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.

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

himalaya2

 

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?



Connect to Acharya Prashant:

1. Advait Learning Camps (ALC): Advait Learning Camps are monthly 4-day retreats under the guidance of Acharya prashant in the Himalayas. To participate in the camps, ContactSh. Anshu Sharma: +91-8376055661 or Sh. Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998 

2. Course in Realization (CIR): Course in Realization is a seven-day scriptures based learning program led by Acharya Prashant. To join, either physically or online, contact:  Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

3. Month of AwakeninG (MAG): Attend Satsangs from Home! MAG is an online series of discourses on handpicked topics by Acharya Prashant on practical and relevant topics like Love, Fear, Achievement etc. To join the online discourses, contact: Smt. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

4. Meet the Master (MTM): Meet the Master is an opportunity to meet and seek detailed guidance from Acharya Prashant, either in person or online. Contact: Smt. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

 To join any of the above programs, send your specified application to:

Books by the Speaker are available at:

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The myth of the soul or the inner self

 

Slide1Question: 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?

Listener: Soul

AP: Soul, inside what? What do you mean by ‘inner’?

L: In ourselves, in our hearts.

AP: When you say something is ‘in’ something, then you mean it is enveloped, it is enclosed.

L: In the body

AP: So, the soul is inside the body? Then how is the inner any false, because the body thrives on the outer. When you say, the soul is ‘in the body’ and at the same time you decry the outer, tell me how is the outer false? Because the body feeds on the outer. Remove the outer, would the body exist?

L: No

AP: So, look at what you are saying. The soul, which you call as the supreme Truth, lives inside the body, and the body feeds on the soil, the grass, the sun and the air. So, the soul too, by definition, lives on these, right? Because the body is so big that it contains the soul.  And if the body lives on soil and grass then the soul too, must be feeding on these. If the body is dependent on soil and grass, then the soul too has to be dependent.

L: It is not dependent

AP: If it is not dependent, then it must be able to live without the body? What is it doing inside the body? The body is always dimensional, the body is always a happening, temporal, the body is in space and time. And by saying that the soul is inside the body, you have located the soul too, in space and time.

L: The body cannot be like this without the soul

AP: That is fine, but how does that mean that Truth is inside the body?

L: It pervades all over

AP: If it pervades all over, then why are you calling it inside the body? Why don’t you say, it is upon the table? Don’t you see the deep ego contained in that? “I am so great that I envelope the Atman. My measure is of a dimension that can encircle the Truth itself.” If the Truth is somewhere inside your body, then where will you bow down? What then is the need of bowing down? I am carrying it in my back pocket, I am carrying it in my kidney, I am carrying it in my nostrils. Now, what is the question of submitting?

Neither inside nor outside. Inside and outside exist only as long as you are looking with your eyes. For 8 to 10 hours in the day (in your sleep), where do these inside and outside disappear? Are they real? What happens to all inside and outside in your sleep? What will happen to them, after the body is gone? Who is this one, talking of boundaries and insides and outsides of the boundaries?

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. On one hand you say, “I am not the body”, on the other hand you say, “inside the body is the Truth.” Don’t you see, what that implies? You are saying, “I am not the Truth.” And it is not about any one line of thought, or any one philosophy. Across religions, and across the thoughts and ages, this belief holds way.

L: Many a times people say, we are going for meditation to find ourselves. Isn’t that when we are meditating, our preconditioned mind is answering to these questions.

AP: Of  course. All these things, inner self, inner voice, inner reality, all of them are just illusions. And because they have come in circulation, they have taken the form of mass hysteria. Everyone wants to dig out something from his insides.

We don’t even ‘look at’ the facts of living. Don’t you see that this that you call as ‘inner’, always speaks in a language that you have acquired? Has your inner voice ever spoken to you in French, in Russian? Has it ever spoken to you in your deep dreamless sleep? Don’t you see that it only tells you that which you are anyway conditioned to do? Don’t you see that your deepest conditioning speaks to you in your so called ‘inner voice’ or ‘inner reality’. And that is why I am saying that this concept of an ‘inner truth’ has done mankind great damage. It has enabled man to justify all his rubbish in the name of the ‘voice of conscience’ or the ‘voice of inner truth’. Justify, not so much to other, but firstly justify to himself.

Why do you need to look at facts, why do you need to be present, when an ‘inner voice’ can come up with solutions? Why do you need to know by ‘attending to’ the reality, when the substitute to the reality is assumed to be present inside you?

L: Spirituality says that you have to ‘find yourself’. If there is no soul inside us, then what are we finding?

AP: Spirituality is not at all about finding something inside of you. Who said that? Show me, where it is said that you have to find something inside of you. What are these popular illusions?

Spirituality is simply ‘Silence’.

The Upanishads say and they put it so beautifully -“That which powers the mind to think, is THAT which the mind cannot think of; That which powers the tongue to speak, is That which the tongue cannot speak of; That which powers the ears to hear, is That which the ears cannot hear of.”

You don’t need to go inside the body, the body itself ‘is the proof’ and ‘THAT’. In another instance, the Upanishads say, “the ear behind the ears, the eye behind the eyes, the voice behind the voice, the mind behind the mind.” Looking at the mind, you require ‘the mind behind the mind’. ‘Seeing how you hear’, you have started ‘listening’, (shrotrasya shrotram = the ear of the ear). That does not mean that there is another ear inside your ear.

(Laughter)

That does not mean that there are eyes behind the eyes and behind them is some soul. What kind of model making is this? Have you read no Biology?

(Laughter)

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. People have gone far to conduct very clever experiments. Actually, there is a verse in ‘Kathopanishad’, where it is said that the Atman is of the size of the thumb.

People have taken that literally. And they have gone to great lengths, in trying to find out where that pocket is, where this thumb shaped cavity is there. And then there are others, who objected, Buddhists and Jains. They said, if the Upanishads are right, then tell me where is that thumb sized cavity inside the body of an ant? So, then came another clever reply, that in the case of the ant, the thumb refers to the ant’s thumb.

(Laughter)

After all the soul is supposed to be inside the body. Nonsense.

But then the Vedantists were not to be left far behind, they said, “how about the fish, they have no thumb? What is the size of their soul?”

So, what is said from opposition of meditation, must be understood in the same meditative way. When it is said that the soul is the size of the thumb and inside of you, what is implied is, that it is small. It is an idiom, it is a way of saying, a metaphor. It is said that it is not so large that you can look at it with admiration, it is not the size of a mountain. It is not something imposing, it is subtle. Hence the metaphor of the thumb was used.

Similarly, when it was asserted, and it comes in the Bhagavad Gita as well, Krishna does say that “I live inside of you.” When it was asserted that the soul is inside the body, it was only to counter the feeling that the soul is outside the body. ‘Inside’ has to be read as, ‘not outside’. But when somebody is under the impression that the Truth is outside of him, then it is even more dangerous for him to start believing next that the Truth is inside of him. Because, the inside and the outside go together. If you start in the inside, you will also have to believe in the outside.

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’.

As the Upanishads say, “the mind underneath the mind.” So, inside and outside are mind. The Truth is that which is both beneath the inside and outside. Outsides, insides keep coming and going, the Truth remains. Bodies keep coming and going, the Atman remains. Were you talking of any inside, before you were born? Would you be talking of any outside after you are gone? Does that mean that the Truth came with you and will go away with you? Your outside and inside will be washed away by the time, the Truth remains.


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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Krishna is that within you that already knows


Connect to Acharya Prashant:

1. Advait Learning Camps (ALC): Advait Learning Camps are monthly 4-day retreats under the guidance of Acharya prashant in the Himalayas. To participate in the camps, ContactSh. Anshu Sharma: +91-8376055661 or Sh. Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998 

2. Course in Realization (CIR): Course in Realization is a seven day scripture-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant. To join, either physically or online, Contact:  Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

3. Month of AwakeninG (MAG): Attend Satsangs from Home! MAG is an online series of discourses on handpicked topics by Acharya Prashant on practical and relevant topics like Love, Fear, Achievement etc. To join the online discourses, contact: Smt. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

4. Meet the Master (MTM): Meet the Master is an opportunity to meet and seek detailed guidance from Acharya Prashant, either in person or online. Contact: Smt. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

To join any of the above programs, send your specified application to:

Books by the Speaker are available at:

Amazonhttp://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant

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