आचार्य प्रशांत आपके बेहतर भविष्य की लड़ाई लड़ रहे हैं
The source of thought, and the utility of knowledge || On Vivekachudamani (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
आचार्य प्रशांत
10 मिनट
101 बार पढ़ा गया

Questioner (Q): I want to know the source of thought. I remember Ramana Maharshi’s words: “‘I’ is the root of all the thoughts because in the end, every thought occurs to the ‘I’. So, first try to get hold of who this ‘I’ is, which will lead the enquirer to dissolve and merge in the Source.” Whenever I enquire, I cannot dig deep; there is no intensity in the digging. How to get that intensity in the enquiry?

Acharya Prashant (AP): What enquiry do you want to do? Why do you want to know the source of thought? And why is an enquiry needed at all? Don’t you directly see where your thoughts are coming from? Don’t you know desire? Don’t you know anger? Don’t you know jealousy? Don’t you know competition? Where else are your thoughts coming from? That which is directly available to be known must not be unnecessarily made mysterious.

You are saying, “When I enquire, I cannot dig deep; there is no intensity in the digging.” You cannot dig deep because there is nothing to dig at. Only the Truth is deep, and you cannot dig your way down to the Truth. When you will dig, you will come to your own personal center, and that’s all. And that center is quite shallow, so how deep can you dig?

Your digging will not take you to Ātman or Truth. Please. As long as the digger is there as someone separate from the Ātman , as long as there is someone doing the digging, how are you going to reach the Ātman ? The very act of digging will keep the digger intact. The very act of trying to know the source of thought will keep the striving one, the effortful one intact.

You want to know where your thoughts are coming from? Your thoughts are coming from the same point from where the desire to know the source of thoughts is coming. From where are my thoughts coming? Exactly the same point from where this question is coming. Where is your question coming from? It is life that is giving rise to your question; it is the sum total of all the biological processes and the social influences that is giving rise to this question. It is the material present in your consciousness, it is the material absorbed by your consciousness that is giving rise to this question, this enquiry.

I am asking all enquirers, what happens to your enquiry when you go to sleep? Please. What happens to your enquiry the moment you fall asleep? Don’t you see your enquiry is just a wave with a crest and trough rising and falling? You want to know what is thought? I am asking you to find what is this enquiry. This enquiry is nothing but thought. So, here we have thought trying to know the origin of thought—a dog trying to catch its own tail. How aesthetic or successful can that be? A dog trying to catch its own tail!

Are you always enquiring? Yes, enquiry can be successful if you are always enquiring. But look at your enquiry: you will enquire for half an hour a day, two hours a day, when you find the moment opportune, and then? So, your enquiry is nothing but a figment of your mood. Your enquiry is subservient to something else. The situations are good, and you say, “I want to enquire right now.” Would you enquire when there is a fire in the house? You don’t. And if you can understand what this thing called enquiry is, you will also understand what all your thoughts are, and vice versa.

Q: According to Ramana Maharshi, we identify ourselves with this body. The Guru appears in a physical form, but his work lies in the spiritual realm. As a disciple is not aware of that dimension, how to be aware of Guru’s grace?

AP: Why do you want to be aware of the Guru’s grace? What will you do with that? Why do you want that knowledge? Remember, that knowledge means power, and power means control. You are not asking how to be a recipient of the Guru’s grace; you are asking, “The work of the Guru lies in the spiritual realm. How do I know that work? How do I know the dimension in which the Guru is operating?” What will you do with that?

Go to your question itself, therein you will find the questioner, and that’s who you are, or rather, that’s who you take yourself to be. It’s very important to know what you take yourself to be, because if you do not know what you are taking yourself to be, then you will never know the falseness of what you consider yourself.

Let the Guru do what he would. There is no need for you to know. Your knowing would be an interference.

Q: Previously there was a strong urge to have knowledge of different subjects like psychology, mind, thoughts, self-help, etc., but now this urge is declining. What is going on? Why doesn’t knowledge have an appeal anymore? Have I identified myself with knowledge?

AP: You need knowledge in order to solve a problem. There is something bothering you, and so you want to go out and gather knowledge regarding that thing. If you look at the knowledge that man has gathered in various fields, you will easily see that all of man’s knowledge is related to man’s desire. Man does not try to gain knowledge in fields that have absolutely no connection with man’s fundamental desires. Man desires, man gets not, and then man says, “Let me gather knowledge and use it as a tool in order to solve the problem of the desire remaining incomplete.” And that is why knowledge very quickly turns into technology: so that it can be used by man to fulfill desires.

Don’t you see how it happens? Knowledge generation requires effort, time, endeavor, funds. Look at all the great laboratories throughout the world; they are driven by funding. And what kind of knowledge generation is funded? You do not want knowledge in just any direction and dimension; you fund research in those fields that appear useful to you. And that’s the relation between knowledge and desire: you have a desire, you face problems, and then you want knowledge.

But what will you do when the fundamental problem itself is getting dissolved? What will happen to your tendency to gain knowledge? What will happen? The one who feels that his destination is far away wants knowledge about roads, about vehicles, about the terrains, about people, about guides. A lot of knowledge is needed because your destination is far away. What about the one who has reached the destination? How much knowledge does he need, and for what?

We must know the very root of knowledge. We must know why man finds knowledge important. We must know both the usefulness and the limitations of knowledge. As long as you are taking yourself as lost and stranded, you need knowledge. And when you are someone whose fundamental desire has been quenched, then knowledge is no more that appealing. You would still have knowledge, but your urge towards knowledge would not be the urge of a dying man, a thirsty man towards water; now knowledge would be like a hobby to you. A hobby is something you have a good time with, but a hobby is not something that you would die without. To the desirous man, to the man who is dying of desires and thirst, knowledge is what water is to a thirsty man. And to a fulfilled man, knowledge is what hobby is to a relaxed man, fulfilled man.

It is not as if the Buddhas don’t have knowledge. They do have knowledge, but they are no more dependent on knowledge for their fundamental identity. Now they do not look towards knowledge as their savior; now they do not measure their self-worth on the parameter of knowledge; and now they do not think that knowledge will deliver them out of their troubles. They know that knowledge is a useful tool, and that’s all. But they know that knowledge cannot be the master.

The liberated man can be known by the right value that he accords to knowledge. Right value—neither is he averse to knowledge, nor is he crazy after knowledge. He has the right place for knowledge. He is not a knowledge bug. And there are so many knowledge bugs going around. You know what is trivia? Knowledge that you do not need is trivia. Or let me put it this way: information that you healthily need is knowledge, and information that you need because you are sick is trivia.

Most of that which we call as knowledge is actually trivia because it is of no fundamental use. Worse still, most of our knowledge is being used to perform a function that knowledge can never perform. You are thinking, for example, that knowledge can give you peace. No, knowledge can never perform this function. But we are over-dependent on knowledge and we overestimate the capacity of knowledge. The fellow has no love in life, but he is so knowledgeable—will that redeem him? He thinks so. And he is so knowledgeable—that’s why he thinks so! The fellow is so joyless, but he has loads of knowledge. How will that help him? And remember that he will continue to be joyless because he is trying to use knowledge as a substitute for joy.

Knowledge is knowledge, useful in daily matters. But knowledge cannot deliver Truth to you. Knowledge cannot be an equivalent of surrender. And never, never can knowledge be an equivalent of realization. And there is no dearth of people who conflate knowledge with realization. A large number of people we have utterly knowledgeable, but with zero realization. And the mark of realization is that now you know that knowledge is a thing; now you don’t think knowledge is God.

Knowledge is a thing in your hands. Have only as much of it as it needed, and don’t keep clinging to it. Use it, and keep it away. Is there anything that you always keep carrying? If there is anything that you always keep carrying, then it must be such a heavy burden. Use it and keep it away.

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