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Is spirituality related to evolution?

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

9 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): What is evolution? Is there evolution without time? Is there evolution without movement?

Is there evolution without time? And what is time? Time is the essential mind stuff. Time is past and future.

Spirituality is to know, the falseness that is evolution. It is not an evolution, kindly drop this. The mind is anyway always wandering in the past and future, and that is what you call as evolution. You call yourself as products of evolution. Do you know what that means? You are calling yourself as a product of conditioning. “I am the one who has accumulated over time. I am an evolutionary product” that’s what we say about ourselves. That means I am the sum total of my entire past, entire history. I am, what my past has made myself to be. I am so deeply identified with the past that I call myself an evolutionary output.

The first thing that the spiritual mind realizes is that "I am not a product of the past. And if I keep saying that I will continue to suffer. Then I will continue to claim that I am a Hindu, that these are my scriptures, such is my nation, this is my family, my possessions, my belonging, my prestige. My this. My this. My this. My this. Me." That is the accumulated self, the evolutionary self. So, this has to be clearly understood.

Second thing, as you talked of the Varṇāśrama Dharma , you talked of the Puruṣārtha and such things, let’s not call everything as scripture. The Ṛṣi of the Upaniṣad is calling time itself as false, is calling all prescriptions as false. Do you understand prescription? Anything that is dictated in advance. For him Satya , the Truth is that which is vártate , vartaman (Now).

Where is the question of life being divided in advance in stages? In fact, Aṣṭāvakragītā — primary text of Vedānta * — very clearly laughs at this division. It says, “Only the ignorant talk of such things. There is neither * Varṇa nor Āśrama .”

But yes, you are on the spot when you talk of spirituality being very closely related to life. Yes, it is very closely related to life. But not, in following the conditioning that we call as life. What we call as life is already a very conditioned, a very mechanical, very scripted movement. Spirituality is to not live blindly to look at the fact of our conditioning.

Look at how our reactions are so automatic. To see how we are programmed to think in certain ways. To see how I quote only from certain sources that I am identified with and often I quote without knowing without having done a first-hand study without really having gone into it. To see how I simply believe. Believe without inquiring. Believe without having exercised my total intense intellect. I just believe.

It is not about Hinduism or any other religion. The essence of religiousness itself is inquiry, knowing. And what can you know? You as a living being will only know life. Life that you are already living, not life that you are supposed to live. Not an ideal life. Life that you are already living. In looking at this life, one goes beyond this life.

Even if you see, you are not following any of the four Puruṣārthas in that name, still, you are chasing something. If it is not Dharma , it is Kāma . If it is not Kāma , it is Mokṣa . You may not be chasing Kāma calling it Kāma . You might be chasing Kāma calling it something else. You might be calling it, company policy.

So why are you acting in such ways? Why are you so desirous? Why are you working with such great intensity? “Well! Because as a dedicated employee I am following company policy.” Now you are not calling your action as governed by Kāma but still, it is anyway governed by Kāma .

It is not that these are ideal states that you must chase. You are anyway chasing them, that is why Aṣṭāvakra will tell you, “Look at the falseness of what you are chasing look at the falseness of all that you call as Puruṣārtha ."

Puruṣa , in the classical sense, stands for the witness the Ātman . Earth stands for that which you want that which you seek. The Ātman is complete in itself it does not seek anything.

So really there is nothing called Puruṣārtha . What can the Puruṣa really chase? He has nothing left to chase. He is all. But because the ego loves to selectively pick that which suits its own conveniences, so it will quote.

See why I chose only this to quote? Please see.

There are over 200 Upaniṣads . Did I bother to read them? And there is so much there. They will make me forget all my knowledge. No, but just on the basis of hearsay, rumors, in corporate what you call as the grapevine, so this is a social grapevine, one knows of a few things, and starts living his life according to those things. Don’t we love ourselves? If I am basing my life on something, should I not go and at least check based on my own care and concern for myself? Should I not? You buy a medicine, don’t you want to check the expiry date? Yes, don’t you? For the love of your dear life, don’t you?

Now you are marrying based on certain scripture, that’s what you claim, don’t you want to go and check in that scripture whether it is really said this way? Whether that is the real purport? Or are you saying that you can marry casually? Are you saying your life is a casual affair? But strangely that’s how we seem to live.

And it’s a very common refrain. “The scriptures, the Hindu scriptures say this.” Which particular scripture exactly? Where does it say that? Is that scripture of any worth? There are thousands of scriptures in the Hindu tradition. Just as there are millions of gods in the Pantheon. Is every text worthy of being called a scripture?

Vedānta itself is more than 800 recognized books and there are more and more and more and more. Would you call everything as scripture just because it is written in Sanskrit, and Sanskrit has been told to us to be a holy language? So even if somebody is abusing somebody in Sanskrit that’s the grace of God?

Here we have one of our friends sitting. He was extremely unhappy that people in Advait (referring to PrashantAdvait Foundation), they do not get up at Brahm muhurta . Now I was totally surprised. In fact, he said, “No no no you people forget about you being Vedāntees , you do not even deserve to be called as Hindus. You guys keep waking the entire night.”

I said, “ Brahm muhurta ? I thought Brahm is beyond time. But you have not only brought it within time but also blocked it to one particular hour. And that hour also keeps varying according to the position of the Sun and the angle of inclination of the Earth’s axis. One particular inclination, the Sun rises at 5:30 a.m. Had the inclination been any different, Brahm muhurta would have changed. Such a helpless * Brahm . Tomorrow mankind will settle on Mars, what will happen to our * Brahm muhurta ?”

But we love to talk of such things. Brahm muhurta . What stupidity? Now you want to attach a time to Brahm ? Such is the grip of your ego that you won’t spare even Brahm ?

What was the third thing if there is a third thing?

Questioner (Q): I was asking about the fact that you mentioned that the mind uh…

AP: Ah! The trick.

Q: The trick.

AP: That trick is not really a man-made trick; that trick always is inadvertent. It happens. You see, if we want to trick our mind, then the trick will always be at the same level as the mind. Because the trickster is the same as the one being tricked.

We talk of mind control without ever understanding who will control whom? And can something which is at the same domain in the same field at the same level as the other thing ever really control it?

So, I talked of a trick but I was talking more in sense of it being indirect—the event being indirect. In the sense that if you teach the mind something, it won’t take the teaching. The trick is always an unintended trick. And what is unintended yet delivers the goods is called grace.

It’s like this, that you come here expecting something but you get something else that’s the trick. That’s the trick. Unintended recipient of grace you are.

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