On Advaita Vedanta: The real meaning of steadfastness

Acharya Prashant
16 min readApr 13, 2022

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

यथाऽपकृष्टं शैवालं क्षणमात्रं न तिष्ठति ।
आवृणोति तथा माया प्राज्ञं वापि पराङ्मुखम् ॥

yathā’pakṛṣṭaṃ śaivālaṃ kṣaṇamātraṃ na tiṣṭhati
āvṛṇoti tathā māyā prājñaṃ vāpi parāṅmukham

Just as a pulled-up water reed stays not still even for a moment, so does Maya (ceaselessly) envelop even a wise man if he averts his face from the Truth.

~ Adhyatma Upanishad, Verse 15

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जीवतो यस्य कैवल्यं विदेहोऽपि स केवलः ।
समाधिनिष्ठतामेत्य निर्विकल्पो भवानघ ॥

jīvato yasya kaivalyaṃ videho’pi sa kevalaḥ
samādhiniṣṭhatāmetya nirvikalpo bhavānagha

Whosoever wins absoluteness while alive continues to be absolute even after death. Rooted in concentration, O sinless one, remain steadfast.

~ Adhyatma Upanishad, Verse 16

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Questioner (Q): Can you please elaborate on what the Upanishad describes as “averting one’s face from the Truth” and “remaining steadfast”?

Acharya Prashant (AP): There are always two directions to look at. Who is the looker, the one who abides in twoness, in choices, and has therefore two choices available? This must be clear. Who is the one who has these two directions, two options available to him? The one that we are, the one that we usually identify with, the usual ego-state.

So, if the ego has two directions to look at, what are these two directions? The first, the easiest, and the obvious direction is its own direction. The ego loves to go its own direction. What is the other direction? Accurately speaking, it is just the direction that does not lead to itself. It is the direction in…

Acharya Prashant