To Him we shall return

Acharya Prashant
9 min readOct 12, 2021

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

I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as a plant and rose to animal, I died as an animal, and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar with angels blest; but even from angelhood, I must pass on. All except God, death perish. When I shall have sacrificed my angel-soul, I shall become what no mind has ever conceived. Oh, let me not exist! For non-existence proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return’

~ Rumi

Questioner: Acharya Ji, can you please help me understand more deeply what Rumi is saying in this beautiful poem? What does it mean when Rumi says, “When I have sacrificed my angel-soul”?

Acharya Prashant (AP): It is the journey of consciousness that Rumi is talking of. There is the mineral, the soil with no consciousness of its own, at least no consciousness as the soil appears in our consciousness. The soil that we are talking of as per our consciousness, that soil has no consciousness. But from that soil grows a plant and the plant is conscious. The plant responds to touch, the plant has fear, plants have been shown to respond even to music. It has been demonstrated that plants grow faster and fruit better when they are with loving caretakers. So the plant has a certain consciousness, but the plant has no intention of Liberation.

The plant’s consciousness is very very rudimentary, extremely primitive. The plant is almost like a foetus — A foetus in the first week, next to nothing. And then the plant is eaten by the animal. And we know that the animal has a higher level of consciousness. Animals emote, animals go through a whole spectrum of feelings. Animals experience happiness and animals also suffer from depression and animals do not like being chained. Animals have a certain desire for freedom. Animals even have a certain basic concept of Dharma.