Ignorance is to believe that you are someone separate from the One

Acharya Prashant
3 min readNov 3, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

तवैवाज्ञानतो विश्वं त्वमेकः परमार्थतः।

त्वत्तोऽन्यो नास्ति संसारी नासंसारी च कश्चन॥

It is through your ignorance alone that the universe appears to exist. In reality you are the One.

Other than you there is no individual self or supreme Self.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 15, Verse 16)

Questioner: What is meant by “your ignorance”, when it has been said, “In reality, you are the One”?

Acharya Prashant: For the one who is asking this question, “The One” means nothing. For the one who is asking the question or for the one who asks any question; there is the world, there are appearances, there are things, places, knowledge, lack of knowledge. For the one who is asking the question, there is only all this. This, that is called the world or the mind of the one who is talking, eating, breathing, asking; this is called ignorance.

Ignorance is not, not knowing something. Ignorance is not about, not having some particular knowledge. Ignorance is having knowledge. Ignorance is to think that there is a world, that there is a mind. And about whom questions can be asked, about whom it is relevant to seek solutions. That is ignorance.

Now, what is ignorance? That which your mind is full of. Whatever your mind is full of, is ignorance. Ignorance is not an absence; ignorance is not the lack of something. Ignorance is rather that which fills you up. Ignorance is your basic sustenance. That which ‘you’ are — the one who is asking the question, that is ignorance.

In such a situation, Ashtavakra’s utterance, “That in reality you are the One”, must not be taken as the Truth. No Ashtavakra has the power to communicate the Truth to you. And this utterance, “In reality you are the One”, I repeat, must not be taken as the Truth. It must be taken only as a method. It is a method to clear away your mind. It is a method to help you drop that which…

Acharya Prashant