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Questioner : Sir, if our ‘shoulds’ are coming in the way of our success and happiness, then what is the solution?
Acharya Prashant: What kind of success, the real one or the fake one?
Listeners : The real one.
AP: The Real one. Good!
Pallavi, ‘shoulds’ do not ‘sometimes’ come in the way of real success. ‘Shoulds’ are always in the way of real success. You know what is a ‘should’?
What is a ‘should’? A ‘should’ is our sense of morality.
Do you understand morality? ‘Do this! Do not do this! This is right! This is wrong! This is virtue! This is vice’! That is what a ‘should’ is!
‘Should’ means why to use intelligence? A software has already been fed into you. ‘This is right! This is wrong!’ You do not need to know spontaneously at the instant. ‘There is no need! You already know!’ That is what a ‘should’ is. ‘Speak the truth! You ‘should’ always speak the truth’! But please tell me, ‘What is the truth?’
Since childhood, you and others must have been told, ‘Always speak the truth. That’s what you ‘should’ do.’ Right? But did you ever ask, ‘What is the Truth?’ And if you ask, you will not receive an answer because the ones who have been telling us to speak the Truth do not understand that Truth is not something to be spoken of, that Truth is not an idea or a thought! What do you mean by this then, ‘Speak the Truth’?
‘Always be loving to others. You ‘should’ always be loving to others’! Look at the stupidity of this ‘should’! Ask them, ‘But what is love? And how do I know that this is love? How do I know that this is love? In the name of love so much of violence takes place. How do I know that this is love? “You ‘should’ always help others.” How do I really know that this is useful to the other person? Help means doing something which is of use to him. ‘How do I know what is of use to that person?’ But, we have been told, ‘You ‘should’ help others.’
All ‘shoulds’ are very stupid. They come from a very low-level of consciousness where intelligence is not shining, where there is only programming of the mind. ‘Do this! When an elder comes in front of you, wish him. When it is teachers’ day, apply some kind of a mark on the teacher’s forehead.’
(Pointing at the vermilion mark on his forehead) You have put this on my forehead, I do not know what it means. Do you know what it means? Really? Do you know what it means to be a student? Do you know what it means to be a disciple? Really? Do you know what it means to really love? No. But your morality tells you that touch your teacher’s feet on a specific day. How does it help? It is only a physical exercise. You would lose weight! If the entire day you keep touching somebody’s feet, then you will have good abs!
How will that help? Do we really know what learning is? Seriously? But that is our ‘should’! Is that not so? Do we really know who Raam is? But one should celebrate Diwali without knowing what does Raam mean! One should do such and such things on Janmashtami, on Eid, on Easter. One ‘should’ do these things.
Have you ever come close to Krishna? Have you ever come close to Him? If you have not come close to Him, why are you faking this celebration on Janmashtami? But, you ‘should’ celebrate Janmashtami. Should! Why? You have no understanding of Krishna. You are situated thousands of miles away from Him, yet you ‘should’ celebrate. Should!
So, ‘should’ will always come in the way of the Real.
You said, ‘What do I do if the ‘shoulds’ come in the way of the real success?’ Real success lies in stopping, in stopping is reaching. All ‘shoulds’ tell you to ‘do’ something. Real success lies in seeing the futility of what you have been doing so far, how you have been so far, because your doing comes from your being. All ‘shoulds’ only help you to maintain who you are.
‘You ‘should’ do this’! Is there any transformation of the ‘you’ in this? Are you getting it? Morality says, ‘You ‘should’ do this. Remaining what you are, you ‘should’ do this.‘
‘You’ will not change. ‘You’ are not changing, only the ‘action’ is changing.
Morality is a very-very good way of preserving your ego, maintaining it and strengthening it.
Remaining who you are, you ‘should’ do this! You are happy. ‘I don’t really have to give up anything. I don’t really have to look at the Truth. I can remain what I am. I can carry on with all my garbage. I just have to do a few things- this ‘should’, this ‘should’, this ‘should’, this ‘should’. Done’! And now, I am a virtuous person in the eyes of the society.’
The intelligent man does not live by ‘shoulds’. He lives freely. He says, ‘I do not need to pre-determine what is to be done in a particular situation. Let the situation come and the response will emerge from my Core. Do no tell me what I need to do when I see an elder, do not tell me that. Depending on the situation the response will change. On a given day, I may need to ignore the elder. On a given day, I may just go and hug the elder. On a given day, I may touch his feet. Do not tell me that whenever I see an elder, I must touch his feet. Do not tell me that to wish teachers there must be a particular day.’
(Pointing at the vermilion mark on his forehead) I would be heartbroken if you do not apply ‘this’ on my forehead when I come here for the next time. I will say, ‘Why? Why have you demoted me? Why have you downgraded my position? Last time I was here, you greeted me with music. Last time I was here, you offered me sweets. Today, why are you not doing that? Why are you insulting me? Don’t you see this is an insult? On one day you are greeting somebody, making him a God- ‘Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu’- and the next day he becomes nothing. This is what ‘shoulds’ do.
But, when you are living an intelligent, a really conscious life then there is teachers’ day on all three hundred sixty-five days of the year. But, that’s such a challenge, that’s such a challenge. ‘Three hundred sixty-five days of the year I have to bend down and touch the feet. Oh! my God’!
If you can’t do it everyday, why do it on one particular day? Why pretend? Do something which is real, actually real, that is the meaning of an intelligent, conscious and authentic life. Not a moral life. An intelligent life.
When you meet someone, what do you say? ‘Hey! Good to see you.’ Mean it! And if you don’t mean it, don’t say. The mind is cringing and saying, ‘Oh! That same rotten face again’! But what do you say to him on his face? ‘So nice. May God bless you.’ And within you are asking can’t you die by the afternoon!
That’s the kind of life we live. Don’t we?
When you say, ‘Sorry’, mean it, otherwise don’t say it. When you go to someone and say that you love, then mean it. Don’t pretend. Don’t do anything just because tradition, convention or morality demands it.
Love is not a duty. Respect is not a tradition.
Real respect does not come once in a year and does not disappear the next day. Live by your essence. Live intelligently. That is real success.
-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at The Real can neither emerge from commandments, nor be confined to patterns
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