Why do I run after gloss? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Question: Is it true that the society is influenced more by the gloss, more by the apparent, than the substance, the real?

Speaker: You can only know or see to the extent of your own intelligence, beyond that you will not be able to see. If I am superficial then I can only see what is superficial in you.

Appreciate this!

If I exist only at the surface level, only at the level of the apparent, then in you too I will only be able to see what is apparent. If I know myself only according to the kind of clothes I wear; if I wear good clothes I feel good about myself and if I don’t wear good clothes I do not feel so good about myself then that is what I will do with you also. If I find you wearing good clothes then I will say “you are wonderful” and if I find you wearing something ordinary then I will think very ordinary of you.45

I will only see what I am.

The fact that the society can see no further, no deeper than the very superficial is a clear indication of the kind of individuals it is having in the society. After all the society is nothing but the individuals in it. Most people are trained, educated, conditioned by their upbringing, by this entire education system to look only at that which is right there on the surface. They have no understanding of what is real, what is substantial hence they look only at that. It’s not to be blamed upon them. The eyes can only look at what is apparent; the ears can only hear the sound waves that come up to them, the skin can only come in contact with what is physical; so in some sense it is natural that your senses feed you on only the superficial.

Let’s take a live example: The superficial, what you can see, what you can hear, is being fed to you right now and is being fed to this camera here in front of me as well. You are receiving some sound waves, some light waves coming from me and this camera too is receiving them. But because you have the faculty of intelligence, because you are intelligent beings; you will get so much from this session and this camera will not get anything. It is impoverished, poor and it will remain poor even though it will record everything. In spite of recording everything it will not get anything because it sees only what is available superficially; it cannot discern any intelligent depth in that. It will be able to record all the sound waves but it will not be able to understand what they mean. It exists just at the surface level and the surface is the physical thing. A physical thing it will surely record but beyond that nothing else. This is what is meant by stupidity. This is what is meant by absence of intelligence.

And as our society consists of individuals who are more or less like this camera- they see, they hear, they touch but they don’t understand anything. Hence our social values are all just sensate values. Bigger, more beautiful, more mellifluous; all sensate values! You will not bother about the real substance of a person. You will be bothered about how smooth her skin is or how muscular the body is.

There was a particular advertisement in front of a mall. It was from a company that makes toiletries, shaving products. It said – ‘Women prefer men who shave in the evening’.


Now that is the kind of surface level society you’re living in. If this is the only way a woman looks at the man is how well and clean shaved he is then God save the woman and the man both.

(More laughter)

But why blame her? We can’t blame her because she has been trained and conditioned to not to go beyond the apparent. Her whole education is about what is obvious.

89Look at the trap of the ‘obvious’ that you too are caught in: marks are obvious, understanding is not obvious. An education system that places a great emphasis on marks is bound to produce women like these. Because what the system is saying is that ultimately the apparent is the final thing that counts. Get success, by hook or crook because that is what is obvious. The process is obviously not to be seen. Nobody can see the process but everybody can see the result, so get the result somehow. That is what your education does to you. That is what parents do to you.

They train you to remain at the surface.

Get money somehow; because all that can be seen physically, quantitatively, is that figure in your bank statement. The story behind that figure obviously cannot be seen, so that is unimportant. The figure can be seen, the eyes can look at the figure, so it is important. The entire process behind it cannot be seen with our eyes, so forget it, just forget it.

Are you getting what I am trying to say?

Questioner: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Alright!

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Why do I run after gloss? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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