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Once you have reached the mountain top, keep climbing || Acharya Prashant, on Tao Te Ching (2017)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
26 min
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Only when you drink from the river of silence,

shall you indeed sing.

Only when you have reached the mountain top,

then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs,

then shall you truly dance.

Acharya Prashant : “Only when you have reached the mountain top, you can begin to climb.”

When we refer to mountains and their tops and climbing, we refer to them as we are. We live in a deep unconscious state of identification with material. Even if an example that may point towards our essential nature beyond space-time is given to us, we interpret that example as we are .

For sure any example that is given would be given in words or atleast this much may be said that any example that is given would be preserved in words. We do not really have examples of how teachers help and guide their students. We have stories of how they help and guide their students. The teacher’s guidance might be his instantaneous touch, but that touch cannot be captured or replicated later on.

So what we will end up having is a story about that touch , which is mere words. We would be trying to put the timeless in time and the beyond material in words.

Wherever there is word there would be something that begins and ends, there would be causation, there would be limits. We anyway live in limits and it would be doubly bad to take even a spiritual example at face value and use it to reinforce our pre-existing limits.

Khalil Gibran is saying “*Only when you have reached the mountain top, you can begin to climb*“. These words befuddle us. We do not know what they mean. It is for precisely this reason, that we are attracted towards them. These words seem to violate the normal laws of cause and effect , of sequence and duration .

They are pointing towards something else that has to be understood:

The material world is a clumsy world; nothing happens instantaneously here. There is always a lag, there is always an elasticity, there is always a gap. For whom is the gap? The gap is for the material only, for the body only. In the world of Truth, time is not there simply because time is not needed and time is not needed when movement is not needed. When there are no gaps, when there is no coming and going then there is no need of time either.

“*Only when you have reached the mountain top, you can begin to climb.*“

No, one doesn’t reach the mountain top; one discovers that there is nothing except the mountain top. No, one doesn’t reach the mountain top; one discovers that he was always at the mountain top and he can never be dislodged from there. This discovery, this realization is being referred to as ‘reaching’ by Khalil Gibran which is alright. He will have to use some word. He said reaching, I said discovery. One word is as bad as the other.

Once you discover your essential nature, that is when mind and body can freely and joyfully engage in doing what they must do.

Once you discover that you were always seated at the top, and ‘always’ not in terms of going back in time, ‘always’ not in sense of eternity in time. ‘Always’ in sense of a timelessness which is beyond the world and material . Once you realize that That is your seat then whatever is done by the physical organism is proper. I had said, “*When you know who you are then the mind and the body also knows what they must do.*“

Now what they must do is no definite thing. It is just that when your center is right then whatever is done by you is exactly what you must be doing. You need not even worry, cross-check or verify. There is no need to verify, you cannot go wrong. It is not at all your nature to be right sometimes and be wrong sometimes. Sitting rightly, you are always right, sitting wrongly you are always wrong. There is no mixture, no hotch-potch.

The mind that is not rightly seated would not be going wrong sometimes. It would be always going wrong. It would be going wrong within the family and outside the family. It would be going wrong in small matters of life and the so-called ‘big matters of life’. It would be going wrong in personal issues as well as in professional issues. It would be going wrong in the morning and in the night. Always and everywhere, it would be just wrong and opposite is the case of the mind seated rightly. Everything would be alright there.

This acting rightly is being referred to by Khalil Gibran as the ‘climbing of the mountain’.

Once you discover that your proper position is at the top of the mountain then whatever you do would be just right.

Give mind and body full freedom to act because that is what that mountain top symbolizes- The zenith of Freedom . Now, obviously, the body and the mind are constrained in space and time and because they are constrained in space and time they cannot experience the same freedom as the Self . The Self might be seated at the top, at the very peak, but the body would still have its limits. The Self might be seated at the summit but the mind would still have its limits.

Knowing who you are, slowly you dis-identify with these limits. Kindly do not think that there would be miracles and the body would start getting free of its limits. Kindly do not think that you will grow wings and start flying. Kindly do not think that your mind would develop supernatural abilities or siddhis.

The mind would remain constrained, thought would have its limits and body would have its limitations. It is just that you knowing yourself, would not like to identify with those limitations, but those limitations will still be there. That peak is not going to be available to the body, that peak belongs to You , that peak is not going to be available to the mind, that peak belongs to You . Are you getting it?

So, two things have to be parallelly understood:

One, you do not require time or methods to reach *‘the mountain top*‘. You don’t require them. You are the mountain top.

Realization consumes no time. Realization is not a product of time.

The second thing is that you might be at the mountain top but the body will continue to be on its own journey. Do not expect anything beyond that from the body.

The body, the mind are constrained by the laws of the material and they will continue to follow those laws and you can freely without any worry let them follow those laws provided you realize the mountain top. There is no need to then censor or prohibit or guide the body-mind in various ways.

Remember, any movement that is done by you without realizing your essential nature would be a useless, false and sorrowful movement. It might appear very holy and pious from the outside, but still it would be only bringing more and more suffering to you.

Just as Khalil Gibran has said that “*It is only when you reach the mountain top that you can began the journey.*“

Similarly, let me say to you:

It is only when you already realize all that I have said to you, that you can listen to me any further. It is only when you are one with me that it makes any sense to physically travel and sit physically in front of me.

True words can be spoken to those who already know. If you are not already in Silence, if you have a deep belief in chaos and noise, if you are deeply attached to disturbance, then you will not be able to participate in this movement towards Silence that is happening here.

Internally you must already be at the destination only then externally some movement can happen.

The mind is an idiot. It take years, decades and centuries and sometimes even infinite time is insufficient to come to those simple realizations that the Heart just knows. So for the sake of the mind, well, we can continue sitting here, we can continue talking like this and it would be helpful. It would be helpful to the mind in its climb, up the mountain, but it would be helpful and the mind would be climbing up the mountain only if firstly the Heart is rightly placed.

If your Heart is not rightly placed as you are sitting here, no climbing is happening. For your mind to feel silent by sitting here, first of all your Heart must already be in Silence. Are you getting it?

I cannot talk to you about something that you do not know; it is impossible. Talking to somebody about matters that he does not know is possible when you are talking of the material, then you can give somebody knowledge. But in matters of Real and Truthful, it is impossible to talk to somebody about something he does not already know.

I never tell you something new. I only tell you what you already know. I only remind you of what you already are. I just point at the mountain top and ask you “Are you not already there? Can you ever be somewhere else?” And if you deeply believe that you do not know then my talking is anyway useless for you.

I repeat, I only talk to you about things you already know of. I only try to act as a mirror to show you the face that you already have. But if you have a deep belief in your other faces then you will refuse to look at the mirror that I try to show you. And the mirror never contains anything new or does it? These are very simple words. They bring you no extra-terrestrial news. They are not loaded with any kind of divine information.

There is nothing special, important or miraculous here. It is all so very simple, so obvious and so direct, but I repeat, the body and the mind are laggards, they take time. Even when you are at top, you find that the body is still climbing up the hill. So your mind may take as I had said, centuries to really agree to what I am saying. Your mind revolts, doesn’t it? Your mind may take centuries to come to these simple things and that doesn’t matter, it’s a poor thing, it’s a laggard like one of the back-benchers in the class who never understand quickly, who are always distracted, so they repeat class after class. What could have been done immediately, happens with them in years. The mind is like that; let the mind be like that. It is constructed to be like that. Do not expect too much from it and do not curse your luck if the mind repeatedly fails you, it is designed to fail.

Be seated rightly, let the Heart be rightly placed and then whatever the mind does is alright. It would only be moving towards the Heart.

Also remember, it is very important to not to use the mind to try to know where the Heart is. The mind is continuously moving, the mind is full of efforts, it is climbing up the hill, and the Heart is relaxing.

The mind is moving and the Heart is relaxing. The mind is at the foot of the mountain, the Heart is at the top of the mountain. The Heart was always there. The mind is never really going to reach, so do not use the movement of the mind to try to know the location of the Heart. The mind can just be left free. I am repeating this for the third or fourth time, the movement of the mind tells nothing about the Heart but the Silence of the Heart is enough to guide the mind.

Do not observe the mind and use the observation to know of things beyond the mind. It is not going to happen. Observing the mind you will only come to know of the mind and that is not bad. Do not try to conclude beyond what you see, you cannot reach the Heart indirectly, you cannot reach the Heart via the mind. Yes you can reach the mind through the mind and that is no bad deal. After all you must know both. First, that you are at the mountain top and second that the poor mind is still climbing and struggling.One has to know both. So look at the mind and see that it is still struggling, let it struggle. It is designed to struggle. If you will expect that the mind must not struggle, that all the waves and ripples that are there in it must cease all together, then you are creating another wave and another ripple.

Nothing disturbs the mind more than what you expect from it.

Have ideals and expectations from the mind and you have disturbed it no end. Leave it to its fate, leave life to its fate. You sit at the mountain top and sip black tea, maybe? There is no problem!

The world will go on, the world knows how to go on. One day you were born as a body. You sip tea and see that “You know things are going on, some fellow with deep body identification has just come.” Then there are ten kinds of things that you keep doing.

The view is good from the top, always. You sit there and watch all this is happening, watch without interfering, then one day just as body had come, the body will depart. Your cup is still full, you keep sipping and rest assured if you are sitting at the top, whatever is happening is auspicious. In fact in the world nothing is auspicious or inauspicious. The only thing that is auspicious or inauspicious is whether you are at the top or not.

It is not the events in the world but the position of the Watcher of the world that matters.

If you are watching from the right position whatever is happening is right. This is against worldly laws. In the world, you say that events are right or wrong, that events are good or bad. In the world of Truth, events are not good or bad, it is the position of the Watcher that is good or bad. Watch from the right location and whatever is happening is right.

Listener 1 : Sir, then and now it seems as if the more you interact with people when you go home or just be around people, it seems like you slip from that top, it seems so. Will abstinence help me in settling over the mountain top or is this also just another game?

AP : Did you rightly listen? When you are at the top then the mind knows by its own laws where to go and how to go. When you are at the peak of Silence , the mind will go only towards Silence. The mind will know where to be and where not to be. You need not worry, you need not decide on behalf of the mind. I had said that before you bring your body to this room, your Heart is already here and if your Heart is not here then bringing your body to this room anyway does not matter.

For years you can continue to drag your body to this place and you would only be bored. The real event happens, the auspicious event happens only when the auspicious event has already happened. The mind comes to realize that you are in love only after you are in love. Is that not such a common observation? The mind is such an idiot!

Years after you have fallen in love, it one day realizes that you are in love. Sometime it doesn’t even realize whom you love. Millions of men and women, billions of them actually, all loving just The One .

Do they know His name, His face? Such an idiot is the mind, it does not know the name of its Father, it does not know the name of its lover, it does not knows its own name but it has a lot of knowledge of worldly matters, it knows the model of its car !

It does not know the name of its Father but it knows the model of its car and it calls itself ‘smart’. Doesn’t it?

Anybody here who knows the name of his Father?

Difficult, very difficult. You are asking when you go elsewhere then you get disturbed. I am asking you, with your Heart seated rightly, would you really go anyplace elsewhere? What did Khalil Gibran just say? You are at the mountain top and the mind is climbing up the mountain, right? Or does it happen that you are at the mountain top and the mind is rushing towards the fields, the mind is rushing towards the city? Does it happen that you are at mountain top and the mind is taking an elevator up the skyscraper? Does it happen, does he talk of a scenario like this? You are asking me “Sir, when I take the elevator in that skyscraper then I feel disturbed.” If you are taking that elevator it only means that you are not at the mountain top. Otherwise why would you bother yourself with all that in the first place?

It is such a common question, right? “Sir, we fully understand what you are saying till the time we are in this room. Sir, we experience Peace and Silence till the time we are sitting here. But when we step out and we go to our respective zones, then all is lost.”

No, you are not really reading the situation correctly. If you once taste Silence you fall in love with it. You do not go back to noise and if you can repeatedly go back to noise it only means that you are determined to not to realize Silence. It only means that you do not allow Silence to come to you even when you are here. Do not say that here you feel peaceful and your peace is lost elsewhere, it is impossible.

Peace is not such a cheap commodity that you can easily trade away. These are the essentials of life: Love , Peace , Freedom . I am saying, sit at the top of Freedom and then let the mind be free to go anywhere. You will find that you are not complaining that you are losing your Freedom. Why?

Because the mind will not go to places where Freedom may be lost!

Understand this, when the Heart is Free then the mind refuses places, situations and people who try to bind it. The mind will refuse them. The mind is going rushing towards the Heart, up the mountain top, how can it allow itself to be fettered? Are you getting it? The mind will be in a hurry to meet its lover who is sitting up the mountain top. How will it allow itself to be distracted? It will simply not look left or right. It will say “I am anyway a laggard, I have wasted centuries! How can I waste anymore time? Let me rush, let me be one pointed.”

Never complain about the mind. The mind is a machine; just honestly see where your Heart is. I am repeating: If the Heart is rightly placed, it will guide the mind on its own. You can leave the mind free to go anywhere. The mind will know where to go and where not to go. Be careful about the essentials and forget the trivial.

Take care of the One and forget the many. Take care of the basic essential and forget the rest, it will be alright on its own.

Listener 2: Sir, can the mind know if this situation exists?

AP: No, it can exist only for the mind. It can exist only for the mind. The mind may say ‘I am all’, it can say anything. But the situation would quickly disappear the moment the mind investigates. Even asking this question is a step towards the disappearance of that situation. Remember the mind could not have asked this question. It is the Grace of the Heart that is enabling the mind to raise this question. The mind only knows its sustenance, its continuity, its petty matters.

It will never raise a question of Truth. If you are raising a question of Truth, it might be expressed through the mind but it is really coming by the virtue of the Heart.

Listener 3 : Sir, when Khalil Gibran says, “When you have reached the top, you can start climbing” and Rumi says, “When you are at the top, then why climb any more?” Why this contradiction? AP : They are referring to two different entities. Khalil Gibran is referring to the mind, it will continue climbing and Rumi is referring to the Heart. I had said that do not try to look at the Heart through the mind.

The mind is change and motion, and recognizes only change and motion. If something does not move, the mind does not detect it. All the mind can make sense of is change . That is the reason the mind can never really know the Self because the Self does not change. But the mind has a concept of Self. It says, “If I have a concept, then the Self must exist in material as well. I have a concept of the wall, the wall exists in material. I have a concept of my neighbor and the neighbor exists in material. If I have a concept of the Self, the Heart, the Truth, then it too must exist in the material.” So what does it do? It tries to bring an element of changeability in the Self also. The moment the Self changes it becomes material.

For example, When you say that “The God was born”; so you are saying that first He was not there and then He was there. You have turned Him into a material God. The mind loves such things because now it thinks Godhood is within its grasp.

Rumi is cautioning against this. He is saying, do not try to guess about the Heart, and do not try to bring in the properties of material to the beyond material. Do not even try that.

Listener 2 : Sir, when I ask questions such as: “Who is experiencing?, Who is listening or seeing?”, I have a certain hint of ‘Who it is?’ Do I really know or is it an illusion of the mind that I know who it is? Can I ever know?

AP : You need not bother yourself with this question. Allow yourself to be pulled by the Truth and don’t bother yourself with questions about the way, the experience, feelings, right and wrong and such things. Anchor yourself to the Truth, the Truth will pull you and when you are being pulled by the Real , you need not ask too many questions. Just remain Faithful and don’t snap the chord. If you will ask questions, at some point you will have suspicions and you will feel like snapping the very rope that is anchoring you to the Truth because all questions will not have the same answer. If you will keep asking: “*Is the right happening? Is the right happening?*” One out of ten times you will necessarily get an answer: “ No, what is happening is not right !” and then what will you do?

Don’t bother yourself with all this.

Our situation is such that we bother too much about the inessential and we pay no attention to that which is really really Important. As I had just said, so many of us would know the name of the neighbor’s dog, but hardly anybody knows the name of his Father.

You want to live rightly, then know what is Important and take care only of that.

The rest can be peacefully ignored. But your minds are full of rubbish. You give all the importance to rubbish and in your cleverness see how you ignore only that which should not have been ignored.

Is that not so? Do you ever ignore the trivial? You never. And how many reminders it takes to bring you to the Essential and still you are so dishonest that you ignore it. And it requires no reminders to bring you to trash.

We are like a man who is standing in a huge field of garbage and he is very-very bothered about feeling garbage, about being certain where the nails are, where stuff with sharp edges might be, where it is slippery, where there might be harmful poisonous chemicals. He is very bothered about all these things.

There are other blind men like him in that field. He is extremely bothered about networking with them and asking them about the way. There is just one thing that he is not bothered about which is opening his eyes. He is very bothered about everything else. He wants to make his way out of this field, so he is trying everything. There is just one thing he is not trying because he is so busy with garbage, which is opening his eyes. That is something that he will never pay any attention to.

You ask him- “ When you do a thousand things in the day, why don’t you try this one thing ?” and he has standard answer that “I am too busy to open my eyes; I am too occupied with my important stuff.”

Such an idiot! And then he suffers.

Every bit of his being is bleeding, his mind is traumatized. He is constantly in doubt and agony but the One Truth he will never look towards. Everything else is important. Ask yourself how quickly things become important to you. Just see.

All these things that we keep ourselves occupied with are just our own conspiracy against opening our eyes. Nobody ever got busy with anything except the false. You need not ask yourselves what you are busy with. What is certain is, if you are busy, you are busy with the false. The Truth never makes anybody busy, it is only the false that occupies you. It is only the false that gives you reasons, Truth is unreasonable and I have been saying this since years yet we find reasons to be busy.

“*Because I was busy so I could not do this.*“

What are you waiting for? Death?

“I had reasons so I disengaged.”

Whom are you fooling!

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