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Why must one work?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
15 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): Even before you go to the teacher, that is needed, the body must be such that it doesn’t fall off in the middle of a session, the senses must be such that they do not start wandering when the teacher is speaking, that kind of inner discipline needs to be cultivated even before you face the teacher. So that reverential attitude has to be there and then as you sit in front of the teacher you listen carefully and what you have listened must continue resonating in your mind the entire day, the entire week that is ‘*Manana*’, listening attentively is ‘*Sravana*’ and continuing the inner process of resonance or inner remembrance is ‘*Manana*’ and then there is ‘ Nididhyāsana’ .

Nididhyāsana is when the heard substance gives up its form in words and becomes your lifeblood, that is Nididhyāsana . As long as the inner processing is merely cerebral it is Manana and when the intaken substance becomes a silent continuous way of living with you that is Nididhyāsana . And then from that Nididhyāsana comes the perfect solution- ‘*Samādhi*’. These are the four classical stages that you will find repeated at many places- ‘*Sravana*’, ‘*Manana*’, ‘*Nididhyāsana*’, and ‘*Samādhi*’.

Something interesting for you. When we are discussing how the student gains Jñāna or knowledge then it proceeds in this order- ‘*Sravana*’, ‘*Manana*’, ‘*Nididhyāsana*’ and ‘ Samādhi * ’. When it comes to the teacher it proceeds in exactly the reverse order. The teacher starts from * Samādhi , lives his love for Truth, from that life come his thoughts, and finally, in front of the student, those thoughts are expressed as words. For the teacher, it is much more difficult than it is for the student. Because for the student it is an upward climb and upward climb is obviously difficult. Right? You are going up the hill so you listen to the teacher and then you rise a little up. And what are you doing then? You are chewing on his words. And what do you do then? You start living what he is saying and from that finally, there is liberation you reach the summit. This is difficult obviously for the student. Now think of the teacher. The Teacher is already at the summit. He has to come down, he has to leave his Samādhi and from Samādhi he has to come to a point where he may offer you stuff for Sravana . Why would he do that? And even if he has a strong reason to do that, it is very difficult and demanding because what the teacher is trying to put in words is not really the stuff of words. The student is taking in words that in itself is difficult, but for a moment think of the difficulty that lies in producing those words.

From where will those words come? They cannot come from books because there is no precedence, they cannot come from memory otherwise they will be stale. Those words are coming directly from the hilltop and the hilltop really doesn’t afford or accommodate words. Words are an efferent when you are at the hilltop but for some purpose that the teacher thinks of as quite crucial, the teacher decides to climb down. And if you have ever trekked up or down, you know very well that climbing down a hill can be much more difficult. So, that’s the phenomena that’s how it happens when it comes to Jñāna

And what is Jñāna ?

It is to know the subject and the object together and continuously. It is to never forget for a moment that the thing you are looking at is not really a thing outside of you. There is nothing that you can look at that has first of all not been created within you. You only look at that which you are or which you create. This is realization. Therefore, all objects are the same in the sense that they all come forth from you. Having seen this rather, seeing this continuously one loses the aversion or attraction towards objects. Now things are not at all things. It is a composite system consisting of the thing plus you. The way you are constructing the thing, the meaning that you are according to the thing is all you. The thing is physical, right? If the thing is physical. Its physicality is a result of your physicality. The thing has a name, right? The thing has a name because you have a name. The thing came into existence at some point, the thing came into existence because you were born. The thing will vanish at some point, the thing will vanish at some point because you will die. The thing has a certain value, a certain meaning, a certain use. It is because you think in terms of values and meanings and uses.

So, the thing is inseparable from you. This is realization, this is dissolution of the individual ego. Now the personality cannot stand because the personality stands on the assumption that you and the world are separate entities. Are you getting it?

The best that you see in the world just represents your own best possibility. The worst that you see in the world represents your worst nightmares. The sexuality that the other comes to you with, is actually your own sexual nature. That bundle of currency notes represents just your own greed, otherwise, what is the significance of that bundle? There is nothing in the world that has any meaning apart from the one that it holds for you. And there is nothing in the world that exists but for the assumption that you exist. If you are not bodily, the universe will instantaneously cease to be material. If you look up towards the sky and find the material sun, material moon, and the material celestial bodies. It is because you live and stubbornly believe in the dimension of bodies. Are you getting it?

The common refrain that I will not live to see tomorrow is quite foolish. If you will not live till tomorrow there will be no tomorrow. But you say, "Right, there will be no tomorrow for me there will be tomorrow for the others." When you are gone the others are all gone. "But aren’t the others independent of me? Don’t they have a life, a body, an existence of their own?" Not quite. Not quite! Tell me apart from you, who is there to verify that the others really exist? You’ll say, “No but, this one ‘Shyam’ also feels the same way”. But who feels that Shyam exists at all? You do! So, something within your assumption is validating your assumption and you are very happy to be validated. How profound is your happiness? Confused?

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji if we take it like this, if I am gone then the world is gone then why should one work at all for the violence or other things which one sees in the world because the world will be gone, right?

AP: Because you do not yet see it that way. As long as you do not absolutely see that the world is but what you are, you will have to work, and if you have to work you better work in the right way. Your question is based on an assumption. What you are saying is “If me and the world are an identity, one, then why should I work at all?" Spirituality does not work on if-thens. Right? As you are, you and the world are not one.

Right now, you are somebody who firmly believes in his bodily shape, bodily existence, questions and answers so many other dualistic things. Because you believe in duality, because you believe in a world separate from yourself, you better act in this world in a way that will liberate you from this world. You cannot just assume that you are already liberated and stop working. Obviously, after liberation, there is nothing called work in the usual sense of work. But that is after liberation and liberation is not an assumption. Are you liberated right now? If you are not then work. Why should you work right now if you are not liberated? So that you may be liberated. Getting it?

You should ask more because if you ask this much then there has to be the next question. The next question should be “Will the liberated one not work for the welfare of others because he now knows that others do not really exist.” Right? You are the one who is not liberated and you think that others exist so I am saying, fine for you the world exists so you better work in the world in a meaningful and appropriate way. What about somebody who is liberated? You should ask now would that one not really work. Ask?

Q: Yes, the one who is liberated he will not work. Right? But he will also... He will not be against work. He will... His life will just be a flow, right? But that is how I see it. I don’t know how he sees the world or the liberated one sees the world but I….

AP: But the so-called liberated ones are known to be quite compassionate; they do work for others. Why?

Q: And in this session also, what I see is that there is one who is not liberated who is searching and there is a one who is….

AP: Keep that aside, keep that aside. So-called liberated ones are known to be quite compassionate. Right? And they have actually worked for others in very very meaningful ways and very obvious, very profound ways. Why do they work at all when the entire world is just a mirage?

Q: Yes, and if I see Jesus then he just his story is….isn’t um… that is the question, Acharya Ji.

AP: All right. This will be abstract. So just be with it. So, the liberated one or any other person is projecting the world. Right? So, it... So, let’s say you are the liberated one. So, you are projecting everybody here, right? So, who are these people then or animals or things or whatever? Who are all these? So, who are they? Because there is nobody except you, you're the only one. Seven or eight years back I had tweeted if you remember that you are the first man and you are the only man. You are the one only in the universe. You are the only one who is in the universe. It was quite abstract. Nobody would remember it probably. So, who are all these people?

Q: They are the people in my universe.

AP: Whose projection? His projections. Right? So, who are all these people then? You are the liberated one and there are all these people around and you have now fully well-known they are just projections. "I am the one who is creating them. They grow up exactly the way I do. They exist in three dimensions the way I do. There is so much there that is structurally the same as I am." You have known all that. So, who are all these people then? They are you. Right. They are you and you were them.

So, all these tidbits that are your shadows actually, have the potential to come back to you like various rays converging at one point and finally become what you already are. Right? You see two things; you have a relationship with them first of all, secondly, they have a possibility. Put these two together. You have a relationship with them because you are the one who has created them. There is a very strong organic relationship between you and them. You are the liberated one, now you are God, remember. You are the utmost one. You are That and these are ordinary mortals. What’s the relationship between That and ordinary mortals? It’s a fatherly relationship. From the side of That, the relationship is quite fatherly. From the side of the mortals, the relationship is aspirational in a spiritual way. In a spiritual way, they will one day reach there. Right? Are you getting it?

So now the liberated one takes it upon himself as a responsibility, fatherly responsibility to fulfill the aspirations of his kids. If it all comes from a central point then what is the relationship of that central point, that central non-dual point to all this that has sprung from it? There does exist a relationship. Right?

Though the ultimate reality is only the central point but yet there is so much that has emerged from the central point. At least in the perception of, in the eyes of all the scattered ones there does exist a huge phenomenal universe. Right? They are experiencing a lot and their experience in their frame of reference is very very real. People weep, people cry, people die, people bleed. All that is real in their own contexts. Where is this subjective reality coming from? It is coming from that central point that led to all this expansion, this creation, this phenomenal game. Are you getting it?

It is coming from That place and once you are liberated. You are one with That center. But you still can speak as a body. It’s quite an advantage. The point is just a point. The point will not come to speak but you are passing through such a golden phase. You are liberated which means you are one with that and still you can relate to all these human beings. You can talk their language, you can touch their bodies. You can know their lives. It’s a peculiar situation you are in where you are in both the dual and non-dual domains parallelly. Internally you are non-dual, externally you are living a dualistic life. So, what do you do? You make use of this opportunity. You say, "Their sorrows are real. At least for them, they are real", firstly. Secondly, "Who is behind their sorrows? I am. Because I gave birth to them. They did not ask to be created, I gave birth to them. I’ll do something". That's the work that the liberated one then does. His work obviously is not for himself because there is hardly anything left to achieve. Achievement in itself becomes a meaningless word.

Q: But is the liberated one sure that there will be final merging? Is the liberated one sure of it because see, if we are seeing many people who need, who are in need of liberation and we are helping them then the first question arises is this task is impossible. Right? Because there are so many people and you are saying that…

AP: In the limited context of one lifetime, it is impossible. Yes! But then even the liberated one knows fully well that not all desire to be helped. You cannot force help a person. Or can you? So at least those who are trying to somehow figure a way out, they deserve to be helped.

Q: And in my universe, there are not only humans there are other species also.

AP: They too are my kids. If I gave birth to them, they are so much like me; they carry my DNA.

Q: But the work which one is doing consciously, speaking and all these things, they are only for humans. Right?

AP: Yeah, but then when you are in the bodily form. Then you have these eyes that can look at animals. The center, that point from which everything emanates, that point has no eyes. For that point actually, animals do not exist the way they exist for human mortals.

There is very little difference between us and animals. Right? They are conscious in much the same way we are. Just the degree of consciousness is different but their consciousness too goes through many similar experiences as we do.

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