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Don’t be a tourist to the land of God || On Vivekachudamani (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner: Sometimes when I listen to you, or when I read verses from the scriptures, there is a certain centeredness within me. What is that, and how can I remain centered? Please explain how to remain in peace and in the Loved One.

Acharya Prashant: You say that you get glimpses of centeredness in the sessions when I speak, or when you read the scriptures. My words are not very important; the verses, too, are not very important. What is important is your condition when you are listening to me or reading the verses. See how you are when you listen to me. See how you are when you are with the great books. Remain that way.

I repeat, there are two things happening when you are with me: one, I am sitting in front of you; second, you are respectful, disciplined, loving, meditative, silent, and admissive of something beyond you. When I am sitting in front of you, do you bother about the miscellaneous, little, petty things of your life? You don’t. That’s the condition of your mind. My presence in front of you does not matter so much; that condition of your mind matters. You can even call it a coincidence that that condition comes to you in my presence. Or you can call it my technique, that I sit in front of you and induce that condition in your brain. But irrespective of what you call it, your mind and its state is more important than me or the holy scriptures.

You tell yourself when you are in front of me, “Stay quiet,” don’t you? When you are in front of me, you tell yourself, “Stay still.” Do you allow yourself to fidget and dither and vacillate and run about when you are listening to me? And the body might be telling you to do a bit of that. The body is a monkey. You are listening to me and the body might say, “Let’s go out for a little walk”; or the body might say, “Why not take a quick nap?”; or the body might say, “Let’s eat something or drink a little.” Do you allow yourself all that? No, because you have told yourself that there does exist something of the beyond, and when you are in company of the beyond, then you better live in a certain reverence; the head must bow down.

That bowing down of the head is what is important and final. My presence is just a catalyst; my presence is just a means. I come to you so that you can get a taste of what it means to bow down. I don’t come to you so that you bow down to me; I come to you so that you bow down. And bowing down is not really dependent on the object to which you bow down. Once you learn bowing down, once you get a taste of the joy that lies in reverentially listening, then surrender becomes a way of life; then you don’t depend on the presence of somebody to bow down. Then you are just bowed down, not in front of somebody.

There are beginners who swim with air pads. I am that air pad. The real thing is between you and the water; I am really unnecessary. But given how you are, I become necessary. But don’t forget that I am an intermediary. That air pad assists you to have a trustful relationship with water. Without that air pad, water is so scary. But after a while, you tend to develop a rapport with water. Now it’s a nice equation between you and water: now it’s you, water, and intimacy. Now the air pad doesn’t mean much, so now the air pad goes to someone else, because all the time somebody or else is beginning to learn, and there are not too many air pads. So, the air pad must now rightfully go to somebody else; you don’t need it. After all, it was rightly between you and water.

That centeredness will remain with you as long as and whenever you have the same attitude as you have in front of me. If you lose that centeredness, it is not because you lose me; it is because you change your attitude. It is because you change the way you are looking at the world. With me, you don’t allow yourself to be mischievous. When I am not, then you give yourself that unfortunate freedom. Why can’t you remain always as you are in front of me, or as you are when you are with Vivekachudamani , or the Upanishads, or with Kabir Sakhi Granth ?

But you think sessions are special occasions, so you reserve all the reverence only for sessions. And after the sessions are over, you turn back to your former self. You say, “Now the sessions are gone. Now I can be my”—what you call as—“original self.” And in calling that rotten self as the original self, you are doing yourself a disservice. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice, you are doing a disservice to me also. Why? Because you call the rotten self as the original self. Then what is this face that you are showing to me in the sessions? Then it has to be a fraudulent and artificial face. After all, your original face shows up either before the sessions or after the sessions. That’s your very own definition, isn’t it? And if you want to contest me, if you want to say that your original face is there during the sessions, then I will ask you, why do you lose that originality the moment the session gets over? If it is original, why doesn’t it deserve to be retained?

So, decide who you are. What is your original face? If your original face is the one that you show to me in the sessions, then don’t let that face be masked after the session. If you will continue with the same face even after the session, then you will always remain centered. Otherwise, centeredness will come to you as a fleeting glimpse, as a shooting star, now here, now gone. Why is the shooting star gone? Not because the shooting star is gone, but because you are gone.

It’s simple. Remain always as you are in front of me, and you will never lose what you get in my company. Even when I do not appear to be there, act as if I am there, and you will never lose what you get in my company. But if you take me as an appearance, if you take me as a body that comes and goes and meets you only four times a month, then you will suffer because of your misplaced concept. If I come only a few times a month, then peace too will come to you only a few times a month.

Let the scriptures be permanently with you. And by that I don’t mean that the book must be permanently with you; I mean that the mind must permanently be devoted to the Truth that the scriptures point at. After a few minutes I will be gone, and if I am gone, then I am gone. Don’t let me go. For the material, I would be gone; for you, I should never be gone. How long and through what means will you be able to hold me? Even if I want to stay with you, I can’t. It’s Prakṛti ; it’s time. She takes me away. But still, I am all yours and you have absolute right over me.

Stay always as you are right now and I will always be with you. Don’t invert the argument; don’t tell me that when I will be physically there, only then you will be centered. That’s your argument right now. What you are saying is, when I am physically with you then you are centered. The fact is a little different: whenever you will be centered, you will find that I am there with you.

So, what is important, what is primary? Your centeredness, not my physical presence. Be centered and find me sitting right next to you. Conversely, if you are not centered, then even my physical presence will not help you.

Don’t be a tourist to the land of God. Settle down permanently. Give up the rights to go away. Just settle down there. It’s not about Him being available or not being available; it’s about you settling down with Him. Settle down with Him. He will never go away.

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