श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं मनसो मनो यद्वाचो ह वाचं स उ प्राणस्य प्राणश्चक्षुषश्चक्षुः । अतिमुच्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ 1.२ ॥
śrotrasya śrotraṃ manaso mano yadvāco ha vācaṃ sa u prāṇasya prāṇaścakṣuṣaścakṣuḥ atimucya dhīrāḥ pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti || 1.2 ||
It is the ear of the ear, mind of the mind, tongue of the tongue, and also life of the life and eye of the eye. Being disabused of the false notion, the wise, having left this body, become immortal.
~ Kena Upanishad, Chapter 1, Verse 2
Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, what is this departure from the world?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Departure from the world can be understood only when you first see what we currently take the world to be. We believe we are in this world; a part and parcel of it. We take all this business so seriously; we feel that we are a part of it, right? And then you will understand what the meaning of departing is. You are not a part of this world—you are this world! Are you getting it?
When you see that you are this world, then something quite strange happens; you come to something which is beyond the world. Till the time you feel you are a part of the world—just a small part—you remain in the world. And when you see that you are not only a part, you are the entire world, then instead of being engrossed with the world, you come to a point beyond it.
Q: “To know that you are the entire world.” What does it mean?
AP: It means that what you think of as objective reality is just your state of consciousness. As your consciousness changes, even this objective reality keeps changing. So, it is not out there; it is not something that predates you; it is not something that pre-exists.
Q: What does it lead to? I mean, this can be conceptually understood because the phenomenologist will also say that “The world is but a projection.” So how does that lead to some spiritual realization? Because I can see that when I'm feeling sleepy, I mean, I would not hear a few things and not feel a few things. When I have had a good sleep, when I have not eaten too many parathas or too many samosas, and I am feeling light, then the experience will be different.
AP: So, if a house is on fire and the house is one entity ─ one entity! The entire house is burning. Now, can the flames be doused by something within the house?
AP: Why? Because if the house is burning, then everything in it is burning. You feel you are a part of the house; you too are burning. But if you know that “I am the house, and if I am burning, the house is burning; if the house is burning, everything in the house is burning”, now would you place your hope in the house? Would you say that something within the house can extinguish the fire? That is the significance!
Once you realize you are the world, then you do not chase the world for relief. Now you know that nothing here can give you solace; now the only option available to you is to seek something beyond the burning house.
But if you feel as if you are burning and the house is peaceful, cool, composed, then you will keep running here and there trying to find something which can bring relief to you.
Q: Following the metaphor, “The house never burns in an instant”—firstly, the fire would catch the drawing-room, one of the bedrooms, and so on. Thus, it would burn gradually. So, this personally happens with me, that there is one room that is not yet burnt, so I would put my hope in that room.
AP: The house burns only as much as you are burning. Your situation and the situation of the house are one because you two are one. When you two are always at the same level, in the same dimension, then how can the house ever bring relief to you? Neither the house, nor anything in the house! It would have been very easy to find relief from the burning mess—just that we try to find relief in all the false places. Are you getting it?
Q: Once I see that I'm not getting what I want from certain things, I try the next one. But then, there's always some hope that there will be something better somewhere...
AP: There is no cure for foolishness if you want to maintain it! Do not say, "There is always some hope", say that you want to latch on to that hope. Now, there is no cure for that. If you are a self-hater and you take pleasure in punishing yourself, continue!
Mankind has a great capacity to hate itself, cheat itself, and give all kinds of punishments to itself.
Keep doing that!