Question: Acharya Ji, some teachers say that one should never forget that one is a watcher, and teach oneself to be mindful while watching, eating, sleeping, etc. Is it doable? What is its significance?
Acharya Prashant(AP): I just do not subscribe to this. It is quite harmful in fact.
The mind is already too eager to gather news from here and there, like a very suspicious old man – what is happening, where? It needs rest, not more news. Because any bit of news, any bit of information that comes to it, would only be misutilized. And it already has millions, and trillions of Terra-bytes of information.
Could that do any good?
Isn’t it far better to just forget everything? Why add to your existing and overflowing repository of information? Just forget everything, and be engrossed in rest. Ignore these things, they belong to the body. The body will take care of them: eating, walking, sleeping. If you start being observant about every step that the body takes, you will go mad.
Such advice have managed to sustain only because such advice have never been fully implemented. If somebody could actually fully implement these advice about watchfulness and mindfulness, then the dangerous nature of these advice would be exposed.
The mindfulness industry has managed to survive, only because nobody can practically do what they are advising. If even one person can practically do what they are advising, he will prove the very debilitating nature of that advice through his madness. He did it fully, and he went crazy. And that would be the end of these teachings.
But, fortunately for these teachings, they are so impractical, so crazy, that they can never really be implemented. Nobody can be watchful about every morsel of food, or every blink of the eye, or every round of respiration. So people just survive going mad.
And when they cannot implement these teachings fully, they feel that they are guilty, and have therefore not benefited from the teachings – “I could not benefit from them, because I could not implement them fully.” The bugger does not know that if he could implement them fully, he would go crazy.
A Saint has never, never been known to be the one who is observant about these minor microscopic things in life.
The Saint’s heart is elsewhere.
He in fact, ignores these tit-bits called ‘daily life’.
You look at his clothing, and it is possible that you may find that something is torn somewhere, and he is oblivious of it. He totally ignores these things. He is carrying some utensil, and utensil has a hole. You become conscious of that hole, the Fakir (Saint) keeps ignoring that hole. Forget about ignoring the hole, if you tell him that there is a hole in your vessel, he will say, “Is it there? Where? Where?” He is lost, he is somewhere else.
That’s hardcore Spirituality. Not this.
There is the famous tale of Sohni and Mahiwal in Punjab. Sohni used to cross the river using pots. They don’t sink. So she used to use them to help her cross the river Chenab. One day some jealous woman kept a raw pot for her, not a properly baked one, an unbaked one. Sohni just picked it up and went into the river, and drowned and died.
That’s the heart. That’s ‘Real Love’.
You are so lost in your beloved, that you do not even bother to cross-check about these things – what am I eating? What am I using for my physical defence?
The mindfulness industry would have said, “Oh! She was not mindful enough. That’s why she died.” Obviously she was not mindful enough. And that is why she was a lover.
Who said that lovers are mindful?
Questioner: Acharya Ji, but then why do Saints put high emphasis on observation?
AP: That observation is inner. Not the observation of the food you take, and the steps you put, and this and that. The observation there is, just this – “Am I with the beloved or not?” There is just one thing that you have to watch out for, it doesn’t matter where else I am.
It’s either a zero, or a one.
One – if I am with Him.
Zero – if I am anywhere else.
It doesn’t matter where I am.
You are born with a purpose; the purpose is your primary concern.
Otherwise, why are you alive?
You are born to get rest.
You are born to get freedom from your restlessness.
And therefore, that is what you must be fully occupied with.
That is your central mission.
Everything else is incidental. Everything else, is stuff worth ignoring; not something you can afford to get entangled in.
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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More