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Know where your interest really lies || On Vivekachudamani (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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Questioner: My wife has recently joined me on the spiritual journey, and she has been watching your videos since the last few weeks. She still feels strongly that she is the body and mind, and the possibility of being beyond body and mind is just a concept for her. The question is, how to control resistance to end the suffering of an illness?

Acharya Prashant: But she is doing quite well. Isn’t she already saying the right thing? As we live, we are the body and the mind, aren’t we? So, she is stating the obvious fact quite innocently. She is at least not pretending that she is the great uncorrupted Self, Ātman , or something else, holier than thou, holier than holiness.

If she says she is the body, true. If she says she is the mind, that too is an obvious fact. Most people are living as the body and as the mind. So, that’s all nice. The enquiry must be somewhere else. The enquiry must be: What is the consequence of living as the body? What is the consequence of living as the mind? Do I like that consequence? Is it my nature to like that consequence?

One has to go into this question: What do I like? Do I like the fruits of my beliefs? I believe I am the body, and that’s a fact. I do believe that I am the body. That’s how mankind lives—as the body. What is the fruit of this belief? And whatever be the fruit, is the fruit acceptable to me?

And once you ask this question—is the fruit acceptable to me, do I like the fruit, what do I like—you will have to go into your nature. And those who have known have told you repeatedly that you do not like to suffer. That’s your nature—not to suffer. In fact you dislike suffering so much that you call freedom from suffering as bliss, whereas freedom from suffering is just freedom from suffering. But you had been disliking suffering so much that when freedom from suffering came, you celebrated it as bliss.

People think of bliss as some special experience. It is not. It is just an assertion, an expression of your dislike against suffering. You are someone who cannot suffer. So when you are made to suffer, you just get confused: “What’s going on?” You are someone who cannot die. But as body you die every moment, and that does not let you take rest. Something fundamentally wrong is going on. “I am being told that I will die. And not only am I being told that I will die—every moment I am seeing evidences of death around me, inside me.”

This really confuses, it’s a trauma. On one hand, you cannot deny that you are experiencing death. Why are you experiencing death? Because you have taken yourself as the body. If you take yourself as the body or the mind, you will keep on experiencing death. On the other hand, there is some identity of yours that you cannot get divorced from, and that identity knows no death. Now you are torn apart.

And you cannot leave either of the two identifications. You are utterly sure that you are the body; that is proven by day-to-day living, by experiences; all the senses are continuously ratifying the body. So it is very difficult to say, “I am not the body.” But if you are the body, you will die. Not only will you die, you are continuously dying. That’s the result of body-identification: strong body-identification means guaranteed death. And then there is another identification that does not come about due to thought, that does not come about due to conditioning; it is inexplicable.

You are identified with the body because the senses tell you so. You are identified with the body because time and experience and conditioning tell you so. There is a reason behind body-identification, right? But you are greatly identified with somebody else as well, and there is no reason why you are identified there, why you feel one with Him or That. There is no reason. There is no reason, so that identification should be easily dissoluble; that identification should be easy to get rid of. But on the contrary, that identification is extremely stubborn: it has a certain resilience against disruption, it appears simple but is very obdurate. You try to tell yourself, “I am the body and nothing else,” but still you cannot make peace with the fact of dying. What does that tell you? That the other identification that you have is extremely resistant to disruption. You cannot sever that cord; you cannot sever that association.

So, man must, then, make a choice. The choice is, keep taking yourself as the body and bear the consequences—and what is the consequence of taking yourself as the body? Death and constant suffering, dilemma, confusion. Or, you stop believing in the fact of the body and get rid of suffering.

It is not about right or wrong. The choice is not between right and wrong. The choice is between rest and restlessness. You can keep on arguing that we are the body, I will say fine, if you want to assert that you are the body, I’ll take it. But then, you will have to bear the consequence, and the consequence will be suffering, restlessness.

It is not about being logically right. Logic will not win you this debate. What wins you this debate? Rest wins you this debate. If I have to decide who has won, I will not ask who is right; I will ask who is restful. Do you get this? One says I am the body, the other says I am not the body. The debate will not be decided by who is right; the debate will be decided by who is at rest. The one who is at rest wins, because that’s what you want—rest. Or do you want a victory? What do you want, rest or victory? Even if you want victory, you want victory just to come to rest.

So, it is rest that you want. You figure out where does rest lie. Does rest lie in pandering to the body? Does rest lie in relying on the body? Does rest lie in taking all the body-related stuff, all the material-related stuff seriously? Does all that give you peace? If that gives you peace, then I will say you must take yourself as the body, no harm. It is not an intellectual debate. Spirituality is not about deciding right and wrong. Spirituality is not about gathering at the townsquare and debating this issue versus that issue. Spirituality is about man’s quest for peace. Who wins? The one who has peace wins.

You tell me, where does peace lie? Mind tells you this, mind tells you that—does that give you peace? If that gives you peace, I will say go with the mind. And there have been those who have told you that great peace lies in looking at the mind and smiling. Try that. Why not? Your objective and your wife’s objective are the same: ultimately, both of you want peace. So, what is the confusion or conflict about? See where real peace lies, and go that way. Isn’t that obvious and simple?

See what you want, and get it. That’s spirituality. See what you do not want, and un-get it, drop it. That’s spirituality.

Nobody wants restlessness, nobody wants tornadoes of the kind the mind keeps unleashing at itself. Or do you want them? Man whirling around like dry leaves in a cyclone—how attractive is that? But then, that’s the consequence of going with the mind. Don’t you observe the mind? The mind is a cyclone. You go with the mind, and you get nothing except this continuous, random, painful movement. You are getting beaten up here, there, now, and then, reaching nowhere. Why don’t you just come to the center of the cyclone, the eye of the cyclone? Things are peaceful there.

I just said it is not about right and wrong. Now I’ll say it is also not about true and false. That will probably astonish you a little, because Truth is what is sacred in spirituality. I’ll say, you forget the Truth also. Right and wrong are gone, let true and false also go away. You just focus on one thing: utility. Be a practical man. See what is useful to you. Is body-identification useful to you? If it is useful, go ahead. Know your self-interest at least. Even if you don’t want to know the Truth or holiness or the heavens or samādhi , it’s alright; let’s just dump those things. Forget samādhi . But at least care for your self-interest. See what is useful to you.

Is flowing with the mind useful to you? Is it? Does it tally with your nature? Your nature is to sleep after a tiring day. Doesn’t matter whether your day has been of great accomplishments or unnerving defeats; you must sleep. Even after the greatest of accomplishments you must sleep. No accomplishment is big enough to substitute sleep, and no defeat is horrible enough to prevent you from sleeping. That’s your nature: “Let all those things keep happening. I will sleep.”

Get the pointer. Don’t get into a debate with me. You know what I am pointing at. You have a great attraction towards rest, and that attraction has not been brought about by time or society or education or conditioning or biology. It is just there. You want to reach there, and this thing or that thing is useful to you only if it helps you reach there.

So, figure out what is helpful to you, figure out what is useful, and proceed. Don’t care for religion, don’t care for spirituality, don’t care for gurus, don’t care for anything. Just care for your own good. Too much to ask? I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. You are anyway already trying to do that, right?—trying to take care of yourself. Isn’t that what you are already trying for? I am saying, just be a little more wise as you try to take care of yourself.

When you say that you want to act in your interest, please know where your interest really lies. Be a good businessman. Know where profit lies. Make a good deal. Spirituality is good business. It is not about inane versus incomprehensible words and metaphors; it is actually common sense. Spirituality is common sense in the purest sense of the word.

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