Quantifying yourself leads to jealousy || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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

Speaker: How should we get rid of jealousy and anger? By deleting the word, ‘we’ from this. Why could not you ask, “How should ‘I’ get rid of jealousy and anger?”

Listener 1: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Why this plurality? Why does ‘me’ become ‘we’? That is why the jealousy and anger are there. See ‘M’ and it has been inverted. The letter ‘M’ in ‘Me’ when inverted becomes letter ‘W’ in ‘We’.

And then, the entire life becomes inverted. The absence of ‘I’ is the root of jealousy and anger. This ‘we’, is the cumulative mind, the collective mind, the social mind, the comparative mind that lives in ‘we’, that lives in a tribe. Jealousy cannot be there without ‘the other’.

Jealousy is born out of comparison. Jealousy is born from a mind in which many, many are living. To say that there are many, means that they are different entities. And to say that there are different entities, means you have already compared them. Can you say that ‘X’ is different from ‘Y’ without comparing ‘X’ and ‘Y’? ‘We’ means that different entities are present. And whenever there are different things, there would definitely be comparison and hence, jealousy.

When the mind does not know the infinite and there are not many  infinities, there cannot be many infinities, there is only one infinity. When the mind does not know the infinite, it lives in tiny-tiny, plural finites. All of these are measurable. The mind continuously keeps taking measure of all these. And because it is not living in the infinite, because it is living in its own limited sense of self, so it is afraid and it will compare.

The only one who does not compare is the one who lives in the infinite.

Now there can be no comparison, as infinity cannot be compared. Till the time you have any kind of estimation of yourself, you will compare. Do you have any estimation? ‘Such is my height, such is my worth, so many marks do I get, this is the amount of money that I earn.’ Till the time there is any bit of identification with this, till the time you have taken yourself as a quantity that can be measured, estimated, a number that can be attached to yourself, there is bound to be comparison, because numbers are meant to be compared.

And where there is comparison, there is jealousy. Jealousy is nothing but the feeling to have a higher number. ‘I need to have a higher number.’ And you will always want a higher number till the time there is a number that is important to you. If your salary figure is important to you, you cannot avoid feeling jealous of someone who earns more thanJealousy (3) you. If your percentage of marks is important to you, you will not be able to avoid being jealous of someone who has a higher percentage.

Everything that is quantifiable, that can be put in numbers, is a source of jealousy.

What all can be put in numbers? The complexion of your skin can be put in numbers. You can measure it through a scale of brightness or something. It must already be there. Now you would be jealous, you would surely be jealous. ‘My wife is of a less fancied complexion than my brother’s wife.’ So, gone. ‘My height’ and everything else. What have I just said? I have just said that what we are, our sense of it comes from some kind of measurement. We think of ourselves as a finite entity that can be measured. In what ways do we measure ourselves? Tell me the ways in which we measure ourselves. How do you measure yourself?

Listener 1: My height and my weight.

Speaker: Height and weight. And?

Listener 2: Knowledge.

Speaker: I.Q.(Intelligence Quotient) That is a number. And?

Listener 3: Family background.

Speaker: Yes. Can we put that in number? Obviously we can put that in number. ‘My grandfather had twenty-five acres of land. Your grandfather had fifty-five.’ So, measured. And how else do we measure ourselves?

Listener 4: Qualifications.

Speaker: Qualifications, obviously.”I have had twenty-four years of education. You have had only twenty years of education.

Listener 2: Achievements

Speakers: Achievements; the number of certificates.

Listener 5: Experiences.

Speaker: The diversity of experiences. ‘The number of countries I have visited.’ All these are numerically expressed. Are they not?

Listeners(everyone): Yes.

Listener 5: Pocket money.

Speaker: Pocket money. Yes. How heavy is my pocket?

Listener 6: Number of followers.

Speaker: Number of followers, obviously.’My display picture, one-fifty likes. Your picture? Only 40. Nothing!’

(Everyone laughs)

Listener 5: Even number of girlfriends.

(Everyone bursts into laughter)

Speaker: Yes, number of girlfriends. And for the girlfriends, the numbers attached to their body. Thirty-six or twenty six? Gone!

(Everyone again bursts in laughter) 

So you always keep measuring yourself. Don’t you? Don’t you?

Listeners(everyone): Yes.

Speaker: Do we see this? We always keep measuring ourselves in a thousand ways. Wherever there is a measurement, there is an assumption that you are a limited and a finite entity. And wherever there will be measurement, there would be comparison. And wherever there is comparison, there is…?

Listeners(everyone): Jealousy.

Speaker: Finished, simple. So how to get rid of jealousy then?

Listener 1: We should not compare.

Speaker: You will compare till the time you are a number. How not to be jealous then?

Listener 1: We should not measure ourselves.

Speaker: But you will keep on measuring till the time you think you are finite and limited. So how not to measure yourself?

Listener 1: By considering oneself as infinite.

Speaker: How big is the infinite? This big, that big? Which infinite? That one, or this one? Black one, or white one?

Whenever you will think of the infinite, you will make it finite because you will attach some kind of qualification to it. The infinite is not to be thought of. You cannot consider yourself as infinite.

‘You know, I was feeling a little down since the morning. So what did I do? I said, ‘Oh! Okay I am infinite.’

(Everyone laughs) 

‘I am so jealous of my neighbor you know, he has got a new car. So what did I do? I said, ‘I am infinite.’

You don’t consider yourself as infinite. You have to know yourself as infinite. How do you do that?

Listener 2: Die.

(Everyone laughs)

Speaker: How do you do that?

Listener 7: Observing ourselves.

Speaker: Yes, in more tangible ways.

Don’t take the numbers seriously. Is that easy? Is that actionable? Can you start doing that? Don’t take seriously anything that can be expressed in…?

Listeners(everyone): Numbers.

Speaker: Write that down. ‘Let’s not take anything seriously.’ (Addressing one of the listeners specifically) For you, write down, ‘I will not take anything seriously that can be expressed in numbers.’ Next statement, ‘And I will give great importance to that which can never be expressed in numbers.’ And what is it that cannot be expressed in numbers?

What is it that cannot be expressed in numbers? Is there something in your life that cannot be numerically expressed? Nothing?

Listener 5: Emotions.

Speaker: No, they can be expressed in numbers. How many tears? ‘Twenty-five millilitres of water; more emotions.’

Listener 2: How many minutes of anger?

Speaker: Minutes of anger. It can be numerically expressed. How many cups did you smash? In anger. How many months of jail? (Everyone laughs) All these can be numerically expressed.

What is that cannot be numerically expressed?

Listener 8: Love and Joy.

Speaker: Yes, will you say to your mother or to your friends, ‘Two point five grams of love’? Can you say that? Will you say that? It is impossible to quantify them. When something cannot be put in a finite measure, then it is called infinite. That is what is infinite. That which cannot be measured or expressed numerically is the taste of infinite. So the infinite is not something far away, unattainable.  It is so close, so very close. Love and Joy, are they things from another galaxy? So why think of these as, ‘Oh! They are two-hundredth level of consciousness beyond me.’ Is love beyond you? Do you have any taste of it? (Everyone nods in affirmative) So, it is not beyond anybody. Right?

In the finite, there is jealousy. In the infinite there can no jealousy. In the numerically expressed, if there is anger,Time is in the mind then in the infinite which is the simple, there are things like love, like simplicity, like attention, like truth. There can be no anger.

Listener 1: Sir we often say, ‘He told me only a little bit of truth.’ Sir, then what is that?

Speaker: He told a little bit of fact that can be numerically measured. Yes, facts can be numerically measured. We just said that somebody is peeping from the key hole. (Pointing at the key hole in the room) He will see a little bit. So he goes and he says, ‘Prashant was in.’  So he told a little bit of the fact. There quantification is possible. Truth is indivisible, so there are no parts. You cannot say that a little bit of truth has been told. First of all, there is nothing called ‘little bit’. Second, it cannot be told.

Will you remember this? Not to take numbers seriously. What we live in, is a world of numbers. We see everything is numbers. What we call as life itself is measured in numbers- eighty years of age. So in some sense it is not easy to not to take numbers seriously. But the one who learns that art is the one who conquers jealousy. Numbers will keep coming to you always. The train is four hours late. Is there a number here?

Listeners(everyone): Yes.

Speaker: Now if you take this number seriously, then the anger is inevitable. ‘Oh! She spent only two minutes with me.’ If you take the number seriously, then you’re gone, because two minutes is nothing. What is important is the depth of those two minutes, not the number. Because if you are attached to the numbers then you would have said, ‘One twenty minutes would have been far better. She should have spent at least two hours with me.’ Instead of that, how much time did she spend? Two minutes. Now you will be disappointed, and hence there would be anger. But if you are more concerned with the depth of those two minutes and if there is depth, then the two minutes are longer than two centuries.

If there is depth, then time changes.

Time is in the mind. If there is depth in attention, then time stops.

Two minutes are then two centuries. Then there can be no disappointment. You will say, ‘Oh! She spent two centuries with me. Those two minutes were so long.’ Right?

Not the number, but THAT which cannot be measured in numbers.

-Excerpts from a Clarity session.

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at : Quantifying yourself leads to jealousy

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