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Truth is the only God || Acharya Prashant Workshop (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Question: Sir, my first question is that, it has been asked by a few of my friends that in the Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā , Shri Kṛṣṇa declared himself to God. Then what is the need to read other scriptures like Upaniṣads and Brahmasūtra which has come from humans, like Ṛuṣhis and all?

And second question sir, when I read Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā or any scripture, my family oppose a lot and they say that this will not lead you anywhere and it is just a subjective thing. They say that you can just read for your knowledge, but it will not give you any solution in worldly matters. And then if I oppose it, they just say that you need to perform the ceremony and rituals only then you can please God. And like Shri Kṛṣṇa , if you decorate him and give him as a bhoga (food offering), only then he will be pleased.

So, how to deal with such kind of a mindset of some very close people like my spouse or my in-laws, with whom we live everyday? And then if we just oppose them, they just term me as I am mannerless, or I am emotionless, or I am very straightforward, or listening to you has corrupted my mind. This is ruining my life and everybody around me. So want to know how to deal with such kind of people?

Acharya Prashant (AP): First of all, there is no concept of God in Vedānta . Vedānta is existentialism; Vedānta goes into who you are. And the highest for Vedānta is not God or something, the highest is Truth. God and Truth are not the same thing. God is someone you take as the creator of this universe. When you talk of God, you talk of this universe as real; whereas in Truth, the universe dissolves. All the gods dissolve in Truth, getting it?

And even if one to pursue the argument that Kṛṣṇa declares himself as the highest in Bhagavad Gītā , the same can be said about the Vedas as well. They are called Apauruṣeyā , that they are not coming from any human source. So, even they are coming from a so-called God; equal, equal, no issues. If Gītā is coming from a supernatural source, the same thing can be said about the Vedas also, that they too are coming from a supernatural source. Does somebody tell you who wrote the Vedas ? It is said that they came from the mouth of Brahmā . So, even they are coming from God, fine, equal.

So, just as you can read the Gītā , you can also read Vedas and Upaniṣads are part of Veda , fine? Truth is something one has to go to at all costs in whichever way possible, it is the highest value. Since it is the highest value, it does not matter what route you take to reach it. Are you getting it? Not even the scripture is the highest. That's the great and beautiful thing about Vedānta . It is not even the scripture that is the highest, it is the Truth that is at the highest. That is why it says, “Ekam sad viprā bahudhā vadanti”. Doesn't matter in what way you talk of it; it is the one Truth that matters.

And value a scripture by its power to take you to that Truth. Instead of taking you to the Truth, if it is taking you to the labyrinth of mentation and ideas and concepts, then that scripture is not very useful. But this is a new one, that since Gītā is coming from Kṛṣṇa , why do you need to read even the Vedas ? And probably the dislike is mutual, because you find that Shri Kṛṣṇa is someone who has been repeatedly destroying Vedic karma kāṇḍa (rituals) in the Gītā . So, it does not quite surprise me that people see a dissonance there.

Q: Sir, when we talk of the scriptures with our close family members, they say that it is not the scriptures which will help you, it is just a subjective matter. You can just gain knowledge, but it will be of no use in today's world and will not give you any solution in the worldly matters. It is like only the ceremonies or the rituals, that are important. How to deal with such kind of a people?

AP: If you can answer one question that I have, probably your question will be answered. So, when I was at IIT and we were studying advanced thermodynamics, there used to be one peon in the mess, who would tell me, “What is the point in reading thermodynamics? You come and help me with the dishes and the vegetables, that is what will take you through in life.” How do I respond to that peon?

And you know, there actually was one. He used to taunt all of us. He would say, “You know, you are going and attending all these things. They will not be useful in life, and I am the one who will tell you what to do with life. Look at my advanced condition. Look at all that I have achieved in life.” He used to present himself as a role model. How do I respond to him?

That fellow is passing a verdict on advanced thermodynamics, and all the thermal experience that he has had is, “I have been on the gas stove.” And yet he feels he is empowered and qualified to comment on advanced thermodynamics. Do you get your answer? Who are these fellows who are talking of what is spirituality and to what extent it is useful? What do you know of spirituality? Who are you to talk to me about it? What's your qualification?

Q: They are associated with, I don't want to name the organization, but it's a very reputed organization and they call themselves very religious. And they say that they have dedicated their life to God, Yajña (ritual sacrifice) and all such things.

AP: That peon too was a member, not just a member, he was the president of the Delirious Physicist Association of India. You can form any organization, become its member or even its president. So what? And in general, when you are delirious your tendency to seek security in an organization is higher. See, the problem is not that you do not know the response to give, the problem is that you do not know yourself. The problem is that you know what is right, but you are just too body identified to speak the Truth to your relationships. That's the real problem.

The real problem is that somewhere your interests and svārtha is tied to these people around you, that's why you cannot loudly speak the Truth to them. Otherwise, if someone is talking stupidity, try to help them if they are amenable to listening; or if they are shouting too much, shut them down. And if they are getting uncontrollable, just walk away. It's as simple as that. Help them, shut them down or ignore and walk away. What else?

But you can exercise neither of these options if something worldly is at stake—comforts, pleasures or money or reputation. If something is at stake, then you can neither shut them down, nor walk away, not even help them; then you are left just to tolerate whatever nonsense is going on.

Q: So, if I shut them down, they term me as very emotionless or maybe mannerless, very straightforward and do not know how to respect the elder.

AP: The right that they have, they can exercise that right, no? They can say whatever they want to. Against me people keep saying whatever they want to, what do I do? Nothing. That's the right to expression that everyone has, and they can exercise their right. The problem is not that they have said what they have, the problem is that you have given importance to what they have said. If you know something is coming from a stupid source, how much importance can you give to it?

Q: If you don't give importance, they say you are very arrogant because you are working. Stop working.

AP: You are going in circles, you are not getting it. You are again saying they are saying, I have already answered this—they are saying thing. See where you are drawing benefits from them. Stop taking stuff from them, stop being dependent and then you will not face this problem.

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