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How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it? || Acharya Prashant

How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

~ John 13:16

Question: The Abrahamic religions, all of them, are against idol worship. Not only Christianity, but also Islam, Judaism. But in Hinduism , there is a lot of idol worship. How to reconcile them, and whether or not, they can be reconciled?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What is the sutra(verse)for tonight? What does it read? Read it aloud please.

Questioner: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” ~John 13:16.

Acharya Ji: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This establishes one relationship between the center, and the expression of the center. What is that relationship? That the One that you are seeing, is the servant of the One, who has sent him. That this world, is not really separate from the lord. It is related in the same way as, a servant is related to the world.

Are you getting it?

That it has not just come, from somewhere.

Jesus is saying that this has been sent, by Truth itself. What Jesus is saying here, is so very in tune, with the opening lines of the the Kena Upanishad. The Kena Upnishad begins by asking: “By whom is the mind sent? What is behind the ears? What is behind the eyes?”

Jesus is answering it. He is saying: “The world is a servant, sent by the Lord, the Master, the Truth.” Now, if you really are surrendered to the Lord, then an expression of the surrender is, that you worship even the servant of the Lord.

India has worshiped, the creation, as very intimate, to the creator.

So intimate, that they cannot even be differentiated.

All that Jesus is saying is: “Do not worship anybody, except the Lord. Do not worship anybody, except the Truth.”

Hinduism has said: “All of this comes from the Truth. So where do I go to worship the Truth? And having realised that all of this is sent by the Truth, I will worship all of it, without distinction. I will worship the tree, the animal, the stone, the leaf, the dung, the mountain, the air, the water, the hurricane, the man, the woman, the child, the old one.

Without exception, India has worshiped everything, because everything is coming from ‘there’ – the Truth.

Just as you keep to your heart, a letter that has been sent by the beloved, don’t you? What do you do with a letter, that has been kissed, and sent to you by the beloved? What do you do to it? You keep it here, close to the heart. You don’t throw it away.

Hinduism sees this world, the entire world, with all it’s diversity, as a letter from the Beloved.

Now, the Beloved can’t be kissed. So, the Hindu kisses the stone.

The Beloved can’t be kissed, so the Hindu kisses the river.

That does not mean that Hinduism believes in many gods. Of course, the Truth is not even one, let alone many. The Truth is a great void. But it manifests itself variously. And all aspects of the manifestation are divine. They have been worshiped.

(The questioner had especially flown from Europe, to seek answers related to God, Truth, Peace.

His curiosity coincidentally connected him to Acharya Prashant Ji. He was firstly, connected to Acharya Ji, through the YouTube videos, and then he finally got a chance to attend his Satsang, during the Myth demolition Tour, organised in Rishikesh, in the year 2016).   

Questioner: But the Bible says that do not worship a particular statue, do not worship idols.

Acharya Ji: Now pay attention. If you make, ‘a particular’ statue, then it is idol worship. But what if you say that all statues are statues of God, would you still call it as ‘idol worship’?

When the Bible says, “Do not worship idols,” it is assuming that you will make one particular statue. But what if you say, that all forms – a statue is a form – what if, you say, that all forms are the forms of the formless?

If you worship one particular form, of course, you are taking just one idol, and sticking to it. And that is false. But what if, all forms, the form itself, the universe itself, reminds you of That?

What would be the quality of that mind, that looks at the river and is reminded of the the great void?

What would be the quality of that mind, which looks at a child, which looks at a nude woman, and is reminded of nothing, but the Truth?

All forms, and any form.

That is what the Hinduism talks about.

Listener 1: So, when Shri Ramchandra ji, when he was going to Lanka, for getting his wife, Sita ji, back. I have read, that he did make a statue of Shiva, and prayed for his blessings. What my friend here said about Bible being against idol worship, may be true, because I think the God of Bible is a jealous God. He does not want anyone else being worshiped.

Acharya Ji: If your wife gets attracted to one man, then you can be jealous. But, would you be jealous, if your wife is attracted to the entire male population of the world?

(laughter)

Listener 1: There is nothing wrong now.

Acharya Ji: It is not about anything being wrong now. Now the happening is divine. When you worship one idol, that is called ‘idolatry’. Those who had condemned idol worship, had  not realised a situation where everything would be idolized. Had they known this situation, they would have said, “Idol worship is divine.”

To take one body as divine, is ‘idol worship’. That is why, thinking of Jesus as a body, as a son of God, is ‘idol worship’. Now you are taking one body as divine. But when all bodies are divine, that is not ‘idol worship’. Now it is something else. It is beyond the realm of mind, because you are not even putting any conditions. Now you cannot condemn it.

Your wife is in a loving relationship with the entire population of the world. How will you condemn it? Her love is universal – no limits, no boundaries. All is lovable. Now, you cannot condemn. Now you will not call it ‘idolatry’, or ‘adultery’.

No more.

Getting attached to certain forms, is indeed condemnable.

But seeing the divine, in every form, is another matter.

When idol worship is condemned, it is rightly condemned, because ‘idol worship’ means, giving one form, the position of God. ‘Idol worship’ means – this woman is so important. She is the idol. ‘Idol worship’ means – a man, a woman, a thought, a concept, something has become very important to me. So important, that I am worshiping it.

Now, this is heresy. Instead of worshiping the one God, you are worshiping something limited. Instead of worshiping the limitless, you are worshiping the limited, which would cause suffering to you. So, rightly idol worship is condemned.

But when, everything is worth worshiping, then you can no more call it ‘idol worship’.

Listener 2: This makes beautiful sense, Acharya Ji.

Listener 3: What happens when we start worshiping ourselves, the ego? What happens when we place the ego, the limited, as God?

Acharya Ji: What does it mean to worship everything, given that what is outside, is the inside. Right? We have repeatedly said that – the external is the internal. An now we are saying, everything carries the imprint of the divine, so Hindus have worshiped everything. So, does that mean that Hindus have worshiped ego?

Please understand.

When you are talking of every thing, what does it mean to see the presence of the divine, in every thing? Remember that the external, is the internal. It means – even when you are looking at multiple things, yet you are centered in ‘nothing’.

You might be looking at diversity, yet there is no diversity in the mind. Diversity means parts. You might be looking at many things, yet there are not many things ‘here'(the mind). There is nothing here – no parts, no presence. Pure emptiness.

When there is pure emptiness ‘here’ (the mind), then whatever is visible outside, is also empty. That is what is meant by – seeing the divine in everything. When there is Shiva ‘here'(the heart), then there is Shiva in that pole as well. But when there is ego ‘here’, then there is ego even in a pole.

To see God everywhere, there must be, first of all, God in the heart.

When God is in the heart, then your eyes open only to see God everywhere.

And when God is not in the heart, remember, you cannot see God anywhere.

Then, you will not see God, even in the Prophet of God, even in the Son of God, the Messenger of God.

So, if someone says, “No, no, I do not see godliness anywhere, but that fellow, that special one, is the messenger of God,” then he is lying. If you cannot see godliness anywhere, how did you see it in one particular form? Those who will see godliness, will see godliness, unconditionally. And those who will not see it, will not see it anywhere. Even if the very son of God is standing in front of them, they will not see godliness.

When you are not seeing godliness in the bird, in the puppy, in the stone, in the air, in water, how will you see godliness in the face of Christ?

Because you are the seer.

When the center is godly, then everything around you is godly.

And when the center is not godly, then you can only crucify Christ.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How does Hinduism justify idol worship when Christianity and Islam forbid it?


Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here


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Quotes, February’19 – March’19

1.

We all are bleeding in the fight

We all are fighting tirelessly.

The pity is:

We are all fighting the wrong battle.

The wounds are there.

The blood is there.

The sweat is there.

The tiredness is there.

The battle is wrong.

2.

Conserve your energy,

Train your thoughts,

Discipline your little self.

Time is precious, attention is precious.

To waste time, it is not necessary that you must do something wasteful.

It is enough to just worry.

3.

Humbly go

to the root of the mistake,

without feeling ashamed,

without a great self-image.

Look at yourself laughing,

as one looks at a joker,

laughing

at his own jokes.

Now you see

the mother mistake.

Seriousness is the mother mistake.

Don’t take yourself so seriously!

4.

This is happening, that is happening…

But whatsoever is happening is not big enough to trouble you.

That is Samadhi.

5.

Beware the man who thinks he understands.

6.

There is nothing called

self-purification

and self-improvement.

There is only one I,

and it cannot be improved upon.

And even if the false I gets improved,

only the false benefits.

How do you get better

by decorating your shadow?

Don’t improve the false,

just disown it.

7.

Was the thing the same before you perceived it?

If yes, why does the thing appear different every time you see it?

Was there a thing at all before you perceived it?

8.

Is spontaneity wonderful?

The spontaneous utterance of a sage is musical,

The spontaneous utterance of a fool is abusive.

Like everything else in life, the value of a thing or action depends squarely on where it is coming from.

9.

If you love, you want to help.

If you want to help, you will have to more clearly know the one who needs to be helped.

When you clearly know the one you want to help, there arises disgust.

That’s the challenge of love: to keep loving the one who provokes revulsion in you.

10.

Isn’t it a spell?

When you are out of it, doesn’t it all look clearly stupid?

Don’t you then curse yourself for being so blindly spellbound?

Obviously stupid it looks, but only after you’re out of it.

Why make basic freedom distant by giving it a fancy name like enlightenment?

11.

When you know

what is going on, then

you are liberated from that which is going on.

12.

It is not given to me to lie still.

The only way to see me still

is to match pace with me.

13.

The Truly spiritual man

is young in action,

and eternally old in realisation.

At the centre,

he is completely still,

like Shiva in mystical stillness.

At the periphery,

he is a lover and a fighter,

like Shiva in existential dance.

14.

What is commitment?

If I am not fit to get what I want,

then it is the ‘I’ that must yield, adjust, disappear.

The want cannot be compromised with. The want must, and will, remain.

It is the want that will shape, discipline and dissolve the I.

Commitment, Devotion, Surrender.

15.

When You are gone,then nothing matters. Body sans Heart.

When You are here, then nothing matters.

We then just casually play.

Will it matter if we win?

Well, not much.

Will it matter if we lose?

Well, not much.

The game is not meant to be won, it is meant to be played. Together.

16.

To touch

without leaving your fingerprints

– That’s the mark of

the shrewd criminal,

or the wisest saint.

17.

When you are one with the object of your consciousness, then there is just one entity, neither you nor the world. Both you and the world disappear.

This disappearance is the end of duality and end of consciousness.

A lightness free of consciousness remains, and this is awareness.

18.

If you find yourself stuck with suffering, ask: Is suffering sticking to me? Or am I sticking to suffering?

One sticks to suffering by sticking to the same breakfast, same friends, same cap, same habits.

When everything in life is being kept the same, how can life itself change?

19.

Just reading the Guru helps little.

You’ve to be near.

Physically as you live, you’ve to be physically near.

Even being within the seeing range of the Guru won’t help.

You’ve to be within smelling range of the Guru.

Actually, you’ve to be within slapping range of the Guru.

20.

We have a tremendous potential to suffer and a tremendous resistance to call our situation as suffering.

We name our situation as ambition, hope, desire, duty, passion, love, but never give it the right name:suffering.

We laugh aloud among others, and suffer quietly in our loneliness

21.

Even when you are totally drenched in melancholy,

You are able to cry only because you are still healthy.

22.

The best gift you can give to others is your own freedom.

~ Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait

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God, Love and Gratitude

God Love and Gratitude

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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)


Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here

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Thought is not bad

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not. The question is, who is the thinker? If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Is the river of your thoughts pure enough to allure Shiva to dance in it? And Shiva will not dance in a stream impure.

There is understanding without thought and there is understanding with thought as well. Just as there is Truth, formlessly, and there is Truth, formed as well. There will be occasions when the Truth will strike you like a thunderbolt, like a flash of lightning. And understanding will be complete in a split second. And there will be occasions when you will be required to think.

But I understand your predicament. All the spiritual masters are treating thought as the worst offender. As if thought has brought in sickness and disease to your life. Not really. Thought is your expression, just as action is your expression. As you are, so your thought is. In fact, thought is so very helpful. You cannot look at your tendencies, your vrittis, directly. But thought is gross, palpable, definite, it can be watched.

When you think, you come to know of yourself. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have known. The thought of jealousy or the thought of fear arises, it helps you know that deep within somewhere, you are? Afraid.

Thought is not bad. ‘Useful’ or ‘Useless’ is the place, thought is coming from.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?


 

Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?

Acharya Prashant: The next one is from Roosmarjin, from the Netherlands. And she has tried the devanagari script today. That’s what I say, you Love playing games. And you keep trying your games upon me as well. I too am a sportsman. Right? If you offer me a game, I won’t refuse.

So, yes Rosie, let’s have a ball.

“Acharya Ji pranam.” Rosie ji, “Pranam.”

Freedom is compulsory.” Of course.

“At a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer. I want to do or drop, whatever it takes in order to not resist the process. Day by day, the pull to be in physical proximity with you and devote my life to you, the Truth, grows stronger. Most of the thoughts that are in my mind are related to moving to India, to be in your physical proximity. Only if it would be wanted for the sake of the mission at large, will I stay there? But the thought of not coming to live close to you literally makes my heart contract. Maybe this message is not suited for the class, but it is ‘the one thing’ I am serious about. If you don’t stop me, I will come. Please tell me, what is being wanted.

Yours Roosmarjin”

[Holding a cat in his hands and showing the cat towards the screen] Say “Hi” to Roosmarjin. So what do you want from her (asking the cat), she is the Oracle (referring to the cat). So, what do you want from Roosmarjin?

Silence.

Yes, Oracle, speak !  (still holding the cat)

Nothing. Please. Just a meow would be enough. Say something, say something!

She is not refusing. She is not even saying, that consent is needed. She wants to sleep (lets the cat off his hands, and while she goes, comes a meow). And to this, she said, Yes.

A few things you have said.

You have said, “at a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer.” When you were here in India, I had spoken about this, I will repeat!

It is not at all necessary or advisable, to target a state of ‘no thoughts.’ To extend the metaphor of the last answer, will the Sun ever be without its radiance? It’s rays? Will the ocean ever be without its waves? Will there ever be God, sans godliness? Will there ever be the creator, without the creation?

Thoughts are like waves. And waves only give dance to the substance of the ocean. If the ocean itself has somehow become contaminated or spoilt or corrupted. Then the waves too would have that corruption.

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not.

The question is, who is the thinker?

If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

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Dancing emerges from nothingness

The dance of the jungle, the dance of the waves, the dance of the stars, the monkey’s dance, the elephant’s dance, the dance of the toddler that is the dance that a Rumi loves.

When a movement, when an action arises from nothing in particular, then it is called dance.

Dancing emerges from nothingness.

Perfection is not something that you aspire for or wait for. Perfection is not the opposite of imperfection. If perfection to you is the opposite of imperfection, if perfection for you is the end of imperfection or the transcendence of imperfection, then you can keep waiting for perfection as long as time lasts. Perfection is there in the middle of imperfection. In life as it is, nothing that appears, nothing that happens would ever be perfect. Now that can either make you cringe, or you can still dance in the middle of the disorder.

To dance in the middle of the disorder you must be able to look at the essence of things directly. Things are imperfect, their essence is perfect.

Imperfection if seen from the heart, if seen from clarity, itself shines as perfection.

Dance in the middle of chaos. Dance in the middle of deprivation. Dance in the middle of death and destruction. Dance exactly when there is no reason to dance.

When Shiva dances the world collapses.

Real dance then is so similar to madness.

Stay with the truth and know that the world, the situations, howsoever good or bad they are, are nothing but an expression of the truth.

The existence of a thing indicates truth. The existence of the opposite of that thing also indicates the truth.

In imperfection lies great beauty.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Dance amid your own blood!

 

Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Dance amid your own blood!

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Dance, when you’re broken open.

Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.

Dance in the middle of the fighting.

Dance in your blood.

Dance when you’re perfectly free.

(Rumi)

 

Acharya Prashant:  What is dance? Why is dancing such a favorite of the poets, the saints, the worshipers of freedom? Why? First of all, in the spiritual sense when one uses the word dance, then dancing does not refer to any kind of organized movement of limbs or the body. That would just be a rehearsed system of pre-scripted action, having very little to do with the heart. So we are not talking of the kind of dance one learns in dance classes. We are not talking of organized and named dance forms. We are talking of the dance of the butterfly. We are talking of the dance of the winds. We are talking of the dance of the stars. You look at the stars, how they all have been unevenly scattered on the dark plate of the sky, that dark canopy up there. No organization, no pattern, and yet they are so beautiful. One looks at the way trees, plants grow in a jungle. They have not been planted there in an order. They have not been planted in an order. And yet there is an intrinsic beauty. Probably the absence of order itself contributes to the beauty. Are you getting it?

The dance of the jungle, the dance of the waves, the dance of the stars, the monkey’s dance, the elephant’s dance, the dance of the toddler that is the dance that a Rumi loves.

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