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Going beyond your problems || Acharya Prashant, on Shri Ashtavakra (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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ज्ञः सचिन्तोऽपि निश्चिन्तः सेन्द्रियोऽपि निरिन्द्रियः। सुबुद्धिरपि निर्बुद्धिः साहंकारोऽनहङ्कृतिः॥ ॥१८- ९५॥

jñaḥ sacinto’pi niścintaḥ sendriyo’pi nirindriyaḥ । subuddhirapi nirbuddhiḥ sāhaṅkāro’nahaṅkṛtiḥ ॥ 18-95॥

The realised one is free of thoughts and worries even in the middle of thoughts and worries. Is free of senses even in the middle of all sensory perception. Is free of the intellect even in the middle of the operations of the intellect and is free of the ego even when acting as the ego.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 95)

Question: Acharya Ji, please explain this verse from Ashtavakra Gita.

Acharya Prashant(AP): “The realised one is free of thoughts and worries even in the middle of thoughts and worries. Is free of senses even in the middle of all sensory perception. Is free of the intellect even in the middle of the operations of the intellect, and is free of the ego even when acting as the ego.”


The realised one is free of thought in the middle of thought, free of senses in the middle of senses, free of intellect in the middle of intellect. And free of ego in the middle of ego.

So firstly, one comes to see that renunciation has no place in the spiritual domain. Nowhere is Ashtavakra saying that the realised one has dropped thoughts, dropped ego, dropped intellect, or dropped the self.

It is very important.

Not only must we read what the Sage is saying, but often it is important to also see what the Sage is not saying.

He is not saying that you must stop all thoughts, he is not saying that you must kill the ego, he is not saying that you must get rid of the world. He is saying that let these continue. He is saying, “Let these continue, and even as these continue, you remain perfectly relaxed and still.”

Do you see this?

And it is such a disruptive statement, because so much of our traditional Spirituality is concerned with dropping and renunciation. So people go to meditation centres to become thoughtless. People say, “I want to get rid of my worries.” And so many Teachers have often advised that the world is an illusion; so drop the world

No, Ashtavakra would has said none of that. He is saying, “Let them continue. Let them continue on the periphery, you sit at the centre – still, relaxed; just realising, just knowing, just watching, just witnessing.”

The mind has a right to continue, the body has a right to continue, the world too has a right to continue. Please let them continue. Let them continue as one lets the monkeys play around on the trees. You may be conducting very important business here, but do you take a gun and shoot the monkeys down? Do you?

You may have a very mischievous kid, and sometimes the kid gives you hell, as all kids do. But will you strangulate the kid? No, you let the kid be. You let the kid be, and you say, “Let the kid do what the kid wants to do, and I will do what I must do.” And that is the right relation between the mother and the kid, between the Source and the mind. Do you see this?

If you try to stop the mind from going here and there, then you will only give it more energy to go here and there. If you will try to kill the ego, remember that only the ego is concerned with killing the ego. So in the effort and intention to get rid of the ego, you will end up reinforcing the ego; making the ego fatter.

Are you getting it?

You have worries and tensions. And have you not seen how you grapple with them, trying to do something about them? With great determination one attacks his problems. And what does the realised one do? He does not attack his problems, he goes past his problems.

Please understand this.

You are with your loved one, and there comes a lunatic who starts abusing you. And you are in deep love. Now would you leave your loved one and start wrestling with the mad man? Would you? Would you do that? Is the mad man important to you? You just walk past him.

That is the way of the realised one. He is in Peace, and just too much in love with Peace. So when problems come, they are unable to dislodge him from his Peace; he remains still seated in Peace. His Peace is just too valuable for him to give considerations to problems.

Are you getting it?

But if you are with someone, you just for the sake of calling, call as your ‘lover’, and have no Real Love, then if problems come, you start getting engaged with problems. Don’t you? Because being with your lover anyway didn’t mean anything to you. So now this something new has come, and it has a lot of pull. You feel like getting engaged with it. With your lover, you just say, “Ok… alright. Lets move ahead.”

The Sage says, “You will never be able to come to an end of your problems, but you can always go beyond your problems.” And, these are two very different things – trying to end your problems versus going beyond your problems.

Now the problems can exist, but they do not exist for you. Thoughts may exist, but they do not mean much to you – thoughts are coming and going. (Referring to the sound of heavy pouring rains) Like the rain outside; drops are falling, but we are in just too much proximity with something else. Now even if the rain is being perceived – and it is being perceived, it is beautiful – yet there is something tremendously more beautiful.

Are we resisting the rain? No. Are we being lured by the rain? No. We are where we are. In the middle of rain, you are free of rain. In the the middle of disturbance, you are free of disturbance. In the middle of ego, you are free of ego.

Egolessness is not a death of the ego, egolessness is about being at a point that the ego cannot touch. If you are invested in methods and efforts that kill the ego, then your investment will go waste.

The ego is phantom, a mirage, a dream. You wake up, do you want to kill the dream? The dream may have been a nightmare, you let the dream be. What is important – waking up, or killing the dream and settling scores with the characters in the dream?

In the dream, somebody came and abused you. Now you’ve woken up, and you are trying to locate that person so that you can settle scores – “You abused me at 03:00 am, where are you now? You know, then I was sleeping, so I could not retaliate. But now here is my gun.” Would you do that? The realised one does not do that. Yes?

So many of our problems exist, just because we think that they are problems. You forget them, and they disappear. But you will have to see this in your life, otherwise it will not mean much to you.

A very blunt and direct proof is sleep. Do any of your problems exist in sleep? When you have retired from the day and settled deeply in relaxation, do they exist? Only when you come in this particular state of consciousness; the waking state, then all the dreams, they again become meaningful.

*To be realised is to be in deep sleep, even when you are awake*.

In deep sleep I am, I appear to be in the waking state, in the sense that I am talking, seeing, acting but internally (pointing at the head) this is relaxed, totally asleep. Do you see this?

You cannot see this so early. You will have to see this in the rain drops, you will have to see this in your footsteps as you walk out. That’s where the facts are, that’s where the Truth opens up for you. These halls are not very significant, they can at most be a theory class. Oh sometimes they turn into laboratories as well. But mostly they are just…….

Let the thing blossom in your lives, let it play out in your lives. Observe how it dances in your lives.

It is quite delightful to just observe.

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