attracted even more. But if I am not being intelligent by moving towards this thing, why should I hurt myself?”

That was the first case. In this case, again there is no inquiry. In the second case, why there is no inquiry? Because the thing appears so unattractive, that you say, “Oh! C’mon. Move on. I don’t want to look at it. It’s not exciting, I don’t like it. There is nothing in it. It does not arouse me, so I will not ask any question.”

Here again if you could ask, “What is in it for me?,” then the picture would change. You say that when you are with your Maths book, then you do not feel any urge or attraction. Then do something else. What is it that you must do?

Ask yourself, “In the first place, why am I with this Maths book? Why am I holding it at all? Is there a reason? What is the importance of this book?”

If this book really has some importance, then you will find that you are compelled to read. And if it has no importance, then you will throw away the book. Let’s see whether the book has some importance? All that you need to do is, ask a sincere question. Whether it’s the Maths book, or some online game, that is attracting you. Ask the same question.

“What is in it for me? What will I really get from this?”

“After the five minutes, or fifty minutes of interest, or disinterest, what would I be left with?”

Ask, “Is it so that I am being cheated? Is it so that somebody is making a fool of me, and exploiting me by giving me, a little dose of excitement?”

There answer would sometimes be ‘Yes’, and sometimes be ‘No’. We need not predict the answer. Let it emerge. Just as when you conduct an experiment, in a science lab, the result, the observation, emerges. You don’t want to predict it.

And you don’t want to conclude beforehand. You want to see what is happening, don’t you? Similarly, just ask this question, and see what happens. You may find that magic is happening.

Before you accept or reject something, before you get wildly drawn to something, or before you just ignore something and move on, pause for five seconds, just five seconds, and ask, “What is in it for me? What is the real importance it holds?”

Do not be carried away by emotions. Do not be carried away by thoughts. Do not be carried away by impulsive conditioning. Just wait for five seconds, and ask,”Is it important?”

And that is the most important question, most life-giving question to ask.

“Is it really important?”

You will find that you are able to avoid a lot of trash.

And you will find that now you are able to love and respect, a lot of valuable things, and people, in life.

The moment you ask this, “What is this thing, this person, or this activity, bringing to me?”

Would you do that?

The Maths book is not just a Maths book. It stands for something. There are benefits from reading, and there are repercussions of not being with it. Dwell over them. “What is Mathematics? Why should I read it?” May be you will find that Mathematics is nothing, that it is a foolish thing to read Maths. And if you find that, then feel free to throw away the Maths book.

But, in case you discover, that the thing, the person, or an activity, is indeed important, then obviously, we are all honest people. And having discovered that something is precious, we will want to keep it.

Having discovered that somebody is lovable, we would want to be with him. Having discovered that the field of study, is indeed important, we would want to pursue it, right?

Five seconds.

“What is in it for me?

“How does it hold any importance?”

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

Watch the session:  On distraction of mind || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2019)

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What affects you from outside is actually present inside|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

What affects you from outside is actually present inside

Question: Acharya ji, I am a doctor by profession. When i treat my patients, I too get depressed by looking at their suffering. What should I do?

Acharya Prashant: Keep doing what you are doing, or drop the intention to help people. The very intention to help people, indicates that you know of a state, beyond sorrow. Had sorrow been acceptable to you as a norm, why would you aim to pull other people out of their sorrow? You would say, “Sorrow is the norm.” If sorrow is the norm, why does anybody need to be helped?

The intention to help, itself is proof of your deep inner conviction, that sorrow is transient, that sorrow will go.

And sorrow must go.

But then, there is the heartfelt conviction versus the age-old habits of the mind. The mind is acquisitive. And it loves to acquire all kinds of diseases. So with sorrowlessness in your heart, you go to help others. And as you go to help others, you find that the same sorrow has started affecting you.

That’s bound to happen!

Keep doing what you are doing. If you think that by retreating, or giving up, you would be able to save yourself from sorrow, that is not going to happen. The sorrow that you think is an infection coming from outside, is not really coming from outside.

Coming face-to-face with sorrowed people, it is your own ancient sorrow, that wakes up. Had it not been present in the recesses of your mind, it couldn’t have affected you. Seeing the agony of others, you are reminded of your own.

And it’s great, if hidden angst, hidden sorrow, come to the fore. Now, at least consciously, you know that it exists. Otherwise you can live in the delusion, that you are sorrow-free.

Do you see how the whole thing operates? When you decide to help others, it is yourself you end up helping. So in your own self-interest, continue helping others. Who said that it is going to be easy?

The doctor must know that he himself is the most difficult patient to treat. So difficult, that he can’t treat himself directly. He will have to treat himself, via other patients.

Listener: Acharya ji, sometimes my patients get angry and jealous because I don’t show sympathy towards them, even if I know their suffering.

Acharya ji: Every trait that your patients are displaying, is present within you as well. Had it not been present within you, you wouldn’t have been affected by their behaviour.

If somebody’s anger perturbs you, that is proof of your own anger. If you can identify jealousy in somebody, it is proof that you know what jealousy is. The highest point of sainthood is, when you lose the capacity to even detect disease. That is total freedom from disease.

If you can, still detect disease, it means that disease is still present in you, even if in the most rudimentary way.

You go to one who is totally free, and you talk of anger to him, he won’t really know what you are talking of. That is freedom, absolute.

The totally free one has forgotten, totally forgotten. That’s why he doesn’t experience fear. He has lost a particular faculty. It is as if he cannot see. It is as if he cannot think. Therefore, so many thoughts just don’t come to him. That’s freedom absolute.

Even if you try to introduce, a lot many thoughts to him, you will find that he is just incapable of receiving those thoughts. It is not that he is resistant to those thoughts. Kindly know the distinction.

It’s not that the free one is resistant to thoughts.

He has simply become innocent of thoughts.

He cannot have a lot of those things, that we have, even if he wants to.

It’s not a decision that he makes, to not to be angry. It is now beyond him, to be angry.

He has become incapable!

Now seeing others, he may enact anger. But still, he can never really be angry. It is now, outside of him, to really harm anybody. Funnily enough, even if decides to harm anybody, he will end up doing good.

Even if, with a lot of conscious determination, he one day decides – I have to hurt this one, this one seriously deserves a slap – you would find, that he is only delivering healing, through the slap. And that’s powerlessness. He is now powerless, in a way of saying.

On the other hand, if you find that you have make a decision to be good, if you find that badness is still a real threat to you, then you must know that you are still not totally free of badness.

That which affects you from the outside, is actually present inside.

Otherwise, it couldn’t have affected you.

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

Watch the session:  What affects you from outside is actually present inside || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is the ego tendency? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

What is the ego tendency

Question: What is ego tendency? What is maya? Why does the mind get distracted? How to be attentive?

Acharya Prashant: You see, we often say that suffering is when things start cluttering the mind. Kabir Sahib says, “Maya is that, which occupies your mind.” We need to ask, “To whom is the occupation?”

Let us say a girl keeps dancing in your mind. To whom is she dancing? Who is watching her? To whom has she come? Has she come to a nobody? Has she come to an empty house? She is dancing in your mind. To whom has she come? Had you not been there, would she have come? That’s the ego tendency.

Whenever you see something, you must that, that which you are seeing, is for you. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been there. Your universe is, for you. Otherwise, it is not there. That girl has come to your mind, for you. You go away from yourself, the girl too wouldn’t be there.

Listener: What is this ‘going away from oneself’?

Acharya ji: First of all, you are attached to the brain. ‘I’ tendency attached to the brain, is called ‘mind’. And therefore she comes to the mind. To merely the brain, she will not be a big trouble. But to the mind? She is a big attraction, or distraction.

A male dog does not keep dreaming of the female dog. That does not happen. But a man can keep dreaming of a woman, for fifty years.

You are so attached to the brain, that now there is all kind of mischief. So, now when things start appearing to you, when things start becoming important to you, when things start occupying you, you must ask, “To whom have they come?”

You must ask, “So many unwelcome guests have arrived. But who is the host?” So many unwelcome guests have arrived to the mind. The mind is the house. So many unwelcome guests have arrived to the house, but who is the host?

And then you will hear a resounding voice, “I am.” That’s what Nisargadatta teaches. The guests are surely all bogus. But who is the host? I am. Had I not been the host, the guests would not have arrived. So don’t blame the guests.

Don’t chase away the guest. Because even if you chase away the guests, you still are. You go away from the house, the guests too will go away. Which is the house to which firstly you came, and then the guests came? The body.

First of all, you are very attached to the body. And then, therefore, the girl starts circulating in the mind.

Listener: When you say that you leave the mind, what is this ‘leaving’? How can it happen?

Acharya ji: I don’t need to be here. I don’t need to be here. Right now you are in the house, just as a patient is in the hospital. A patient does not visit the hospital on his own, in his bliss. The patient needs to be in the hospital.

Similarly, you need to be in this house, that’s bad. Very bad. You have turned yourself into a patient, needlessly.

Had you been a visitor, a casual visitor to the body, an occasional visitor, it was okay. But you are here, as a new visitor, to the emergency. As a new enrollment in the trauma centre. Freshly admitted.

Listener: So is the detachment possible, of a patient with the hospital?

Acharya ji: You tried a lot of mischief, and you held yourself very wise. Now ask yourself, “Is the hospital any good? Am I being treated?”

First of all, you needlessly got admitted. And now kinds of things are being performed upon you. Are you liking it? Somebody is holding you to the stretcher. Two nurses who think that you are a helpless baby, are trying to nurse you, in your own personal ways.

One is may be the mother, and the other is the wife. They are trying to nurse you all the time. And one fellow, who considers himself a master surgeon, is rushing towards you, with a large saw. And now that you have started yelling at him, another one is dipping your face in anesthesia. They are trying to make you unconscious. Do you like this hospital?

Listener: No, but what is the choice available to me? Where to go?

Acharya ji: All places are within the hospital. There is nowhere to go to. That is your ‘to go to place’ – nowhere to go to. As long as hope remains, you will get relieved from Fortis(name of a hospital), only to get admitted to Apollo(name of another hospital). Your entire journey will be from one hospital to another hospital, from one trauma centre to another emergency ward.

Quote from What is ego tendency.jpg

You don’t need to be ‘anywhere’. You don’t need to be ‘anybody’.

There is nobody to hold onto, and there is nothing to defend.

You don’t need to protect anything. 

You don’t need to safeguard anything.

There are no vulnerabilities.

You are not hurt.

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

Watch the session:  What is the ego tendency? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Happiness and self-knowledge||Acharya Prashant on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2018)

Happiness and self knowledge

“We seek happiness through things, through relationship, through thoughts, ideas and do not realise their impermanence. To find out the true meaning of happiness, we must explore the river of self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not an end in itself. Is there a source to stream?”

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: Acharya ji, can you please explain what JK said in the above paragraph?  JK mentioned that exploring the river of self-knowledge and happiness, is to be found where you are on this river.

Acharya Prashant: What Krishnamurti is referring to here is – Joy. Not happiness. That is linked to pleasure. So, not your usual meaning of happiness is to be applied to Krishnamurti’s words here.

I would have loved it, had he been a little more precise with his choice of words. Joy is what he is talking of. As far as worldly happiness is concerned, it is available at all points in the river. In fact, the river is flowing, just for the sake of happiness. Otherwise, why would the river flow at all? Source would have been sufficient.

So it is not really happiness that is to be found through self-knowledge. In fact, self-knowledge often is a danger to happiness.

Self-knowledge dissolves both happiness and sadness,

and you are left with nothing, but a naked and silent Joy. 

Now the next point. “It is to be found, where you are, on the river of self-knowledge.” What does ‘self-knowledge’ mean? Self-knowledge is about seeing the self in it’s activities, in motion, constantly.

‘You’ are the little self. And self-knowledge is about seeing yourself. What do you do? How you behave? What your instincts are? What your reactions are? And such things.

If you can see your self, clearly, without motivation, then the seeing itself is great fun. That I call as ‘Joy’. Just the seeing is great fun.

Nothing more than that is contained in this excerpt.

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

Watch the session:  Happiness and self-knowledge || Acharya Prashant on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2018)

Read more articles on this topic:

Acharya Prashant: How to be free of happiness and sadness?

Acharya Prashant: Do success and happiness go together?

Acharya Prashant: Joy – absolute happiness – is possible

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Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance

Question: Acharya ji, if liberation is the ultimate destiny, why don’t we get it naturally?

Acharya Prashant: Liberation is freedom, right? Liberation is freedom. So you are free to not to be free. You are already liberated.

It is because you are liberated, that you can choose to remain not liberated.

Good! You will get what you order. Everything is there on the menu. And the system respects your choice. The day you will choose liberation, liberation is yours. Till then , keep feasting on the various delicacies of life, and keep paying the bill. On that menu, everything is very highly chargeable, except for liberation.

We often judge things by the price, don’t we? Suffering comes at a very high price.

Listener: And it’s very valuable also.

Acharya ji: Liberation is there for the taking. So who wants it?

Listener: Acharya ji, how to remove confusion from life?

Acharya ji: Were you totally confused, would you know that you were confused? Who is the one, who knows confusion? Is he too confused? And if he too is confused, then how does he know that he is confused?

For you, to strongly assert that you are confused,

there must surely be some point in you, that is, not confused.

So, why are you unnecessarily cheating us? We know everything, right? And still we just pretend as if, ignorance is so deep, and wide, and overpowering.

Listener: Acharya ji, but there is something called ‘cognitive dissonance’. What role does it play?

Acharya ji: It is not even cognitive in nature. Had it been cognitive, it would have been a thing of the mind. All cognition is of the mind.

That which you really know, is at a point, a little away from the cognizing mind. The dissonance is not between cognition and cognition. It is between cognition, and pre-cognition – something that exists, prior to cognition. Something that is a-priory to cognition. Something that is foundation to all cognition.

Cognition has to be taught, freedom doesn’t have to be taught.

Cognition develops over experience.

There is something that is already fully developed, even before all experience.

And that is the difference between psychology and spirituality. Psychology limits itself to the mind. Spirituality says that even to know the mind, you have to go a little beyond the mind. So spirituality says, that even if you have to just study the psyche, you still have to go a little beyond the psyche.

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

Watch the session: Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What is meant by ‘oneness with all’? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

What is meant by Oneness with all

Question: What is the meaning of : meeting the other person with oneness?

Acharya Prashant: Meeting the other person, with oneness, does not imply – being one with the other ‘person’. It means – you are one within, even as you look at the diverse world of many-ness, spread in space around you.

Outside you might be fragments, distinctions, numbers, diversities, within is no such fragmentation.

How does fragmentation arise within?

It arises within, when the within becomes a mirror of  the without.

If that which is outside you, gains a part of you, then you get divided.

Take this, right now.

Here is me, if you take me as someone outside of you, then this figure will occupy, a bit of mental space. There is him, he too will occupy a bit of mental space. One of these posters will occupy a bit of mental space. May be this color appeals to you, this too will occupy some space. The brand of this equipment may be nice, that too will occupy some space. So, the divisions outside, will become the divisions inside.

Nothing outside of you, should be allowed to occupy you within, because ‘the within’ is the sacred province of the Absolute. And the Absolute knows, no divisions or fragments. Inside must sit ‘the One’, and outside, the world may keep taking various forms and shapes. That is Oneness, oneness within.

There would never be oneness in the world. If there is oneness in the world, you will have to physically disappear, because then you and the earth would be one. So, you are gone. Either the earth has become you, or you have become the earth. And then there is no atmosphere either, because there is just oneness.

So, outside, there is never really going to be oneness, as long as you are an embodied being. Oneness must be within.

Listener: Acharya ji, can you please elaborate on this. For example, I met Alok ji and Pranay, what does it mean that meeting them will not create any division inside?

Acharya ji: It means that the Absolute Truth within you, must meet Alok or Pranay. These two are outside, and they are different. But the point that meets them, must be the point of integrity, oneness. It must not be, that, a figure created by Alok, meets Alok, and a figutre created by Pranay, meets Pranay.

Normally, as we are, we do not meet a minister, and a miserable one, in the same way. Even before we meet them, we have turned different, because of their influence upon us.

Are you getting it?

The minister might be five minutes away, but you have already changed, in anticipation of his arrival. The one who is meeting the minister, is not the same as the one who is meeting the commoner. And I am ot talking of your behaviour towards these two persons. I am talking of the entity that it meeting.

Of course, the behaviour is bound to be different. You cannot behave in the same way with everybody. I am talking about the identity of the one, who is meeting the different objects in the world.

Your identity, when you are meeting an object, is decided by the object that you are meeting. Is that not really a miserable condition? Even before you meet the minister, the minister has cast his spell upon you. He is still some distance away, and you are already bowing down. So, the person has changed, in influence of the field of the object he is meeting. That must not happen.

Who gave you the impression that the contents of your mind, are the Truth, or Sacred, or Absolute. That which arises within you, is just your mental content. Why are you according it a lot of sanctity? Turning ego into God!

A rapists instincts too, arise from within, don’t they? You don’t have to motivate him. You don’t have to really exert yourself, to motivate a rapist. It’s strongly from within. It’s just  that their acts are definitely showing up as gruesome and horrible. So, you put them in jail.

But, the other hallucinating ones, might be holding respectable tags of spiritual seekers and Yoga practitioners, so you do not put them in jail. But hallucinations are, hallucinations.

Listener: So, is everyone hallucinated?

Acharya ji: If you are hallucinating, how will you know what everyone else is doing? Why not bother only about yourself?

If you are in a dream, will you ever be able to know who are all the others, who are dreaming?

If you are asleep, will you be able to know who is awake?

So why not bother, only on your own awakening?

This is one of the great fallacies: widely accepted, quite the norm, not merely socially circulating, but even in spiritual circulation. You start calling your instincts, and feelings, and intuitions, as the Truth. And you start saying that you know, it is arising from within, so it must be the Truth, without ever seeing that, that which is within, is just a pale imprint of that, which is without.

From where did something reach within?

Listener: Outside.

Acharya ji: From here and there.

Do not turn feelings and such things into, Truth. They are not.

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

Watch the session:  What is meant by ‘oneness with all’? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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All that the mind knows is love || Acharya Prashant (2019)

All that the mind knows is love

Question: Acharya ji, Pranaam! How to understand the different states of mind?

What we are, is the mind always dwelling in fear and desire. Mind is always afraid of its death, as a deal for love to flower. But at the same time mind’s ultimate desire is – love. Kindly elaborate.

Acharya Prashant: That is the human condition. You have to see, that all mental states are – one. It doesn’t matter what the mind wants, it doesn’t matter which direction it chooses to go. It doesn’t matter whether it is burning in jealousy, or burning in affection. It doesn’t matter whether you call the mental state as ‘positive’, or ‘negative’.

All mental states can be called by just one name – love.

Greed is love, fear is love, jealousy is love, disgust is love, violence is love, separation is love. All mental states are nothing, but different ways of describing your separation from the Source, from the Lord, from the center, from the God, from the Truth. It doesn’t matter what name you assign to That.

Are you getting it?

So these mental states that you have written, or quoted, are all pointing in the same direction. Let not vocabulary confuse you.

The difference in different mental states is just, at the level of description. Words are causing you to think, that sometimes you are afraid, and sometimes you are not. When you are afraid, it is because you think that you will not be able to meet Him. When you are not afraid, then it is, because you think that not being afraid, will take you to Him. In either of the situations, your target, your desire, is just for Him.

Are you getting it?

Then you should ask: if all goodness, and all badness, is just the same, and differs only in name, the difference is only at the level of words, then why should one be good at all? Then, you should all tell that why should one follow spirituality, why should one not remain just worldly.

You should ask, “Acharya ji, if all desires are desires of Him, then why should I not pursue my carnal desires? Why should I not pursue money, and prestige, and possessions, if even they are going to lead me to the same end?”

You may do that. But you have to factor in, who you are. I have said that it doesn’t matter what the colour, flavour, name, direction, of the desire is. All desire is actually for the One only. So, I am saying, that your question should be that why should we reject certain desires.

I am saying, to get the answer to this question, you have to look at your mortal condition. You are – mortal – which means that you have limited time. Even when you are using the GPS, it often suggests multiple routes to a destination. All of the routes are valid routes. I am saying, take any of the routes, you will reach the same place. Even if you decide to stuff you life, with material possessions, money, furniture, bungalows, property, car, real estate, whatever, you would reach there.

But, which route do you choose, when the GPS shows you five competing routes? You choose the shortest route.

So, Spirituality is not the only route to God. If someone says that spirituality is the only route to God, then he doesn’t understand the mind.

Spirituality, is one of the routes to God.

It is just the shortest route.

And, the fact that it is the shortest route, is very, very important, because, you are mortal. Because your time is limited.

There are five routes from your place to the airport. If you do not choose the shortest route, there is a great chance that you will miss the flight. Do not miss the flight!

There is the path of fear, there is the path of desire, and then there is the path of love. The destination is same.

Now make the right choice!

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

Watch the session:  All that the mind knows is love || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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