You cannot acquire yourself from outside || Acharya Prashant (2013)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Question : Sir, what is the answer to the question, ‘Who Am I’?

Speaker : ‘Who Am I? Am I this face that I show to this world? Am I my thoughts? What am I?

Let us have a very simple criterion for seeing, ‘Who I am?’ The criterion is, “Whatever I acquire from outside that I cannot be. Whatever I acquire, whatever I get that I cannot be. I must be that which acquires.”  Are you getting it?

You have acquired your shirts, neckties, trousers from outside. Right? Can you be that? Several of you are wearing watches on your sleeves. Can you be this watch that is there on your arm? Remember, it is so close to your body. Your clothes are also very close to your body, but will you say, “I am my clothes”? Even though they are very close to your body, will you say that?

Listeners : No, Sir.

Speaker : You may have medical equipment implanted inside your body. Have you heard of a Pacemaker?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker : The pacemaker is implanted surgically very-very close to the heart to help it control abnormal heart rhythm. But will you say, “I am the pacemaker”? It is inside the body, but still will you say, “I am the pacemaker”?

Listeners : No, Sir.

Speaker : You will not say, “I am the pacemaker.” You will not say, “I am my clothes.” You will not say, “I am this wristwatch.” why? Because all this comes from outside. Right? They may have come very close to you, but still they are coming from outside. And whatever comes from outside that I cannot be. Can we take this criteria, “I cannot be anything that has come from outside”?

Listeners : Yes, Sir.

Speaker : Now let us see that in our lives, what all comes from outside. Did you always have your name or it has come from outside?

Listeners : Yes, Sir.

Speaker : So ‘you’ cannot be your name. The first two cells of your body came from your parents. Everything else- food, water, air, sun, etc. all are coming from outside. So, can you be your body? Even this body you have acquired from somewhere. Right?

Listeners : Yes, Sir.

Speaker : Can you be your religion? Did you always have a religion, or did it come from an outside source who gave religion to you?

Listeners : Outside source.

Speaker : Society, nation, did you always have them, or they have come from outside?

Listeners : Sir, from outside sources.

Speaker : So the first step is seeing that what all has come from outside, and not to get identified too closely with them. Only seeing, that all is coming from outside. All of us hold so many beliefs in our mind. Right? Beliefs like- why must I do engineering? All of us have a particular belief about it. ‘What is the meaning of career? What is the meaning of money? What is the meaning of education, love, truth, freedom…? Now, where are all these concepts, all these beliefs coming from?

Listeners : Outside.

Speaker : They are not a result of our own investigations, they are coming from outside. So, “I cannot be what I believe to be, because all these beliefs have been put into our mind by somebody else, from an external source, or many external sources. So all the content of my mind, they are also external. I cannot be that.

When I ask, “Who Am I?”, I cannot be the content of my mind, which means that I cannot be my thoughts. I cannot be this body, as every bit of this is coming from outside. Even the entire movement, that I cannot decide. Do you decide the rate at which your heart would beat? How many of you decide that? Do you decide the rate at which you inhale and exhale air? Do you decide that?

Listeners :  No, Sir.

Speaker : All of this system, all of this regulation is coming from outside. You didn’t decide. Do you decide the color of your hair and the color of your eyes? Do you decide that you are going to have five fingers in your hand? You don’t decide. Right? So there is no need to identify too closely with all this.

However, when you understand all this, surely there is somebody who is seeing, who is understanding that, ‘I am not this, nor that’. Surely you have a capacity to understand. Did this capacity also come from outside?

(Pointing at the camera kept in front) You see, there is this camera. This is a very advanced machine. Man has given it the capacity to receive these audio waves, these light waves, and record them. Right? So all its design has come from outside. Its purpose has come from outside, and its master has also come from outside. But this camera, in spite of receiving the same sound waves and light waves that you are receiving, can never understand what you are understanding.

You are looking at me; this camera is also looking at me. You are listening to me; this camera is also listening to me. But this camera will never ever understand what I say. Forget about this camera, even the most advanced machine that any human being can ever make, will never be able to understand what I am saying. That means the capacity to understand can never be given. Could it be given, we could have given it to this camera. Are you getting it?

Everything else comes from outside, but the capacity to understand. That is entirely yours. In fact, that is the only thing that is yours. Everything else that is there in your life, comes from outside, except your capacity to understand. That nobody can give to you, and nobody can take it from you. Your Intelligence, your capacity to understand.

If somebody could give it to you, it could also be given to a machine. If not today then sometime in future. But no machine can be given the capacity to understand. It can be given the capacity to record or to analyze, but analysis is not understanding. No machine will ever understand. That capacity to understand is ‘you’. That intelligence is ‘you’. Everything else is external, all else is external. But ‘that’ is not external. What is not external?

Listeners : Understanding.

Speaker : Intelligence, that ability to understand. That is what makes you a human being. Your religion does not make you a human being, your gender does not make you a human being, and your body does not make you a human being. Your intelligence makes you a human being. And if you do not have the ability to understand, you are not a human being.

Please do not think that merely being born as a human, qualifies you to call yourself ‘human’. You are not human till the time your intelligence is not awakened. Even at this moment those who are understanding, they are human beings, but those who are not understanding, they are not fit to be called ‘human beings’.

Are you getting it?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker : Alright.


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

Watch the session video: You cannot acquire yourself from outside || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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