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Pleasures of consciousness vs pleasures of the body || Acharya Prashant, on Shri Nisargadatta (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Throw out concepts like: ‘I have become virtuous’ or ‘I am a sinner’.

What is the entity that senses this?

Body-consciousness will not lose its grasp on you with the thought that your well-being is the result of some spiritual activity.

All you need is to keep observing yourself.

Do not befriend anything that is visible to you.

If you have to act at all, do only this: please your consciousness.

It is very merciful. It will show you all that is, directly.

~ Sri Nisargdatta Maharaj

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! How is it possible to please the consciousness without getting pleased in turn? Moreover, the sense of correlation between spiritual activity like listening to talks and reading spiritual books, and the sense of well-being and peace arises automatically. Why is it told to get rid of that?

Kindly guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

The pleasures of consciousness are not the pleasures of body. The body has it’s pleasures, and consciousness has a totally different dimension of pleasure. That which pleases the body, is not that which pleases consciousness. But the two become one because our consciousness is body-consciousness.

Consciousness not entangled with the body seeks a destination of a totally different nature. And as far as the body is concerned, it is seeking pleasures of it’s own kind.

In some ways the Saint is also a pleasure-seeking individual, so is a greedy or lustful man. It’s just that the pleasures that the two are seeking are widely separate. Please the consciousness, not the body. And those who are in the business of pleasing the body, to them I say, I exhort and invite, “Try experiencing the pleasures of consciousness. You will forget all about the pleasures of body.”

If pleasure is what you must have, then in Nisargadatta Maharaj’s parlance, have the pleasures of consciousness.

The pleasures of the body inflate the body, reinforce the body. And the pleasures of consciousness dissolve the consciousness. Such a great difference.

The more pleasures you give to the body, the more body-identified you become. The more pleasures you give to consciousness, the more all identifications dissolve.

Usually I do not use the term ‘pleasure’ in context of consciousness. But here because Maharaj is using that lexicon, so I am following him. The pleasures of body are called ‘*sukh*‘ (happiness), the pleasures of consciousness are called ‘*anand*‘ (Joy). And the two are very different.

In fact, when you are consciousness itself without its traps and identifications, and when you are trying to please consciousness alone, then that can result in displeasure to the body. And that is alright, because the quality of the pleasure of consciousness is far higher than the quality of pleasure of body. So the latter can be compromised for the former.

Are you getting it?

Why does the consciousness need to be pleased? Because it is lonely. It usually gets attached to the body. Now you saying, “No, you will not have the body, ” so it has become even more lonely. You will need to give it something better than the body. That is what is called as ‘pleasing consciousness’.

Give consciousness something better than the body to be with.

This will greatly please consciousness, and probably annoy the body.

But that is okay.

It’s a good trade-off.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, can you please give some examples related to this?

Acharya Prashant Ji: When you are listening to me, obviously I am not giving you a body-massage. But you are getting pleased, right? What is getting pleased? Not the body, but the consciousness.

And the body is getting displeased. (Pointing at one of the listeners who is continuously moving during the Satsang) . Look at him, he is shifting forty-second time now.


So that is what I am saying – giving pleasure to consciousness even if the trade-off is that you have to displease the body a little, it is alright.

Azaz (one of the volunteers) comes to me when I am about to fall asleep, sometimes after I have fallen asleep, and starts massaging. He starts massaging me, I start sermonising, both of us are pleasing each other. But who is getting a better deal?

Listeners: Azaz.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Azaz. He is giving me pleasure of the body, I am giving him pleasure of the consciousness. And that is the reason he keeps sneaking into my room. After all of you have fallen asleep, he will come over, pick up some oil, and start massaging. Usually I have fallen asleep by that time. And then I wake up to find him at my feet, so I start saying something.

That’s a great mistake you know, to not to know which of these is higher.

That’s the cardinal mistake man makes – to place the pleasures of the body higher than the pleasures of consciousness.

Just don’t make that mistake, and everything will be okay.

Question 2: Acharya Ji, does negation of ‘what is not’ will always bring us to ‘what is’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: It will not leave you to go to any point. You are saying, “Sir, if I negate ‘what is not’, will it bring me to ‘what is’?” That which is not includes ‘you’ as well. If that which is not is negated, will ‘you’ still be left?

But that is the common expectation – “After everything has been negated and cut down, I will survive, and I will then reach the Truth.”

Once you are determined to cut down that is not, you will have to first of all slit your own throat. Firstly you are not. Who will then remain to reach the Truth? Therefore the Truth is not a destination. Forget the Truth, look at your own validity. Do you exist? And if you do exist, is it doing any good to yourself?

Ask the ego to do you a great favour. What? Leave. She leaves, you leave. Nothing remains. Peace. Nothing remains in context of what was existent earlier. Would there be something after you have gone? May be, may be not. What is certain is, that this question would not be there after you have gone.

The very need to be to be certain that even after your disappearance things will carry on, is a mark of the ego still hanging around. It is only the ego that wants certainty of the future. Right?

“After I am gone, would there be bliss?”

“After everything has been negated down, would there be Truth?”

You are talking about the future.

Who is concerned about the future? Exactly that entity which you are thinking of hacking down. If it has been hacked down, who will think about the future?

So don’t think about the future. Just see whether all this that is around you and within you needs to exist or not, whether it is doing you any good by it’s existence.

It’s a simple thing. Just look at what you have and what you are, and ask yourself, “Is it doing me any good?” Full stop.

Question 3: Pleasures of body, we know that that there are five ways (the five senses) to get. And one gets the pleasures of consciousness at the feet of the Master and by reading Scriptures. Are there any other ways to get pleasures of the consciousness?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Wherever you get it.

What is ‘pleasure of consciousness’? Doubts receding. Peace prevailing. Complexities getting dissolved. All that which keeps bugging you, nagging at you, frustrating you from within – subsiding. That is ‘pleasure of consciousness’.

So the pleasure of consciousness lies in ‘not being’. Pleasure of consciousness is a pleasure of disappearance, pleasure of consciousness is similar to pleasure of sleep.

And why do you want to try out five, or six, or seven ways of seeking pleasures of consciousness? You just said, “I know two ways of getting pleasures of consciousness- reading Scriptures and listening to the Guru. Can you tell me five other ways?” Why? Do you want to abandon these two ways? If you know two ways, is it not sufficient? Why do you want five other ways?

But man is like this you know.

“Can I have a few more options?”

(Pointing at different seekers sitting in the audience),

“I love him, I love him, I also love him.”

“Let there be bounteous choice.”

If man gets one option he should be thankful for that, and that should suffice for entire life. Why do you want fifteen? There are one hundred fifty actually. But you do not need one hundred fifty? And if you chase one hundred fifty, then probably you will not have even a single one.

Begin with what you have. Be grateful for what you already have. Stick to it. May be that will open the door for many others. But don’t be in expectation of many others. Stick to what you have.

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