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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Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: Who is a man and who is a woman?

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“No woman would have authority over man,
no woman would disobey man
and her job is to remain Silent.”

~ 1 Timothy 2:12

Acharya Prashant: Every single sutra here contains the essence of Bible, the essence of the word of God. It is just that it is expressed a little differently in each quote, in each sutra, in each aphorism. Just as the audiences are different, just as we are different as persons. But the speaker is always the same. The speaker, the source is always the one. Even one sutra, if brought lovingly to heart, will burn away all that causes us grief, suffering and separation.

But I appreciate that as distinct personalities, we will have our distinct tastes.
So, which one appeals to you, yes? Continue reading

Acharya Prashant on Vivekachudamani: How to discriminate rightly, and get rid of fear?

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Questioner: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranam.

Discrimination and renunciation have been given the highest importance in Vivekchudamani. I do discrimination of real and unreal by enquiry of objects and situations around me and observing my mind attentively. It is clear that all structures are bound to collapse in time. I see the fakeness of me to some extent. Yet, I have not gained a firm conviction of truth. Dear Acharya Ji, please tell me how can I discriminate, further, diligently so that I am able to see things with clear eyes and get rid of the fear caused by snake vision?

Thank you.

Acharya Prashant: Parameshwari, continue doing what you are doing; just continue.

When one starts getting success on a particular path, then excitement tells her to do more. This excitement seems like a supporter of change, a supporter of progress. But this excitement is actually intent on blocking the progress. When something is going right, then just put your head down, and continue doing what you are doing.

A lot of people let the valuable slip away from their hands because they took the valuable for granted. Once you get it, then it is your duty to stop looking this way and that way, then, it is your duty to just serve what you have, without any deviation, without any question.

If the medicine is benefitting you, better complete the course.

There are so many who suffer just because the medicine is extremely good. The medicine is great, and you had to take it for six months. And the medicine is so great that it started showing its effect in the first two months itself. There was not only improvement but actually improvement beyond expectation.

So, what do you do?

Oh, you give up!

Have you not observed this with kids?

They get a fever and the doctor says, ‘This medicine has to be taken for ten days.’ The medicine is good and so the fever goes away within 3 days.

Now, it’s the fifth day, and the kid refuses to take the medicine, now the medicine has been discontinued precisely because the medicine is very good. You see, this is how the ego works, ‘I have got it, it was so good; I have benefitted.’

‘I have already benefitted’, and on the 7th day, the fever is back.

And now the doctor says it is a chronic fever and the course will run for one month.

The original prescription was for ten days.

Now he says the case is spoilt, now, it will run for one month.

See, you have done a little Parameshwari, and with that little you are getting results beyond the little.

Do remember that you have so far not put in much of investment. You have only done a little; and see what you are asking: ‘Yet I have not gained a firm conviction of Truth.’

How are you entitled to gain a firm conviction of Truth?

In two months’ time? With a bit of reading?

That’s ego, which tells you that God is easy, facile, just round the corner. Just do a bit of reading, just apply a bit of discrimination and you will have the fellow in your pocket!

Sadhana must continue uninterrupted.

Uninterrupted, unquestioned.

And never ask, ‘When I will have a firm conviction?’

Truth is not a conviction.

Truth is not something that you have.

Truth has you.

You are never going to have the truth.

Little kids, they plant sapling, and for one week they water them. But the little thing has just been planted, it doesn’t grow by much, or even if it grows, all you see is one or two little fresh sprouts, that doesn’t satisfy the one who is constantly watching, and eagerly expecting.

So he says, ‘Probably there is something wrong with the little plant! Are the roots really healthy?’

So, he will go and uproot it, and check the roots, and again put it back, and every week he does that. He wants to check the length of the roots, if it is firmly established in the earth just like you are asking a firm conviction of Truth, for how much? How much have you given? How much time, how much patience, how much sadhana?

Continue doing what you are doing; just continue.

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An unnecessary relationship

An addiction is defined as something that is external, very difficult to get rid off; nevertheless.

There are no good or bad addictions. An addiction is just what it is — “An unnecessary relationship.”

Addiction says that you need something. Need is the first addiction. Whatever you claim that you need that is your first addiction.

That which begins as ignorance and dreams, cannot end as understanding.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction


 

Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction

Acharya Prashant: Man’s most fundamental addiction is ‘man’ himself. ‘I am’ is the most fundamental addiction.

An addiction is defined as something that is external, very difficult to get rid off; nevertheless.

One can get rid-off an addiction. This feeling of taking oneself as one takes himself to be is the most fundamental addiction — the “I’’ tendency.

We are so staunchly addicted to it that it seems impossible that there can be oneself life without our conception of the “I.” It seems not only difficult but altogether impossible. It appears so difficult only because we are very deeply addicted. It is the addiction that starts with the first breath. It is the addiction that starts probably even before the first breath.

The tendency to take oneself as a limited being, as a body, as a personality, as a set of principals and concepts, as everything that one thinks himself to be. From that addiction, the hundred other addictions are born. That is why treatment of addiction is such a difficult thing because unless the ‘mother addiction’ is treated, treating the other addictions remains a problem.

It could be addiction of money, material, person, drugs, substance abuse, all kind of mental distortions. Whatever be the specific name of the addiction it invariably arises from the central mother addiction itself. That is why you remove one addiction and man finds himself trapped into another one. In fact, often addiction therapy is just about finding a suitable addiction. Don’t you see how addictions are commonly taken to be treated? A boy seems to be taking to drugs, the well-wishers would say, “well, let him indulge in sports” or if he is a little elder parents will say, “let’s marry him off.”

Do you see how one addiction is used to counter way another? It is because Man fundamentally can’t live without addiction. Because our fundamental definition itself is based on a great ‘attachment.’ Addiction is an ‘unnecessary attachment.’ For that which we are, it is totally unnecessary to be attached to that which we think we are. It is unnecessary but it becomes the foundation of life and that is all quite unfortunate.

There are no good or bad addictions.

An addiction is just what it is — “An unnecessary relationship.”

Whatever you can do without, is unnecessary and if it persists for long and deeply, is an addiction.

There is a lot that one can do without. The more you can do without, the better you do. The more you tie your existence to stuff, the more bulky, heavy, loathsome and tired you live.

Getting it?

Addiction says that you need something. Need is the first addiction.

Whatever you claim that you need that is your first addiction.

A need implies incompleteness. That which you call as ‘ego,’ is another name for an addiction to incompleteness, you may call it addiction to incompleteness or you may just call is incompleteness, they are the same thing.

Listener: Then addiction shows someway. For example, somebody is addicted to camp?

If someone is addicted to camps than he is not coming to camps at all then he is coming to some other place of his dreams.

L1: If somebody is addicted to some particular type of behaviors, can be his behaviors develop some understanding?

AP: Addiction in the beginning itself means that there is no understanding. What you are asking is similar to asking that if one dreams of camps, then will he benefit from a  camp? If one dreams of holy-scripture, then will he benefit from holy- scriptures?

The holy scripture is secondary, what is primary is the dream. Whatever is happening, is happening in the dream state. And in a dream state how can there be any understanding? It doesn’t matter whether you break your head with a brick or with a voluminous book? If you take a thousand page bulky book and bang it against your head, will it hurt less? The beginning of addiction itself is an absence of understanding. One must clearly see that the beginning of something cannot be different from the end of it.

That which begins as ignorance and dreams, cannot end as understanding.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Fall in faith, and you will be given wings


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The scripture’s final aim is to bring you to the living scripture

Where the light is, there the lamp is.

The Self and the Ego are not the two ends of duality. It’s non-duality talking to duality.

That is what happens when a teacher exposes the falseness of one’s existing religion. When the teacher exposes the falseness of one’s existing motivations! The teacher says you know, the route that you are taking will lead you deeper into darkness. And what is the immediate conclusion that the mind draws? The mind says, he does not want me to go there, it means that he wants me to come to him. He is telling me that all those shops are false. And that surely proves that he wants me to come to his own shop. That is a quick suspicion, rather conclusion, that the mind jumps into.

You will not have your lamp, where your forefathers found their lamp. You will have to find your lamp using your own eyes. And the only mark of lamp is, Light. Don’t disregard the Light. The Light is the only proof of the lamp.

Searching for Truth, but in the wrong way, and at the wrong places, and from the wrong center. That is what the ego does. It wants light. The ego too wants light. But it won’t get it.

The scripture’s final aim is to bring you to the living scripture.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop


 

Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop

The Lamp Post

One dark night two men met on a lonely road.

‘I am looking for a shop near here, which is called The Lamp Shop,’ said the first man.

‘I happen to live near here, and I can direct you to it, ‘ said the second man.

‘I should be able to find it by myself. I have been given the directions, and I have written them down,’ said the first man.

‘Then why are you talking to me about it?’

‘Just talking.’

‘So, you want company, not directions?’

‘Yes, I suppose that that is what it is.’

‘But it would be easier for you to take further directions from a local resident, having got so far; especially because from here onwards it is difficult.’

‘I trust what I have already been told, which has brought me thus far. I cannot be sure that I can trust anything or anyone else.’

‘So, although you once trusted the original informant, you have not been taught a means of knowing whom you can trust?’

‘That is so.’

‘Have you any other aim?’

‘No, just to find the Lamp shop.’

‘May I ask why you seek a lamp shop?’

‘Because I have been told on the highest authority that that is where they supply certain devices which enable a person to read in the dark.’

‘You are correct, but there is a prerequisite, and also a piece of information. I wonder whether you have given them any thought.’

‘What are they?’

‘The prerequisite to reading by means of a lamp is that you can already read.’

‘You cannot prove that!’

‘Certainly not on a dark night like this.’

‘What is the “piece of information”?’

‘The piece of information is that the Lamp Shop is still where it always was, but that the lamps themselves have been moved somewhere else.’

‘I do not know what a “lamp” is, but it seems obvious to me that the Lamp Shop is the place to locate such a device. That is, after all, why it is called a Lamp Shop.’

‘But a “Lamp Shop” may mean “A place where lamps may be obtained”, or it could mean “A place where lamps were once obtained but which now has none”.’

‘You probably have an ulterior motive, sending me off to some other shop. Or perhaps you do not want me to have a lamp at all.’

‘I am worse than you think. I want to find out if you could read at all. I want to see whether a lamp shop exists where you are going. I want to see whether you can have your lamp in another way suited to you.’

The two men looked at each other, sadly, for a moment. Then each went his way.

Idries Shah, Tales of the Dervishes

Acharya Prashant: To make things simpler at the outset itself, let it be clear that the one coming to seek the lamp shop, is a seeker full of knowledge. A seeker from a distant land, who does not belong really to the land of meditativeness. Knowledge has brought him to the boundary of the land of meditativeness, but cannot take him any further ahead. On the boundary, he meets this second person who is a teacher, who is the resident of this second land, who belongs there.

So, one of the first things that this teacher asks this knowledgeable seeker is, that, ‘you have come so far, having read some book that told you that you must search for lamps in a lamp shop that is thus located. But has the book also told you, how to find the one who will take you to the lamps? And if your book does not tell you ‘that,’ then your book is useless. He says, ‘‘has your book taught you, whom to trust? Has your book given you the eyes to figure out the real teacher?’’

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