On Advait Vedanta: Physical proximity does not mean closeness

Acharya Prashant
5 min readApr 6, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, I have noticed that people who have known me since childhood are now facing difficulties in understanding what I am doing. For instance, it took two years for me to convince my wife and relatives, etc. to even allow me to practice spirituality. Why do our close ones take so much time to understand us?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Because they are close to you in an unspiritual way. So, they will take a lot of time, and you will have to live with this fact. Do not just say some person is close to you; complete the sentence, elaborate, and clarify. How is he close to you? What do you mean by closeness? The closeness of what to what?

When you say close, you mean X is close to Y. When you say somebody is close to you, kindly elaborate, what is close to what? The closeness itself is quite material or coincidental or social or physical. They were close to you in a very, very unspiritual way. In the spiritual dimension, they were not close at all.

So, it is not that people who are close to you are taking time to understand you. If you want to express it honestly, the situation is like this: people who are spiritually very, very far from you are taking time to come close to you — and that is understandable, is it not? They were anyway very, very far from you, so they are taking time to come close to you.

Right now, am I closer to you or to this table? In purely the physical sense, I am close to the table. But if I start teaching to this table, will it understand? So, that’s how your question is. “Acharya Ji, I have been close to a table since two decades. I have been very, very close to the table. I live on the table, I eat on the table, I sleep on the table, I dance on the table. Wherever I go, I carry the table on my back. I have been very, very close to the table. But now I am teaching Gita to the table, and the table is not understanding!”

Sir, you have been close in the material sense. Your hand is resting on the table. There is no closeness between the hearts; there is no real essential closeness.

Two people can live in the same room for two thousand years without