Do not discard particular opinions, discard the opinionated mind || Acharya Prashant (2014)


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nānā mataṁ maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ tathā
dṛṣṭvā nirvedamāpannaḥ ko na śāmyati mānavaḥ

नाना मतं महर्षीणां साधूनां योगिनां तथा।
दृष्ट्वा निर्वेदमापन्नः को न शाम्यति मानवः॥

~ अष्टावक्र गीता (अध्याय ९, श्लोक ५)

Having seen the difference of opinions 
among the great sages, saints and yogis,
who will not get detached and attain peace.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 9, Verse 5)

Speaker: “नाना मतं महर्षीणां साधूनां योगिनां तथा।
दृष्ट्वा निर्वेदमापन्नः को न शाम्यति मानवः॥

nā mataṁ maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ tathā
dṛṣṭvā nirvedamāpannaḥ ko na śāmyati mānavaḥ

Where is the man who having observed the diversity of opinions among the seers, saints, and yogis, and thus becoming completely indifferent, does not attain tranquility?”

The question is: What is meant by ‘indifference’? The word that Ashtavakra uses is, ‘nirveda’. ‘Nirveda’ here denotes – free of knowledge. ‘Nir-veda’ – free of knowledge.

He is saying that once you see that how there are just opinions, and opinions, nānā mataṁ – nānā mataṁ maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ –there are just opinions and opinions, and if you are observant enough, you come to see that all we have is projections, perceptions, opinions, disguising as Truth. Disguising as Truth!

And this is happening even in the case of the so-called learned man. Even the most learned of men, are caught only in their perceptions –  maharṣīṇāṁ sādhūnāṁ yogināṁ. So knowledge, and more knowledge, can only give you opinions, and more opinions. So what is the point in having knowledge, when instead of Truth, all it gives me is – opinions? Seeing this, the wise one becomes free of opinions – nirveda.

Do you get the flow?

I look at the best of learned men around me, and what do I see? They are caught in their opinions, which they claim to be the Truth. And what I see is, that here we have one set of opinions, and there we have another set of opinions, and there we have another set of opinions.  Now can there be multiple truths? So obviously all these are mere projections, multiple projections, games of ego, right?

When no opinion can come even close to Truth, then why should I hold to any opinion? This is what the wise man comes to – nirvedataa, not holding on to any knowledge. He realizes that all knowledge, all content of mind, is mere rubbish.

And then instead of discarding, one set of opinions, he discards, knowledge itself. He says, “Knowledge itself is not valid. As far as the world of senses and perceptions goes, knowledge may have some utility. Only as long as I am ignorant, knowledge may have some utility. But if I am talking about the Real, if I am talking about the Truth, then knowledge does not mean anything.”

‘Emptiness’ means something. What does it mean, emptiness? ‘Emptiness’ means, emptiness. Something is not – some-thing. Something is ‘nothing’. ‘Nothing’ means nothing. ‘Emptiness’ is nothing; just a clean, vast, open, spotless, blemish-less sky. Hmm? Free of all the dirt that there can be.

Are you getting it?

The question being raised here is: Does being ‘indifferent’ here mean understanding and experiencing the real nature of the Self, by himself?

There is no real nature of the Self. The Self has no Real nature. Its Real nature in that sense is freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from anything that you want to accord, or assign to it. That is why we say, “Mukti, Freedom, is our Real nature.” That’s a very wise way of saying, “Nothing is our real nature. Whatever you will call as your ‘Real nature’, your Real nature is free of it.

You see, when you say, “Freedom is my nature,” do you know what you have said? You have said, “My real nature will free of whatever you call as my ‘Real nature’, because ‘Freedom’ is my nature.”

So there is no Real nature. There is no real nature. Whatever you will call as your ‘nature’, will just be some kind of confinement, a boundary. A boundary.

(Speaker reading a question from the paper) Will not the knowledge of seers and sages help in invoking that understanding?

That may happen. Obviously, that is why the sages speak. But evocation is one thing. An evocation is like an invitation. An evocation is like an invitation. You are invited to the celebration tonight. Now what will you do? Worship the invitation card? Hmm? Kiss it, hug it, and party with it? “The invitation card! The love-letter! Let me worship it. Let me frame it, and put it somewhere high up on the wall. Let me sleep with it.” Is that what you are going to do? Decorate it.

Just an evocation! (Laughingly) Get evoked, and forget the evocation.

So, words are there, not for their own sake. What does it mean to remember a verse by Ashtavakra, if the verse is just a ‘verse’? That verse is, for sure, an evocation. Is the evocation happening? What is the point of an invitation card, that is not responded to? Is that invitation card, of any worth?

Is the invitation card of any worth, if you do not attend the party, and you are contended with the card itself? That card is by Ashtavakra, and it has all the verses written on it. But that card was sent to you, so that you can come to the party tonight. You didn’t come to the party. You are holding on to the card. Ashtavakra Gita, is that card. Where is the party? Where is the party?

And to all of you, who are bringing these books here, I am asking that where is the party. Where is the celebration? These are mere invites. Where is the celebration?

And after you enter the party, what do you do with the invitation card? Is it still important? Is it still important?

Listener 1: No.

Speaker: Is it still important? It was an entry pass. Probably it will be useful the next time, again. But right now, when you are into the party, what will you do with it? Celebrate. Not hug it, kiss it, worship it, there are better things to do.

But remember, you cannot enter the party, without the invitation card. Only those who are already in the party, have a right to forget the invitation card for a while. The others must cling to the card, as they are clinging to their life.

It is not a license to not to read. You require that invitation card. The guards won’t allow you in.

Getting it?

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Ashtavakra: Do not discard particular opinions, discard the opinionated mind The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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