Trying to experience the Total means you are reducing the Total to an object

Trying to experience the Total means you are reducing the Total to an object, a limited object. Whereas totally experiencing whatever is, means, you experience whatever is there, to experience. But, you have the Total behind your back, patting, touching you gently, toddling you on and saying, “Go ahead.”

Total, go ahead, experience. The world is yours.



Read the Complete Article: Do not try to experience the Total just totally experience whatever is

Do not try to experience the Total just totally experience whatever is

Acharya Prashant: Searching for Oneness?

Listener: Yes

AP: Surely you must be experiencing a lack of oneness if you are searching for it.

L: Yes.

AP: Where do you find a lack of oneness?

L: I know that, first of all, the lack of oneness when I experience it, it is in me.

AP: Is it there, or, is it being thought of? How do you know that there is no oneness? And, how do you know what oneness is, if you do not know it?

You see, I go out to search for ‘Tibba’. Now to search for ‘Tibba’, first of all, I must know what ‘tibba’ is. Otherwise, how will I find ‘Tibba’? How will I identify it?

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Why does God exist?

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Acharya Prashant: Why is there God? (Smiles) Ask God! Would God ask this? God is alright as he is, right?

L1: No sir my question is why is there God? We have already seen…

AP: So are you asking, “Is there a God? Or, why is there God?” Why is there God? I am asking, would God ask this question? Because God, even by your concepts, is complete hence contended. He won’t ask, “Why do I exist?”. So if God won’t ask this and you are asking this, who are you? Continue reading

How to have spiritual experiences?

Question: Acharya ji, what do you think is the significance of understanding the body to have some real experiences beyond the mind of oneness. I mean, I see a lot of masters giving discourses on how the oneness is realized on mind levels sometimes. But there are no real, valid experiences within the body for the true, bliss of true oneness, or seeing the reality as one throughout.

Acharya Prashant: I am glad you brought this up. Is everybody one with the question? His question is, how does the experience of oneness come about? He is asking – all the understanding that one has from the scriptures, from learning, from life, from teachers, how does one validate it through personal, bodily experience? He is taking the personal, physical experience as a measure, as an indicator of Truth. And that often happens, right? Don’t we say that, “Unless I see it with my own eyes, I won’t believe.”

Two people are talking of something and they come and break the news to you. They say, “You know, we just saw a dog with eight legs.”
What do you say? “Unless I see with my own eyes, I won’t believe.”

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The difference between ordinary and common

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Question: Sir what is the difference between being ordinary and being common?

Acharya Prashant: Commonness is social, commonness is what you see all around. What is very very prevalent is common. Ordinary is that which may not appear to be very prevalent, but is all-pervasive; which is the essential; that to which nothing has been added.

We usually use these two words — ordinary and common — as synonyms but they are not synonyms. Continue reading

What is meant by oneness of mankind?

Listener: We are all one…

Acharya Prashant: In what sense?

L1: Connected to each other…

AP: But I see you as distinct. How are we all one?

It is often said, and it sounds nice to hear that we are all one. But I want us to not just accept anything because tradition has it, or because wise men have talked of it, but really go into it ourselves, and figure out what is meant by oneness?

What is it implied by the unity of mankind? You’ve heard this often, right?

“We all are one.”

What does that mean?

L1: We can say something is there in all of us which is common; which is central…

AP: What does it mean?

L2: Kindness and emptiness.

AP: Yes, but we are all one, what does that mean? How are we all one?

L1: We can describe it according to the material concept that we all start from the same place and come back to the same place.

AP: Let us start from where we are, what we see. Do you see one being sitting here or different persons?

L1: Different persons.

AP: What do you see?

Different persons. Not one being, right?

Do you see many posters here or one poster?

L1: Many posters.

AP: Do you see many lights here or one light?

L2: Many.

AP: We live in a world of many-ness, right? Not oneness.

So, when you live by the eyes, by the senses, all you see is differences and diversity. If you believe your eyes, they will only tell you that things are different. In fact, the senses can communicate the existence of things, only when things are different; only when things have a limit and a boundary. One thing is different from the other because it stops somewhere and then the other things starts, right?

See, if you can perceive this wall, it is because this wall has a boundary, it starts and ends. Had this wall been infinite, you wouldn’t have been able to perceive at all. So, senses are limited and all that they perceive is limitation. Eyes are limited and if you go by the eyes then what you will see is limitation and hence differences and hence diversity.

Do you see this?

Now, instead of being a blind believer in eyes, one goes a little deeper. One says that, “Is it not true that if I am seeing four posters there on that particular pillar, the other one too, is seeing only four?and then you say, “Now, there is something common between the two of us.” Earlier we were seeing only differences, and now we are seeing something that is not different, and that is common.

What is it that is common between the two of us?

That we perceive in the same way. We perceive different things, but we perceive in the same way, alright?

Then, you also see that everybody has a tendency to over perceive that which appeals to him, which suits his conditioning and to under perceive or ignore that which does not mean anything to him. Do you see this? And you will find another commonality.

The deeper you keep going into the mind of man, you find that more and more is common amongst us. Happiness is common amongst human beings, so is sadness and sorrow. We all are conditioned alike. We all have a deep yearning for peace. We see that since thousands of years, man has lived, psychologically, in the same way.

It does not matter to which country you belong, it does not matter to which time you belong. Wars have been fought, then agreements have been made, then conflicts have again arisen, then again wars have been fought. And when you see that, then you see that essentially, the mind of mankind is one — it does not matter what your gender is, it doesn’t matter what your nationality or ethnicity is, it doesn’t matter what your religion is, it doesn’t matter what your education is.

The fact is that fundamentally, the mind of man behaves in the same way. And then, you also see that it is not only the mind of man, not only the mind of human beings, but also the mind of all sentient creatures. When you go into their very impulses, in to their basic urges, you see that we are all one.

An animal wants to reproduce so does a human being.

When death approaches, a tree shivers in the same way as a human being shivers.

So, all consciousness is one.

Do you see this?

Fundamentally, it is not about only the unity of human beings, it is then, about the unity of all sentient, conscious beings. Do you see this?

But all these statements of unity, of oneness, can be made only when you go deeper and deeper into the fundamental nature of the mind. I repeat, if you remain only at the surface, all that you see is differences.

It is extremely easy to say that this is violet, this is red; he is old, he is young; here is a man, there is a woman; here is an Indian and here is a European — it is extremely easy to see and claim differences. That is when you are living at a sensory level, but the deeper you go, you say, “Ah! Are we not all one? Is the woman not striving for security in the very same way as the man? Is the dog not wishing to further his existence through his progeny in the same way as the wisest man? Is the tree not enjoying fine weather as the whale?Now you have reached the root of ego and that is where we are all one. 

We are all one in that sentient, conscious thread which binds us together.

Unfortunately, that sentient conscious thread which holds us together is also the thread of sorrow.  

We are all one in our misery.

We are all one in our fears.

We are all one in the type of wars that we fight.

Can we be one differently?

Yes, it is possible to be one differently. Man does not need to be like man only in his sorrow, only in his suffering.

Can we be unified in joy as well?

Now, is joy merely the absence of sorrow?

Is joy happiness?

Yes, we are one in the fact that we are all happiness seekers, that we pursue pleasure but is there something else which brings us totally together? You know, even when we are pursuing pleasure, still we are a little different, why?

Because, as divided beings we seek pleasure in different things, so, still there remains a modicum of a difference.

Is it possible to be absolutely one?

OK, let me elaborate through an example: We are talking, right? And we are together, and it has been a beautiful evening — we have read, we have discussed, and soon we will be coming to the closure of the proceedings. We have been very close, I have spoken, intermittently, you have spoken and we have spoken in harmony. Yet there always remains a difference when you speak and when I speak; when you speak and when she speaks. The words themselves create a boundary.

When can we be absolutely together? Now, I could say, “You know, you are my brother and I love you.”

And you could say, “Yes, you are our brother and we love you.”

And still there would remain a difference – what I mean by Love is not what you mean by love.

It is a love that we have declared. It is a love that is a product of man’s mind. It is a love that we have announced and hence, we have reserved the rights to withdraw. So, in spite of saying that we are one; I am saying, I am announcing here that, “We are all one.” And you too do that and like a mantra, a chorus arises, “We are all one”, and still a great difference remains.

When would we be really one?

L1: When the barrier of language transcends and we would be able to understand.

AP: And that is what you call as Silence. It is in silence that we are one. Is silence something material? Silence is the absence of that which creates differences. We are one when we are silent. We are really one, when we are not what we have assumed ourselves to be.

Till the time you think of yourself as a European and I think of myself as an Indian — we cannot be one. Till the time you carry a distinction and so do I — we cannot be one. Till the time you are knowledgeable and I am ignorant — we cannot be one.

Till the time you and I are anything or anybody — we cannot be one.  

Oneness is possible only when you are nobody and I am nobody. 

So, oneness is actually zero-ness.

Hence, your question that what is meant by oneness of mankind must now move into zero-ness. Oneness of mankind does not mean that you and I together are commonly one something. No!

Between human beings, oneness is possible only in nothingness. Only when you stop taking seriously whatever you believe or assume yourself to be, then you and I really can be unified, that is also called as Love.

Believing in your identities, carrying with yourself the load of all your education, your qualifications, your ethnicity, your religion and all else the mind carries and matters to the mind, carrying the load of all that, it is impossible to harmoniously relate to the other human being. You may say that you are a Hindu or a Christian and you are trying to be kind as a Hindu or a Christian but the fact is, as a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, you would only be kind in a Hindu way, or a Muslim way or a Christian way, which is no kindness at all. Do you see this?

Kindness is possible only when you are not;

only when you are nothing;

only when you are empty and zero.

You are trying to be a loving husband to your wife but this love would be the ‘love of a husband’ as a ‘husband’ and hence it would be no love at all. It would be just an image of the love which would be called a ‘husband’s love’.

Love is possible only when you are not a husband and she is not a wife. It is only then that two free beings are relating to each other. Only when you are nobody and she is nobody then there can be love. Do you see that?

As long as you operate in memories, you approach her with the burden of the past, you approach her with the knowledge that you already know her — there is no real relationship possible. All that would happen between you and her is a role play based on a preset script, a role play that is carried forward by experiences and memories.

The more you are something or somebody, or anybody, the more divided you are. The more divided you are, the more violent you are.

We need peace. Don’t we? That is what we are all deeply craving for. The mistake that we often make is that we want peace as somebody. 

You can never be a peaceful somebody; you can just be peace.

If you say, “I am a peaceful X or Y”, and that X or Y could be anything – your gender, your ethnicity, your nationality, your religion, your qualification, your age — anything — all you have created is a boundary. It is like crying from within a boundary that, “I am free.”

How much sense does that make?

You raise walls and then from within the walls you say, “Freedom, Freedom!”

Does that make sense?

We are all one only in the open sky. It is the open sky that bears no distinctions only that is undivided. From within boundaries, you cannot ask for oneness. And the matter is that, without oneness we will never come to relax. Oneness is what we are desperate for. Oneness is what the poets, the sages, the Rishis have sung of. Oneness with each other is also oneness with the Divine.I am one with you when both of us are one with what you can either call as emptiness or alternately, as God.

We all are one either as the swelling sea – the full sea – or as the empty sky. 

In the sea there are no distinctions. Pick up water from everywhere or anywhere, it is the same and in the sky too, there are no distinctions. Let the clouds remain, yet there are no distinctions. You fill the whole sky up with smoke, yet the whole sky is not tarnished or stained.

My request is, kindly do not commit the mistake of having the right intentions from the wrong positions. Often, we have great intentions, but from the wrong position.

As a father I want to do good to my son.

I will never be successful!

Because the father is an identity, the father is a pre-set role, the father will remain ‘fatherly’ – which is a limitation; which is a boundary that he is setting to the relationship with his son. Now, as a father, I want to do good to my son and that is why the world is a place where we have so much of friction between fathers and sons, precisely, because fathers are ‘fathers’ and sons are ‘sons’.

I often ask my audience, I say that, “You know, if somebody knocks on that door and you have a hole available in that door through which to peep. If it is a stranger, you at least bother to look at the face of the stranger for a few seconds or a minute. Don’t you? If you come across a stranger you at least pay so much of attention; but when you go home and you meet your father or mother or husband or wife or son or daughter, do you pay attention to their faces?”

You say, “We already know them, what is there now new to look at?”

A stranger at least extracts this much of consideration from us that we look at his face for let’s say five seconds or ten seconds. The ones to whom we are already related how many time do we bother to closely look at their face as if we are looking at them for the first time. We say, “What is the need to look at them? We already know them.” We start our conversations from where we left it in the past. We do not start afresh, anew. Now, how can there be oneness? How can there be a relationship and Love?

It is knowledge that creates so much of our problem. Mankind has accumulated a lot of knowledge. Spirituality is about having the confidence to live free of knowledge in matters that are essential. Yes, in driving a car you need knowledge and skill. Yes, in working up on machines, you need knowledge. But when you become a creature of knowledge even in the essentials of life, then you are becoming mechanical; then you are losing out on your life, and the result will be implicit and explicit violence as well.

Are we together on this?

L2: Sir, people live with boundaries, with limited boundaries but they don’t understand that it is not love.

AP: Because the boundaries have been given respectable names. We continue with them because our boundaries, our limitations have been given very sacred names. That, which is a burden to us, has been given respectable names — we call it duty, responsibility, identity, ambition, growth, progress. And when you start giving your disease, beautiful names then you are ensuring the continuity and furtherance of the disease. We have given our diseases very beautiful names.

We must look at facts as facts. Often what we call as duty is just fear or is it not? Often what we call as love is just attachment or is it not? Let’s call it at least by the right name, that much of honesty is needed.


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

Watch the session: What is meant by oneness of mankind? | YouTube


Further Reading:

Joy

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The book throws light on how the search of happiness is a futile one. With utmost simplicity, he explains how freedom from both happiness and sadness is the ultimate peace.

Author’s genius lies in the fact that he does not talk of happiness and sadness as some far off terms and does not throw concepts of ‘higher living’ to the readers. Rather, he deals with issues in a very simple, personal way and through this book extends an invitation to join the ongoing existential party.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/PRAVZP

Kindle: https://goo.gl/vuOsJS

How to read the scriptures?

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Listener 1:  I come from a very orthodox Muslim family. I have read a bit of Quran and it makes a lot of sense when it comes to particular stuff but at the same time, one of its perspective gives a feeling of narrow-mindedness. Right now, I am in a very big dilemma where to start with because I am quite illiterate in spiritual matters, and also I have been taught the same thing by the society like they condition everybody.

Acharya Prashant: Because you named the Quran, the center of Quran is Tauheed Oneness. There are no two Truths. Just That, and nothing else. Which means that be it the Prophet Mohammad or anybody else who ever could say anything of wisdom and value, the source is always the same because there are no two Truths, which means that even if you understand anything, including the Quran, the source of understanding has to be That One only.

Quran can be understood really only when you—as the ego mind; as the person, are connected to the same source that blessed the Prophet. Otherwise, one will misinterpret. And Quran has been badly misinterpreted, all religious scriptures have been misinterpreted.

The reason is obvious, very simple: the fellow who is speaking; the point from where his words are coming, that point is up there on that hill. Up there and pure, snow-like, beautiful, up there in the sky, the very peak, the climax, that is from where those words come. But words are words. Words belong to human languages. Be it Sanskrit or Aramaic or Arabic, doesn’t matter, words are words. The source of words is there but words are in the language of the commoners. So the commoners feel that they can interpret those words because they are in the commoners’ language, and commoners interpret those words standing in the valleys.

Words are coming from the sky and you are listening to them standing in the valley. You don’t want to rise up to that point. You don’t want that closeness; that oneness; unity with the source. You are so full of ego that you want to remain what you are. You want to protect your house which is in the depths of the valley. Remaining what you are, you apply your intellect upon the scriptures. Obviously, you will distort the scriptures. 

Sometimes you do it deliberately, sometimes you do it inadvertently, but invariably it does happen. Before you go to the Quran or the Bhagwad Gita or Bible or any book of any wisdom or any man of any wisdom, before you go anywhere you must first be in a condition to understand what that man or that book or that situation is saying.

Is it not right?

Suppose you are drunk and you start reading a holy book. Will you be able to make any sense of it? The whole of mankind is perpetually drunk. Can you allow a dunker to even touch the Quran? If you find that somebody has come to the Quran and he is stinking of alcohol, is it advisable, permissible that in that state he can read the verses, recites, interpret it? Is it alright? It cannot be alright in any religion.

In fact, it is said that you must be pure, you should’ve taken a bath, you should be fully awake, and then in a nice peaceful place, you should go to the scripture. The question is: Is it about the peace of the external? Is it about the peace of the words? Is it about the cleanliness of the body?

You should go to the scriptures with a very clean mind. You don’t just have to take a bath to purify the body, your mind should’ve been first purified, and only then you can go to the scriptures. Otherwise, you’ll make the mess of the teachings.

L2: Sir in due course of time the scriptures have been modified and altered as per the interests of a few. I have seen that people have started creating scriptures in their own way. The scriptures are the same but they interpret it accordingly so as to suit them. Therefore in my view people should not consider scriptures very much because they try to alter the sayings in their own way, but it seems so negative.

AP: No, it’s not at all negative, you see, what you are saying is exactly what at least the Indic scriptures say. They say that the highest point is to forget the scriptures. The scriptures do not recommend that you must constantly remember them. They say your mind is full of rubbish, you come to us so that the rubbish is cleared. And once you’ve gotten rid of the rubbish, you must also get rid of the scripture. In the same way, as one gets rid of the boat after crossing the river. Now, that you have crossed the river why are you still sitting in the boat.

So, if one can drop all the nonsense that is there in the name of religion then one is truly religious.

It requires a really religious man to drop all the religious nonsense.

Unless you have faith how will you really rebel against religion?

You look at Jesus, was the Jesus following the Bible? Not at least the new testament. Maybe, even the old testament, he wasn’t really following, he was clearly giving it new meanings. He said that the commandments are there but let me tell you what those commandments really mean. So it is an expression of the deep religiosity of Jesus that he rebels against the existing religion.

Only when you can rebel against the existing religion then you can be assured that God is powering you. Because without the support of that One reality, that one Truth, how will you have the courage to stand against the false?

The false is so overwhelming, you know, today you have communities that number in billions—Christians are over two billion, Muslims must be approaching two billion, more than one billion Hindus are there and Buddhists and numbers and numbers. Now, when such a huge number is following a particular way, then from where will you get the strength to not to follow that way?

That requires the support of God.

So that is real religiosity.

You see, be it, Jesus or Mohammad, they are first and foremost rebels. Mohammad didn’t carry forward a pre-existing religion. He had something new to say, and that is why it is said that He was in direct touch with Allah. Because without being in direct touch with God how will you ever come upon something new? You’ll just keep repeating the old.

So, feel free, totally free, don’t have that fear that you must follow the conventional.

Religion is not at all about going in a particular line, going down the beaten track, not at all.

Religion is extremely dynamic, religion is more modern than modern.

Religion does not consist of rituals.

Religion means, ‘I will live my life with Honesty and Truth.’

And are Honesty and Truth outdated things? Are Honesty and Truth something that belongs to the seventh or first centuries?

They don’t!

Is love something that you would take as primordial? And without religion what love are you talking about?  

So, religion is cool; religion is young; religion is vigour.

But not the religion that is touted, not the religion that is being publicised.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to read the scriptures?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: God and scriptures are not matters of personal belief

Article 2: On Quran: You cannot guess the ways of God

Article 3:Spiritual scriptures have no meaning


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant :

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant
Flipkart:  https://goo.gl/fS0zHf