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Are you the witness of the witness? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, once I had the experience of the ‘seer’, but it remained only for few minutes. How can I be the seer forever?

Acharya Prashant (AP): And you are the seer of that ‘seer’, now that you are talking about it.

Q: I can’t say that surely.

AP: Then how do you know about that ‘seer’?

Q: It’s in a sense...

AP: How do you know about that ‘seer’? To know about that ‘seer’, you must be seeing that ‘seer’.

Q: But I am not sure that it is the ‘witness’.

AP: If the ‘Witness’ is really a witness, you won’t be able to say anything about it.

The ‘Witness’ remains unseen. And if he is unseen, he can neither be talked of, nor thought of, nor imagined, nor described. You can never say, “Ah! The Witness does exist.” How do you know he exists? Are you witnessing the ‘Witness’?

Who are you then? The Witness of the ‘Witness’? The Truth behind the Truth?

Q: Then what happens when there is no one to observe? What is the point when there is no one to observe?

AP: Observe. See what is going on.

Observation is one thing – it’s sensual, it’s mental. You can claim and talk as much as you would like about the faculty and the process of observation, but let’s not lay our hands on ‘Witnessing’.

The Witness really doesn’t even exist, and we, least of all, have the right to talk about the Witness.

But in the spiritual circles, the word ‘Witness’ is used so very liberally and so very casually. Everybody is talking about the ‘Witness’.

Those who gave us the word ‘Witness’ said, “The Witness is the supreme Truth – Akathya (cannot be talked of), Achintya (cannot be thought of), Akalpya (cannot be imagined of).” You will not be able to look at it, the tongue can’t talk of it, the mind can’t conceive it. You must not even try to make it a ‘thing’ of your consciousness. But the Ego loves to play around with even the Sacred, the Sublime.

Truly, the ‘Witness’ is another name for the Absolute Truth. What do we say about that? Is that an object of description? Can we weave a fairy tale around the Truth? But we live in fairy tales. So in the spiritual market, there are a lot of fairy tales, and we buy them most eagerly.

Q: How can you know that these are fairy tales?

AP: Oh, I go close to the fairies, and I ask them “Where do you come from?”

“Your place or my place? Let’s go somewhere. If you come to my place I will have my way. And if we will go to your place, I will be able to see your source. But I can’t just keep ogling from a distance.” When I come across fairies, I approach them. I want to know who they really are.

Live close to the facts of life – fairies or demons, angels or monsters – notwithstanding. Go close to them. Go close to them and honestly ask, “Who are you? What’s your relationship with me? From where do you come?”

“If you are beautiful I want to know what this ‘beauty’ is all about. If you are terrifying, I want to know what in me is scared of you. I want to really know what is going on.”

“Where do all these hopes come from? Where do all these dreams of the future come from? What am I always so scared of? What am I trying to avoid?”

Closeness – that requires Faith.

“Neither would the beauty take me away, nor can it hack me down. I can go close, I can ask. In spite of the worst that might happen, I would still be alright. I need not sleepwalk through life. I will ask, I will know.”

“I love life too much to just walk blindly through it.”

Q: If we go behind fairies, will that take us to the Witness or the Source?

AP: I do not know what the Source is. I cannot have a preconceived notion of where the fairies are coming from. If I already know where I would reach if I go close to the fairies, why do I need to go close to them? I can keep sitting where I am and just speculate.

Why do we have such a great fondness for speculation? Why not really find out?

We all are alive, aren’t we? And we all have our fairies and our demons. So we all are both entitled and obliged to know what’s going on, and then do the right thing.

The fairies are real, the tales are not.

So don’t weave tales.

Q2: Acharya Ji, you said a while ago that there is no personal salvation. I have heard you saying this before as well. But somehow this doesn’t hit hard. I am not able to understand this.

AP: Then you must try personal salvation and fail. You still seem to be insisting deep within that personal, localized, divided Liberation is possible, that belief is probably quite deeply entrenched. And nobody is to be blamed, because that’s what the tradition of ‘Enlightenment’ has been.

We say, “This fellow got Enlightenment, and then in another century and at another place that fellow got Enlightenment.”

And then in this gathering – “Oh! This one is Enlightened.”

So the entire concept is of – one among a million. That must have gone down deep into you, so you are finding it a bit difficult to pluck and throw it out. We say, “The Buddha tried and got it.” It’s almost like a Tech Unicorn in today’s age – there are so many who try for it, but there is one in a billion who manages to get that billion-dollar evaluation.

Doesn’t happen that way, can’t happen that way.


Try for your personal liberation, and if you are serious about your personal liberation, sooner than later you will find that for your own sake you are compelled to help others.

For your own self-interest, you are compelled to help others.

Is that okay?

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