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Negate all that’s available to be negated|| Acharya Prashant, on Vedanta (2021)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): The Upanishads have no two things to tell. There are no two truths. There is not even one. So, this is exactly what Śvetāśvatara was saying yesterday. As the spider puts out the web and then takes it in, mythically at least, so does everything arise from that one source and goes back to that one source. All mutations arise from the immutable.

At the center of everything that’s going around is the immovable. What does this mean? This means that if you are to consider something as the source, then please do not consider the movable ones, the mutable ones as the source. The no, the negation is always important, right? So, what is being negated here is to be understood. The movable and the mutable ones are not to be taken as the source, the first or the highest.

Please don’t be so respectful towards these intermediaries, these dwarfs, these perishables. Don’t offer them such high regards. They don’t deserve it. It’s not about disrespecting the stuff around us. It’s not about disrespecting the world. It’s about acknowledging that if you respect these little things too much, then you will be left with no respect to offer to the real thing. If you will allow little stuff to fill up and dominate your life; how will you allow the central seat, the place of respect, the seat of honour to the Real thing? And the Real is a bit pricey, a bit finicky, and immense. The Real won’t accept an inferior seat. The Real is too large to be accommodated in a corner and too pricey to accept a corner. You will have to keep the centre vacant and wait, wait with immense patience, and tireless effort and folded hands, and teary eyes. You will have to wait; not merely wait, I said tireless effort, we are not talking of a passive kind of wait here. Waiting here implies the time taken in clearing up. You have to make space. You don’t just sit and wait. You take time because there is stuff to be done, mess to be cleared.

Why must you accept anything worldly as the source of wellness or goodness? Be a little contemptuous, healthy contempt is what you must have, not the kind of contempt that mocks and derides, but contempt that keeps a little thing in its little place. The contempt that you have for the little thing when it starts acting too big for itself. That’s a kind of contempt you must have towards the world.

“Yeah, it’s a thing, but a little thing.” Let it not throw its weight around. Let it not try to dominate you. You can’t allow it to sit on your head. It’s a little thing. That healthy contempt translates into a carefree nature which in turn translates into joy. You cannot have joy without having that kind of rebellious attitude. You cannot be joyful if you care too much for every little thing. And all things are little. Some are little, some are littler, some are littlest, but there is nothing big. There is nothing big here around.

Questioner (Q): If there is nothing big, then why does it appear to be that way? It does appear to be big.

AP: Because it is hiding something big behind it. A little speck of dust in your eyes can screen the sun away. That little thing is able to screen something as big as the sun. Why? Because you have allowed it to come too close to yourself. If you allow a little thing to come too close to you, it will screen away the immense. So, be very careful about who is entering your intimate space.

One sand particle from the beach and the sun would be lost to you. Let it enter your eyes and then, see, the sun is gone. And suns are suns, they have to be at a distance to keep you safe. And sand is sand. That thing is so small that you carelessly feel like allowing it to come too close to you, appears harmless. The sun, you won’t even try to dream of going too close to it. Sand, you want to allow it. “Okay, sand, nothing, come over, come over; kiddo, come over.” And the thing comes over, the sun is gone.

What do you think, the face of Maya is the face of some demon or a witch? The face of the Maya is the face of a cute baby. Just can’t resist hugging it, caressing it. And remember, the baby doesn’t walk or crawl up to you, you go and actively pick it up and… (makes the gesture of carrying a baby) just as the sand won’t enter your eyes on its own. You must have done something, you know, there is sand in your hands and you rubbed your eyes or something. And once these little things occupy your life, you can forget the real or the immense. Entire day or entire life is now held hostage to such trivia. Entire life becomes a tale of moving from one trifling thing to the other.

Figure out, what’s it that you have allowed intimacy and doesn’t deserve to be intimate? No, no, no, resist, resist, resist, block, block, block.

Probably a sunless life is blissful. If trying for the sun is painful, then living without the sun must be blissful. Be kind to yourself. We are conditioned to torturing ourselves. To most people, you know, even those sporadic moments of joy come almost as a rude shock. We have become such strangers to Joy that if ever it does come accidentally to us, we are taken aback by it. We respond even with aggression. Why the hell has this unwanted stranger come to us? We call it names. It’s not as if you will welcome joy with open arms. When it comes to you, you will abuse it and kick it out. Yes, some flimsy, cheap happiness, that we are open to. Now do you see how joy and strength go together? Do you see that? Joy is only for the ones who love their strength, who awaken it, summon it, want to exercise it. If weakness is your trademark… (shakes his head)

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