Unbecoming unaware || Acharya Prashant, on J. Krishnamurti (2016)

Acharya Prashant
8 min readJun 15, 2024


Question: Acharya Ji, what does J. Krishnamurti mean when he says “Become deeply aware”.

Acharya Prashant: It is said, become deeply aware.

Now, we already live in problems and challenges. We already live in incompleteness. We already live in the quest to achieve something, to become something. When it is said, become deeply aware, we add one more item, to our list of problems. And that item now is?

Listeners: Awareness.

AP: Awareness. Oh, there is so much to do and achieve and the next item is awareness. The words of a wise man must be read with wisdom , with empathy . One must be alert, whether, one is able to, cross over his personal ways of interpreting. Words might mislead. There is nothing called becoming aware.

Read it as — unbecoming unaware .

We have become unaware. Awareness is, over awareness, there is a shroud of illusionary unawareness. Over the innate awareness, there is a cloud of assumed unawareness. The aware core is shrouded by, assumed unawareness which has no substance. There is no fact in that unawareness. You just have to see that there is no fact, in your assertion, that there exists unawareness. So, you unbecome, unaware.

You cannot become aware. Awareness is not something that you can achieve or becomes or reach. It is.

Are you getting it? Now, you see, how driven and tense you feel, when the problem of awareness confronts you? The problem of awareness. Awareness means, that in any given situation, even in the worst of situations, even in the most challenging of situations, you still have the capacity, the capability, the right, to understand. That is what is meant by saying that the awareness always is.

Even when the world is overwhelming you, still it is not mandatory that you will succumb. This not mandatory-ness implies an unconditional awareness, that need not be reached. An awareness, that is inviolable. No penetration, can ever, dent it. And is it not something, that you already know?

Even in the moment of your death, you can be still, composed, calm; that is what is meant by the inviolable certainty of awareness. That stillness is awareness.

You might be receiving a thousand wounds, physically or mentally and yet there is something in you that remains unwounded. You know that. That is what is meant by, the innateness of awareness. It is untouchable. The world may have given you a lot of knowledge, the world may have filled up your consciousness, yet there is something within you, that presides over all your consciousness, that presides over all your knowledge.

That is what is meant by the intrinsic nature of awareness. World give you knowledge. But how do you understand? The mathematics book is telling you all about mathematics, is it also telling you about how to understand mathematics?

Mathematics is knowledge; understanding is awareness.

And don’t you, know mathematics. If you know mathematics, you also know that awareness is an indispensable sureness. It’s a total certainty that never deserts you. Are you getting it?

That is what is meant by awareness. Now, this awareness is not a matter of becoming. Will the mathematics book also teach you, the very fundamentals? And when I say, the very fundamentals, that means going to the very depths of consciousness. The mathematics book assumes that you can understand. For the author of the book, probably, it is a very obvious assumption. But the peace of the entire mankind depends on this, that is so obvious and yet so very missed.

Right now, your consciousness might be registering the words that are coming from me, but there is something else, that is relating so fully, with these words; with the speaker, with the air, the night, the whole presence. That is awareness. That awareness, has no shape, form or object. When it knows, it knows without concluding and yet with full certainty. If you ask what are you aware of, awareness will not be able to tell. At most, if you are too insistent and awareness must console you, it would say — I am not unaware.

It will just say, I am not unaware.

It will still not say, I am aware of this and that.

Awareness is so total. Knowledge is always small, little. That is why those who live in knowledge never find peace. They keep hunting for more and more knowledge.

They say I need to know more before I make up my mind and the mind actually never gets made up. Or you can say, it only gets made up .

Awareness is not dependent on knowledge, it just knows. Just knows. How do you know that the sound of the waterfall, is so sweet? How do you know, that peace is wonderful? Tell me and had books not taught it to you, would you have not known, that peace is wonderful. How do you know, that you must like the Truth? That is awareness. How do you fall in Love, that is awareness, right?

And that is not a matter, of acquiring knowledge, reaching somewhere, becoming somebody, advancing in life or anything.

The illiterate tribal, in his own way, knows Love, that is awareness.

And his, surrender to his awareness, might be deeper than that of a literate, urban, knowledgeable man. Awareness does not depend on civilization or the product of man’s mind. Are you getting it? If you are literate, you may know 20 poems on Love, you may know definitions of Love, it’s quite possible that the tribal will know Love . That is awareness, awareness that is innate, not borrowed from somewhere, not a matter of becoming. Are you getting it?

L: Can we say that it is our free will?

AP: If you want to give names, you can give it any name. You can call it absolute freedom, you can call it Atman, you can call it soul, centre, core anything. That is awareness . That is what Ashtavakra will say about what you are — Bodh-o-ahum I am bodh, I am awareness. Just as he says, I am Braham, similarly he says, I am awareness. That is what the Upnishadic adage says, Pragyanam Brahm, Gyan is knowledge , pragyan is Awareness . Awareness itself, is brahm. So, there are enough names. But why, be particular about names?

L: Is there a road to awareness and does it have knowledge in between?

AP: No.

L2: It is an inherent capacity.

AP: Yes.

There is no road to awareness and there is nothing in between. All roads are in awareness.

L: Like, you begin something and for a few minutes you completely see that it is information. Just concepts. Then, after a while, firstly it is informational, then you caught hold of some concept. After a while, things settle down. You feel that you have understood it. Not just, conceptually but you are also feeling light in the sense of.

AP: You can never know awareness. This phrase, I have understood is a very arrogant phrase. When you say, you have understood, all that it means is that you now have a conclusion. Now you have been able to fit the topic in your own framework. I have understood, is meaningless and impossible.

Awareness proceeds very subliminally. Thought will not know awareness. You cannot keep an eye on awareness. You cannot watch awareness. You can only surrender to it. You can let it to do what it does, without making any, stupid attempts to rein it in.

L: Acharya Ji, may I say, everything happens in awareness? Mind is working according to awareness or mind is also in the awareness.

AP: See, mind is functioning within awareness.

L: And for whom?

AP: For whom, what?

L: Mind is working for whom?

AP: Mind is working for itself.

L: Ok. And it is happening in awareness?

AP : In awareness. But the mind has all the rights, to say that awareness is not there. Mind is contained, immersed in awareness, but it still has the right to declare that awareness is not there. “Panni main meen pyasi, sun sun aaye mohe haasi” know that, right? So, in spite of being in it, you can still keep clamoring, “I am missing it.” And hence, I want to reach there, become, acquire and all that.

L: Because of that illusionary blanket of unawareness.

AP: Because of the blanket of unawareness, yes.

L: Acharya Ji, Is it right to say that — level of awareness? Right or wrong?

AP: Wrong, very wrong.

Levels of consciousness are there. Levels of awareness are not there.

AP: That is consciousness; that illusionary blanket is consciousness.

L: How dense or thick can this blanket get, so as to completely lose contact. Because we people are unaware, we live in unawareness.

AP: Take themselves to be unaware. Yes.

L: Say, for the one who is unaware, there is no difference between, taking..

AP: No. There is still a difference. You might be totally unaware but things will happen to you, out of awareness. You might keep saying that you are unaware, you may still fall in Love . You might keep saying that you are not getting what I am saying, it may still do some magic to you. So in spite of what you claim, things happen.

L: Is it the mind’s duty to understand?

AP: It is not a question of duty. It’s a question of being your own well-wisher. If the mind does not understand, then who suffers? Mind.

So, the mind may take this as a duty or as an act of Love , but if the mind does not surrender to awareness, then it suffers.

L: So blanket or not, does not make any difference. The only difference it makes it that you suffer.

AP: Acknowledgement.

You suffer. All spirituality starts from that point. Why am I suffering? Is it necessary to suffer?

L: Acharya Ji, if awareness is already there in every being, is it all depends on sharp intelligence or that intelligence will be knowing itself?

AP: It depends on how ready you are to ‘acknowledge awareness.’

And mind you, awareness is not there in every being. Every being is there in awareness. What you call as every being, is a figment of consciousness.

Right now, because you are in a particular state of consciousness, so you are seeing these beings here. If you sleep right now, would you see anybody here? So, what you see and call as people, are actually just images in consciousness. The state of consciousness changes, the people disappear. When you are sleeping, are these people still there for you?

Awareness cannot be there ‘in’ you because what you call as yourself and the world is just consciousness.