What is it to be absent to the world, and present to the Truth?

Acharya Prashant
3 min readMay 8, 2021

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

Questioner: Acharya Ji, regarding being absent; as you were speaking, I can only imagine it as not being there in thoughts.

Acharya Prashant: What does it mean to be absent to objective company? It means to be related to objects not via the thread of desire or fear. I said, “When we look at someone we drool from the eyes”, right? What does it mean? We want something from that, which we look at. What does it mean, to be absent to ‘you’? To look at you, but desire not from you. And how can that happen? When I know the fact of living. When I fully well know that you cannot fulfill my desire, then I will look at you, but I will be absent to the desires from you.

It is a good question for everybody’s clarity. Being absent towards the objective world does not mean that you will look at a pothole and still fall in it. Or that you will walk straight into somebody’s nose and say, “My teacher taught me to be absent to your objective presence, I do not perceive or acknowledge you at all who are you, you do not exist. I am present only to the beloved.” He will say, “I will send you to the beloved.”

It means, look at the world, but want nothing from it. Why? Because your wants are being fulfilled somewhere else. Be a little sharp, don’t be so stupid. The real thing is up there. So, look at all this, but don’t start buying. The world is a great shopping complex, where everything is fake. The real stuff is somewhere else. So, walk through this shady market, but don’t get into a deal.

That is what is meant by being absent to the market. Don’t engage with it in a psychic way. “Alright, you are there, yes, fine, one of the things.” ‘Suchness’ — that’s what the Buddha called it. Yathā, tathā, tathatā. The way it is- yathā, tathā, tathatā- the way it is. Nothing more to it, there is nothing more to it, it is only just this much, there is nothing more to it. But that’s not the way the common man looks at the world.

He looks at something and imagines that there is a lot more to it. So, what do you do when you look at a car? It is not just a car, there is no tathatā. When you look at a car, what is it? Dreams, and this and this…

Acharya Prashant