Love scares the ego || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: The question is a very significant question, provided you see how deep it is. It is a question about love. What is meant by love? What is its relationship to ego? The issue of sexual attraction is also asked.

Now, what do we know love as? Is love fulfillment of a physical or mental need? Is love, ‘I am needy, so I approach somebody’? This is the language of a beggar. ‘I am feeling insecure or lonely, so I go to somebody. I am in search of somebody, a desperate search.’ Is that love? No. What I call as the object of my love, I possess it. I say, ‘This is my pen, or my wife, or my bike, or my house, or my career.’ Is this love or possession? What is love then?

Listener 1: Love is that which makes us feel good.

Speaker: What will make a terrorist feel good?

Listener 2: Killing people.
Speaker: What will make a scientist feel good?

Listener 3: Doing experiments.

Speaker: Our love is like that only. I just asked you that is love the fulfillment of a need. You said, ‘No.’ But you feel good only when a need is fulfilled. Aren’t you using the other as an object to fulfill your need? Because you will feel good only when that hole in your heart is filled up, that internal vacuum is filled up. ‘There is something missing, please someone come and fill it up. Please, I am so lonely. Can someone come in my life and do something about it?’ When your teacher says that love in young people is mostly a case of just sexual attraction, in which the other is being used as an object, try to appreciate this. Today you feel attracted to the opposite gender when you are say, eighteen or nineteen. Why did not the same thing happen with the same intensity at the age of eight or nine? At the age of eight or nine, why didn’t you feel attracted to the opposite gender with the same intensity?

Listener 3: Sir, because physical changes matter.

Speaker: Why would you not feel attracted to the opposite gender, with the same intensity, at eighty or ninety?

Listener 3: Again physical changes matter.

Speaker: That is my question. Why do your love affairs happen only at a particular age?

Listener 2: It is meant to.

Speaker: Who has meant it to be? Some master?

Listener 1: No.

Speaker: Then?

Listener 1: It is the age.

Speaker: Be honest. Why do your love affairs happen only in a particular age bracket?

Listener 2: Sir, because it is the age.

Listener 3:  Sir, because there are physical changes.

Speaker: Simple. Because your body starts secreting these chemical only at a particular age. Now, did you ask your body to secrete these chemicals?

Listener 3: No.

Speaker: You remain the same, if those chemicals are taken away from the body, all attraction will go away.

Listener 5: No, Sir. The love will not go away, only the attraction will go away.

Speaker: Do you know of love as anything separate from that attraction? And if yes, tell me what it is?

Listener 4: Sir, when someone gets attracted to someone and they are in a relationship, they develop love for each other.

Speaker: What is that love? Tell me about that.

Listener 2:  Sir, the love that is needed to fill that space.

Speaker: Space. Which space are you talking about? You see, we may not have experienced love but we all see so many love affairs around. At least, that is available to us to examine. What is happening? And one thing is common in all these affairs. It is that they happen only in a particular age group. They start at fifteen, and after the age of say, forty-five, the intensity starts reducing, reducing and then it vanishes. Right? What you call as your common colloquial love, understand this. First of all observe that you did not apply to be born in a particular gender. Did you write an application to your parents? It is accidental. First thing, the body itself, the gender itself is accidental. Second thing, whatever is happening in this body, that is also accidental.

Listener 3: Sir, by accidental do you mean natural?

Speaker: Don’t think it as natural. Accidental is something that you did not ask for.

Listener 3: Sir, that is basically a mishap.

Speaker: No, not mishap, not in that sense. Call it incidental. Understand this. Now, all of this, that you are seeing is purely chemical, physical movement. You have a magnet that attracts a lot of iron filings towards it. It is a function, a movement of the molecules; just likes your hormones, a movement of molecules. Now, does the magnet have any right to say that it has fallen in love with those iron particles? Did the iron particles decide to get attracted to the magnet? Did they? Forget about whether they decided, did they have any choice in the matter? They did not have any choice in the matter. If hormonal attraction is love, then cattle running after each other in the market are very loving creäture. Have you seen that happening?A bull running after all the cows. Great love!


Speaker: When you will look at the world around, you will find that our love is so much body bound and time bound. You will clearly realize that this is nothing but chemicals at play. If those chemicals are taken away from my body, my love will vanish away. On the other hand, if an extra shot of the same hormones is given to the male population over here, then I will have to do something to save the girls. You all will become very, very loving. You will become extremely loving. No, don’t hide your face in embarrassment. That’s what it is. That’s what it is. First is the physical aspect, then there is the mental aspect.

Since childhood, you have been fed on images of couples going together, the images of the family system, and this and that, and it has taken great space in your mind. This idea has been made to go deep into your mind, that your life is not complete till the time you have a companion of the other gender. And all of this is directly ego, because all of it is external. All of it is external, all of this is part of your ego, part of that external influence acting upon you. All these movie songs that you have been hearing, all the weddings that you have been attending, and you think that this must be what it is. And you cannot be blamed for it. At least till a certain age, nobody can be blamed for it because you are so small, helpless and dependent. What can you do? Even if somebody exploits you, you cannot do much.

But after that, you must be on your own. Then you cannot remain a slave to what the world, the society and the body have been telling you. It is alright to be dependent at the age of eight or ten, but it is not alright to be dependent at your age, eighteen or twenty. Getting it? See, crutches are alright till the time your limbs are yet not strong, but what about a man who keeps on wearing a plaster even after his hand has healed. He has become habituated of wearing a plaster and moving on the crutch. Your time has come to get rid of the plaster, and to give-up the crutch.

Listener 2: Sir, who decides that age?

Speaker: Look at yourself, and you will find out. Again you are speaking in the language of dependency. “Who will decide?” You again want some external party to decide. Will that not be slavery again? Can you not look at yourself and see that you are adult and mature? Or do you want to remain under the illusion that you are still a baby? In all other aspects you know fully well that you are a mature adult, but in the aspect of independence, you do not want to become an adult. Why? The reason is obvious. Becoming an adult has its own responsibilities and you want to escape those responsibilities. So you want to keep telling yourself that are still a kid. No, you are not. Nature has done what it had to, now it is your time to fly. Yes? Why is it so scary? It should be good news that you are capable adults, fit to fly. But instead of that I see terror in your eyes. “Oh my God!  My cage will be taken away. He is telling us that we can fly. Who wants to fly? This cage is so nice, comfortable and cozy.” You want to be a bonsai? Do you know what is a bonsai?

Listener 3: Bonsai are plants.

Speaker: A plant that could have grown tall and tall, and tall, and greatly tall. But it is made to remain tiny, stunted. You want to be like that? Yes? Dwarfs?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: Yes. Next question.

Listener 4: Sir, is every person a rapist by thoughts?

Speaker: It depends. You see, thoughts come from outside. The same thought can teach you to not to be a rapist, but that non-violence, that abstinence from sex will be worthless abstinence. Go into this, appreciate this. Every child is taught these so-called moral values since a very tender age. But what do you find? What do you find in the world? You find nothing but layers. You find so much of violence. You find great wars happening, brutal rapes happening. Do you understand why that happens? Because of all of that moral education, all that code of conduct that was given to you. It was nothing but a foreign influence. So, there can be no energy behind it. Somebody else told you to never to speak the truth. It has not come from your own intelligence. It has been given to you. Whatever is given to you will have no energy, no conviction behind it. Are you understanding this? All are following a certain code of conduct, a certain morality. And all their morality is coming from?

Listener 5: Outside.

Speaker: Outside. And whatever comes from outside, will remain on the outside. It cannot become the song of your life. It cannot become your core. Are you getting this? So, it doesn’t matter whether a man is a rapist by thought or not rapist by thought. There are many who have been taught to abstain from sex, and they do abstain from sex, but that abstinence is worthless, because they do not know why they are abstaining from. Some some priest, some holy book has told them not to do this or that, and they are just following it. Do you see that this is just a foreign influence? Some book tells you that this is what you should do, this is how you should lead your life, and you starts doing it that way, without understanding, without getting it on your own. It is not a product of your intelligence. It has been handed over to you. “I do not really know why I must live this way? ” Do you want to live a life like that where somebody tells you what to do, what to study, what kind of career to have, what kinds of goals to make, what kind of girl or boy to choose? Is there anything that is a product of your intelligence? Is any of that something that you really know for yourself, by yourself? You can know. You have all the potential. You surely can know. But you will not know till the time the enemies of attention are not taken care of. Getting it?

Listener 4: Sir, then how can we control thoughts?

Speaker: Can you control something that you do not understand? I am asking you a point-blank question. Can you control something that you do not understand? A monkey comes into this room, can he control this projector? He can destroy it. But can he control it? Can he control it? Can a monkey control a computer system? Can you control medical equipment that you do not understand? Can you control? To control anything, you have to first understand it. Do you understand what thought is? It is easy to understand, not at all difficult. Do you understand what this thing called ‘thought’ is? You are always thinking. But have you ever bothered with pause, and understand what this thing called thought is? No, because your education never asked you to. There was never any examination which asked you to understand ‘thought’. Your family and society never asked you to understand what is thought. Let us understand.

The very functioning of mind is called thought. Mind is nothing but thoughts. And we also said that mind is nothing but foreign influences. So, combine these two statements. What do you get? Mind is foreign influences, mind is thoughts. Combining these two, what do you get?

Listener 5: Thoughts are foreign influences.

Speaker: Thoughts are all foreign influences. Somebody passes by that door, you look towards it. You look at that person, and a thought comes. I say something and if you are not attentive, you are reminded of something, and you go into those thoughts. And the thoughts move by what is called as the principle of random association. There is one thought, which leads to another random thought, another random thought; just like Brownian motion, completely random. I look at you, and I look at the color of your jacket. The color is deep blue and I am reminded of the deep ocean. The moment I am reminded of the deep ocean, I am also reminded of a cruise. The moment I am reminded of a cruise, I am reminded of a song, the song and then the singer. And then random, random, its keeps on moving, and it takes me to a totally unrelated place. That is what random thought is. And this is a deep enemy of attention. And if you observe the way your mind works, it would become obvious. In this understanding lies the control. You do not need to control. Who will control? You are the mind itself that is trying to control. So, control is not possible. Only understanding is possible. When understanding happens, control automatically happens. Control cannot happen directly. You cannot directly control. You can control only via understanding. Are you getting it?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Good. Next question.

Listener 5: Sir, when we do something we like, so is that ego or not?

Speaker: See, where do your likes come from? You are born in India, so many of you like cricket. Born in brazil, what would you like?

Listener 5: Football.

Speaker: Do you see where your likes come from?

Listener 6: External influences.

Speaker: Your likes are not yours. What to do? All your life you have been tutored what to like and what to dislike. A Hindu greatly likes the sound of the temple bells, and he greatly dislikes the sound of the azaan. I am taking this just as a stereo-type example. A Muslim is energized by the sound of the azaan, but the sound of the temple bells disturbs him. Do these two people really like and dislike what they are claiming to, or have they been handed over all these likes and dislikes? Did they choose their religion? They have been handed over these things.

Listener 5: If they don’t?

Speaker: If they don’t, it means something else is in operation. What is that something else? Intelligence. If you find that you are deviating from the norms, chances are that it is a good news. Chances are that it is good news. It may be. In most cases its means that intelligence is now in operation, that you are now your own man. You are prepared to walk alone, separate from the crowd.  Getting it? Ego makes you the part of the crowd. Is this becoming clear? Ego makes you a part of the crowd.

Listener 6: Sir, I have example from my life. I like to play football, and I want to become a footballer. But now I am here studying a technical course. Is choosing playing football, ego?

Speaker: Yes! You see, this is the story of our lives. I said that our mind is divided between the zones of influences. And these zones keep fighting among each other. Now there is one influence upon you, one part of the mind, which is driven towards soccer. There is another part which is dominated probably by the society, the family, the peers, the teachers, and all the insecurity related to a career, which says no soccer. And this is a classic case of the conflict that arises in absence of self- awareness. When you are not self aware, the result is conflict and confusion. You do not know what to do.

You see, so many people come to me and tell me that they are not happy in their jobs. I ask them that would any job make you happy and then they really realize something. You would never be happy anywhere, it is just a lame excuse that the job keeps me unhappy. To be unhappy is the nature of the ego. Given what your mind is, it cannot be happy anywhere. Wherever you are, it will keep telling you that this place is not good, let me go somewhere else. Don’t you see the people around you? Don’t you look at the society? Don’t you see how people keep changing their jobs, thinking that the other job will make them happier? How people even keep changing their partners thinking that the next boyfriend or wife will make them happier. Does it happen or not?

Listener 6: But that also does not make them happy.

Speaker: Nothing makes you happy, because happiness does not lie there in the foreign influence. You are chasing things from the outside, all foreign things, thinking that they will make you happy. No, they cannot make you happy.

Intelligence itself is joy.

Now, what does it mean? Did we say that intelligence can go somewhere? Did we say that? Did we say that intelligence can be borrowed from somebody? What did we say? It is there, but it can be covered with layers. Intelligence is joy. Now combine these two statements. Intelligence can be covered with layers. Intelligence is joy. Combine these two.

Listeners(everyone): Joy can be covered with layers.

Speaker: Joy can be covered with layers. But nevertheless, it remains within. Just as intelligence remains within, joy too cannot be taken from the outside, because you are already joyful. It is just that you do not know. You are hunting for joy in the shopping mall, in your marks, in your career, in money, in your girlfriend. You hunt for joy at these places, not realizing that it is within. It is just being covered. Covered with what? With all these external entities. Remove them, and you will find that there is just joy; which is already there. And you will smile. All this restlessness that we feel, it cannot be taken care of by pursuing this and that. Getting it?

Listeners(everyone): Somewhat.

Speaker: Somewhat. The rest of it, you will have to understand yourself, because it is about you. It is about each one of us. And we will have to do the work ourselves. These notes, the hand-outs, they can only be pointers. But a pointer is not the destination. The destination is within you, where only you can reach. No book can act like a crutch and make you reach there. The book can at the best be of some help. That help is important, but not complete. Whatever I am saying is just a pointer. The rest of the work, you have to do within your selves. You have to find out. You will have to work yourself. The lab is within, the proof is within, and the understanding is within. Otherwise you know what will happen?  Let me just tell you. This course will bypass you. Things will be said, but you will never know whether they are true or false. They’ll just remain data for you. It must be happening with many of you right now. You cannot reject it. Whatever I am saying, it sounds forceful. So you cannot reject it. But at the same time, you don’t feel like accepting it. Is that happening? There is something within you that does not feel like accepting it. Is that happening? But at the same time, you cannot reject it totally. Is it so? It will keep happening till you do not search the truth of words. Otherwise, you will remain in this in-between position; neither able to accept nor able to reject. When you find it out yourself, then you will see that acceptance and rejection do not matter. When the reality is in front of you, you don’t accept or reject it. You see that it is. You see that it is.

Listener 6: Sir, we were talking that when responsibility becomes obligation, it becomes ego. How?

Speaker: Good, wonderful. See, we have talked of those values, we have talked of code of conduct. What is an obligation? An obligation is something that you have to do. A code of conduct is something that you have to follow. So, it is bondage. It is an imposition upon you. You don’t have a choice in this regard.

Now I have been taught that as a son, I have to do all these things. As a student, I have to do all these things. If I really care for my parents, do I need to be taught what to do for them? Care happens out of my love. When you love someone, do you need a third-party to come and tell you how to behave and what to do for that person? Is there a limit to that responsibility? Do you say that I was told to do this much, this is my obligation, I do not want do anymore? Do you say that? Do you say that? You don’t say that. Because then your action is coming out from your love. But what happens when actions come from these obligations? Then there is no force behind them. You are doing them just because you have to do them. You attend classes because, you have to attend classes. You write exams, because you have to write exams. Consider another case. A fellow has fallen in love with a particular subject. Now will he study because he has to study or because he loves to study?

Listener 6: Because he loves to  study.

Speaker: That becomes life for him. He finds that when he is studying, he is another person. There is energy, there is joy, there is vigor. There is no obligation. But our lives are so poor, our lives are so divided that we only know obligation. We only know duties. When do we study for exams? When the date of exam starts approaching near. And our lives remain dull, boring. There is no joy, no energy, no vitality; because there is no love, there is just obligation. Just obligation.

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

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