Mercy and sympathy – agents of suffering || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Listener 1: Sir, I understood one more thing. As you said in the last session that we wish to walk on this path and we also wish the praise from others. We don’t want our loss. And that is not possible.

Speaker: Yes. You are asking that does a feeling of sadness comes with the dissolution of ego. It does. You clearly do see that something is being left behind. You know I have been losing weight, and it is a sad feeling in losing all those kilos. I am leaving them behind. They were so loyal to me. They went wherever I went. They did whatever I asked them to do, and now they are all being lost. How cruel of me! Highly insensitive! My loyal pounds of flesh, and they have been vaporized as drops of sweat. Too bad.

One quickly gets over it, very-very quickly. Very quickly. This feeling that you are talking of is actually inevitable, it will come, but it disappears in no time. It disappears in no time. This is the last recourse of the ego. ‘I am going, I am dying, aren’t you feeling sad for me.’ Its like a virus in your system pleading for mercy. Greatly harmful virus, disease, and its pleading for mercy. ‘Please let me remain in your lung, I love you. We have been together since so long.’ And most of us actually become sympathetic towards it. ‘Poor little virus, who will take care of it if I throw it out. You come and sit, no problem, close to my heart. Be there, we will live and perish together’. And the virus is saying, ‘Living I don’t know, but perishing I’ll take care of.’ Don’t be swayed when that sadness comes. Too many battles have been lost at the hands of tears. Great kings who have been able to sustain the attacks of swords, of guns and explosives, have lost it in front of tears. Getting it? Don’t loose it there.

The ego, Maaya, when she can do nothing else, she will weep. Don’t become sentimental. Sentimentality is not sensitivity. Sentimentality is foolishness. Don’t become sentimental. Kill it. Ruthlessly kill it. One of the problems with this land, this nation has been that it has forgotten the art of killing. Have you heard those lines? “There is a time to heal, and there is a time to kill.” Healing is all right, but wisdom also knows how to kill. And kill mercilessly, ruthlessly. Don’t let your hands shiver at that moment. There is a time to heal and there is a time to kill. And when it’s the time to kill, there should be no palpitations, no trembling. One blow of the sword and off. Done!

That’s a thing with us. You see, we may not surrender to fear, but then we surrender to tear. Maaya comes and uses fear and you will not surrender. You will say, ‘Courage, courage, courage. I’ll not fear, I’ll not let fear dominate me. I must be fearless.’ And the Maya will say, ‘Aah! my old client has learnt a new trick, fearlessness. HIDP. So let me try something else. You don’t know what all is there in my armory. Next trick, tear.’ And you can’t do anything, because no activity has taught you tearlessness.

(Everybody laughs)

Speaker: So the father comes and applies fear. You will say, ‘Doesn’t matter.’ Father comes and says, ‘Get out of the house, you won’t get even a single penny from me’. And you say, ‘What do you think I’ll be afraid?’ And then the mother comes. ‘Have you forgotten? Look at this album. When you were six months old, this small, how I used to take care of you.  Have you forgotten all of that?’

Thousand ways. Be alert. Be alert.

Listener 2: And the closer you get, more tears.

Speaker: More tears, more tears, more tears.

Listener 3: Those tears will make you feel more guilty.

Speaker: Guilty, Yes. Guilt is such a powerful weapon, guilt is such a powerful weapon.

Listener 4:  But sometimes they also make you feel that are you abnormal.

Speaker: Pattern. They make you feel to be disciplined.

Listener 4: Thanks, thanks for the light.

Speaker: Stone- hearted? Are you? You have no feelings? Nothing soft within you? Dead? Cruel? Irresponsible? There is something lacking in your humanity. That takes various forms. Whatever appeals to your pity is a game of Maaya. ‘I am having a bad stomach-ache.’ Please, it’s the same thing. Tears, excuses, tears.

Please don’t think that being human is about being pitiful. No. Your mercifulness doesn’t make you human. Compassion is a different matter altogether. And compassion can seemingly be very-very cruel. Compassion is not your normal everyday pity. Krishna is extremely compassionate and he gets thousands slaughtered. I am not saying that compassion means slaughter but compassion includes slaughter. The Sikh Gurus, they were fighting all their lives, and they were having swords in their hands. Were they not compassionate? Very compassionate. But tears and all, they don’t carry any meaning. When one fights, one fights. When it’s the time to kill, one kills.

That sadness will come, let it come. Its alright.

– Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

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