Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Is it possible to be spiritual and eat animals?

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Question: Acharya Ji, is it possible to be spiritual and eat animals?

Acharya Prashant: No, it is not at all possible.

It is just not possible.

Because to be spiritual, is to simply know, the spiritual one would know who he is and what is happening through him. He would not be blind to what is kept on his plate. To be spiritual is to be not-fragmented. One would then really know, what is this thing called hunger, what is this thing called food, and what is thing called food-chain.

One would just not open the can, take the flesh and munch it. One would know where the whole thing is coming from, both in a physical way and in a mental way.

When you know where the entire thing is coming from, it simply does not happen. You see, a spiritual man does not relate to the other, in terms of body. It is something of the eye.

I often ask those who consume meat, instead of proceeding with a packaged product like meat, why don’t you slaughter the thing yourself, and when you slaughter the animal yourself, why don’t you know it fully?

Even as you slaughter it, after all, even from a perspective of self-interest, if something is going into your body it makes sense to know it fully.

Why don’t you look into its eyes as you slaughter it? Continue reading

Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Various religions, and their view of animals

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Question: How to understand religions, the treatment of animals and the role they play in religions?

Acharya Prashant: When you say religions, just for the sake of the conversation, I would want to divide them into two streams:

1. The Abrahamic stream

2. Indian.

So, the Judeo-Christian view is that God has dominion over man and man has dominion over animals, something similar also comes up in the third Abrahamic religion, Islam, which talks about Allah having created all the animals, fish, insects for the sake of man.

And, then there is the view of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism which talk of Ahimsa, Ekatva, which is non-violence and oneness.

But I am not really convinced that when we use the word religion, we must really talk of the view that organized religions take of this matter. The moment religion is organized, it becomes something man-made.

So, I will take your question to mean, that we want to talk about religion as such.

Man, animals, man’s inner world and man’s relationship with the so-called outer world including animals.

So, there is man and man lives according to himself in this so-called universe, this universe that appears to him through his senses, there is no other way a man perceives universe, he perceives it through his senses and he interprets it through his reason, through his intellect and through his knowledge and memory.

Now, how does man relate with the world?

How does man know what to do, how to approach, how to touch, how to live, how to eat, how to talk, how to connect, that to me is the essence of religion.

Man’s relationship with himself and the world, that is religion and that is also the essence of all the organized religions.

Hence, I find it more beneficial to talk about religion itself than the various organized religions.

I have named just six in the course of this talk. But as you of course know, there are hundreds of them. It would be more useful to directly go into the one rather than the hundreds and get lost in the maze, that is not very useful.

So, man’s relationship with the universe; see, how do I look at anything or anybody, depends on how I look at myself.

If there is a pool of water and I am playful, then the pool of water is a sport for me. If there is a pool of water and I have a phobia, then the pool of water is danger for me. If there is a pool of water and I am thirsty, then the pool of water is physical sustenance and survival for me.

So, depending on who I am and what my self-concept and self-worth is, I take a view of the world.

Now, If I am someone who is always feeling incomplete within himself, if I am someone who exists in order to take something, snatch or extract something from the universe in order to fulfill himself, then my view of the universe will be very utilitarian, rather exploitative.

So, as there is that little squirrel there.

Even as we talk she is there with her tail up. How do I look at her?

I could look at her as food if hunger is what I most identify with.

I could look at her at as a companion too.

Whatever is the form she takes for me is very intimately related to the form that I have assigned to myself. The squirrel will disappear in a while, and she has indeed disappeared. She is no more there. She is all by herself somewhere. The squirrel will disappear but that which I carry as myself will not. I will carry it, I will keep carrying it.

If I am feeling incomplete, that incompletion will remain irrespective of the temporal presence and disappearance of anything outside of me.

If I always feel hollow and hungry, then everything in the universe is but a resource for me. I will want to exploit the man, the woman, the tree, the rock, the child, the animal, just everything.

Continue reading

Acharya Prashant on Brazil Elections

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(Following is an excerpt from an interview conducted by a Brazilian Journalist just before the last round of voting of Brazil’s Presidential Elections, from here onwards the interviewer is being addressed as Marcos, his first name)

Marcos: So, Brazil will be voting for who will be the President, on Sunday.

Acharya Prashant: On the 28th, Yes. And that would be the final round.

Marcos: Yes, the second round. We have, on the one hand, a candidate from the worker party. The left party of Brazil. And on the other hand, we have an extreme rightist guy, who is very aggressive and who is using the ancient tactics of causing fear to give a solution. And as the leftists have been making some mistakes in Brazil – they are accused of corruption etc – a lot of people are voting for this rightist guy. So, there is a very aggressive scenario and people are beating each other on the streets. Some people have died unfortunately. And I would like to give a message, or be the translator of the message from you, of consciousness, of peace, of better understanding, of the importance of this moment for Brazil, because there is a lot of anger, a lot of chaos and a very hazy consciousness and analysis of what’s really happening.

AP: You see, rightist tendencies are gaining prominence in all parts of the world. It’s not merely Brazil, we have seen that happen in the Americas, in Europe, in West Asia, in India. And, we must go into the reasons behind this surge. When the center, or the left of the center, promises a great deal, but that great deal does not include a true sense of identification, a deep peace of mind, then there is disenchantment from the left. To understand what is happening, we must go into the mind of the human being, for the human being is the voter.

What does the human being want? Does the human being want merely bread-butter, sustenance, houses, cars? Yes, obviously we need all these things, but we also need something beyond all this. So, beyond the material, does the human being want the grand concepts of equal opportunity, liberty, fraternity, secularism, justice, and other great concepts? Yes, these principles are all needed, but even these principles are not sufficient.

The human being in his totality obviously needs food for the stomach, and shelter and education. And going ahead, human being obviously also needs a secure society. Secure, in terms of providing employment, taking care of old-age, providing medical facilities and such things. Now, obviously we all want to live in societies where there is justice, where there is no oppression, where there is no racism or misogyny. So, these are definitely needed, but, let me ask again, do they suffice? That is one question that leaders, politicians, thinkers, well-wishers, the world over, must ponder upon.

The material alone does not suffice, and what do I mean by the material? By material, I mean houses, cars, air-conditioners, jets, and bread and butter, obviously. So, not only does the material not suffice, even great intellectual and social concepts and their realisation do not prove to be the final fulfillment.

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Acharya Prashant on Veganism: Vedas and Milk

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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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Don’t imagine solutions

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it. This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

Don’t imagine solutions. Don’t imagine that if I do like this, then that would happen. Do it first.

This is what you need to observe. While walking, roaming, eating, whatever is happening, just observe that and you will understand! Truth is not far. Just that is what you have to see.

As a boss, if I am sucking Life out of my employees’ life, is that not violence all the more.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask


 

Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask

Acharya Prashant: Ask absurd questions. People would say, he has gone mad. But, ask absurd questions.
Why should something like a ‘home’ exist? Have you ever asked this question? You go back home everyday, have you ever asked this? Why should anything like a home exist? I mean, why can’t we just be, wherever we are! Why do we always need to go somewhere in the evening? Why can’t I just be? You are there, I am there. And we are enjoying. We are here the whole night, spend the rest of the day, and we will leave when we feel like, then we will go another place. The whole world belongs to us! What is this concept of a home?

Ever thought? Ask. This is called Inquiry. What is this game about Mummy-Papa? One male, one female, sitting together in a home. What exactly is going on? And these people are supposed to be special. And the whole of religion, and the whole of society, and everything telling me that I must respect, Love them. What exactly is going on? Let me understand it, let me understand it. What is this thing called siblings? What are brothers and sisters? What is this thing called society? What is this thing called religion? What does one mean by religion? What is this thing called a normal life?

What is this thing called progress and growth? That one must progress in life! What is this thing called progress? Have you ever asked yourself, about this thing called progress? Papa, why do you keep chanting, progress, progress? What is meant by progress? A little more money? Why do you need more money? What would you do with it? Are you using all the money that you have? You are using only ten percent of the money you have, rest all is in the banks! So, what will you do with more progress? First, finish the money that is there in the banks! I already have so much, first let me finish it up. What happened to the money in the bank? Is it all finished?

These are absurd questions but ask them. Understand, how the minds of the people function.

When you see the roads in the mornings, full of traffic; Ask, what is this going on? Where are these people going? Why? Look at their faces! People are coming back home in the evening time, in traffic, look at their faces. Ask them, is this what life and work are supposed to be? That they have made faces like that! People who are returning back around 7.30 – 8pm, have you ever focused on their faces, expressions? They are driving a car, there is peak traffic hour, and they are stuck in long traffic jams! Have you ever looked at their faces? Look. Look closely, inattention. And ask yourself, is this what I am preparing myself for? I am paying fees in Lakhs so that my life becomes rubbish like this? I am paying to get assaulted?

Listener: Acharya Ji, asking questions, will we be getting the correct answers?

AP:

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it.

This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

L: But when we will inquire, won’t we be thinking?

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Truth is not the thought of truth

Who is a sage? A sage is the one who is extremely sensitive, who is able to catch even that which we normally ignore.

The saint is one who has realized that life is not also hell but just hell.

Because in thinking and concluding thus, you’ve missed the happening.

Gratefulness is not the thought of gratefulness. Joy is not the thought of joy. Truth is not the thought of truth.

Gratefulness means not having any sense of like or dislike.

The spiritual man is neck deep into action. He is not an escapist.

Because all your imagination proceeds from the centre of what you currently have made yourself to be, what you currently are.


Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?