Tag Archives: Personality

The four grades of mind || Acharya Prashant (2019)

The four grades of mind

Question: Acharya ji, what is the most important lesson in spiritual wisdom? How to understand the mind of a commoner? How to understand a spiritual mind? How to understand a scientific mind? What are the challenges faced in spiritual journey?

Acharya Prashant Ji: One of the key lessons in spiritual wisdom, is to keep imagination apart from facts, is to not take your ‘personal world’, as ‘the’ world. It is already bad enough that we take ‘the factual world’, ‘the world’ to be real. And it would become far worse if we started taking even our ‘personal world’, ‘the imaginary world’ to be real.

The mark of the commoner is, he lives in his personal world, and attributes to it, the finality of Truth. The mark of the scientist, is that he does not live in his world, he does not care about subjective interpretations of the world, he lives fully in facts. So his science is fully objective, and does not contain trace of personal subjecivity. The scientist is obviously, an advancement over the common psyche. And then the mark of the spiritual mind, is that, it does not lend veracity even to the factual world.

The common mind is inclined to say, “Something exists, because I feel it does.” Right? “Something exists, because I feel, or think that it does.” So he says, “Something exists.” So his world is very, very subjective. Then there is the world of the scientist. He says, “Something does not merely exist, because it appears to exist. Appearances can be deceptive. Appearances vary from person to person, even mood to mood. So I have to verify. I have to cross-check.” And that is the scientific method.

Prove it, and any number of proofs do not suffice to ascertain the veracity of something. But one proof against the veracity of something, suffices to prove that it is false. That’s the scientific mind.

And then there is the spiritual mind.

The spiritual mind says, “Not only is the imaginary world unreal, even this objective, factual, scientifically proven world, that you see, expanded all around you and inside you, is not quite real.”

We have talked of three kinds of minds. There is another quality of mind, that is below even the common mind. It is the mind of the madman, the crazy man. The common man cares at least a bit for facts. The crazy man does not care even one bit for facts.

The common mind would atmost say, “Yes, this is the pillar. But I do not like this pillar.” So, to him this is a dis-likable pillar. The crazy mind would may even say that this is an elephant, and he would insist that this is an elephant, and this is his totally personal truth.

The more your truth becomes personal, the more crazy you are. The madman too lives in truths, but all his truths are purely personal. If he says, “This is an elephant,” – this is an elephant for him. He says, “I do not bother about universality. I do not bother about something being verifiable. I do not bother about facts. Obviously I do not bother about the Truth. All I bother about is my subjective perception.”

The more you live in your world of subjective perceptions, the more crazy you are.

Listener: So, in the light of this, this is the good reason for travelling and wanting to explore?

Acharya Ji: Yes, very good.

Travel helps you see that several of the things, opinions customs, mindsets, you were taking as absolutes, or general, universal, are not universal at all. 

There are alternate viewpoints possible.

There are alternate ways of living possible.

That does not mean that alternate ways of living are truer than your ways of living. That merely means, that there do exist alternatives, and Truth has no alternative. So, a thing to which an alternative does exist, is just not the Truth. If it is not the Truth, it must not be given the position of Truth. It must be taken lightly, casually, with a pinch of salt.

Do not be sold out to it. Do not become a fanatic. Do not hold your opinions, as if they are the last thing. But, if you have seen nothing, apart from opinions of your personal kind, then you would be much more inclined to believe that you opinions are not personal, or subjective opinions of a person, or a place, but that they are the final Truth.

It is always helpful to see an alternative. It is probably even more helpful, to watch your point of view challenged, even defeated. All of that helps you, come out of your false truths.

The key challenge in spirituality, is not the attainment of absolute Truth, because there is as such nothing to be attained. What are you going to attain with these little hands? Can you really attain immensity? You cannot. The infinite is not given to be contained in littleness. And we are all very little.

Hence, the key challenge is not the attainment of the infinite. The key challenge is to come out of the finite. And that is far more difficult. We keep talking of the immense, the great, the unknowable, the unreachable, the absolute. But hardly do we bother to challenge all the relatives, all the littlenesses, all the subjectivities, that we so very identify with. And not only do we identify with them, we label them as the – final Truth.

Challenging your personal truths, is most of spirituality. Those are the ninety-none steps. Ninety-nine steps of the personal demolition. And the final step, that just happens. What is incumbent upon you, that for which you are responsible, is personal demolition. You are not responsible for attainment of the absolute Truth.

That is not at all your responsibility, because you are too small to do that. However, you are surely, definitely, responsible to challenge yourself. That responsibility everyone must bear. That is the basis of personal integrity, personal honesty.

Personal integrity is – to not to take the person too seriously.

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

Watch the session:  The four grades of mind || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Books by the Speaker are available at:




Why falsely satisfied with the personal?

Why falsely satisfied with the personal

Question: Acharya ji, many times of the day, there may be happiness in the background, but if any sad event happens, then it takes more time to recover to my normal, common state.

Why is it so?

Acharya Prashant ji: Don’t give yourself so much time. The Satan was once asked, “When you want to fool people, what do you tell them?” He replies, “I whisper in their ears, “Your time is, ‘your’ time.” Why do you have so much of personal time? Why do you have free time at all? Free-time, is the most un-free time.

Why is your time not committed, not dedicated to a higher purpose?

If you will have free time, what will you do? You will only use that time to destroy yourself.

Your time must be a something, that you are merely a trustee of.

When you are a trustee of something, then you don’t own it. Then you just look after it. You maintain it, you keep it.

You don’t possess it, you don’t utilize it.

And even if you utilize it, you utilize it for a goal that is not your personal goal. Why do you utilize your time for your personal goals? That’s bad, and that’s why you are punished.

Question: Acharya ji, for e.g. if a death happens in my neighborhood, I come to normalcy sooner or later. But if a death happens in my family, it takes me longer time to recover. Why is it so?

Acharya ji: What if the death happens in your family, and at the same time, an earthquake strikes the entire country. Would you still have time to ponder over that solitary death? Why don’t you have a higher purpose?

Why don’t you see that an earthquake is constantly hitting us? There is a constant upheaval. Nobody is centered, or peacefully situated. All are in turmoil. All living beings are passing through the harrowing cycle of life and death.

How can you then allow yourself to be perturbed by a solitary death? Tell me. Why do you have only personal considerations in mind? What does one death in my neighborhood mean, in the context of the billion animals that are being slaughtered every day? Why don’t you have a perspective? Why don’t you have a bigger picture available to you? Even as you are grieving over the one death, in let’s say your cousin’s family, a billion goats, rabbits, lambs, fish, cows, camels, and off-course chicken, have been slaughtered even as the tear-drop rolls down your eyes, to your chin.

In the time, that it takes the tear-drop to roll down, from your eye, to your chin, millions of living beings have been slaughtered, and you are grieving over the one personal relationship you had. How noble is that? How are you available to grief?

Listener: But, ultimately it is true.

Acharya ji: It is not true, till it is true for you.

Question: Acharya ji, why does it happen, that I worry only about something bad happening to me?

Acharya ji: Your consciousness is too self-centred. It needs expansion, it needs sublimation.

Listener: My daily life rotates around only certain aspects.

Acharya ji: Change the daily life. Give it up. That’s why you have been called here. Why must you preserve this thing called ‘daily life’? I invite you to begin afresh. Why is there such sacredness around your personal life? What is really sacred about this thing called ‘personal life’, ‘personal time’, ‘personal relationships’? I tell you, given a chance, you will want to give all that up.

Given a chance to really re-live your life, you will never want to live the same way you have done. Even the most self-assured person, would want to greatly amend his life, if allowed a chance to begin again. Is it not true?

Publicly you may claim, that you would want to again live the same life, if you get a chance. Inside you know, that is not the case. Nobody is contended.

Why attach some, or great sacredness, to the thing that you are already not satisfied with. Don’t you see a gross contradiction? We live in perpetual flux of desires. What does that mean? We are not contended. Do you see that? Do you see that?

And on the other hand, we attach the great sanctity to our personal life. Now, on one hand, you are not at all contended with your state. On the other hand, you treat it as some divine absolute – unchangeable and perfect.  Isn’t it contradictory? Isn’t it self-destructive?


I will put it in simpler words. On one hand, you are not at all satisfied with your state of affairs, are you? On the other hand, you do not want to touch a lot of things in your life, as if they are absolutely the Truth – not touchable, not changeable. C’mon, be prepared to discard all that. All ‘this’.

Question: Acharya ji, I am now realising that one should have a larger perspective towards life. Our life should not be limited only to one’s family and locality. Am I right?

Acharya ji: Obviously a larger perspective, obviously. But you have to differentiate between your personal capacity, for action, your personal, physical, limited energy, and the possibility o infinite realization.

One very well knows that hunger is widespread. That must be known. One has  a capacity for global consciousness, or is that capacity not available? But that does not mean that you will simultaneously have the capacity to globally eradicate hunger. These two must go hand-in-hand.

On one hand you must have sympathy, rather close empathy for all the animals being mis-treated, ill-treated, exploited. On the other hand, you very well know that you cannot go to Africa or Canada and prevent all the exploitation that is happening there. But what is it that you can do? You can at least protect animals in your vicinity.

And these two must go hand-in-hand – a universal consciousness, and local action.

You cannot say that because I cat locally, so my consciousness is also local.


Because if your consciousness is local, then your entire person-hood will become very-very local.

You will become, in simple words, very-very narrow-minded.

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

Watch the session:  Why falsely satisfied with the personal? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Books by the Speaker are available at:




Acharya Prashant, with teachers: Are you the suppliers for society’s demands?


Acharya Prashant: The first question that a teacher must ask himself is, “What does he mean by change? Is he going to teach the habitual subjects, the habitual ways? Is he going to prepare the student to become another social machine? Right?

It seems that the end result of all habitual teaching is nothing but the production of a human being who fits in nicely in the social machine.

Let’s try to see. Let’s try to understand what is it, that we are producing in our classrooms.

There is the activity of teaching going on. It starts when the student is how many years old? “When the process of teaching starts? How old is the child when his teaching process starts?”

Listener: Five years.

AP: Right. Organize teaching?

L: Three or four years.

AP: 3 years or 4 four years. And goes on till the age of?

L: Till the death.

AP: Organise teaching?

L: Twenty.

AP: Twenty to twenty-five.

Let’s see clearly that a period of at least twenty years is being dedicated to the student who is emerging out of our education system. Are we one of this? Are we clear on this? For twenty years, the time has come to prepare a student who eventually comes out of our system as a product.

Now, what are we doing? Are we acting as suppliers? Please be attentive because we are trying to understand what is meant by saying are we preparing a child to be a cog in our social machine. We want to understand what does it mean? Twenty years we teach him and what is happening twenty years later?

We are supplying to the child back to the society. Correct? So it enters us in a process and then he leaves us and then he enters the society. Right? The society wants a certain kind of output from the teacher. Is that true?

L: Yes.

AP: The society wants a certain kind of output from the teacher that becomes such and such personality. Right? And what is the teacher doing? The teacher is supplying to the society what it wants from the teacher.

Continue reading

Acharya Prashant, with students: You are the mother of all importance


Acharya Prashant: All your student life, you have been talking and studying about this and that. The languages, Science, Social Sciences – History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry. Now, Technology.

But there is one entity that you have forgotten so much, that it is very difficult at this moment, to even remind you of that entity. That entity has never been in the domain of your education. You have studied about a lot of things, but there is one entity that you have never studied about. Never bothered to attend to.

What is that entity?

Listener: Personality.

AP: Personality?

You will get to study a lot of Personality.

In fact, you have been studying about nothing but ‘Personality’!

‘Personality’ by definition is nothing but what you gather from outside.

Continue reading

Acharya Prashant, with students: The need to impress

Acharya Prashant: How many of you see, this, a very important factor in your life? Actually, we have been able to look at the issue right in the eye then we say that we need English to impress others.

Someone talked of communication. ‘Communication’ is an expression, right? And that’s a pure thing. Uncorrupted, unadulterated. But when ‘expression’ becomes a desire for ‘impression’, then are we really aware of what is happening?

You have the photographs and words of this man (Sh. APJ Abdul Kalaam), all over this place. Have you heard him speak? If not, look at some of his videos on youtube, expression is happening, communication is purely happening. But is there also a desire to ‘impress’ anybody? Did he proceed with a particular kind of accent? Does he proceed with great fluency?

Listeners: No.

AP: Is ‘communication’ happening or not?

L: Yes.

AP: And is communication happening with great felicity or not? ‘Felicity’ means, ease, smoothness. Is communication happening in a very smooth and spontaneous way or not?

L: Yes.

AP: But is he also inflicted by a desire to impress somebody?

L: No.

AP: And what would have happened, had there been a desire to impress the audience? What would have happened? Let’s try to understand, what might have happened, had there been a desire to impress the audience?

L: The pitch goes high and higher.

AP: What have you printed here? His accent or his words, his content?

L: Words, content.

Continue reading

Acharya Prashant: How to really listen to the Guru?

Question: In one video, you said that to listen to Krishna, you need to be Arjuna. To Listen to Ashtavakra also you need to be Janak.

To listen to you, what should the person be?

Acharya Prashant: The person should not be insistent on being the ‘person.’ That begins with not seeing the speaker as a person and not imagining the listener to be the person. If here a person is speaking sitting on this chair, then surely there is another person sitting on another chair who is listening. Now, listening cannot really happen. Because persons cannot really relate to each other.

A person is a limitation.

Limitations can associate with each other. But limitations cannot relate to become limitless.

You take one limitation and you associate it with another one, you do not get limitlessness. What you get is another limitation.

One person listening to another person will not listen to the Truth. He will come to some opinion, some conclusion, something of the mind or attitude. But he won’t come upon Truth or silence.

To listen to me you need to forget all about yourselves. And you need to forget that what you are listening to is a person’s personal viewpoints.

If you will insist on saying that what is coming to you is somebody’s personal opinion, then no person ever has the obligation to be non-resistant to another person’s opinions. Opinions by definition are meant to be analyzed, judged, dissected, then partially accepted or rejected.

You will have to see that that which speaks from this chair is the same that listens from that chair, or listening simply doesn’t happen.

Till the time there is A speaking to B, listening cannot happen.

Only Truth listens to the Truth.

Only that within you can listen to me which speaks from within me. And they are one. Which means that there has to be a certain unity between the ‘listener’ and the ‘speaker.’ I said,

to listen to Krishna you need to be Arjuna. But it’s not really Arjuna who listens to Krishna. It’s Krishna within Arjuna that listens to Krishna. No Arjuna can ever know Krishna. Even to look at Krishna, Arjuna requires eyes that are bestowed upon him by Krishna.

You’ll have to give your listening a total chance, a total freedom. And that is a very impersonal freedom. You’ll have to simply drop giving importance to all that is personal about the speaker.

Continue reading

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