समाध्यासादिविक्षिप्तौ व्यवहारः समाधये ।एवं विलोक्य नियमं एवमेवाहमास्थितः ॥ १२-३॥
samādhyāsādivikṣiptau vyavahāraḥ samādhaye ।evaṃ vilokya niyamaṃ evamevāhamāsthitaḥ ॥ 12-3॥
Seeing the transitions between abnormal states of incorrect perception and the meditative states as a (natural) rule,
I stay as I am. (12-3)
~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter-12, Verse-3)
Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Please explain this verse from Ashtavakra Gita.
Acharya Prashant Ji: What is there to watch? If one stays watchful, what is there to watch? Can the Truth be watched? What is it that you end up watching, whenever you watch?
All that is transient, temporal, false – that is what is watched.
And how is that watched?
That is watched through non-identification.
“So, all those things are happening. Yes they are happening. But they are not carrying me away. They do have the power to take me along with them, but that is not happening.”
“A great wind is blowing, it’s a storm. My body can experience that storm, so it’s not that I am imagining. The storm is indeed there, but it is not taking me away. I am not being blown away.”
“Everything about me is shaking, shivering. Look at my hair, look at my clothes. I can feel the gust on my face, but it is almost as if I am riveted to the Earth. I cannot be taken away.”
And these two things are happening at the same time, simultaneously.
“On one hand I am fully experiencing the storm. It’s severe, call it ‘a cyclone’. On one hand it is being fully experienced, I have proof that a great cyclone is raging. What is the proof? Look at how my clothes are sticking to my body. Look at the condition of my hair, my eyes are all full of dust. Nothing is clearly visible. Objects around me are all flying away here and there in a chaos.”
“So it is undeniable that there is indeed a storm here. But at the same time I stand here unshakable, unmovable.”
That is ‘watching’, that is what it means to watch.
There is sufficient reason for you to buckle down, yet something very unreasonable is happening – you are standing tall and firm.
It is against all logic.
‘Witnessing’ is very-very illogical, it does not obey a reason.
Reason commands you to follow the laws of Physics, follow the laws of mind, follow the laws of universe, follow the laws of the body.
“If there is a provocation, then you must get provoked, angry. If there is a temptation, then you must get tempted, seduced.”
“But that is not happening. And I do not deny that there is both a provocation and a temptation and a invitation. All that is there, yet something very inexplicable is happening, rather not-happening.”
That ‘not-happening’ is called ‘Witnessing’.
‘Witnessing’ is that which should have happened by laws of prakriti (nature), does not happen. It does not happen. It is against prakriti (nature).
That’s why Kabir Sahib sings ‘ulat-bansi‘ (inverse words). Strange things happen – “Barse kambal, bheege paani (Blankets pour, waters get wet).” In prakriti water should fall and the blanket should be wetted. But in the world of Kabir Sahib – it’s raining blankets, and the blankets are wetting the water.
That which should have happened is not happening. This ‘not-happening’ is what I called as ‘Witnessing’. It should have happened, by all experience it should have happened. It has always happened.
“Whenever I have been provoked, I have always retaliated. It has always happened. Now it is not happening,” – that is called ‘Witnessing’.
Are you getting it?
Now Ashtavakra has added something to it. He says, “The mind flips not only it’s various states, but also between the states and the non-state.”
To Witness is to not only see the transition between the states, but also see the transition between the states and statelessness.
Now the statelessness, obviously not being a state cannot be experienced.
So what does ‘statelessness’ occurs in Witnessing as?
Statelessness occurs as a gap.
Statelessness occurs as a gap, and that is why I am so very pleased when you do not remember anything from my sessions. I want a gap. I want a gap in the consciousness. I want a gap in the memory. So when you look back, you see nothing. All you see is a gap, a blankness.
“Before the session there was much that I can remember. After the session, there was happening that I can remember. Before the session there was the happening, after the session there again is the happening, in between there is nothing to remember.”
And that implies that there is ‘non-happening’.
When there is nothing to remember, surely there is nothing happening. That ‘non-happening’ is ‘Witnessing’.
Do not remember anything, even Witnessing can be forgotten.
Question 2: How do we know that we are witnessing?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Why do you want to know? Who is the one who wants to know and then boast to herself? (Addressing the questioner) Ah! Parmeshwari has been caught.
“I want to know that I have been Witnessing.” Want to keep journal of time? 10:30 -11:40 – witnessed. Then claim S points. When you can gather 1000 S points, you can redeem them.
That’s how the mind works.
That’s why the marketers come with all these schemes – “For every ten minutes of witnessing, you get 1 S point. And once you have gathered 1000 S points you become an ‘Acharya’.”
It doesn’t happen that way.
Share this article:
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