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Ask till you drop the mask || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2012)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
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Acharya Prashant: Ask absurd questions. People would say, he has gone mad. But, ask absurd questions.Why should something like a ‘home’ exist? Have you ever asked this question? You go back home everyday, have you ever asked this? Why should anything like a home exist? I mean, why can’t we just be, wherever we are! Why do we always need to go somewhere in the evening? Why can’t I just be? You are there, I am there. And we are enjoying. We are here the whole night, spend the rest of the day, and we will leave when we feel like, then we will go another place. The whole world belongs to us! What is this concept of a home?

Ever thought? Ask. This is called Inquiry. What is this game about Mummy-Papa? One male, one female, sitting together in a home. What exactly is going on? And these people are supposed to be special. And the whole of religion, and the whole of society, and everything telling me that I must respect, Love them. What exactly is going on? Let me understand it, let me understand it. What is this thing called siblings? What are brothers and sisters? What is this thing called society? What is this thing called religion? What does one mean by religion? What is this thing called a normal life?

What is this thing called progress and growth? That one must progress in life! What is this thing called progress? Have you ever asked yourself, about this thing called progress? Papa, why do you keep chanting, progress, progress? What is meant by progress? A little more money? Why do you need more money? What would you do with it? Are you using all the money that you have? You are using only ten percent of the money you have, rest all is in the banks! So, what will you do with more progress? First, finish the money that is there in the banks! I already have so much, first let me finish it up. What happened to the money in the bank? Is it all finished?

These are absurd questions but ask them. Understand, how the minds of the people function.

When you see the roads in the mornings, full of traffic; Ask, what is this going on? Where are these people going? Why? Look at their faces! People are coming back home in the evening time, in traffic, look at their faces. Ask them, is this what life and work are supposed to be? That they have made faces like that! People who are returning back around 7.30 – 8pm, have you ever focused on their faces, expressions? They are driving a car, there is peak traffic hour, and they are stuck in long traffic jams! Have you ever looked at their faces? Look. Look closely, inattention. And ask yourself, is this what I am preparing myself for? I am paying fees in Lakhs so that my life becomes rubbish like this? I am paying to get assaulted?

Listener: Acharya Ji, asking questions, will we be getting the correct answers?


Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it. This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

L: But when we will inquire, won’t we be thinking?

AP: Just Inquire. If you are not observing the faces of the people who are going back home in the evening time, closely enough, this does not mean that you cannot think. This just means that you do not inquire in attention. You are tied to your thinking. You don’t have to think more. You have to reduce the amount of thinking you do.

Look at this life, as if you have come from some other planet. Do not assume that you already know, that you belong to this planet. For a few days, watch this life, as if you have come from some alien planet.

So, when you go and watch the traffic in the evening time, look at it like this. Why are so many cars standing like this, altogether? Why is one person sitting in each car? Oh, this person wants to go back home! But then why is he carrying so much of iron with him? It’s the man who wants to go home, then why is he carrying 1200 Kilos of steel with him? So, a 60 Kg man, along with 1200 Kg steel! Why is he carrying so much of steel along? Will he eat steel? But then, this question won’t arise, because we are accustomed! Just leave this, ‘being accustomed’. Look at all this, as if for the first time. And ask, what is this happening? And in that asking itself, all the absurdity of the process will be revealed to you! Are you understanding?

When you are wearing this shirt, have you ever asked that it is allowed to bare open your arms, but there are certain parts of the body that are always covered? How is my hand different from my genitals? What is this going on? What does it mean to wear one cloth for the upper body and other cloth for the lower half of the body? Why is this distinction present between upper and lower body? Ask yourself? Do not take it all as granted, that clothes are just meant to be worn like that.

Ask, as if you have come from outside this planet and are observing what is this going on! And then you will realise that we are living utterly mechanical life. What is this thing called mechanical Life , what is this? What is this thing? Can you look at it as if you are looking at it for the first time? Not just assume it.

Your own body, ask, why are there two holes in my nose? You talk of observation and attention, have you ever asked about your nose, which is right in front of your eyes? Can anybody answer this? Why are there two holes in your nose?

It is right in front of your eyes, even then your attention has never gone there? On your own body? You have taken it for granted, a nose is a nose. N for nose, as you learnt in your childhood. Done, finish. Nose is used for breathing. From nose, oxygen goes to lungs, from lungs something comes out, you know it all. Now, tell me, why have you got two nostrils? You would not know. Right in front of your eyes, is your nose, even then you don’t know. Because you already know so much! You never really looked, never thought about it! Why two eyes? Why is it like this? Why is this there and for what? Don’t just believe it. Ask questions, ask if you really know!

What does it mean to walk on two feet? And what does it mean to walk on all fours? What is this going on?

L: Acharya Ji, then all the answers will be No.

AP: Don’t imagine. Don’t imagine what the answer will be! You have started imagining the answer without even asking the question! Question has not even been asked, and the answer has already been imagined. That is what most of us do. Most of us are infatuated with answers and conclusions and solutions. Most of us do not stay with the situation deeply enough. Because we are in a hurry to close the issue. Close it, don’t stay with it. No, not like that.

Don’t imagine solutions. Don’t imagine that if I do like this, then that would happen. Do it first.

What is it to divide my body into various portions? Okay, where exactly does my head stop and my neck begin? Where exactly? Show me?

What does it mean that language has broken an integral component into various fragments? Can it also be that I do not exist as an independent entity? It could be that me and this water, are just extended versions of each other. Undivided parts of one existence! But because language has this tendency to break things up. Tell me where the hair ends and where the nose starts?

Where exactly? They are one continuity. This whole body is one continuity. But language breaks it up into many! Does it or does it not?

Is it not possible that you and he are actually one continuity? Maybe this whole existence is one continuity? And only, it’s language that’s dividing us into all these things? Don’t you see that in existence, if one thing disappears, everything else is impacted?

I was listening to Alan Watts and he said a beautiful thing. He said, there are flowers and there are bees. Now, flowers can’t exist if bees don’t exist. Because the bees are responsible for pollination. And the bees can’t exist if the flowers don’t exist. Because the bees eat the nectar of the flowers. Now, are the flower and the bee, two or one? But the language will break up into two. The language will break it up into two. And that is how the mind looks at reality as fragmented silos, small fragments. And out comes your individuality from there! That “I” am something different from everybody else.

I am not giving you conclusions. Don’t take it again as a de facto statement. I am saying that, observe, be attentive. So that, you can move beyond all that you have been taught to think. Don’t just take things for granted. What does it mean, to have three rows here? What does it mean to have three colors? And why should one color dominate? Never thought about that!

Is it possible that a different configuration of colors can alter the depth of attention substantially? Is it possible? When you entered the room, what did you see? People were trying to occupy all those seats. And if there were seats available within the wall, you would have tried to go there also. Can you be attentive to the fact, how you are always rushing away from Life, away from reality? Now, the reality is here, the action is here, and where do we want to be? There. Now, is that the mark of somebody who is intelligent? Who wants to understand? Or is that the mark of somebody who wants to sleep? Away from here.

This is what you need to observe. While walking, roaming, eating, whatever is happening, just observe that and you will understand! Truth is not far. Just that is what you have to see.

Don’t follow these buzzwords, passion, something, something, meaning, purpose in life, goal, target, to become something in life. There needs to be money in the pocket! I am not saying that one should not have money! But, you must yourself understand, whether you want the money or not. And if you realize that you want it, then it is okay, go ahead. Just realize it ‘yourself’. Not like, one must have power, one must have respect, I have some reputation to maintain, wherever I go people must salute me. I must have a car.

Then what is the difference between us and some hooligan on the street? What he wants, you also want. Tell me one thing that you want that is different from what he wants. He wants a car, you too want a car. He wants money, you too want money. He wants respect, you want respect too. He wants a girl, you want a girl as well.

Don’t you see that our minds are all conditioned in the same way?

L: Acharya Ji, A basic difference, he will kill people to earn it. On the other hand, He (the businessman) will just enslave people to earn it. He will not do violence.

AP: But then, you see, it’s a very clean violence if there is blood oozing out of somebody’s heart. At least it is honest violence.

However the violence when as a businessman you are sucking out life from somebody, and there is not a drop of blood that falls. At least when a gangster shoots someone, the blood is visible.

As a boss, if I am sucking Life out of my employees’ life, is that not violence all the more.

In the name of profit, is that not what is happening? All the time. Wars and exploitation, and all the corporate business! Is the difference real? Or only superficial? Violence is happening in both situations. In one, the blood is visible, and in the other case, no blood is visible. If blood is visible, then at least there is some honesty, that Yes, I have hurt you, killed you.

You say you are educated! Think about it. He also wants two little children, you too want the same. You also do your prayers to your God, he does the same. What’s the difference? He also wants short-cuts, and you too.

He is competing with others, I am the biggest, strongest. You too are competing, you say I have a high salary package!

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