Either go completely through the pain, or simply disown the pain || Acharya Prashant (2015)

आरब्धकर्मणि क्षीणे व्यवहारो निवर्तते । 
कर्मक्षये त्वसौ नैव शामेद्धयानसहस्त्रतः 

(Avadhuta Upanishad, Verse 19)

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When the results of actions set in motion are exhausted, the habitual usage also ends. This worldly usage will not cease even with repeated meditation, unless such actions are exhausted.

Question: Is there no way out? What is meant by ‘actions are exhausted’?

Speaker: ‘Exhausted’ means that all the pent-up, suppressed energy, comes into motion, and takes a release. But this is the most painful, mechanical and time-consuming way of getting rid of your burden, the Prarabdha Karma. It is like saying that your palm is kept over a burning piece of coal, and you can get relief only when all the latent energy of the coal is exhausted. This is the most painful, unintelligent and time-consuming way of coming to the end of suffering.
And even in this process, coming to the end of suffering, coming to exhaustion, is possible only if no fresh fuel is Presentation1added to the fire. It is possible only if one has the patience and the faith to bear all the results of his previous karma without creating new cause-effect cycle, without adding to his inventory of more unspent fuel.

If the fellow has so much intelligence, patience and discretion that he can sit through the ordeal of the coal consuming his hand, without creating more ripples and fresh karmfal, if the fellow actually has so much intelligence and patience, then why would he sit through the torture? He would rather get up and walk away.

What does it mean to get up and walk away from the unexhausted fuel, from the unspent residue of your
previous karma? What does it mean to do that? It means that you are no longer attached to the coal. Remember, the coal does not come to burn your palm. You are the one who goes to the coal, keep your hand over it, grab it, and allow it to burn you, pierce you, torment you.

Walk away from the coal, that is an easier way. Why wait for the coal to get exhausted?

It can be a pretty big lump of coal. It can take pretty long time getting exhausted. Do you want to wait and keep suffering? Just walk away!

But walking away would mean – giving up the coal. Coal is attractive. It looks almost like a burning cherry. It beckons, it tempts. And it has energy, it has power. Something seems happening there. So you are attracted towards it. Additionally, the coal is yours. It does not belong to anybody else. “My burning coal, my glamorous, hot little cherry!”

“Who am I?” “The lady with the lump of coal.” “Who am I?” “The lady with the fire in the belly, and fire in the palm.” It becomes difficult to walk away.” (Sarcastically) “A fiery lady am I, and this is high quality coal.(Laughingly) It helps me maintain my standard. See everybody is burning. So burning is a given, it is a common denominator. What separates one being from the other is the quality of the burn. I have a superior burn. Mine is not low-grade coal coming from an inferior mine.”

Remember that pieces of coal come from ‘mines’.


Presentation1No mine, no coal. What all is ‘mine’? Whatever is ‘mine’ is the unexhausted piece piercing you.

To walk away from that burning mass, is to walk away from your very being, your very identity. So it is upon you. You can either wait with all your patience and all your intelligence for the coal to get exhausted. Or you could simply discard the coal, reject the falseness of its association with you, and walk away. And no method is better than the other. It totally depends on your mood.

If you are in a mood to suffer – welcome, exhaust the karma, if you are in a mood to not to take the suffering anymore – walk away, let go, drop it, renunciate.

How many lumps of coal in your pocket?

– Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at AdvaitSthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv8vUloTi0U

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  1. I have following points

    1] Energy is neither created nor destroyed. So, is it really possible to achieve balance without releasing suppressed negative energy?

    2] Mines referred in this post is the “ego” which when dissolved can lead to balance. So, whether is it possible to dissolve the ego without releasing suppressed negative energy, without having to go to the releasing of negative energy?
    Please enlighten


    1. There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

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