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What is it to be absent to the world, and present to the Truth?

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

4 min
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Questioner: Acharya Ji, regarding being absent; as you were speaking, I can only imagine it as not being there in thoughts.

Acharya Prashant: What does it mean to be absent to objective company? It means to be related to objects not via the thread of desire or fear. I said, “When we look at someone we drool from the eyes”, right? What does it mean? We want something from that, which we look at. What does it mean, to be absent to 'you'? To look at you, but desire not from you. And how can that happen? When I know the fact of living. When I fully well know that you cannot fulfill my desire, then I will look at you, but I will be absent to the desires from you. It is a good question for everybody’s clarity. Being absent towards the objective world does not mean that you will look at a pothole and still fall in it. Or that you will walk straight into somebody’s nose and say, “My teacher taught me to be absent to your objective presence, I do not perceive or acknowledge you at all who are you, you do not exist. I am present only to the beloved.” He will say, “I will send you to the beloved.”

It means, look at the world, but want nothing from it. Why? Because your wants are being fulfilled somewhere else. Be a little sharp, don’t be so stupid. The real thing is up there. So, look at all this, but don’t start buying. The world is a great shopping complex, where everything is fake. The real stuff is somewhere else. So, walk through this shady market, but don’t get into a deal. That is what is meant by being absent to the market. Don’t engage with it in a psychic way. “Alright, you are there, yes, fine, one of the things.” ‘Suchness’ - that’s what the Buddha called it. Yathā, tathā, tathatā . The way it is- yathā, tathā, tathatā - the way it is. Nothing more to it, there is nothing more to it, it is only just this much, there is nothing more to it. But that’s not the way the common man looks at the world. He looks at something and imagines that there is a lot more to it. So, what do you do when you look at a car? It is not just a car, there is no tathatā . When you look at a car, what is it? Dreams, and this and this and this lots. What do you do, when you look at a pretty woman? She is not merely one woman, you start seeing two puppies around her. To look objectively, to look absently, means the woman is just a woman, she is not a woman plus-plus. We don’t see, we see plus-plus. Don’t we? That is why everything is a challenge or an opportunity, because of the plus-plus.

Have you ever seen anything without having any demand from it, or without having any desire towards it, or without having any fear towards it, without having any kinds of psychic relationship with it? It doesn’t happen. If you look at anything even for three consecutive seconds, the thing starts to have a meaning, suchness is lost. If you look at anything even for three consecutive seconds, it starts having a meaning for you, a story comes up. Being absent to the things means the absence of the story, not the absence of the thing. The thing is there, the story is not there because I am not desirous, I am not salivating. Are you getting it? The thing is just what it is- yathā, tathā . Jaisa hai waisa hai . There is nothing more to it. What is a grand mansion? A grand mansion. What is death? Death. It has no meaning. Now, are you afraid? If death has no meaning, are you afraid anymore? That’s what, you are absent. You are absent to the meaning, to the story, to the desire, to the fear.

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