Tag Archives: Soul

What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?: Acharya Prashant

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What is rebirth What takes rebirth

Question: What is re-birth? What is transmigration of soul? What travels after death? What carries forward?

Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘You’ do not carry anything. A few things must be clearly understood. ‘You’ as a ‘person’ are not a very important carrier. That which carries, is the total stream of mankind’s consciousness.

(Referring to the people sitting in the audience) Her mind, her mind, his mind, your mind, his mind, her mind, the mind of the kid, the mind of the old man – we all are carrying remnants, carry forwards from our collective past. That is what is carried forward.

See, it is like this. There are waves in the ocean. One particular wave, is carrying, a little sugar, a lump of sugar. Now the wave rises, and falls. What happens to the lump of sugar? It gets distributed throughout the ocean. Now it belongs to everyone. That is how things are carried forward.

What you do in your life-time, has gone to many, many, many.

Through every single action of yours, you are impacting the entire mankind.

In other ways, you are responsible for forming the mind of entire mankind.

In turn, your own mind, is being formed by the entire mankind, because you are an active recipient as well.

The subtle becomes the gross. The more the mind is impacted at some point, many, many years later, that also changes your body. Have you seen that when you are angry, your face changes? When you are in love, your eyes change. So, the subtle has a way of changing the gross.

If you are impacting the mind of the mankind, always you are also impacting, even the form of the mankind. That’s how it happens. Otherwise, all that is ‘personal’ about you, gets burnt down in funeral pyre. There is no way, something can get carried forward from there. All is reduced to smoke and ashes. Nothing remains. But, what you have done in your lifetime, that remains. And that is going to affect all future generations.

Take it this way.

Suppose you are a teacher, and you have taught hundreds and thousands of students. And you are a good teacher, just for the story’s sake. Good teachers are rare. Now the students have really imbibed, what they received from you. You can say, that the rubbish in the minds of the students has been cleared-off, by your teachings. Either way.

You die, and one of your students gives birth. You die, and one of your students becomes a father, or a mother. The kid that is born, would be raised by your student. And, because your student has been a good student, and he has really imbibed your teachings, so those teachings would go to the kid. The kid would have the same, pure quality of mind, as you had.

In a poetic sense, you can say that you are being re-born as that kid. In a poetic sense, as a metaphor, now you can say that the teacher who had died, has been re-born as the son or the daughter of the student. But the re-birth has not taken place, because something arose from the dead-body, and entered the womb of the student. The re-birth has taken place, because of the stuff that has taken place, during your active life-time. Not after your death.

Whatever one person does, impacts the consciousness of entire mankind.

And that is how re-birth takes place.

And, therefore, re-birth is taking place every moment, because I might do something just now, which may cause you to transform. Now, haven’t you been re-born? That’s re-birth. And, you have been re-born, not because my soul entered you. You have been re-born, because the Truth transmitted to you, via me.

The opposite is also possible. You might be otherwise an innocent person. But you acquire bad company. And the bad company overshadows all your innocence. Now, you have been re-born, because the innocent one has died. The innocent one has been died, and someone else has been re-born.

That’s how it happens – through your actions.

You see, subtle truths cannot be conveyed very subtly, to everybody. And therefore they were figuratively, communicated. So that people somehow, at least partially, get a grasp on them. Therefore, you must not be too concerned with the literal meaning. Go deep into the myths of transmigration and such things, and figure out what they really would mean.

You know what, it is also possible, that the kid which is born to the student, has something in his eyes, that resemble the dead teacher. That doesn’t mean, that the dead teacher has physically fathered the kid. It’s just that, all eyes that are peaceful, have something in common.

All eyes, that are peaceful, have something in common. So, when you would look into the eyes of the newly born kid, you would be reminded of the dead teacher. And you would be then justified in saying that the dead teacher has taken re-birth, as this kid.

Questioner: Then why do we have such rituals after death like Tehravin, on 13th day, etc.?

Acharya Ji: No Upanishad says that. No scripture, worth it’s name, says that. The Puranic literature, that talks of such stuff, is stories and fancies. It is not serious metaphysics. It deals with a lot of imagery, a lot of fables, a lot of things that are there, just to involve you, engage you, even entertain you.

One has to understand the difference between the Upanishads and the Puraans. They are not in the same dimension. You cannot take Isavasya Upanishad and Garuda Puraana, and compare them.

The stuff that you are talking of, would be found in Garuda Puraana.

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: It’s alright. Read that. But understand that, in the light of the Upanishads. If you want to read the Puraanic literature, read it in the light of Upanishads. Then you will not be misled.

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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: What is rebirth? What takes rebirth?


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To be alive is to be working

To be alive is to be working. You are working all the time, because ‘action’ is happening all the time.

“Work is not outside of me, work is an expression of me.” Work is not outside of me, work is just an expression of who I am.

If the first category is where you belong to, then work is sufficient. The return, the reward, is contained in the work. If the second category is where you belong to, then work is not sufficient. Then work, plus, rewards is what you are looking for.

The salary is not contained in the work. The salary is an output of the work. This is the second way of living.

Man is the only one, who has to support his ambitions as well. Man is the only one, who has to support his psychological self as well. Then obviously, supporting yourself becomes a burden. Then obviously, just carrying on with life, becomes a burden. Because life is demanding so much.

Do not live a life that tries to escape work, and also do not live a life that uses work as a medium for psychological aggrandization.

Work must always be there as an expression of your Heart.

Action is always happening. You cannot avoid action. Even avoiding action is just another action. So, action will happen.

Fight hard and then let what is going to happen, happen. Do not worry about the result. Just say, that I did what I had to, and I have now devoted the result to you(Krishna).



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: How to know the right work for oneself?


 

Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: How to know the right work for oneself?

Question: What does Khalil Gibran mean, when he says, “He who works in marble and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who ploughs the soil.”

Acharya Prashant: What is Work?

All work involves action. 

As human beings, we are beings of action. We have limbs, senses, mind, all configured to act. So, action is inevitable. One cannot avoid action. So, workers we all are. There is nobody who does not work. The one who is professionally working somewhere, works. And so does the one, who is professionally unemployed. Both of us, both of them, are workers, irrespective of whether or not they are formally working somewhere.

To be alive is to be working.

You are working all the time, because ‘action’ is happening all the time.

Then the question is of the quality of work. How does one work? From where does the work arise? Khalil Gibran takes two images and contrasts them.

First image, is of the man who is working with material, but his work is essentially an expression of his being, his center, his Self. He might be working with marble, but actually it is his soul taking shape as marble. Marble is now not only marble. Marble is now not only material. Marble is an expression of what he is. This is work of one kind.

And then he says, there is another one, who looks at soil, just as soil. For him, work is something outside of himself. I go somewhere, and I work with material. I work with material, probably, so that I may get some returns, some reward. He is not directly and organically ‘connected’ to his work. His relationship with work is transactional. I work, I put in some hours, and in return I get paid. Are you getting it? So, there is you, there is work and then there is a business like relationship between ‘you’ and ‘work.’ This is the second way of working.

The first way of working is,

“Work is not outside of me, work is an expression of me.”

Work is not outside of me, work is just an expression of who I am.

Continue reading

Does the Aatma (soul) leave the body after death?

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Acharya Prashant: What is the Aatman?

Do you already know what I am going to tell you?

Listener: No

AP: Yet you will understand, right? Now, how do you understand, without knowledge? How do you understand, without having already known? How does something absolutely new come to it and yet you are enamored by its beauty?

That, which remains active, even in your absence, even in the mind’s absence, even in knowledge’s absence, is Aatma.

Hence, it is utterly reliable. Because it is not a product of circumstances, because it is not a product of time. So, it can never desert you. It never came to you. It is not a product of some happening. Did somebody teach you that these mountains are beautiful? Then why are you captivated by them. You have been looking at them, over and over, again and again, and your eye seems to have some strange fascination for these mountains. Every day or the other, I am seeing, somebody or the other, just standing, lost, absorbed. Who taught you exactly that these are beautiful?

That, which you know, without being taught, is the Aatma.

Who taught you that silence is soothing? Who taught you? Then why do you all look so peaceful in silence?

Aatman is innate. And that is what is peaceful, and that is what is soothing.

That, which is so intrinsic, so innate, that man has neither made it, nor can man comprehend it, is the Atman.

And the proof of Atman is everywhere. Just open your eyes and you will see nothing but Atman. And that is such a relief that man does not have to do everything. That there is something so beautiful, so all encompassing, present before us, present in spite of us, and would be present, even in our absence. Is that not a great relief?

That takes away, a lot of burden from our shoulders. You don’t have to try to understand. You don’t have to define beauty, you don’t have to enter in love. You don’t have to fall silent. You don’t have to be liberated. All this just is. Peace, relief, I don’t have to do all these things, not my responsibility. The Atman is ready-made (smilingly).

Listener: Does the Atman leave the body after death?

AP: The Atman does not reside the body, how can it leave the body.

The Atman, mind you, is the foundation of that which sees the body take birth and die.

I repeat. There is somebody who is talking about birth and death. There is somebody who is saying, “I take birth and I die.” The Atman is the foundation of the one, who is talking about the body, who is talking about birth, who is talking about death. Even as you say, that I have died. Surely, there is somebody who is talking about death. So, not all is over. Or, is all over? If all is over then who is asking this question?

L: Others.

AP: Where do others exist?

L: In their body.

AP: If they are existing in their body, how do you know of them? If they are totally outside of you, how do you know of them? In fact, not only you know of them, you are utterly sure that even after your death, others will be there and would be talking about you. How are you so sure?

After the death, there is no talking. But still there is so much of talking. And, this talking never ceases. The Atman is the source of all this talking, of all this wondering.

The Atman does not reside in the body. The body is material, the body is an object in the Mind. And the Atman is the very source of the Mind.

May I repeat it? The body is an object in  the mind, the body is an object in the consciousness. And the proof of that is that as your consciousness changes, your body too, keeps appearing and disappearing. Does the body exist for you, when you are snoring away, at dawn? Does body exist in the thick of your sleep? Had the body been an absolute reality, how can an absolute reality keep appearing and disappearing. The body is just an apparition in the Mind. And hence, as the Mind keeps on changing, the body also keeps on changing.

So,

When you talk of the body, you are actually talking of the Mind that is perceiving the body. The Atman is the very foundation of the Mind. In the Mind the bodies keep on appearing and disappearing. In the Mind, there is birth and death. In the Mind, there are all these changes. The Atman is that which is unchangeable. Within the Atman, within the expanse of the Mind, a thousand births and deaths are taking place every moment. Those are births and deaths of objects and appearances. The Aatma, the Truth, is not affected by objects and experiences. All of them are happening within the Aatma.

You walk into a room, you come out of the room, does that change the room? But your question is analogous to, “What happens to the room, after my death?” The room was there before your birth, the room would be there, after your death. All this drama is taking place within the room. People are coming, people are going. But there is a very common misperception that there is Aatma inside the body.

There is no Aatma inside the body, the body is inside the Aatma. Kindly, totally get rid of this idea that the Aatma resides somewhere in the body. The body is material, the body is space – time. Everything that is inside the body, occupies space. Is the Aatma, in space? No. Space is an expression of Aatma. Aatma may express itself as space and it may not express itself as space. It may express itself as time and may not express itself as time.



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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Does the Aatma (soul) leave the body after death?



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The myth of the soul or the inner self

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Important takeaways:

  1. If the Truth is somewhere inside your body, then where will you bow down?
  2. Neither inside nor outside. Inside and outside exist only as long as you are looking with your eyes.
  3. This is one of the deepest fallacies that religion has bred that the soul is inside the body. And this has led to mass illusion and great suffering.
  4. I think a basic course in Anatomy is a prerequisite to basic spirituality. Before you touch the Upanishads you must first go to the textbook on human anatomy. So that there remains no confusion regarding any vacancies inside the body, where the soul can take refuge.
  5. Truth is neither inside nor outside, ‘it is the basis of all insides and outsides’. ‘It is the substratum on which that mind rests which thinks of all insides and outsides’.

Question: At times we have to take decisions, how to know that we are listening to our inner voice or outer voice?

Acharya Prashant: You see, there are those who remain enslaved by the outer, by outer forces, outer situations, outer voices etc., and worse than them are those who start believing in the inner. There are those who are compelled by forces outside of themselves and then there are those who say we are impelled by forces inside of ourselves. These two are not different, in fact the latter is even more deeply self deceived than the former.

What is this ‘outer’ and ‘inner’?

Reading a few texts in spirituality, very quickly you come to the conclusion that all outer is just a mirage, and if outer is a mirage, what do you say of the inner? Does the inner exist without the outer? If the outer is gone, what is the question of the inner? What is this thing called ‘inner’? Where does it exist? Continue reading