Tag Archives: Religion

God, Love and Gratitude

God Love and Gratitude

Question: Acharya ji, how are Gratitude and Love connected with each other?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Love is the urge to move towards That.

Gratitude is the lightness you keep experiencing, as you move towards That. 

Love is what brings Sudama to Krishna.

Gratitude is what Sudama feels, as he keeps coming closer to Krishna, and as he returns, after meeting Krishna. 

Out of these, obviously, love will come first. You love Him, you move close to Him, He showers his bounties on you, Gratitude arises. But obviously love cannot be in expectation of bounties. 

And that also explains Gratitude. Gratitude says, “I did not even want it, or dream of it, and I am still receiving it. How fascinating! I don’t even deserve it, and yet I am being blessed with it.

Question: Acharya Ji, how to show Gratitude?

Acharya Ji: You distribute it.

Gratitude is the realisation, that you have something beyond your capacity, beyond your eligibility.

Once you are grateful, you stop measuring others, on the eligibility scale. Just as you received something, irrespective of your eligibility, similarly, you start distributing it to others, irrespective of their eligibility.

Question: Acharya ji, why are there so many forms of God as Krishna, Ram, or Shiva?

Acharya Ji: Because you are so many. Even here I have to speak in two languages. You are so many, that different words, different names are needed. And if there are eight hundred crore of you, currently alive, then how many names and how many definitions and forms will be needed?

God is one, but you are many, therefore gods are many.

Listener: So, there is no difference between…

Acharya ji: For you, there is a lot of difference.

Listener: Yes, they were different for me. Now, should I try to understand the commonality and singularity that all of them represent?

Acharya Ji: The singularity is there, whether you understand it or not. I wanted some normal Dal, and my hotel waiter tells me that a normal dal, with a bit of spinach in it, is ‘palakura pappu’.

(laughter)

And I have been so fascinated by this word, ‘palakura pappu’, while driving the car, I was singing of it, – “Palakura pappu..” It is just dal. Dal-palak. Just little bit of distance, and ‘dal-palak’ becomes ‘palakura pappu’.

And God is so very distant from the common egoistic human being. Obviously, there would be a great diversity in names.

Question: Acharya Ji, are there any simpler and direct ways of Remembering?

Acharya Ji: The Zen way is there, but it is very direct. It is as direct, as a stick- straight and forward.

Zen teachers had very great respect for time. They would not even waste time in explaining. So many of them, would simply beat up.

That is the way of instant remembrance, for the forgetful mind.

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

Watch the session:  God, Love and Gratitude || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)

The relation between religion and spirituality

Question: Acharya ji, my sister believes in Christianity, and she has also changed her religion. Now, she says that I am on a wrong path. What is the right path? How are religion and spirituality connected?

Acharya Prashant:

When the subtle becomes gross, rather the subtle is turned into gross,

then all these religious prejudices are born.

So, when someone says, “Jesus,” then someone must ask, “Who is ‘Jesus’? What do you mean by ‘Jesus’? The son of Mary? Who is ‘Jesus’?” When somebody says, “I have found my path,” the question to be asked is, “Whose path?”

From the gross, the inquiry must move to the subtle.  And that is also the relation between Religion and Spirituality. The Truth is subtler than the subtlest.

Spirituality is subtle, Religion is gross.

We get attracted to names, forms, conventions. Jesus is not the name and form of ‘Jesus’. Who is ‘Jesus’? And if you look at the Bible closely, then there is enough in the Bible, to clearly see, and demonstrate, that those who are ardent evangelists, are the ones, who have probably missed Jesus the most.

There are two kinds of missionary zeals. One is – when you have really dissolved, really found, and then what you have found, disseminates itself from your being, or rather non-being. This is Love. You are like the Sun, you must radiate. This first form of zeal is Love.

And then the second form of zeal is, when you have not found, and you know that you have not found, and because you have not found, you are insecure, and to cover-up your insecurity, you want to gather numbers around you. Because insecurity requires a crowd. Insecurity requires that there must be more like you. Insecurity has a need to prove itself.

So, to convince yourself, that you are not as much in a debauched state, as you really are, you turn outwards. This is ‘evangelism’. You are trying to convert the other, because you are yourself not converted. And there is a great difference between love and evangelism.

In Love too, you bring something precious to the other. But, in Love, you bring something precious to the other, for the sake of the other. In evangelism, you bring something to the other, for your own sake, because you know fully well that you are insecure. Because you know that you are stuck somewhere, and are lonely.

“I am the only one who follows a particular religion in the family. So, won’t it be great if I have some support? Won’t it be great if my numbers multiply?” The question to be asked is, “Do you have the real thing?” And I am not saying that one has to follow only path to get to the real thing, or for that matter one has to follow any particular path to get the real thing.

So, it’s not the question of paths, it’s the question of whether you have IT. If you have IT, then your approach, then your relationship with the entire family, would be very different. And if you don’t have IT, then you are just acting as an enemy, by trying to convert someone to your side. 

It’s not then about Christianity, or Hinduism, or Theism versus Atheism. It’s simply the question of whether one has it. Do you have it? And if you have it, then please tell me what does ‘Jesus’ mean to you. Who are you? Who are you?

When you say you have found your path, whose path? This question of identity, will befuddle and anger, many a zealous evangelists. When they say that they have found God, the only question that you have to ask is, “Who has found what?” And this will irritate them so much.

When Jesus says, “I am the life, the light and the way,” what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? Does Jesus mean, the body of Jesus? Then what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? In fact, the best way to tame a Christian , is to read the Bible. The best way to show to a Hindu, that he is ignorant, is to read the Gita. 

Chances are, the Christian would be the one, who has no relationship with the Christ, whatsoever. The Hindu would be the one who has no relation with Krishna, in any way. So, when they say, “Come to Jesus,” say, “Yes, I will come to Jesus, directly, through the Bible.” And go to the Bible, and meet Jesus.

And I assure you, Jesus is tremendously beautiful. But when you will really be with Jesus, then Christians will not like you, because they do not want you to be with the Christ. They want you to be a Christian.

And there is tremendous difference, in being with the Christ, and being a Christian.

So, how to deal with your sister? Go to Jesus, he will tell you. Your sister wants to take you to Jesus, I too am encouraging that. Kindly do go to Jesus, but go directly. Go to the Bible.

Yours truly too has spoken a lot on Jesus. Why don’t you share one of those videos with her? Support is available. Fire!

Listener: Some say that even Christ was not a Christian.

(laughter)

Acharya ji: Jesus is beautiful, Krishna is beautiful. Go to them.

Listener: Are they not same?

Acharya ji: In form and name, obviously not. In essence, obviously yes.

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

Watch the session:  The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is secularism? How to become secular? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

What is secularism How to become secular

Question: Please tell us how we can keep a fine divide between the religious and the secular, and grow holistically, as an individual and as a society?

Acharya Prashant: There is no divide between the religious and the secular. True religion is about eliminating all divisions. How are you trying to have a division between religiosity and secularism?

What do you mean by ‘secularism’? You mean that no person should be blinded by his creed or belief. No person should just turn unjust, or biased, or prejudiced, because of his ideological or religious inclinations.

But that which you are trying to achieve through secularism, can actually be never achieved through secularism, because this, that you are trying to achieve – an unbiased and just mind – is exactly what religion and only religion can deliver you. So, secularism is self-defeating.

You have to understand this.

When you say that you want a secular person, or a secular state, what is it that you want? You want someone, who is not prejudiced, not blinded by belief, who can keep a distance between his duties, and his conditioning, who must know what the right action to do is, in spite of what his religious condition is, right?

You want a person who does the right thing, irrespective of whether he is a Hindu, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or whatever. Right? That’s what you want to achieve through secularism.

When you say that X is a secular person, what you mean is, that he is prepared to read the Quran, even if he is a Hindu. And that he is prepared, to respectfully go to the Upanishads, even if he is a Muslim, right? When you say that a country Y is a secular state, what do you mean? You mean that in that country, people are not discriminated on the the basis of their professed religious association, right? If this is what you want, then you should be deeply religious.

Who teaches you equanimity? Religion.

In secularism, you want to be equanimous. But who teaches you equanimity? Religion.

In secularism, you want a certain detachment. But who teaches you detachment? Religion.

In secularism, you want to be respectful towards divergent opinions. But who teaches you, to be respectful towards divergent opinions? Religion.

In secularism, you want not to hurt the other, even if the other is holding beliefs, that go against yours. But who teaches you ahinsa (non-violence)? Religion.

So, truly religious person, and only a truly religious person, can be secular, in real terms.

In other words, if secularism is dear to you, you will have to turn to religion.

If secularism, is in strife with religiosity, it means, both are misplaced. The religiosity is fake, and the secularism is shallow.

You need not teach, a truly religious person, to be secular. In fact, ‘secular’ is such a small and shallow word, in front of religion.

If one is deeply religious, truly religious, then one is not only secular, one is way, way beyond secular.

Secularism only wants you to tolerate differences.

True religion, celebrates differences.

So, when you will talk about secularism, to a truly religious person, he will laugh. He will laugh, not because he opposes secularism. He will laugh because he has gone..beyond secularism.

There is communalism. Higher than communalism, is secularism. And much, much higher than secularism, is religiosity.

So, obviously you see, that communalism and secularism are at odds with each other. But, not secularism and religiosity. It is naive to say, that secularism, and religiosity, confront each other. No! Shallow belief, shallow communalism, that is what, is at odds with secularism.

Secularism is a, short-term treatment. You have bigots on this side, you have bigots on that side. None of the sides, is prepared to listen to the other. It is in this kind of an environment, that secularism is irrelevant. Only in this kind of environment.

So seeing that there are just bigots all around, you say, “Alright, keep religion, to your houses. On the street, everyone has to follow secular principles.” So only in a very, very poor quality environment, does secularism has some place. In a truly religious environment, secularism has no place.

In fact, a truly religious environment, is so much better than secularism, that if you impose secularism on a really religious place, it would be a deterioration of that place. So, it is great if you are not communal. If you are not communal, you are probably, secular.

Now if you are secular, and you want to do still better, then move into religion. Then you would forget everything about secularism. you would have transcended secularism.

You would have entered into something far more joyful.

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

Watch the session:  What is secularism? How to become secular? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is love? || Acharya Prashant on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2018)

What is Love Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Question: Dear master, Jiddu Krishnamurti says, “When you love, you are neither giving, nor receiving.” Acharya ji, does love have an object? Could you explain how can we love in daily life, without giving or receiving? What is love, if it has no object?

Acharya Prashant: All objects are small, Shirin.

The object of love is so gigantic, that you cannot call it an ‘object’. Further, all objects leave ample space for you to remain. All objects leave space for the dualistic subject to remain, and prosper.

The object of love is so big, so total, so filling, so occupying, so unrelenting, so very compelling, that it leaves no space for the subject to hide and survive.

Obviously, if the subject is gone, who can call the object, an object. So, the object of love is a non-object. Those who have come before us, have called that object as – Truth, God, Beloved, Amma-Baba, Father, Maa.

Next you are asking, “How can one be in love without giving or receiving?” Giving and receiving, both imply your presence, and your activity. You have to be there to give, you have to be there to receive. And in both, your presence, your being, gets stamped, certified, further ascertained. In giving, you remain as the giver. In receiving, you strike roots as the receiver.

So, in love, there is neither giving nor receiving. Simply put, no doing of the doer. No-doing of the doer, is also the highest doing of the little doer. The highest of the little doer.

I give an example to you. I have heard of this little soldier, he was actually a civilian, in one of the wars in the last century. He was so small, he was not even trained as a soldier. His village had been invaded, the villagers had been captured, taken away for forced labour. They were being used to construct a bridge. That’s what the invading army was using the locals for, take them away and use their labour to build a bridge.

Now that the enemy has taken them away, they are with the enemy. And this little one could see a big ammunition depot. A big ammunition depot. You are already guessing it, right? There was not much, he could have done, all by himself. The enemy numbered in hundreds, hundreds of well-built, grown-up, trained soldiers, with firearms. What could the boy have done? But there was one thing that the boy could do, with a little bit of ingenuous engineering. He rammed himself into the depot, and blew the entire depot off. Obviously, nothing of him remained. But, it took down the entire non-sense with him.

So, Shirin, that’s love- attempting the impossible. The task is so damn big, that it can’t be done, if you protect yourself. If you protect yourself, it won’t happen. That’s love.

Excuse me for giving a violent analogy. But he, who has a lot of bloodshed, he is indeed involved in love. Love does involve a lot of demolition. And there are fireworks. And things come down. Great structures collapse. Formidable enemies have to be defeated. All that is love.

You want something beyond your size, you want something beyond your measure.

And it will require all of you to get that.

If you care for your safety, if you care for your survival, it just can’t happen.

That’s love.

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

Watch the session: What is love? || Acharya Prashant on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2018)

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What is devotion? Do observation and devotion go together || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Devotion and Observation

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Question: What is real meaning of devotion in spirituality? How can devotion help one to reach the Truth? What is the path of devotion? How to prepare oneself for devotion? Which one is greater, observation or devotion?

Acharya Prashant: Devotion is a million times more powerful than observation. With devotion, if you are uttering the name of ‘Ram’, or saying, “Om Namah Shivaya,” with genuine heartfelt love and devotion, then forget everything about observation. Observation will happen on its own.

That which is precious, is observed. Full stop. The mind is the road to Truth. And only the mind can be the road to Truth, because you have no other road. May be after a point, the road too disappears. But till that point, you do walk on that road, don’t you? Then the mind will be obviously observed, if you love the Truth.

Love for Truth, or God, comes first. Observation then is a petty thing.

It just happens. Just happens.

You are in so much love with cleanliness and purity, that any rubbish shows up on its own.

That is observation.

Obviously, observation cannot show the truth to you. What do you see in observation? All the falseness.

Why would falseness ever become noticeable? Falseness becomes noticeable only when you are in love with Truth. Otherwise, falseness passes of. Otherwise, falseness is just everyday stuff – agreeable, acceptable. Those who are on the path of observation, very well know that all the blemishes show up. All the falsenesses, the biases, the inaccuracies, the prejudices, the attractions, the attachments, they are what is seen, right? Why must they become noticeable?

On the wall, why must a certain spot catch your attention? It does, when you want the wall to be clean, and pristine, and white. And then that little blemish is observed. Truth cannot be observed, obviously.

Love comes first. And where there is love, attention becomes compulsory.

Attention is an immediate obedient to Truth.

What is attention? Attending. Attending. Attending to whom? The Truth. That is also the only difference between focussing and observing. And also, it is the only difference between concentration and attention. In concentration, you want some little object, so you are pointing at it. And if you want a little object, you remain little, which means you remained secured, because little you already are.

In attention, you want something big, really big. And that is love. And if you want something really big, you cannot afford to stay small. And that is one very unfortunate tragedy. We want the big, remaining small. And then we curse the big that it doesn’t come to us.

“O! you don’t come to me!”

“How will I come to you? You are so small.”

But then, the argument is superb. You say, because I am so small, so you should come to me. The Truth responds. It says, “I can begin to come to you, because you are small. But if I come close to you, and you are still determined to stay small, then I cannot come any closer.”

“Little girl, how will you put an elephant in your little pocket? I am an elephant, and your pockets are so small. And you refuse to grow up. So, I have no option, but to watch from a distance.”

In attention, it becomes mandatory for you to grow up, or dissolve. Concentration does not change you. That thing, that you are concentrating on, is small. So you too can remain small.

In attention, you are targeting something bombastic. Boom! So, you better be big. And why will you target something so big, and therefore so very distant?

Love, love. Devotion.

Attention is possible only if you are devoted to the Truth.

Otherwise, why would you attend to the Truth? Why would you become an attendant, a servant of the Truth? Why? Without love, attention is tension, a lot of tension. A tension. And you already have so many tensions.

Will you remember that? Without love and devotion, attention is just another tension. And there are so many who think that they will be able to be attentive, without being devoted. They end up turning very, very dry. Very dry.

I have come across so many of them. They keep uttering – observe, observe, attend, attend. And ‘surrender’ and ‘devotion’ are words they are allergic to. The moment you utter the word ‘surrender’ to them, the moment you utter the word ‘surrender’ to them, it’s like they have been pricked by a pin at their backside. They jump up.

“Ha! Surrender. No, don’t talk of that. We will observe. Let’s observe. No devotion, just observation.”

Very sorry samples, they turn out to be. They can’t sing a crazy Kabir Sahib, or a Bulle Shah Bhajan, Kaafi, Sakhi, Wakh. They can’t. When a Meera is dancing madly, they will say, “I am observing.” When a Bulle Shah has gone crazy in the love of his murshid, they will say, “I am listening. I am listening.”

And all that is so idiotic. That pretense of intelligence.

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

Watch the session: What is devotion? Do observation and devotion go together || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love

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Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?

Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?

If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.

Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.

But that is not the true meaning of religion.

Real religion cannot be changed.

What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.

Because there are no different religions.

True religion is just one.

How will you change it? There is no second religion.

Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.

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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