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Morality makes the mischief of the world your personal suffering || Acharya Prashant (2015)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
197 reads

Question: At times morality is a prerequisite to real spiritual freedom.

Speaker: Yes it is a prerequisite, just as disease is a prerequisite to health.

Listener 1: Disease is a prerequisite to health?

Speaker: It is. What is a prerequisite? A prerequisite is something that you would go and acquire. What your existent state is, cannot even be called a ‘prerequisite’ because you already have it, you already are it.

Listener 1: But to see it, is it not a cleansing process?

Speaker: The cleansing is the prerequisite. The cleansing is the prerequisite, the dirt is not. Understand the difference.

Listener 1: Following the moral path can be an intelligent decision, right?

Speaker: Are you talking about following it, or cleansing it?

Listener 1: Following the moral path, is obviously, self-cleansing.

Speaker: That means you do not really know what ‘morality’ is. Self-cleansing, what is ‘self-cleansing’? From where does it come? The ‘self’ itself is morality. How can morality then clean the ‘self’? The ‘self’ is the dirt that morality accumulates in you. Morality is the ‘self’. Then how will morality clean the self?

Listener 1: No, there are certain idioms, which have been experienced by others.

Speaker: Forget about them.

Listener 1: No. Idioms like: Always speak the truth, Be honest, don’t they have any value?

Speaker: What do you know about the Truth, and how can you tell the Truth? Has anybody ever been able to tell the Truth?

Listener 1: No, it can’t be.

Speaker: Then what made you utter this?

Listener 1: Or at least being truthful in language.

Speaker: Does language have anything to do with the Truth?

Listener 1: Not telling a lie to one’s parents?

Speaker: Do you know the Truth, that you won’t tell the lie?

Listener 1: Something which is relatively true.

Speaker: There is nothing called ‘relative truth’.

Listener 1: What Shankara would say as ‘Vyavhaarik Satya’ (behavioural truth).

Speaker: Vyavhaar (Behaviour). Who is it that acts? Who is it who behaves? Who is it who behaves?

Listener 1: That realisation is not beyond language.

Speaker: If that realisation is not there, then what does vyavhaar, or language, behaviour, have anything to do with the Truth? You can keep speaking all the nice things, and causing great harm to yourself and everybody. And that is what happens to moral people. They think that they are doing good. And with all the nice intentions…Have you not heard that?

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

That is the ultimate satire on morality. With all your good intentions, you keep marching towards hell.


(Pointing at the portraits of the saints displayed on the walls of the room) First thing, all of these people here have said is, “The Truth cannot be touched, cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be expressed. It’s ineffable . But the first thing that moral mind tells himself and everybody is, “Tell the truth.” Nonsense.

You know nothing about Truth, and you are talking of ‘telling’ the Truth. You know what you mean by ‘telling the truth’? You mean by confirming to the usual standards of behaviour. That is what is meant by ‘telling the truth’. Nothing else. Then how can it be a ‘value’? How can it be a value? How can it be important?

When I look at you, I will speak to you, if I love you, I will speak to you that, which will help you. If I really am speaking from love, then I will administer you medicine, not facts. Or will I?

The action of love is to heal, it is not to supply facts. What do you mean by ‘telling the truth’? When I am dealing with you, it is not at all my job to tell the truth and engage in that kind of impossibility. My job is to heal. And the healed mind, then moves into the Truth, by itself. Nobody else can tell you the Truth. Somebody else can heal you, and then you will move into the Truth.

But the moral mind is such an arrogant mind, that it thinks that Truth is something that you can carry in your pocket, or carry in your tongue, and deliver to the other. The moral mind cannot surrender. It is haughty, and thinks that it is above everything else.

Stay less in contact with what you very well know, corrupts and contaminates you. You will not even know when all that will start dominating you. You will not even know when all that will become the substance of your mind, and will start calling all that your ‘own’. You will start believing that this is what ‘you’ are thinking.

The mischief of the world, will become your personal suffering, and you will say, “It is ‘my’ suffering,” when it was just the mischief of the world. The falseness of the world will become your own personal falseness. It is almost like getting an infection from somewhere.

Listener 2: Everything has its own place in existence. In the same way, morality has everything which has got its place. May be I understand the rules of morality, but I cannot understand the rules of existence.

Speaker: Yes, because morality is crude. So, the crude mind can easily understand it. ‘Understanding’ is not a proper word, but, the crude mind can assimilate it. Spirituality is subtle, and offers you no support really. You cannot claim that you know spiritual principles, because there are no spiritual principles. But there are moral principles, and you can know moral principles, so you feel good.

Listener 3: When you are saying, “Moral principles,” basically you are saying, ‘ethos’, that which is written in the scriptures, that which is indoctrinated.

Speaker: No, not really.

No scriptures ever contain any principles.

Listener 1: When we say, “Call of the conscience,” what is that? Morality?

Speaker: Of course.

Listener 1: Are they not doctrines?

Speaker: No, never. The scriptures never talk of ‘conscience’. Show me one scripture which talks of the virtues of conscience. Scriptures talk of *Atmaa(*spirit) not antaraatma (conscience). No scriptures talk of the virtues of being conscientious.

Listener 1: Because scriptures are basically interpretation in language.

Speaker: No, not at all. Anybody knows that antar-aatma is not the same as atmaa, and conscientiousness , is not the same as consciousness.

Listener 1: But in Gita, Krishna says, “As I am in Vasudeva, so I am in Pandavas, Dhananjay himself.” So, there he is talking about transcending the ‘self’, the so-called ‘self’.

Speaker: So where is morality in this?

Listener 1: That is ‘transcendence’.

Speaker: Transcendence of what?

Listener 1: The self.

Speaker: The body.

Listener 1: Yes. The body-consciousness.

Speaker: So when you are talking of transcending the body-consciousness, then you cannot talk of yourself as ‘the son of somebody’, and hence, you cannot talk of not lying to your parents.

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: So do you see how deeply morality is ingrained in our minds? On one hand we are talking of Krishna, and on the other hand we are talking of ‘not lying to the parents’.

Listener 1: No, actually what I meant was ‘consciousness’s call’.

Speaker: There is no call of atmaa, there is only the call of conditioning.

When Krishna says, “As I am in myself, so I am in you, and so I am in the rest of the world,” he obviously means that the body does not mean anything. And then how can parents matter, when the body does not mean anything?

Do you see the inconsistency, how in the same breath we talk of being truthful towards parents and then we quote the Gita? How can somebody quote the Gita and still assign virtuosity to the family structure?

Krishna is all the time saying, “The family does not matter,” and the family is the supporting pillar of your morality. To be with Krishna, is to be totally beyond morality. Krishna does not at all bother about the family. In fact, he is getting Arjun to slaughter his family.

Listener 3: Sir, the morality is smart enough that the same family has Krishna, in one of the rooms.

Speaker: In fact, if the family really wishes itself well, it should banish Krishna from its living space. Krishna is dangerous. What if some child of the family, someday, suddenly awakens and realises what Krishna really stands for? What would happen to the family then? Then Mamma will look at LaddooGopal and say, “You little rascal. I didn’t know your true colours.”

Do you know how dangerous Krishna is? To really know him, is to annihilate yourself. Your ways of living, your relationships, nothing can stand the fire of Krishna. That is why you will never really go close to Krishna. You will have an image of Krishna, and keep worshipping it, but you will never really go close to Krishna, because Krishna will destroy you, totally destroy you.

Listener 4: My basic structure is morality, and Krishna goes against morality in every sense?

Speaker: Of course.

Listener 3: Back home, in that little book, exactly the same words are there, and cramming of every single word happens quite frequently. I am trying to understand, with my head down, we have co-opted Krishna.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 3: And if somebody says, “Krishna has fire,” then I will say, “No, I have a nice home, and I meet him every morning.

Speaker: Chubby cheeks. Fond of milk and sugar.

Listener 5: Is it because we are not close to him, that is why we worship him?

Speaker: Of course. Your worship is a cunning method to keep him away. “Take our obeisance, and remain in that temple. Don’t violate my house.”

Listener 1: Or, “Don’t ask me to imitate you.”

Speaker: You will have one day in the year. (Laughter)

But to live by Krishna, That is extremely difficult.

Listener 3: Is it one of the reasons that India is very close to Krishna, that is why India got no Krishna, and an American, or a European got more of Krishna than any Indian?

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 4: Sir, every action arises with a certain assumption, and that assumption is morality. So, all my actions are solely based on morality? So, is it that everything that I do, the ‘walk’ that I walk, the way that I talk, is based on morality?

Speaker: Yes, of course.

Listener4: Even breathing?

Speaker: Of course.

You know, when you move into understanding, even the cells of your body change, your eyes change, your facial expressions change. Nothing remains the same.

Deeper your meditativeness is, the deeper is the physical change that comes to you. Your very breath changes. It becomes regulated, on its own.

The way you walk, your gait, the contours of your voice, its modulation, everything changes. The way you sit, the way you look, the way you listen, everything changes. I am prepared to say, that even the chemical composition of your body changes.

Listener 4: You remain no more, because ‘you’ were morality.

Speaker: If tests are done to determine the presence of this and that in your body, you will see that it has changed, if the ‘thing’ of your mind has changed. That is why it is ‘total annihilation’.

It does not mean that you will start looking totally different. You remember Bulle Shah? In one of the camps we sang, “ Mainnu kaun paichaane, main kuch ho gayee hor nii (Who recognises me, I am no more the same).” He was not just presenting a metaphor to us. It actually does happen. You are no more recognisable. You become somebody else.

So, Krishna is dangerous. You will become somebody else. That ‘somebody else’ is you. That who is the ‘other’ for you right now, is the Real you. And that is also the foundation of all Bhakti, that- “The ‘other’ is the real me.” “I am false, and the ‘other’, You, is the Real ‘me’, and hence, I want to come to You. I want to leave myself behind, I want to come to You.” That is Bhakti.

“I am so false, that the Real ‘me’ has become the ‘other’ for me, and hence I only worship the ‘other’ now. I worship You. The You is my own essence, but it has become so distant from me, that I dare not call it ‘me’. I call it, ‘You,’ I call it, ‘the other,’ but my hope is that one day, I will meet the ‘other’, that is ‘me’.

That is Bhakti.

Listener 4: Sir, so the ‘me’ strives to become ‘the other’, but at the moment, the me is ‘me’.

Speaker: The ‘me’ does not strive to become the ‘other’. The me is gladly in ‘me’. The ‘me’ is the entire universe of its being. It does not want to jump out of it. The universe offers a lot of security, hope, and many other things.

Listener 4: Sir, so what forces it to turn inwards, is Grace. There is no striving as such.

Speaker: ‘Turn outwards’ rather. In the language of *Bhakti( devotion )*, you turn outwards. In the language of Gyaan (Knowledge), you turn inwards. In Bhakti, you go out, to the ‘other’. The ‘other’ is important in Bhakti . In Bhakti , you say, “I am not important. You are important.”

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