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Truth is quite different from God || Acharya Prashant, at BITS, Goa (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Questioner (Q): Sir talking about beliefs. As we have been discussing about beliefs and its correlation with superstition, one question that a fifteen year old version of me would ask to myself, which I would fail to answer would be a question like; computer science was my favorite subject at school so I was in the ICSC school. Before any other examination, history scared me the most.

So, before history examination, I would spent more time praying to lord, rather than studying or going through the chapters of my book. But when the exam came for computer science, I hardly took the name of any lord or any God which I believed in. I worshiped him to the extent of prioritizing him over my duties. So, the question that the fifteen-year-old would ask, would be: If the true divine power that we talk of or that we general public, the general notion speaks of, is it something true? Is it belief? Or is it just a creation of the fear of the human mind? Because human beings are just afraid individuals.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Wonderful! Great that you have opened up a new dimension to the whole thing. See, if there is something that exists differently as different thoughts among different people, it is obviously beliefs, right? If there is something you can invest yourself in today and discard tomorrow, that again is a belief, right? The God that the Hindu believes in is not the same God that a Muslim or a Christian or a Buddhist believes in. By definition it is belief. Correct?

You might be an atheist at one point in life, you turn a theist at another point, typically when you are about to die. Right? Everybody becomes a God-fearing soul in front of danger. These are beliefs. The work of someone like Swamiji is not about God. It is about Truth. And God and Truth are different things. What you call as God is a concept. Truth is not a concept. Therefore, so much can be said about God, nothing at all can be said about Truth. You can have stories about God and the various lords and the various religions and their miscellaneous beliefs. You can have no story at all about Truth. Truth just turns you silent.

Are you getting it? So, even if at someplace you find the word God mentioned, with respect to Swami Vivekananda, take that as Truth, that’s what he was talking of. Truth that is invariable. Truth that is timeless. Time cannot change it; it does not vary from person to person. Irrespective of what your subjective state is, it remains the way it is. It is hundred percent objective and it is beyond objective. It transcends objectivity. That is the Truth.

It transcends both objectivity and subjectivity, that’s the Truth. Are you getting it? The only thing that is not a belief. Now, what is that?

Let’s say, people with a great love for Truth, we want to begin from somewhere, the entire process of enquiry, what is the first thing probably the only thing we can begin from?

There is somebody who is asking this question. So, that cannot be a superstition. Everything else may or may not be a superstition and I do not know. Is this mug (pointing towards a mug) there for real? Is this mug existent for real? Probably yes, probably no. But there is one thing that cannot be a superstition. There is somebody who is asking this question. What is the Truth? What is the Truth?

To be a sincere person, to be an educated person is to hold everything to the test of this question. Not belief anything as final. Just say everything is tentative, only one thing seems to be definite. There is somebody who is saying everything is tentative. Because even if I am not there, then who is asking this question? So, I am there.

Everything else is just something that I experience and perceive. Right? I am there. What is this mug? What is this mug? An object that I sense, an object that I experience. An object whose existence is ratified only by the fingers that hold it, the eyes that look at it. The skin that touches it. Correct?

So, everything else then has to be tentative. Is this Truth? Well tentatively. Does is exist for me? Tentatively. It exists only because I am saying it exists. My eyes look at it so I feel it exists. But well, my eyes can be so easily deceived, can’t they be? Anybody here whose eyes have never been deceived? Anybody here? Anybody here who has never heard strange sounds? Anybody here who has never seen false visions? Anybody here who has never been mentally cheated? How much can you trust your senses? Are you getting it?

And even if you can trust your senses, to know of facts, how much can you trust your mind? Because the senses at most can bring the fact to the mind. It is the mind that gives meaning to the fact. Are you getting it? The sense can at most tell you this is an object (pointing towards the mug), this a cylindrical object, roughly cylindrical; cylindrical and open on one side.

But your senses cannot tell you of any meaning that it has. The meaning is provided to this object by the mind and the memory, which is a million years of conditioning. That’s what provides meaning to this. How much can you trust all that?

A small experiment. Just as this is a fact (pointing to mug), this too is a fact ( pointing to own body), this is a body. This too is a body. Similarly, the stuff that I have uttered is a fact at least to these mics and there must be a recorder somewhere. And if you compare what has been recorded by the different equipments it would be 99.9% the same. And the audio would be 100% the same. Right?

Now let’s look at all you receivers over here. If we circulate sheets of paper and ask you what has this speaker said, would we get the same responses? Then how do you trust your mind? Can it tell you the Truth? Had your mind been telling you the Truth, all of you would have written the same responses. Just as all these equipments return same recording, do they not?

The mind deals in its own beliefs. An example for that would be: tell me ten important things that have been said over the last one hour and exchange your sheets with your neighbor. What would you find? Not just different, also a lot of imaginary stuff. You would be surprised beyond imagination.

You would say “But he never said that” and your neighbor would say “ No this is the most important thing he said”, you would say “Forget about this being the most important thing, he never even said this.” But your neighbor would insist “No he did said this, and it is the most important thing he said.” How do you trust your experience? Are you getting it?

How do you just trust what you have heard of or what other people believe in, or what the tradition has been? So, that is the process. Figure out how much of mind is there in your beliefs, mind means: mind stuff, conventional mind, superstitious mind, that just wants to lazily settle down and say “Ok fine this is the answer.” Right?

Q: Sir, you said and you proved also that we cannot trust our senses. You also proved that we cannot trust our mind because it is basically interpreting what our senses have sensed. So what can we trust then?

AP: You don’t need to trust. In the question lies an implicit trust that trust is important. Trust is not important, because trust means settlement, trust means conclusion, trust means the entire mental process coming to an end. No I don’t trust I am alive, I see, I know, I don’t have to trust. Would you rather know or trust? Would you know or trust? Would you understand or believe?

Q: Understand.

AP: There is no need to trust anything. Its another value very falsely just embedded within us. Trust. And trust makes you feel secure, does is not?

Q: Yes.

AP: No, you don’t need to trust anything. You are all right you don’t need the support of trust. You are strong, you are capable, you don’t need to fall back on trust.

And that does not mean you have to distrust everything. You have to be alive, you have to be aware, you want to know. If you trust something you cannot know it. If you distrust something again you cannot know it. So, don’t approach life with trust or distrust. Approach life with open eyes and open mind.

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