Intentions don’t matter; Awareness does || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Question: What we get from outside especially in the childhood, is the love, affection, care of our parents, family. How can that contribute to our ego?

Speaker: There is a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People’s intentions are good, but they end up doing a lot of harm. People’s intentions are good but they end up doing a lot of harm because they are not aware. Even their love can only cause harm to the loved ones.

Intentions don’t matter, awareness matters.

I may have all the intentions of helping my son, my friend, somebody. But how can I help if my notion of help itself is misplaced.

In the name of help I will take away his freedom. In the name of help I will make him dependent. In the name of help I will give him beliefs, rigid beliefs. You see, there is a drunkard who wants to help. What will he end up doing? Someone who is not fully aware, even if he wants to help, what will he end up doing? He will only end up harming. Help will become harm. Intentions are alright, but what about consciousness? What about intelligence? If you are not acting intelligently enough, your intentions don’t matter. They do not matter at all.

All parents want to help their kids. And look what has become of this world. Look what has become of this world. Violent, competitive, greedy, ambitious, suffering, this is the world that we live in. In the name of ‘help’ what do parents do? They will give certain code of conduct, they give certain certain ethics.

“Don’t lie, don’t kill, don’t be violent”, this is what is told to all people from their parents. Everybody hears that. And you still have rapists, killers, murderers, and thieves all around.

When you try to help the kid without understanding the thing yourself, you are of no help to the kid. You will actually harm the kid. You have told the kid, “Respect everybody”, “As a boy respect a girl,” but you don’t know what it is to ‘respect’. You don’t know why you must ‘respect’. You keep telling this thing to the kid thousand times and he only ends up raping. “Respect women, respect women, respect women.” Does he know what is ‘respect’? And if the kid is sharp enough, he will turn around and ask, “Mamma, why should I respect?” But the mother does not know, because the mother has never tried to understand herself. She herself is living on borrowed ideas, that probably her mother gave to her.

Anything that you give to someone, on a platter, will not be of help. You want to help somebody, help them by making them aware. If you want to help someone, that is the only help you can give. Help them look at the world in their own light. Help them open their own eyes, help them listen through their own ears. That is the only help that can be given.

Apart from this, whenever you will try to help, you will end up harming. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Your good intentions will only create another hell. It does not matter what your intentions are, only your intelligence matters.

Question: Sir we are told that we have the right to speak. But when we speak, we are interrupted. For example, if we protest and even if it is a peaceful protest, we are stopped. Why are we stopped? Why do people stop us from protesting?

Speaker: Don’t you know?

Don’t you know? The slave is protesting, what will the master do? The slave is protesting, what else can the master do? Subdue him, hit him, suppress him. And it is a sign of your slavery that you can be subdued. The free man does not protest. The truly free one does not bother to protest. Slaves protest! The truly free man does what he must do. We are enslaved, we protest against our slavery, and the master crushes our protest. The truly free man will not go to a master to protest. He is already free. Why does he need to protest? Are you getting it?

So whenever your voice is put down, know that there exists a master, and don’t forget it. Don’t forget it even after the episode is over, that there does exist somebody who is exercising control over me. Don’t forget it.

Listener 1: Sir, in that case, what we are supposed to do?

Speaker: The intelligent man ‘knows’. You see, all your life you have been asking people what to do, and you have been told. And you have gladly accepted what you have been told. And all this acceptance of what have been told to you, this itself is called…this itself is called ..? Yes, Ego.

Somebody comes to me from outside and what do I do with it? I don’t inquire, I don’t investigate. There is no process of intelligence. I Just take it. You asked me, “What to do?” If I tell you what to do, then am I your enemy or friend?

It’s your life. All I can say is that open your eyes and walk your own path. That’s the only help I can extend. And I can probably help create a condition, a situation in which opening eyes becomes easier. So there can be an HIDP program which facilitates the opening of eyes. But I cannot give you decisions to your life problems. What to do? You must find out what to do. If I tell you what to do or somebody else tells you what to do, you are again seeking answers from outside. Don’t do that, that is slavery. That’s what you have been doing all along. Get rid of that habit. Are you getting it?

Getting information from outside is alright. But don’t ask for decisions from outside. Information is alright. Information can only come from the outside, but don’t ask for decisions. Find out on your own. And whatever you will find out, will be alright. Don’t worry that whether what I have found out is correct or not. “Sir I found this out, is it alright?” No, don’t go to anybody for approval. You don’t need a certification. Nobody is authorized to certify.

Question: Do we acquire ego or ego acquires us?

Speaker: You are ego, you don’t acquire ego. To say, “I acquire ego”, I must be something apart from the ego. Right? (Pointing at the mike held in one hand) I acquire this mike. So there has to be a ‘me’ and there has to be a ‘mike’. “I acquire this mike.” Do you know of yourself as anything apart from the ego? You don’t acquire the ego. You don’t have an ego. You are ego. You don’t know of yourself other than the ego.

Listener 3: And if I go to an isolated place, then will I not come across the ego?

Speaker: This mind will still be full of thoughts. You can isolate the body, how will you isolate this mind? You go wherever you want to, you will always carry your mind with yourself. Or will you leave it behind? You will still be thinking of this and that. And that is ego. The external thought coming to you.

Listener 4: Sir, how can we stop this external thought?

Speaker: Yes. How to take care of it? What to do about it? Just observe what is happening. Don’t get involved, don’t get entangled. Observe what is happening. “Observe’, that’s the word. Witness, clearly watch what is happening. Watch that without fear. Watch clearly that this is what is happening.

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

Watch the session video: Intentions don’t matter; Awareness does || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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  1. very insightful ,
    this article left me with a question that what am I doing with people around me in the name of ‘help’?
    a must read for all of us who think helping others is virtue.


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