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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To call everything as one is not spirituality, but insanity

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There was a holy man who lived in a state of ecstasy, but was regarded by everyone as insane. One day, having begged for food in the village, he sat by the roadside and began to eat when dog came up and looked at him hungrily. The holy man then began to feed the dog; he himself would take a morsel, and then give a morsel to the dog as though he and the dog were old friends. Soon crowd gathered around the two of them to watch this extraordinary site.

One of the men in the crowd jeered at the holy man. He said to the others, “what can you expect from someone so crazy that he is not able to distinguish between a human being and a dog?”

The holy man replied, “Why do you laugh? Do you see Vishnu seated with Vishnu? Vishnu is being fed and Vishnu is doing the feeding. So why do you laugh, oh Vishnu?”

Question: Why can’t we see Vishnu?

Acharya Prashant: Because he is not to be seen. The story says, “Vishnu is feeding Vishnu, and Vishnu is watching. This is a gross representation. This is just very overt symbolism. Vishnu here stands for the essence. Vishnu here stands for the centre. You could call it—the Atma, the soul, the source, anything.

With Vishnu at the centre you are free to look at the world as it is. With Vishnu at the centre you get the fearlessness, the courage, the directness to not to load your prejudices, biases, and fears upon what you see with your eyes, and what you sense with your entire mental apparatus. What does this mean? This means that you do not need to label anything as Vishnu. Forget about labelling everything as Vishnu; you do not need to label anything as Vishnu. The wall is a wall, not Vishnu. The chair is a chair, not Vishnu; a boy is a boy; a woman is a woman; the earth is the earth; the sky is the sky; and there is no need to call them Vishnu.

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Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwara

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Question: Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwara. ’ Can you explain this?

Acharya Prashant: Guru stands for that which calls, the force that which pulls you inwards from darkness into light.  Now you worship ‘Brahama’, ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Mahesh’ and the various deities; this verse says that the Guru is the essence of all that which you have ever worshipped. And again just like Jesus, the Guru is not a physical entity. Continue reading

Spirituality is the intimacy of the immediate, not the blaze of the beyond

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Acharya Prashant: So, here we are, sitting in a spiritual city. Everything here, the whole context is spiritual. Some of us are not from India, and they have come here for spiritual reasons.

So, what is Spirituality? Continue reading

Intentions don’t matter; Awareness does

Question: What we get from outside especially in the childhood, is the love, affection, care of our parents, family. How can that contribute to our ego?

Speaker: There is a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People’s intentions are good, but they end up doing a lot of harm. People’s intentions are good but they end up doing a lot of harm because they are not aware. Even their love can only cause harm to the loved ones.

Intentions don’t matter, awareness matters.

I may have all the intentions of helping my son, my friend, somebody. But how can I help if my notion of help itself is misplaced.

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You, I and the mind

Question: What is the difference between ‘You’, ‘I’ and ‘the mind’?

Speaker: Good. What is the difference between ‘You’, ‘I’ and ‘the mind’? Simple.

Whatever is personal is mind.

We all exist as persons. Right? Right now if I have to speak to you, I cannot look somewhere else and speak. You will feel awkward if I do that. You exist as a person. You are looking at me. Even though you do not look at me you would still be able to hear me, but it’s our common practice. The entire world does this. We exist as persons having a definite form, a definite name, a definite shape, and some characteristics that appear as permanent. Whatever this person is characterized by, is the mind. Whatever is personal, is mind. So the person is the mind and the person refers to himself as ‘I’. Wherever there is an ‘I’ there would be a reciprocal…?
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Any and every image you make of yourself is an ugly image

Question: How do I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams in life with my family’s expectations from me? How can one fulfil both without compromising on either?

Speaker: How can I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams in life with my family’s expectations from me? How can I fulfil both without compromising on either?

There is a slave, and there are two men who are fighting over the rights to own that slave. The slave is greatly interested in the fight, the slave wants to know who will win. The slave sometimes even wants to support one party over the other. There are these two men who are quarrelling, who are fighting, it’s like a tug-of-war, and the slave thinks that he is asking a very meaningful question. ‘Who should be my master? To whom should I be enslaved?’ What would you recommend to that slave? Continue reading