What is escaping? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Question: I see myself escaping in all possible ways. I have observed that reading too has become a tool for the mind, to escape seeing itself. I have been seeing this for the past three days.What should I do?

Speaker: Escaping in what way? What do you mean by ‘escaping’? What is ‘escaping’? What image do you have of escaping? Escaping to where? You are with an object A, you move to an object B. Is that an escape? You move from an object B, to an object C. Is that some kind of a return?

What is escaping? How do you know that you must be with object A, and not with B? How do you label something as the right action, and the wrong action? How do you label something as the right place, and the wrong place? “I must be here, and if I am not here then I have surely escaped to the wrong place.” How do you know that?

Listener 1: For example, I am surfing Facebook. And I am looking only at those things which are distracting me. I consider that as ‘escaping’. Escaping from knowing myself.

Speaker: What else could you have done? Do you have an alternative? Was there something else that you could have done? Any better plans?

Listener 1: I could have tried not to escape.

Speaker: Did you actually try to escape? Did you actually do that? When you say, “I shouldn’t have been doing this,” surely you have the image of an alternative in your mind. Surely you have some concept of right action and wrong action.

Is the act, an escape? Look at this carefully. (Laughingly) Is the act an escape, or is the concept an escape?

I just now said, “This moment is the climax of your life.” You are surfing Facebook, is there any other possibility? Do you really have an option, at that moment? Even if you switch tasks, the moment is gone.  So what do you mean by escape? Wherever you are – that is it. That is it!

You see, I was going towards Jaipur. I take a wrong turn. I find that I am on the road to Agra. At a particular point, would it I be sane to say that- “I am at a wrong point”? I had planned to go to Jaipur,  turned towards Agra. Hundred kilometres down the road, would it be sane of me to say that “I am at a wrong place?”

I know that we all are being tempted to say ‘yes’. But go into it. Is there any other place you could have been, except in your imagination? Is there any other place where you could have been? Then what is this whole business of feeling guilty, feeling sad, reprimanding yourself? You know what this business is called? This business is called ‘an unrealistic self-image’. “I, the magnificent driver. How could I take a wrong turn?”

Why don’t you simply admit that this is the way your constitution is? Why are you calling i ‘an escape’? Just say, “This is the way I operate. This is the routine of things.”

By labelling it as an ‘aberration’, you want to console yourself. Do you see that? “You know since last three days, I have not been able to read”. (Sarcastically) Hello! Last three days Didn’t read That’s it. Now, is there something that can happen now? If it can happen now, then do that. This moment is it! Why ask about this and that, about the past and what not?

Are you attentive? Are you listening?

Kindly do not think that life could have taken any other turn than it did. Kindly do not think that you could have Illusionbeen at any other point in life, than where you are right now. Get rid of all kinds of illusions. This was the only possibility. Everything else is just hollow imagination.

You didn’t escape. You did what you are! Nothing untoward happened. Nothing happened against the nature of things. If the river must go southwards, it went southwards. If the river must flow towards gravity, it did that! Now, don’t lament.

You are at just the right place. Now, do what must be done!

(Laughingly) You couldn’t have had any better result in B. Tech. from first to fourth year. Don’t ever regret. This had to happen. That is what you are.

For the result to change, you will have to die. For the result to change, you will have to disappear. And for you to disappear, the entire universe would have to change.

(Pointing at the listeners) For you to disappear she would need to disappear, he would need to disappear. This rectangle would need to become a rhombus.

The entire universe got together, to put you together in one piece. For you to be something else, the universe would need to be something else. So don’t have arbitrary imaginations.

Watch the session at: What is escaping? The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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