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What would remain without thoughts? || Acharya Prashant (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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AP: You have said without thoughts and thinking there would be no world. It is well said but one could do better by saying that- without thoughts there would be no world and neither no no-world.

To say that the world does not exist is as much of a myth as saying that it does exist.

A Zen master once called one of his disciples and he pointed at something in his hand. He said what do you want to say about this — it was probably a short scarf. He asked does it exist or not? He said if you say that it does not exist then you deny its factuality and if you say that it does exist then you deny the reality. So talking about existence is always a risky business.

L: You can’t really say it’s right at all, at any time.

AP: Yes, but you have chosen the instrument of Neti-Neti.

When you choose that instrument then just take one precaution: Neti-Neti must negate everything and also finally not forget to negate itself.

L: Yes it’s the final thing.

AP: So, when you use Neti-Neti to say that there is no world, also use it to clean the room finally, properly and say that neither is there no world nor is there no no-world. Just saying that all this does not exist is the creation of a parallel universe. There are those who say this universe exists — they live in this universe. There are those who say this universe does not exist — they just create a different universe for themselves and start living in it; that does not mean that they have become free of universes. They haven’t become free of universes. They have just dreamt up another universe for themselves. You very well know of the Heavenists – who want to book an apartment in the heavens. They do not quite like this world so much. But they are very fond of real estate in heaven.

In the same way you’ve said- ‘Would this object be there without me thinking it’?

Would this me be there without the object?

So it is not as if you are responsible for creating the object. If you are responsible for creating the object, please see, that you’ll also start feeling responsible for eliminating the object. And often, this is what happens to the spiritualists. They feel a kind of guilt that they did the world – ‘Oh this world is a mess created by my thought.’ If this world is a mess created by my thought then who would clean up the mess?

Then the responsibility is on me.

Now, that is a great trap!

Because by taking responsibility for the world you’ve become all the more enmeshed in the world. And now you’ll try to seek God, and now you’ll try to seek redemption. You’ll say I want freedom from the universe because it’s too much responsibility for me and I was the one who made the mistake of firstly creating it.

You’ve not made any mistake. You’ve not created the universe. You and the universe are one. You and the universe are two ends of the most prevalent subject-object duality.

Take away the universe, where are you? Exactly where are you without the universe?

You and the universe are together.

Listener 1: Thoughts created maya

AP: Would you want to modify it now?

L1: Reality created Maya.

AP: And thoughts?

L: Are part of reality.

AP: Maya and thoughts, why give them two distinct names?

When you have set right at the outset that everything is Maya then thought is Maya, absence of thought is Maya, presence of thought is Maya, coming of thought is Maya, going of thought is Maya. We have already set everything. Now does something needs to be qualified? Now is there any need to put special emphasis on anything? When everything is Maya then Maya is Maya. If by Maya, you mean that which is not but appears to be then is Maya Maya? If everything is an illusion then what is illusion?

L: Everything

AP: Including illusion as well.

Not only is your reality an illusion but even the illusions are illusions — they do not exists.

To believe in Maya is to then believe in a second truth.

Are there two truths?

If you say that everything is Maya and Maya is not the truth then you are talking of two truths. So does Maya exists then? So all is Maya including Maya. It does not exist.

I want to take away even the last piece of bread that thought has still restored for itself. It is very cunning. Somehow it manages to preserve something for itself. Somehow it manages to hide in some corner that it digs for itself. It must be drawn out of its hiding hole.

L1: It is thoughts that create objects and that create duality.

AP: Be very cautious when you use the word creation. Creation and projection are not the same. The projector in the cinema hall that throws images on the screen is not really creating those images. Creation is an altogether different dimension.

L1: The dimension, I do not know of.

AP: Excellent.

So, all this is projection, all this is an echo, all this is a reflection. In none of these is creation.

L1: Without thoughts, there is no duality.

AP: So thoughts create duality — again the same assumption.

If you want to say this then somebody else would probably say that without duality, there are no thoughts. And both of you would be equally wrong.

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