Why are others able to dominate me?

Listener: What to do when an external force tries to stop me?

Speaker: There is one central law of existence, which is, that nothing can really stop you without your consent. Nobody can exercise control over you, nobody can make a slave of you without your own agreement. But we really do not see how we have agreed to the whole thing, how we are a participant in the process of slavery, and we complain that others are holding control over me. The others have no power over you. It’s just that you have traded away your freedom and it’s a question of anybody who ever feels himself under compulsion. We trade away our freedom for a few basic privileges and luxuries.

You want to go that way (pointing towards a direction). Now, somebody is stopping you. What is he doing? Is he physically stopping you? Is he coming and saying that “no you can’t go that way?” Somewhere, you have a particular greed that he satisfies. Somewhere, you are getting a few luxuries and privileges from that person. That person could be parents, a teacher or anybody in the world and you are afraid of losing those privileges. That is why you allow that person to have control over you. I will not say that your freedom is being snatched away. A better expression would be, ‘you are trading away your freedom.’ You are not being robbed of your freedom, you are trading it away in order to get some goodies, a little bit of security, some food, shelter, conveniences, respectability. Once the mind sees that what you are giving away, your freedom, is far more valuable than what you are getting. What you are giving away is worth a trillion rupees and what you are getting is worth just ten rupees, then you will stop making this transaction, then this trade will no longer happen because you will see that this is a highly unprofitable trade.

Right now you are not valuing your freedom, your intelligence properly. You are thinking that your freedom is only worth five rupees .So, I am getting material worth ten rupees; let me give away my freedom. When you go close to it, you will find that your freedom is not worth just rupees five, your freedom is priceless. Once a young man like you discovers that freedom is priceless then he will not give up his freedom whatever be the cost, whatever be the temptation. He will say, ‘My freedom is priceless, I cannot trade it away. You might be offering me something wonderful but, it cannot be more valuable than my freedom. So, I will not give up my freedom.’

An image that I sometimes like to build is like this. If a fellow is moving and he finds that the environment, the people around him are regularly able to stop him, it is because he himself has points and hooks on him where the world can hang it’s ropes. I am carrying the equipment of my own slavery along with me. I have hooks on my body and it is very convenient for the world to come, put a rope on me and pull me in their own direction. If you do not have these hooks on yourself, then the world cannot enslave you. So, stop complaining that the world is too heavy on me, that the world enslaves me, that I have to do things against my wish. Nothing enslaves you except your own greed. Nothing enslaves you except your own greedWhenever you find that you have to act against your discretion, assure yourself that there is some greed somewhere. Find that out and if you want to get rid of the slavery, first get rid of the greed. Greed is gone, now you cannot be made a slave anymore. It’s your greed that makes a slave of you.

You all are young. I know how you despise slavery, I know how desperately you want to fly free. But, I also know that you are greatly attached to your desires. So, it becomes highly unfortunate. On one hand you want to be free, and on other hand you are attached to desires given by the society. If you want to fulfill the desires given by the society, you have to do things as per the society. If you want respect from the society, you will have to act as per the society. If you want money from the society, you have to do actions that the society approves of. But, you want both and that is impossible. You are demanding that which is utterly impossible. You are saying, I want respect from the society and at the same time I want to be free from the society and that cannot happen. You are saying that I want to live exactly as the society says and at the same time, I want to be a free bird. That is never going to happen. Stop making this transaction and it is very easy. You have all the youth and all the exuberance for it.

Listener: Why do people want to do this to me?

Speaker: People want to do this to you because they do not know any other way. Very few people around you would have bad intentions towards you. Consciously nobody wants to harm you. Even those who make a slave of you, they are thinking that they are acting for your welfare. So, kids complain that our parents are stopping us from acting in this and this way, they do not allow us to return home after such time. But, when I talk to parents, what do they say? The parents say that we are acting for the welfare of the child. The problem is the definition of ‘welfare’. Yes, I want welfare, but do I realize what welfare really is? The words that parents use when I speak to them are ‘care’ and ‘concern’. “I care for my kid, I am concerned for him, that is why I impose such and such conditions on him.” Care, concern and welfare are alright but do I really understand their meaning? So, it’s not a question of their intention, their intention is good. It’s a question of understanding. They do not understand. And if they do not understand, how does one blame them?

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Why are others able to dominate me?

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: What is freedom?

Article 2: Freedom is your nature, slavery an illusion

Article 3: Freedom from compulsive slavery


    1. There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

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      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
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