Questioner (Q): How to test whether one has simplicity and freedom from desires?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Whether simplicity and freedom from desires is there, is tested only when, that which you want, and you have, and you are therefore calm and patient, is taken away from you.
It is possible that one is a moral man, and has been taught in a moral way, to want only ‘a little’. And that ‘little’ that one wants, is already available. So, one does not seem to be wanting more.
Whether one is truly free from wants, and whether one is truly simple, is tested only in adversity. It is tested only when there is a challenge to the existing pattern of life. So, so-called simplicity and innocence can be superficial as well, and therefore deceptive.
As long as situations are favorable, a lot of people appear peaceful, don’t they? Whether or not you are truly peaceful, is determined, only when the situation turns inclement, unfavorable. And then it is tested, how deep your patience and peace are.
Q: It appears, what you are saying is that, he is peaceful, but he has no devotion towards God.
AP: No, that is not needed. That is not needed.
Does he have compassion towards the world?
AP: If that is there, it’s okay. You don’t need to have devotion towards a conceptual god. If you have compassion towards sentient beings, that is far better.
Q: Will he get the Truth?
AP: If compassion is there, then Truth is already there, provided the compassion itself is not superficial.
Q: Is taking care of the needs of anybody, those you see around you, compassion?
AP: Taking care of the genuine needs. Selflessly, taking care of genuine needs.
In a hotel, if I ask for a whisky, the waiter will come and serve it to me. So, he is taking care of my needs. Now there are two factors involved here. First of all – the need that I am expressing; bringing me a whisky, is not a genuine need. Secondly, he is not selflessly meeting my need. He is fulfilling my need because he will get something. So, it is not merely about meeting the needs of the other person.
First of all, you should know, what kind of needs are you serving. Secondly, you should check your own mind. Is it serving the other in order to get something? Then it is not service. Then, it is merely a transaction.
Q: If I get good feelings in helping others, then is this also a transaction?
AP: Yes, yes. Well caught. Lot of times, that’s what a lot of compassion and social service are about. In helping the other, you start feeling good about yourself. That is nothing but, reinforcement of the Ego. You rise in your own eyes. Your self-esteem gets a boost. That’s not compassion.
Q: If I help others silently, without others knowing about it, is this also compassion?
AP: You may silently help others. Sometimes, you may have to be loudly helping others. All possibilities are open. The help has to be genuine.
The help should be of a nature, that should reduce the other person’s need to be helped.
You should help in a way that the other person demands less and less help. And the act of helping should not lead to your own aggrandization. Not in the world’s eyes, and more so, not in your own eyes.
Q: Acharya Ji, you had once said, “A courageous mind solves itself rather than its problems.” How can I get a courageous mind?
AP: By having a sincere desire to solve the problem. It is the problem that troubles you, right? That’s what you think and feel. Your statement remains – I am being troubled by the problem. So, fine. Have a sincere desire to solve the problem.
Go deep into the problem, and see what would really solve it. And then you will find, that to solve the problem, you have to solve yourself first.
When it is said, “The courageous mind solves itself rather than the problem”, that does not mean that the courageous mind ignores the problem, and is busy solving something else, that is itself. It just means – being sincere about solving the problem.
The courageous mind sees, that the problem is not distant from the mind of the problemed one. And therefore, if the mind can be solved, the problem disappears on its own.
Q: Acharya Ji, once you had said, “Today, violence lies more in giving birth than killing.” Please explain this.
AP: Mostly, birth is not a result of wisdom, clarity, or love. Conception and birth happen mostly because of the need to consume the other’s body. In the process of consumption of the other’s body, and sometimes in the process of satiation of one’s own insecurities and desires, conception takes place, the baby comes into being – and all that is violence.
The mother-in-law has heckled the daughter-in-law, and now she is getting pregnant. Or the man decides, that it’s a social norm to become a father, and therefore, he decides to impregnate the wife. Or conception just happens in a moment of mad lust. All these are just instances of violence.
Q: Violence against whom?
AP: What is violence? Lack of love. Disunity.
Whatsoever happens in an environment of absence of love, is violence. Surely, when you are consuming somebody’s body, you are not thinking of that body as your own. You are greedily looking at an object and pleasing yourself using that object. That’s what lust is, right?
You look at something, a human body that is, as an object that would satisfy your hunger. This disunity, this separation, this distance between you and the object of your consumption, is what is violence.
Q: Acharya Ji, what is meant by ‘ Samadhi ’, and is it worthwhile to aspire to attain it?
AP: Peaceful mind. Samadhan . What is samadhan ? Solution. So, Samadhi is dissolution. Samadhi is nothing exotic, or extra-ordinary. Peaceful mind is samadhistha .
Do not turn Samadhi into something of the stars, something glittering and beyond the reach. It is a very simple, ordinary, dissolved state of the mind. The mind has no worries, the mind has no great concerns to be serious about.
That is Samadhi .
Life is simple, ordinary. This is happening, that is happening, but whatsoever is happening, is not big enough to trouble you. That is Samadhi.
Q: Are there many types of Samadhis?
AP: It’s almost like this. I have answered eight types of questions here. And corresponding to each of the answers, you may as well say, in a poetic way, that you have experienced eight kinds of samadhis. When I answered him, then it was one kind of Samadhi . When I answered your first question, that was the first Samadhi . Then your second question, that was second kind of Samadhi .
Ultimately, peace has no distinctions, or flavors or colors.
Peace is just peace.
You do not have many, different kinds of zeros. Zero is a zero. What kind of division do you want to create?