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Who fed you these spiritual fancies? || Acharya Prashant (2021)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, I want to discuss just about three words, whatever we are discussing and it’s not personal, it’s an open-ended discussion. Perception, divine, and karma. I will put it in a very simple way. So, we call it walking a path, I call it living a life now. If you are talking about a spiritual path, I think it’s a life only. You have chosen a life and now you are walking. So, in this path, I realize that our perception has to be improved to understand the divine that is surrounding us, and the divine is surrounding us if we look, just look around!

Acharya Prashant (AP): What’s the question?

Q: So, is this true what is I just said?

AP: No. There is nothing called ‘improvement of perception’. Perception by itself is the projection you inflict upon yourself. Have you, first of all, gathered…

Q: Okay, right! So...

AP: Wait, wait, wait! Don’t be in a rush to throw what you already have! Firstly, receive something new. This word ‘perception’ and ‘better perception’ and ‘higher perception’ is just too much in circulation and one has to watch out. There is a great difference between perception, and attention or realization. Perception everybody has. Each one perceives as one is! You see how you are; you get what you are! So, there is nothing in perception. In fact, the Buddhists, therefore, use the exact opposite. They say ‘aperception’. When they want to talk of seeing rightly, they say, ‘I aperceived’ not 'perceived' because perceiving is always false. Perception is always false because the perceiver is false. Full stop!

Similarly, the ‘divine’. Forget the divine! Look at the worldly, the humanely, the mundane, that’s important. The divine, as we know it or talk of it or read about it, is just another human fancy. At times, the word can be usefully used to point at something outside of yourself. But in general, looking at something outside of yourself doesn’t help. There is so much work to be done inside!

So, talk of your humanness, talk of what really you are living with and living as, right? And if you do not see what you are living as, there is no question of change in perception or anything! Perception follows the state of the self, the ego. And the ego is too resistant to change itself! Therefore, it happily agrees to changing things ‘about’ itself or ‘around’ itself, but not ‘itself!’ So, it will happily say, “I want to change my perception!” Sir, change yourself, your perception will follow you. “I want to change my behavior.” Change yourself! The behavior will follow the change.

But that’s one thing we rarely want to change, the self itself, because that’s where our stubborn ego sits. As far as the Upanishads are concerned, very rarely, if ever, do they bring this word up, ‘perception’. In my memory, never! Probably once or twice, somewhere. But these days, it is in very-very thick circulation! Perception, perception, perception! Won’t help! You may train yourself to look at a banana as an apple, won’t help! The ‘one being trained’ is still the same. One being trained is still ‘a trained one!’

It is one thing when the patient does not want to take medicines. He is at least being honest that he has fallen in love with his disease. It is an even more dangerous thing when the patient admits the disease and starts taking false medicines. Now he is not only diseased but also cunning!

Be very-very alert against false spiritual notions. There is the mind and there is ‘just’ the mind! And there are games that the mind plays against its own welfare, against its own interest! And see how the mind becomes restless and squirms when its deep-seated beliefs are questioned and attacked! See how you resist, see how your listening just drops to zero!

Not being spiritual is alright, being a victim to pop-spirituality is lethal, fatal!

Unfortunately, that’s the situation. When we talk of the Upanishads, people come over to social media and they say, ‘’Where do we get the Upanishads?” And say, “We want to buy a copy; how do we get them?’’ That’s a very tragic state of things you know! Because there are bookstores, and they have spirituality sections, but they won’t have the Upanishads. They would have all kinds of random and non-sensical stuff in the name of spirituality. ‘This doctor, that author, that bestseller!’ But the genuine thing is just absent! Probably that’s the way things should be, no? The real has to be rare!

Spirituality is not about projecting your hallucinations upon others. You already have enough beliefs. You don’t need to gather more from a guru or an author. Don’t you have enough of your own? Why do you want to accumulate his garbage as well? Thing is to clean up! If you want to see something, you will see it! If you want to find something, you will find it! Your world follows your desires, but facts don’t! You really want to see something, project something, just try hard enough and the thing will appear! Autohypnosis! Spiritual masturbation! Learn to say ‘NO’ to these tendencies.

‘Belief’ is one word you have to be very-very cautious against. Whenever you find yourself uttering a sentence that begins with, “I believe that!”... Two hoots to beliefs, yours, or mine! How does it matter? Each is entitled to his beliefs, doesn’t serve anybody! Ever found any fellow not having beliefs?

But truth is another thing! Be guarded against beliefs and see how your beliefs just exist to protect the existing state of the self!

Whenever you want to utter something very confidently, whenever you want to say, ‘But this is the way things are, but this is the way things move, aisā hī to hotā hai (things are like this only), pay attention! Why are you so assertive that the world is this way? What are you getting from it? After the session, some of you may feel, ‘Yes, sounds good! Par aisā kara thode hī sakate hai (But can't be done like this)!” Why not exactly? “ nahīṃ, aise thode hī hotā hai (No, doesn't happen like this)!” What is this 'hotā hai' (Happens)? How many lives do you have? Inside how many people do you live? Where do these rules come from? What do you get by following these rules? kyā hotā hai, kyā nahīṃ hotā hai? kyā calatā hai, kyā nahīṃ calatā hai? (What happens? What happens not? What works? What works not?)

So, I’m leaving you with not a conclusion but a challenge, right? May the challenge be daunting but not insurmountable! May you not pick a small challenge for yourself. Pick a worthy battle and fight it heartfully, don’t worry about anything.

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