Don’t run away from society; just stand firm in your freedom. || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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

Speaker : Shreya is asking that we all know that the society manipulates us but how do we do without the society.

There are two ways of going with the society, one being manipulated by it, becoming a slave to the society, as she said that the society manipulates us, makes a fool of us, dominates us. That is one way of dealing with the society. How? Being dominated.

What is my relationship with society, master and slave, the society dominates me. Then, obviously when she feels that the society manipulates us, she comes to the conclusion that one must get rid of the society. Obviously, when one end of the relationship is of master and slave, the other end will be of breaking away, its obvious. Wherever there is dominance, there is repulsion. These are two extremes and these two extremes will always go with each other. Whosoever feels that the society is dominating him, is not allowing him to live in freedom, will want to get rid of the society.
One end of will always lead to the other end of duality. Are you getting it? But let’s examine the two ends and see what we have got. Society manipulates me, this means that my relationship with society is not healthy. You want to get away from the society but where will you go? Wherever you go, there is a society.

Man lives in relationship and even if other people are not physically present, there will be thoughts of other people, society is here then(pointing towards the head), in your head. So in the first place the relationship was not healthy, so you got away and when you try to get away, you find that you can’t get away, the problem remains in its place, we are reaching no where. This reactionary mode of dealing with the society doesn’t help us and as a young man, as a young woman, many of you might feel this urge to just do away with the society, this society is oppressive, I do not want to be in it and you react, recoil but that doesn’t help, that just doesn’t help.

Because a healthy relationship cannot be born as a reaction to unhealthy relationship. Just because you found that the society was dominating you, that does not mean that the society must dominate you.  And breaking away from the society is any way not possible. Wherever you will go, you will carry the society in your head and if you are reacting, obviously the thought of the society is there in your head. So, where is freedom? You wanted freedom from the society but you will not get it. By breaking away, you will not get that freedom.

Pay attention to this, we often think that going away from sickness, we can be healthy.We often think that the society is oppressive and by going away from it, I’ll escape the oppression. We often think that the society tries to corrupt us and by going away from it, we can escape that corruption. That’s just a mirage, that’s just a dream that will never come true, that cannot come true. Not for you, not for me, not for anybody.

The healthy man doesn’t run away from the disease, he stays healthy in middle of the disease. The strong man doesn’t run away from the storms, he stays healthy in middle of the storms. The intelligent individual doesn’t run away from the society, he retains his individuality in middle of the society. Are you getting it?

Running away, escaping is not an option, not possible, don’t consider it. Appears lucrative sometimes, let me just go away, let me just break free but it has never helped anybody, it cannot help anybody. Stay firm, stay put, stay healthy, stay wherever you are, let the storms be raging outside. Inside, you be still. Let the society do, whatsoever it wants to do, you remain untouched. Where would you go away ? To a jungle, to some peak in the Himalayas. Will you spend all your life in a jungle, on an island, on Mars? And let me assure you, a society exists there as well and if it doesn’t exist we will carry it within our head. Running away is not what a brave man does, he stays put, he doesn’t say that the society is oppressive, dominative,  manipulative, deceptive, so I’m going away. He says that the society may be what it is, it cannot harm me as I have an internal strength. The disease may be very powerful yet it cannot make me sick because I have a great immunity towards diseases. What is that immunity? What is that stillness? What is that firmness? What is that helps you remain firm in between all disturbances? Yes?

Listener : (In unison) Being what we are?

Speaker : Whenever your identity comes from outside, whenever your self – worth comes from outside, then the outside can totally shake you up and you will become miserable because it is anyways coming from outside. The outside shakes, the inside also starts shaking. Whenever I am dependent on outside, then the disturbances outside will also…

Listener :  (In unison)  affect me.

Speaker : Disturb me, shake me up. But when I’m not dependent on whatever is there outside, I’m living within it, I’m living in middle of it yet I’m not dependent on it. I don’t derive my identity from it, I don’t ask it for my self worth, then I’ll remain firm and secure despite of what is happening outside. The outside will remain disturbed, stinking, dirty, unhealthy, it may remain whatever it may, I’ll remain what I am, situations will not change me , situations will not affect me beyond a point. Are you getting it?

Running away is useless, totally useless and it is good for us if we see the futility of running away. Nobody has ever been able to run away. Instead of running away, is it not better that we stay wherever we are and stand like a strong man. Yes, isn’t that better? Do not be dependent on the external. Have relationships, have good relationships.

When you say society, you mean to say, your relationship with others. Have healthy relationships, have relationships of intelligence, have relationship of love, do not have relationship of dependency, do not have relationship of possessiveness. In a healthy relationship, there is freedom, you are not a parasite upon the other, you do not want to stay attached to other, in a healthy relationship you do not take your self – worth from other, you do not depend on society for certifications. You do not start feeling happy if the society says, good, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and you do not feel miserable when the society says you are lousy, lazy, stupid, chaotic, you’re not dependent upon it. You don’t allow it to dominate upon you.

You said that the society manipulates us. Who can manipulate you without your permission? Who can manipulate you when you are aware, watchful, alert? Nothing can happen to you without your permission, your permission can be direct or indirect, sometimes we feel it happened inspite of my resistance. No, indirectly, subtly you have given your consent, otherwise it can never happen.

No society can ever dominate you, if you are watchful, if your relationships are healthy. Society exploits you because you are ready to be exploited, society exploits you because you are ready to trade away your freedom. You say others dominate us, nobody can dominate you against your will. Others dominate you because you want something from others.They say we will give you only this, if we become your master. And you say, “Fine, become my master but give me such things” . Such small things like a little bit of money, a little bit of security, a little bit of identity, we sell away our freedom, which is totally unnecessary. Isn’t it? And then we say everybody is dominating me, family is dominating me, education is dominating me, media is dominating me, friends; they put so pressure on me.

If there is anybody who has a negative relationship with you, is only because you sanctioned it. Stop sanctioning it and the other will have no control, no power over you. You sanction it because of a little greed, you think that you are needy, you are not actually needy, you are actually quite rich but you live in the imagination that you are very needy.That you need to become something, that you need to get something.When you are needy, obviously you need to beg when you beg, the other becomes your master.

The key to having a healthy relationship with the society is to be self – sufficient. A self sufficient man alone can have a healthy relationship with anybody else. Those who are attached and dependent and possessive, they cannot have healthy relationships. Only a self – sufficient individual who dares standing alone can have a healthy relationship. Only he can know love, others only know attachment.

To be self – sufficient, you have to clearly look at yourself and realize that you are good, you are powerful, you are capable, that there is nothing missing in you and then you won’t need to beg, we’re such beggars who are carrying great riches, yet we are begging. One can sympathize with the beggar if he is actually poor, what would you do with a beggar who is a billionaire and is yet begging, he has forgotten his riches. He might be carrying diamonds in his pockets but he has totally forgotten his diamonds and he’s begging. He’s begging the entire society and in turn it is obvious that the society will dominate over him. Society has dominated him because he has forgotten his riches. He is not at all a beggar.

Do you know the ways in which we beg?  We beg for attention, we beg for certification, we beg for company, we beg for approval, all the time we are begging, begging, begging others. Give me some attention please, see how happy we feel when somebody gives us a little attention. To get a little attention, people do such crazy things. Have you seen these T.V. shows where people come and make idiots of themselves; just to get a little attention, just to get there two minutes of fame. See how deeply we’re into begging, always begging, always begging, always feeling lonely, always asking someone to give us some company. We cannot spend two hours alone. We’ll pick up the mobile phone and call up somebody or go to Facebook and start seeing things here and there.

Can you please come in my life and fill up the void? I’m so lonely and after a particular age if you don’t get a partner and you are not married, then you start feeling that it is the end of the world for you and you start doing strange things, such beggars for company. Always hunting for certificates, have you seen how some people proudly display all their education qualifications and you wonder why must somebody gather so many degree’s and doctorates, so that others may think that he is good.

Very few people do something for their own sake, we do things so that people say good things about us. Sitting over here, there are so many of you and the forum is open and you can ask questions but many of you will hesitate. Do you know why you will hesitate, not that you want to ask questions? After the session is over, quite a few of you will stay back and ask questions and if I ask you why didnt you ask me in the given time duration, it would be because of the fear of others. What will the others think of me? So many of you have burning questions, yet you will not ask. What will the others think of me?

Now obviously when you are thinking so much of the others, then you have given power to the others, now this other can make you feel good and he can also make you feel bad. You get up and you ask a question and the others clap,how do you feel? Good. You get up and ask a question and others taunt you, how do you feel? Bad. Now, obviously when we are such a slave of others, then our relationship with the society cannot be healthy. One of you gets up and everybody criticizes him, now what should he do? Escape from this society or stay put and say it is my question and I know it is a worthy question, you may hoot me, do whatever you want to, if it is my question I want to ask it. And there is another one who runs away because people have made fun of him. Which of these two is a courageous man, which of these two is an intelligent man?

Listener : (In unison) First one.

Speaker : So, why run away, why break free? There is nothing called breaking free, stay put and do not allow others to dominate you. Have good relationship with them. I’m not asking you to become an enemy of the society. Not at all. I’m saying the only beautiful society is the society of individuals, in which people are not dependent on each other, not for self worth,  you may be dependent on somebody to provide you certain technical assistance; which is alright. You are always dependent on the doctor because he has certain expertise, that is alright, do not be dependent on someone for your self worth, for your self-image, foe your identity. That is when things become sick, do not let them become sick, stand alone, learn to stand alone.

Only the man who can stand alone, can love, can understand life, can live fully, can be joyful. Those who cannot stand alone will never know joy, never know joy and being young people, love is such an important thing in your life. A very important theme now a days but very few of us understand, that a slave can not love, the slave surrenders his right to love, only a free man can love. And how will you be free if you are always looking for others for approval, how will you be free if you always want others’ company, it will be impossible. Are you getting it? Yes.

There is a beautiful line by somebody in Hindi, it says, “ना रोना है , ना भागना  है ।  यही एक जगत , यही जागना  है ” ( no need to cry; no need to run, this is the only world; where we have to awaken)” There is no question of escaping. “ना रोना है , ना भागना है ।  यही एक जगत , यही जागना  है “, don’t run away, wake up and enjoy life, nothing prevents you. The world is there for you, it is not there to escape from. Right. Yes, Shreya.

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

Watch the session video: Don’t run away from society; just stand firm in your freedom. || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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