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Oneness, Pleasure-Pain, Aloneness, and Inner Voice
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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A. Oneness

We live in a dualistic world, we live in a world where everything exists only because of its opposite. So you have a whiteboard. If something is to be written on that whiteboard, what does that mean?

Can you write on whiteboard with a white chalk? No! White and black must co-exist. But whenever you are reading something, your entire mind is concentrated only on the black. So much so that you forget the white that is immediately and closely present. The intelligent mind says, ‘White and black are one. One cannot exist without the other. They are not two, they are one. Had they been two, then one could have existed without the other. But the fact is, one of them cannot exist without the other one. They are one’. Similarly, ‘happiness’ and ‘sadness’. You cannot experience happiness, if you are not sad. You have to be sad in order to experience happiness. In fact, the sadder you are, more is the happiness you experience. Is that not so? Are we together? It is a prerequisite. Unless you are sad, you cannot be happy. So, the wise man does not look at ‘happiness’ and ‘sadness’ as two things. We said that when we are reading something on the whiteboard, then our entire mind is concentrated entirely on the black. We simply forget the white that is present behind. Right?

In the same way, when we are happy then our entire mind is concentrated on happiness. We totally forget the sadness that is accompanying the happiness. The wise man does not do that. The wise man knows that this happiness is definitely accompanied by sadness. So happiness and sadness are one. That ‘One’ is the element that I am talking of. That ‘One’ is the element of this entire world.

This is called ‘Oneness’. ‘Oneness’ is to see non-dual in duality. ‘Oneness’ is to see the non-dual in all duality. ‘Oneness’ is to see the common element in all apparent diversity. ‘Everything that appears to be different, I am able to see one common thing in it’, that is called ‘oneness’. So the wise man who sees that oneness, is not moved by pleasure and is also not moved by pain. Because he knows that pleasure and pain are one and the same. He is not moved by ambition and he is also not moved by fear, because he knows that ambition and fear are same. When he looks at the day, he knows that the day is a little bit of an illusion. Why? Because there can be no day without the night. The stupid one does not see that. He thinks that happiness and sadness are different. So, the stupid one suffers, because he does not see that ‘oneness’

B. Pleasure–Pain

Pleasure and pain are two ends of duality, but they should not be taken as separate. They are one. Pleasure in itself will hold no attraction for you if you are not in pain. If you ask, “What is pleasure?” The answer has to be in context of pain. Pleasure means nothing in absence of pain.

What is pleasure then?

A temporary perception of cessation of pain. A temporary perception of relief from pain. And you know it is temporary. Experience has told you that. So on one hand, pleasure is relief from pain and on the other hand, pleasure is the apprehension of pain. You know you have left pain behind in time but you also know pain is waiting for you ahead in time. You try to clutch pleasure. You try to prolong pleasure. Nobody wants their pleasurable moments to end. We all want our fairy tales to continue. But in the desire of continuation; itself lies fear, pain. You would not want something to prolong were you not convinced of its mortality. You know that it is going to end, that it is about to end.

Now look at what is happening. You were in pain and when you were in pain, you were in pain. And then the pain turned into pleasure and when you are in pleasure, you want to prolong that pleasure and the very desire to prolong, is pain. So when you were in pain, you were in pain and even when you are in pleasure, you are in pain. In fact the pain of pleasure is deeper than the pain of pain.

To not to have something is not quite as bad, as to have it and lose it. So pain is pain and pleasure is also pain. That explains why Buddha has called the world as suffering.

Now the world by definition is dualistic. There is pleasure and there is pain. Why not say the world is pleasure? Why instead choose to say that the world is pain? Why? Why is the Buddha making that choice? If everything is dualistic why is he choosing one end of duality?

Do you understand why?

Because pain is pain and pleasure too is pain. That is why it would not be right to say that the world is pleasure. It is more correct to say that the world is pain. Pleasure and pain are two ends of a duality which in itself can be called a big pain. The duality in itself can be called a big pain and of this big pain, the two ends are pain and pleasure. And that is the reason why when this big pain – the duality itself – is removed, it is called as Joy. Joy is not a movement from pain to pleasure. Joy is freedom from both, pain and pleasure.

C. Aloneness

A chaotic mind sees too many things and takes all of them to be independent of each other. Then comes a mind that is not so amorphous, that is crystallizing a little. It starts seeing few principles. It starts seeing that even though things, people, time, situations, they appear different and diverse yet there is an underlying principle that unites them, they are not actually different, they ‘appear’ different.

It is a little bit like a layman thinking that the wall is qualitatively different from the fan, which is qualitatively different from the air, which is very different from the water. Everything appears random but it is not actually random. Everything appears different but nothing is discreet. They are all being governed by a few basic laws and even those laws are not very different, those laws are just one.

Similarly, a person whose mind is very-very chaotic, divided, distributed looks at his relationships with everybody and thinks that he is in different kinds of relationships.

He will say that I have one relationship with my girlfriend, I have another relationship with my parents, I have yet another relationship with my bike, and I have a fourth kind of relationship with animals.

But a little bit of understanding and he realizes that relationships are not really different. Ultimately, most of my relations are driven by two factors – greed and fear. So he says that why call all these relationships different. Ultimately, I am operating only in greed and fear.

So, from many, from apparent diversity, the mind starts coming to a few, or one. The senses will always tell you that there are many, many and many. The senses, whenever they perceive, all that they perceive is differences. All that they perceive is limitations. You cannot be perceived if you do not have a limit. A word cannot be perceived if it does not ever stop. If there is something that is always continuing, it cannot be perceived.

Everything is the manifestation of that Source. Then, you do not say that things are different at all. Now, diversity comes to an end; division comes to an end; naming comes to an end.

You start seeing a particular oneness. You start seeing that only That Source exists. It may appear to be diverse but it is only that Source that exists.

In other words you can say that the Source alone exists.

When you see that the Source alone exists, even though it manifests itself in a billion forms, this is called Aloneness.

D. Inner Voice

As there are so many voices around, inner voice too is just a voice. Since the day you were born, you have been listening to so many voices. These voices have accumulated over these years. This is how the mind has been formed. As there are so many voices making noise here and there, we call one of them as ‘inner voice’.

Does that ‘inner voice’ keep changing or it speaks the same thing? It keeps changing. Have you ever observed in which language does it speak? It speaks in a language that I can understand. Does it speak in any language that you don't understand? As there are voices around us making noise, so there is a voice from within making noise- the inner voice. There is no need to give any value to that voice. It is actually more dangerous as compared to other voices. The other voices are outside, but the inner voice is seated within you.

It is as if your enemy has taken shelter in your own house. If the voice is coming from outside we call it ‘noise’. If the noise is coming from within, we call it ‘conscience.’ We say, “My conscience is speaking.” God has no voice; he doesn’t talk to you through any language. When there is complete and clear silence, then wordlessly, language-lessly, there is oneness. Not even communication, just oneness. All these stories that there was a king who was sleeping and Lord Shiva came in his dream and said, “On that hill-top, you build my temple,” all this is rubbish. All these stories that God came in dreams and then God gave this instructions, all these must be openly declared too be rubbish.

God doesn’t come in dreams. God doesn’t talk in any language. God has no fascination for Sanskrit or Hebrew, or Arabic. God is not sitting anywhere. God is not running anywhere. God has no reason to create anything. And God is also not busy with helping or dissolving. If you can keep all your concepts about God away, then you have a beautiful emptiness. If you want, you can call it ‘God’!

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