अतीताननुसन्धानं भविष्यदविचारणम् । अउदासीन्यमपि प्राप्तं जीवन्मुक्तस्य लक्षणम् ॥
atītānanusandhānaṃ bhaviṣyadavicāraṇam audāsīnyamapi prāptaṃ jīvanmuktasya lakṣaṇam
Not dwelling in the past, taking no thought for future, and looking with indifference upon the present, are characteristics of the liberated-in-life.
~ Verse 432
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Questioner (Q): My mind wanders into the past and imagines the future. Some random thoughts take away my attention, and I bring it back to the present again and again. What is this pull of the mind that takes away the present moment from me? Why is it always in hope of something great in the future? How do I drop this tendency of the mind?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Just continue what you are doing with diligence and devotion. The mind will go where it is manufactured to go. The mind is older than everything else. The mind has its own laws. The mind is Prakṛti . Kṛti means creation; Prakṛti means that which precedes creation, that which pre-exists all creation. The mind has very old, very deep tendencies; it will go where it wants to go.
The wise ones don’t fight the mind; they instead give it freedom. And what does freedom mean? Let the mind be. When the mind is on its own, then you are also on your own. The mind is doing its thing, you are doing your thing. Don’t try to tame the mind or suppress the mind. Just let the mind be.
Q: I just heard you talk about love. I have withdrawn dependency from others, I have set them free. But I have no sameness of feeling towards everybody; I do not love everybody equally. Am I loving or partial, or am I selfish?
AP: Love is not about loving everybody samely or equally. You are a person, you are a body, you are a woman who was typing this question a while ago with her fingers, right? Do you know everybody that you will be able to love everybody? How can you love everybody? It will be very difficult. Eight hundred crore of just human beings are there, and then you can add the fish and the birds and the insects and the other planets and galaxies. It is a little too big a number to love everybody, isn’t it? But that’s the kind of image that has been promoted, circulated—that the one who loves, loves everybody equally. No, that’s not true.
When I talked of love, I said Rāma prema pradhānu , the love towards Rama. And spiritually, truly, that is the only love that you can have. The mind has to have a deep love, a constant attraction toward peace, towards realization, towards rest and understanding. That’s what love is. The love that you commonly talk of as something between two people or four people or two hundred people is just a pale shadow of the real thing.
When one is in love, when one loves the Truth deeply, then his conduct has a certain mystical fragrance about it. The eyes can have only limited vision, the hands can reach out only to a few people, but still, very mysteriously, the life, the very presence of the loving one helps the entire universe. But that help cannot be a deliberate or conscious help. You cannot say that you have to have a sameness of behavior towards everybody. First of all, you cannot reach out to everybody; secondly, when people are different, how can you have sameness of behavior towards them?
Love does not mean that you have to display the same kind of attitude or feeling or behavior to everybody. In love, you heal; in love, you kill as well. In love, you go north; in love, you can go south as well. It depends on the situation. In love sometimes you console, and in love sometimes you condemn as well. In love sometimes you have to bring somebody close to you, and in love sometimes you have to distance yourself as well.
So, there can be no sameness of behavior, first thing. And it is impractical to talk of sameness of behavior towards everybody. Everybody is just impossible. Thought flies, but even thought is incapable of surmising how you can love everybody. Do not think of love as being kind and polite towards everybody. I know a lot of stories of this kind of loving behavior exist, but reject all those stories. The smiling missionary, you know, who just wants to give and give and give to everybody. What if somebody snatches all the goods and runs away? Then what will you give to the others?
Love is not a particular kind of behavior, please. All that is social morality. More often than not, love will require you to be ruthless. And yes, great ruthlessness is possible only in love. So, if I smile at you, you will say, “Ah, what a loving teacher!” But I am very prone to scolding as well; then you will say, “Ah, the teacher is bitter, he does not love me!” And the teacher’s behavior is not the same towards everyone, is it? You are enrolled in this course, not everybody is. How do I talk to everybody? Tell me.
But yes, in some inexpressible way, in some unknowable way, what is happening through me today is helping the entire mankind. I will not be able to know how, but it just happens. But I remind you and warn you not to try it. It is not something that you can try and do; it happens on its own. On your own, all that you can do is: be devoted. You cannot take care of the entire world. You mind your love. See what is it that you are longing for and rushing towards. Be clear about that. And please do loving justice to all those you can reach, you can touch. And ‘loving justice’ does not mean uniformity of behavior. You get the word ‘justice’? People are different, so they deserve different treatments, different behaviors. That’s what love is about.
Love and Truth are inseparable, aren’t they? So, you must have love for Truth. Love is not blind; love sees in the clearest and sharpest way possible. Then how can there be sameness? When you are looking at a world full of distinctions, how can there be sameness? The only indistinct one is Truth, Rama. Remain dedicated towards Him. Towards the world, be just. And what does justice mean? To yellow, respond as you must respond to yellow, and to red, respond as you must respond to red. That is love.
So, you see that love in the world and love towards the Truth are different things. And that is why classically also they have been given different names, parāprema and aparāprema , Ishq-e-haqiqi and Ishq-e-majazi : because these are not the same thing. Love towards Truth, love towards Rama is unconditional, but your behavior towards the world has to be conditional. You have to look at the conditions and respond accordingly.
So, don’t try that meaningless image of unconditional love in the world. And there are just too many people preaching that; they say you must have unconditional love towards everyone. Unconditional love can be had only towards the One who is beyond all conditions. And who is beyond all conditions? Only the Truth. Towards the world, you can only have appropriate response, a just response. So, I said, loving justice. Towards God, unconditional love; towards the world, the right response, the just response. And when you are responding rightly to the world, that is a mark of great love for the world. And the next thing: when you respond rightly to those in your vicinity, then somehow you are helping the entire universe.
Don’t try to help eight billion people. Be just, be right to those you can practically reach, and you will find that even the little bird in Africa is receiving your help.