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How to be true to oneself? Are memory and intelligence related? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Questioner1 (Q1): Sir, I see self-deception within me, in the mind, and I just remembered Shankaracharya's statement, one of his lines from ’Bhaja Govindam' where he says, nishcalatattve jiivanmuktih (From one-pointedness comes liberation)." So, I see that inner division, because there is a self, there is a self-deception; now, how to be true to myself? How to be honest and sincere always within, wherever I am, in the sense of the journey which is unfolding, not as the Absolute Truth, but just right now? Because when you said that, “The matter of the fact is that we are not yet liberated,” at that moment this thought came. So okay, I do not feel liberated. Now, at this moment, how do I actually go in that way, or whichever way? How do I be true?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Do the best you can! This question is coming from a point of limitation. This question assumes choices. And we cannot force the ‘one’ who is seeing choices to admit choiceless-ness. From the point where you are asking this question, you are obviously seeing a lot of choices, and therefore you are asking, "How do I do this? And how do I be honest?" So, as long as you are seeing choices, go for the best choice. What is the best choice? That which according to your own best judgement is the best choice. That appears simple but is not.

Most often, we do not even have the integrity to do what is even relatively best. The absolutely best is obviously beyond our grasp, but even that which is relatively best in our own personal estimate is often left un-attempted by us because we fail to muster the courage, because we fail to be true to ourselves. Knowing fully well that, of the limited options available to you, ‘X’ happens to be the best option, you still do not choose ‘X’.

Is that not the story of our lives? And I'm not saying that ‘X’ is the absolutely best option. The absolutely best is hardly an option.

So, when you see options, do not ask, "Which option is absolutely greatest?" That is not given to you to ask. Once you see that out of the five choices available to you, ‘X’ happens to be the relatively best choice, throw yourself totally into it, throw yourselves totally into ‘X’. Back ‘X’ fully, forget the remaining four.

Q2: To go from a state of having choices to a state of 'choiceless-ness', is that an event or is it a process?

AP: Process. It’s a process. We are people of time, and in time, there are processes. When the effect of a process is suddenly perceived, then you call it a result. A result is just a deception of perception. Results don't really exist; only processes exist for us because we are people of time. In time, there are only processes. In the process, coexists the result. But given our limited senses, we cannot see the result as coexistent with the process. To us, the result suddenly appears, and then we say, "Wow! The result is here, now." The result isn't here now, the result has always been there; it was running parallelly with the process. It's just that our limited faculties did not allow us to perceive the result at every point in time, so we feel that it has just suddenly come up.

Q3: Acharya Ji, the process which you are talking about, it will take how much time? In this lifetime it is possible, or it will take many of them?

AP: It depends on your scale of time. Time is highly personal, you see. So, which time are you talking of? It takes just one second. But your one second might not be the same as her (pointing to another person in the audience) one second. By the clock, a second is a second; internally, a second can be a century. Time is a measure of change. Things change; time moves. If you allow things to change rapidly, things just happen. If you allow things to remain arrested, they don't happen.

You are absolving yourself clear of all responsibilities. Your question is pretending as if you have no role in your Liberation; as if Liberation is a process independent of you. You are asking, "How much time will Liberation take?" It's almost like asking, "At what temperature would water boil?" You would be liberated when you decide to be liberated. It's not like the boiling point of water which is fixed and absolute.

Q4: Acharya Ji, in one of your sessions, you talked about how we should walk on the path of intelligence, rather than walking on the path of memory. But isn't our intelligence limited by and dependent on memory? So, my question is, how can we be more than our history, and not limited by it?

AP: No, the intelligence that I would have probably talked of, in that excerpt or article, is not knowledge. Knowledge depends on history, memory, exposure, and experience. Intelligence is that which is enabling you to relate to me right now. Knowledge is that which is enabling you right now to comprehend my words. If you do not have knowledge of English language, you cannot comprehend what I am saying. But mere comprehension of my words will not help you understand me. That which is helping you relate to me, understand me, is not knowledge; it is something beyond knowledge, and that is intelligence. Your question then is: can intelligence operate without knowledge? Obviously, it can. It is possible to sit here, not know a word of what I am saying, yet relate fully; and that is intelligence. If knowledge is there—wonderful! Even if knowledge is not there, intelligence is not lame without knowledge.

A story that relates to the life of Swami Ram when he was on one of his overseas tours. I am not very sure about that though; you may cross-check. So, at one of the places, in one of the meetings, several in the audience started clamouring. They said, "We want Liberation! We want Liberation! Since so many days you have been talking of Liberation. Of what use are the words if we cannot have the real thing? Tell us how we can have Liberation, and we want it quickly." So, the speaker kept listening and the audience remained restive. And then, after a point, he said, "Fine, settle down all of you. I am giving you Liberation right now—immediately, this moment. How many of you want to be liberated? Come over." And there was conviction and sureness in his words. And you would have guessed it; how many came forward?

Nobody.

Q: Acharya Ji, if we are ’Aham Brahmasmi' , then why do we need Liberation?

AP: You are not Brahm (laughter)

Q: But Shankaracharya Ji said it.

AP: Shankaracharya said probably for himself, not for you. Brahm is the highest potentiality of Aham ; Brahm is the highest potentiality of Aham. Brahm meaning totality, Aham is the ego. Brahm is not the default state of ego, kindly get rid of that notion. Look at your ego, and look at how it operates. You really want to claim that you are Brahm ? Seriously? Looking at all the activities of the Aham throughout the day, you still want to say, ‘Aham Brahmasmi?’ Aham Brahmasmi is something that should be uttered only by the rarest, most refined and realized ones. The common man, if he starts uttering Aham Brahmasmi , it just fuels his ego.

The common, layman ego is now pretending to be something beyond itself. The ego that is always ambitious, is now laying its hands even upon Brahm . So, stay clear of all these grand statements. This grandiloquence would cost you very dear: “We are already liberated! I am Brahm ! All are already realized!” If you are already realized, why do you suffer so much? You are saying, "Oh, I am already liberated," and an hour back, you were sobbing in that corner. Why?

Anger and jealousy and all kinds of complexes are what you identify with, and then you say, "I am liberated and I am Brahm ." What kind of doublespeak is this?

It's better to remain humble and honest, no? It's better to admit who we really are. And if we are humble and honest, then there is a possibility that one day the Aham will dissolve into the Brahm . It is not exactly so, but approximately you may say, “ Aham is a journey whose destination is Brahm .” If the ‘journeying one’ assumes and claims that he is already at the destination, then he will never reach.

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLc8eNZPAIc

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