Question: The old Tibetan scripture says the spirituality will shift from the east to the west. That was written centuries ago. It was kind of predicted.
Acharya Prashant: Of this I too feel a little sure that the center of spiritual yearning has already moved to west from the east. East has relics, east has remains, east has the old devastated buildings but the new grass is taking root not in east, I assure you. East has a lot of remains, so if you are interested in archaeology, in historical wanderings, then east has a lot of history but if you’re looking for living spirituality, if you’re looking for spirituality that breathes, you will find very little of it in the east.
When I’m saying east, I’m referring to India. I don’t know of other countries. In fact I know of other countries; nowhere. About the west, even though again just as I don’t know other countries, I also don’t know any western country but about the west I’m reasonably sure because the kind of mind that is needed for a spiritual pursuit has to be first of all a mind that is not averse to order.
The western mind at least knows how to follow an external order; they know how to drive in traffic. The inner order — it is such a huge authority, it is such a dictator that it does not listen to any of your wishes. The external order is a very gentle order in comparison. Now, the one who cannot even follow an external order; an external order, in the sense, just as you said, ‘When Indians say thirty minutes, you never know what they mean’. So somebody who cannot follow even an external order, how will he tolerate the immensity and the utter authority and the unreasonableness of the internal order.
When the traffic policeman is telling me to do something, and that something is quite reasonable, he’s not torturing me, that I cannot follow. I cannot think straight. I cannot think two plus two four and the inner commander will say two plus two is five. When I cannot appreciate two plus two four, how will I appreciate when that unreasonable order comes from within?
Are you getting it?
Take it like this: I tell you something which will save your life and you cannot follow that. It is a simple and reasonable order. I’m telling you something which will save your life and you cannot follow that even though it is logical, simple and reasonable. Then, how will you follow when the inner order will tell you to take your life? You cannot follow the instruction of a doctor — here in India if a doctor gives you pills, you think the doctor is an idiot.
When you cannot follow instructions that will save your life, how will you follow instructions that will take your life?
Spirituality is about taking your life.
L2: You said, I think yesterday, we have to forget or overcome our differences but only one thing is important and that is the difference between the essential and the non-essential. How can we manage that? Inner order, this is really strict.
AP: The inner one is a little too difficult to be tolerated.
God is a really finicky husband and autocratic father.
He gives you orders that you can never understand.
He gives you orders that are impossible to execute.
He’ll always tell you to do something that will put you in trouble.
“Don’t go home!”
He’ll never give you something that will make you feel warm and comfortable.
“Go out. Midnight. Dance there. Naked.”
Oh God! Where is the fire?
“No fire. Keep dancing and keep dancing to my tune.”
That kind of a fellow this God is. What to do?
How to follow the inner order? You don’t know.
When He (God) will beat you black and blue ,you will follow. When He will love you madly enough then you will follow. There is actually no recipe. Even, I’m desperately looking for that formula. But not getting it. I know there is no such formula but when you see all the madness around, you desperately wish to find some formula that can be applied on everybody. There is actually no such formula. That’s His unreasonable, unacceptable behavior. He should be tried for bad behavior — no manners, no etiquette, just commands!
He ties your hands and then asks you to fight. What to do?
And after you’ve won, He declares that you’ve lost. What to do?
And when you are an absolute winner, He gives you death as a reward.
He is, I assure you, not the loving father you hold him in Christianity.
That image is a totally false image — God, the provider; God, the supplicant.
L1: There are quite a lot of Christian mystics who’ve gone through that.
AP: I know. Of that I can be very-very certain because I’m going through that every day, Dusan (listener). God is not kind at all I’m telling you. He is very lovable but he is a kind of lover you keep loving and He responds in His own idiosyncratic crazy ways. You’re sending out kisses to Him and He comes back with a slap. When you say why are you slapping me, He says that’s my definition of a kiss. I just kissed. What to do?
But rest assured, God is not like that. He doesn’t have a long white robe, He’s not old, He doesn’t have a flowing beard and He’s not merciful. Not all that, seriously not all that.
That does not mean that He’s the opposite of all that. I’m just saying that He’s not what Christianity has made Him out to be. He’s not that! He seriously torments. He seriously makes you suffer. Sometimes what you think of as Joy is just suffering. In the form of Joy, He has sent you suffering. I’ve personal experience of that. You feel happy that Joy has come to you but then you know what appears auspicious (Shubh) is the worst thing that can happen to you. You think that the emblem of auspiciousness (Shubhankar) is coming but God has his own way of giving.
One has to learn to live with His moods — a very moody and autocratic being. And the worst part is after doing all the rubbish that He can, after appearing to be conclusively unjust, tyrannical, ultimately, He delivers you the worst humiliation. The worst humiliation is that when you were thinking of Him as tyrannical and unjust, He was actually displaying kindness to you.
That is His last slap on your face!
First of all He keeps slapping you, when you think He’s slapping you. And then His last slap is that you learn that when He was slapping you, He was actually caressing you. That is the last slap! Net result is: All you get from Him is slaps. When you discover that these were not slaps, that is too late. You’re gone. Some idiots call that Enlightenment.
But you’re gone, too late to know.
It is not for the small-hearted. If you don’t have raw beastly courage, do not get into this. He really shreds your heart, makes you play with your own blood and then when you’re all in red, totally gory, he says what stupidity is this?
Aghast! You’re looking at his face. But I just followed your orders.
“Come on! You should know better than that. Why did you follow my orders?”
If you have any weakness, if you have even a single point left uncovered, undefended, if even on a single front you’re weak then God will exploit that.
L1: But it is his duty. That is his duty.
AP: Not a likeable fellow at all.
Sometimes you feel disgusted towards yourself for being him!
I am you!
I Am That is such an impersonal thing. When you talk to God, all that you ask is, “I am you!” Of all things possible, “I am you!”
You know that’s what they say, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely!’
There is only one who has absolute power. He’s totally corrupted — follows no discipline, does not listen to your wishes, plays around with men as toys and keeps giving random twists to your life stories. Today you meet some random woman on a boat, tomorrow she is your wife and he’s giving high fives to himself.
Another one made an ass.
When you’re about to meet Him,
He himself becomes the barrier and then,
He says, “Such a fool, he cannot come to meet.”
The evil is God’s secret agent.
After we all have retired to sleep then God holds a secret meeting with him. What do you think? The evil is evil? God will tolerate evil? He’s such an absolute autocrat, why will he tolerate evil or devil?
The evil is nobody but God in forms that we dislike.
L1: Evil could be the final rising.
AP: The final rising, yes.
L1: He does the dirty job.
AP: One thing is certain: That dirty job is being done with that fellow’s consent. I’m sure He’s behind all this, whatever is happening. One just has to trace His hand. Maybe ,one of the secret services – CIA or something like that, they should shadow evil and figure out from where He gets his ammunition and resources from? What do you think, evil could have survived without God’s patronage?
Not only can the evil not survive without the patronage of God, even God cannot survive without the patronage of evil.
AP: Remove evil and? (Asking the listeners)
L1: There is no God anymore.
AP: It’s not conforming to the image — the word Patronage. Right?
L2: Patronage is a bit too much for me.
AP: God turns into Gods. One of them is an evil God. And these Gods together keep up the God.
God turns into Gods.
One of them is an evil God.
And these Gods together keep up the God.
L2: I don’t agree but I respect your views. You have more experience.
AP: I wish experience could speak all this.
All this while we’ve been talking of God; you just said you disagree which means that your God differs from my God.
L2: I don’t know because I have no picture.
AP: Seriously? Can you differ without having a picture? Is it possible to differ at all?
L2: Because in some aspect I don’t agree with your approach.
AP: Again, I’m asking, how will you disagree if you don’t have a picture? Look into it.
L2: A picture means something clear, crystal clear for me at least.
AP: You may have a vague picture. There are clear pictures and there are vague pictures, nonetheless both are pictures.
L2: In a very rough sense, yes.
AP: In a very rough sense, right?
So we are talking of God and you do not agree with my God so surely we’re talking of Gods because your God is not my God.
AP: So all this while we have been talking of Gods. Not God; Gods.
So that’s what God does: gives rise to Gods that we can talk of and we keep talking of them.
Meanwhile, time is wasted and God remains elusive.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: When God is the Lover, to be Kissed is to be Killed
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