Questioner (Q): Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam!
For three months we have been studying Guru Granth sahib, and my mind is filled with love for God, his name, and devotion for Guru. Today is the last class, so I wished to conclude all that I have learned and listened to so far with more clarity.
Quoting from Sukhmani sahib firstly:
“Renounce all clever tricks, O mind. In the company of the holy, you shall obtain the true wealth So, gather the Lord’s name as your capital, and trade in it. Meditate on the One, and worship the One. Remember the One, and yearn for the One in your mind. Sing the endless glorious Praises of the One. With mind and body, meditate on the One Lord God.”
Guru Nanak Ji, speaks about the clever tricks of the mind, the true wealth, and the trade by using Naam as the capital, what do they mean? And he has instructed us to remember, worship, sing and praise the glories and meditate on the One Lord all the time. Do all of them mean the same thing or are they different from each other? I don’t know exactly what to do.
Acharya Ji, you have already spoken on them, yet I request you to kindly speak one more time, please. Thank you! for your kindness.
With love and gratitude.
Acharya Prashant (AP): What does the clever tricks of mind mean? The mind tricks itself, it has nobody else to make a fool of. The entire world is a projection of the mind, so even if the mind is tricking the other, it is essentially tricking itself. And what is the trick? The mind knows very well that its deep quest is for God. The mind knows that it is actually hungry for the eternal one, but still, it somehow manages to convince itself, that the formed ones, that the ephemeral ones, that the worldly ones will quench its thirst, that’s how it tricks itself. It never tells itself, “I am harming myself deliberately,” even when it is indulging in the most stupid of tricks, what does it tell itself? It says, “I am doing something good; I will get good results from this.” Even when it is actually distancing itself from God, it does not say, “I am distancing myself from God,” it says, “you know there is a very godly reason why I am going away from god” or it will say, “You know by going away from God, I will attain God,” that’s the cleverness, that’s the stupid trickster; “I have a godly reason to reject God”.
Be very innocent, there can never be a right reason to do the obviously wrong thing. And the craft, the skill of mind lies in inventing, very convincing reasons for acts that are patently foolish. Without assigning your reason to your act, if you look at what you are doing, you will immediately realize that you are being stupid. In fact, if you will ask some outsider to look at what you are doing, he will be able to immediately tell you what you are doing. Its foolishness, it is beyond foolishness, it is apostasy. But you will have your reasons, and the skill of the mind lies in hypnotizing itself into believing that its reasons have some value, some importance, some authenticity. So, the mind will say, “I am being inauthentic for very authentic reasons,” that’s the ugly and stupid trick of the mind. I will repeat what I said in a very-very…; there is no right reason to do a wrong thing. What is the wrong thing? There can be no right reason to get away from God or to miss out on an opportunity to be with God.
There can be no right reason for these stupidities, and the mind knows that; therefore, it is never convinced, fully convinced by its own reasons. Mind comes up with fabulous reasoning, convinces itself while knowing all the time that it is just being stupid.
Therefore, the scriptures talk so much of innocence. Because man uses the intellect a lot to harm himself. Whenever you will meet someone who is living or acting in a very ungodly way, and you will ask him, he will now say he is not being ungodly, mind you. You meet someone who is living in a very ungodly way, or is making decisions or committing acts that are just ungodly, the fellow will not say, “I am being godly or I am not being ungodly.” He will say, "Yes, I am being ungodly, because...”, “Yes I am being ungodly, but wait, because...”. These are the clever tricks of mind, it has reasons, it has reasons to justify all its depravity.
Q2: These reasons do not come from the conscious mind rather naturally.
AP: These reasons do appear to come naturally, but they are not natural, they are 'intellectual'. That is the most profane use of intellect, to use it to come up with the reason to justify profanity. And if that’s what you intend to do, you would come up with fabulous reasons. Just that, when you keep the reasons aside you see the naked reality of your life and actions and decisions and the naked reality is very ugly. Keep the reasons aside, and simply see like an innocent child, how you are living what you are doing, what you are deciding and you will realize that it’s all just stupid and so profane.
A few things must always be absolute, and when they are absolute, it means reasons must not be allowed to touch those things because reason always deals in relatives. When you say “because”, what does it mean? In relation to this thing, that thing happened. All arguments are relative arguments, are they not? Your conclusion is relative to an assumption, or an inference, or an observation, everything is relative to something. The Absolute must never be spoken of in the same breath as, “because” or “if”. The Absolute has to be absolutely unconditional. No?
And that’s a mark of religiosity, true religiosity, having something in your life that is Absolute. What is it that is an Absolute? Obviously, only the Absolute is an absolute. But so that you remain a little in touch with the absolute, the Gurus gave you certain other symbols that must be treated as Absolutes. For example, the word of the Guru must be treated as an Absolute, the Guru Granth Sahib must be treated as an Absolute. Respect has to be absolutely accorded to it, irrespective of your feeling or mood, your occasion, birth or death, marriage or separation. The Guru Granth Sahib remains absolutely respectable. You cannot say that you know, when there is a wedding then the holy scripture would be respected but when there is a divorce then the holy scripture would not be equally respected. The respect accorded to the holy scripture has to be absolute.
Similarly, the respect accorded to the Guru has to be Absolute. Actually, when you are according respect to the Guru Granth sahib, you are according absolute respect to the Guru himself. For the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib is the eternal living guru, therefore he has to be absolutely respected and loved. The mind will try to apply tricks. The mind will say, “In general I will remain respectable, but if there is such and such occasion then you know I will become a little less respectable.” That is the trick of the mind that you have to avoid.
Irrespective of what the situation is, what the condition is, how you are feeling, how life is treating you, the Guru has to be absolute, your godliness has to be absolute and the word of the Guru has to be absolute. You cannot apply reason or ifs and buts there. You cannot say, “Such things happened that’s why, you know, today I could not be devoted to the Guru, or God, or the word of the Guru”. And the mind would come up with a thousand such arguments which are a thousand tricks. Each argument is a trick. Even arguments in favor of the Guru are a trick—You know—because even if you are arguing in favor of the guru, you are saying that arguments do have a place in the space of the guru, do not even argue in the favor of the guru, just say the guru is beyond arguments. The word of the guru is final, full stop. “Who am I to apply my personal intelligence or my personal wisdom or my personal discretion or decision? Who am I.” That’s the trick of the mind that puts the person in hell. Are you getting it?
“I could have come, but such a thing happened, I could have attended the last session, but I have responsibilities,” that’s the clever trick of the mind. Hmmm? Vishal (a listener in the audience). “I came to the city where the camp was organized, but I could not attend because..." the mind will find some trick to have some separation from the guru. The counter trick is to look at it differently. The counter trick is when the mind says, have such a reason to abscond from the session, and that reason might appear very genuine and powerful; just tell yourself, that which separates you from the Guru is Maya. So, look at the result and then look at the cause. Look at the effect, and from the effect, you will learn something about the cause. If the net result of a happening is that it separates you from the Guru; then what is the effect? Separation from the guru. And there is only one thing that can cause separation from the guru and that is called?
AP: So, you have to begin from the effect and then accordingly name the cause. You have to begin from the effect. The effect could be one of two things; union with the guru or separation from the guru. That which unites you with the guru is auspicious and that which separates you from the guru is —Maya or Kusangati. That’s how you must look at these things.
Instead, we proceed the other way round. We say, "Oh! the effect is genuine, oh! the cause is genuine, the cause is not Maya." We, first of all, make a conclusion about the cause, and we say, "Oh! the cause is genuine", and if the cause is genuine then we say, “Let the cause decide what we do with respect to guru.” So, there is a genuine cause, there is a very genuine cause, I have already decided that the cause is genuine, and then if I have already decided that the cause is genuine, then I will let the cause do what it wants to do. That’s not the way, please understand everybody. The way is to look at the effect. A person whose presence in your life causes you to separate from the guru is —Kusangati, Maya. Look at the effect, and why must you look at the effect? Because that’s what is important. What is happening to you, are you being taken to godliness or are you being deprived of godliness? That which takes you to godliness is respectable, venerable. That which deprives you of godliness is to be kicked away. Are you getting it?
So, proceed from the effect, and then identify the cause. When I say to identify the cause, what do I mean? Name the cause. Proceed from the effect, see what the effect is about, and the effect can only be in two forms, what are those two forms? Separation from God or union from God. If the effect is separation from God, then the cause has to be Maya and Kusangati. Even if the cause appears very beautiful and attractive, do not fall for reasoning, see the effect and immediately name the cause. The cause may appear very important and compelling, but that’s not how you look at the cause. If you want to actually know the quality of the cause, if you want to actually know the reality of the cause; then you have to see the effect, the net effect the cause is having on you.
The confident and egoistic mind; proceeds from the other direction. What does he do? He looks at the cause and without seeing what the cause intends to do with respect to godliness, he labels the cause as authentic or not authentic, and if it is a cause that is coming from you, you will obviously call it authentic. Now once you have called the cause as authentic, then you will be prepared to support the effect that the cause is having upon you. You will say, “It is an authentic cause that I have to take care of a certain responsibility.” Now if the cause is authentic, and that authentic cause requires you to miss the company of the Guru, then you will happily miss the company of the guru because the cause is authentic as certified by you. So how to know whether a cause is authentic or not? Look at the effect, what has the cause done to you? Right, Vishal?
Maya will never tell you “I am Maya”, she will say, “Oh! I am authentic, I am Miss Authenticity or Mr. Authenticity”. Kusangati will never tell you “I am Kusangati,” It will tell you, “I am the best company and the best friend you can have,” and you will fall for it, especially, if the reasons are attractive, the form is attractive.
Q2: So many times, I can see in the past that I have fallen for the cause. I can see that.
AP: See it in real-time, it’s not of much use to look at things in retrospect.
Q2: There is a strong tendency which has developed in me over time and it says, “Yes if you have that cause, so genuine, then okay to affect that.”
AP: Will you remember this all of you? How is a cause to be measured or name or qualified, by looking at the?
AP: Anything, just anything; just anything that takes you away from God and Guru is simply evil. It does not matter what the reason is.
(To a listener) Do not miss any more sessions.
Then you are saying, “What is the meaning of the true wealth and the trade using—Naam—as the capital?”
True wealth is that which will truly serve you. You accumulate wealth so that it serves you. So, what is false wealth? That falsely serves you or false wealth is that which serves the falseness in you. What is true wealth? That truly serves you or true wealth is that which serves the truth in you. So that wealth which will help you go to the Truth is true wealth. Anything can be true wealth. Whatsoever enables you to reach God is true wealth, and that which does not enable you to reach God; rather hinders you is false wealth, simple. So, look at your life and see what all is needed to reach God. Earn it, that would be true wealth. And Guru Sahib is saying, “Trade in true wealth.” what does it mean? What is the point in giving and receiving false things; even if you give it to someone, he has not got anything, and even if you receive it from someone, you have not got anything. You are just wasting time dealing in falseness. So, what is worthy of being received? True wealth. And if you really love someone, what is worthy of being given? True wealth. So that’s what Nanak sahib means when he says, “Trade in true wealth.”
Then she says, “Also we have been instructed to remember, worship, sing and praise, the glories and meditate on the one lord all the time. Do they all mean the same thing or rather different; I don’t know exactly what to do?”
It only means that, when you are with falseness as one always is living in the world, remember that falseness even if it appears very-very attractive, is actually insignificant. All the names mean nothing, only one name means anything. And what is that one name? Call it Satnam, call it God, Lord. You know the various forms of that one name, only that name is important. So, when the various names are raining upon you, let that one name come to your rescue. When you are being bombarded with a thousand names, all eager to captivate you; then let that one name come to your rescue, that one name is the antidote against millions of names.
And you are asking, “I do not know what to do?” You do not have to do anything special or extra. In that which you are doing, when you feel threatened or powerless or defeated; then you must use the great weapon, the Brahmāstra , that the name of the Lord is. The name of the Lord will defeat all other names. That’s what you have to do.