The pull of the world versus the call of the Centre || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Why do we get easily influenced by others?

Speaker: Our entire constitution is like that. Our entire configuration is like that. Everything in nature just lives dependent on everything else. Your eyes do not mean anything if they do not look outwards. Right? Which direction do the eyes look at? For the eyes to exist and have any meaning, they have to look outside. Right?

You have been made like that. What can you do? If you have eyes that do not look outside at the world, will you say that you have eyes? And does anybody has eyes that look inwards at himself? What do your ears hear?

Listeners: Outside things.

Speaker: Things from outside. What does your skin touch? The outside. This is regarding the body. Now look at the mind. The mind is full of and built-up of things from the outside. Look at what you are thinking of all the time. What are you thinking of all the time? This. That. There. So, we are designed to be influenced. Nature wants you to get influenced. Nature wants you to get attracted and conditioned. That is why the world is like this, and that is why it rarely happens that one goes inwards. You put a pebble in a lake. Do you see how that wave travels? How does that wave travel?

Listeners: Outwards.

Speaker: Outwards. That is how nature operates. Very rarely, very-very rarely does it happen that a wave reduces radially and ultimately comes to its center and disappear. That you do not see. Have you ever seen that?

But, that is the whole point of wisdom. Nature wants you to be just engaged with the outside. Wisdom lies in travelling inwards, coming to your center, and then disappearing. Are you getting it? So don’t blame yourself. There is no need to feel guilty about it. We are built like that. The day the child is born, in which direction does he look?

Listeners: Outwards.

Speaker: And even on the very first day of the birth, he is already conditioned to know that if he wants food, he should cry. Is he crying out to himself? He is crying out to the external world. He already knows. You see, no knowledge has yet been supplied to the child by the society, he is so small. And yet he already knows that for his sustenance he needs to connect to the outside. He knows. He already knows. We are designed like that. Are you getting it?

Listener 2: Sir, as you said, that it is easier to get influenced by others. Similarly, it is easier to get motivated by others. How can one then be self-motivated?

Speaker: It is very-very rare. Very rare. How to be influenced by others? How to be motivated by others? These are very easy questions to answer. How to be motivated to go towards the self? This question cannot be answered. No process can be given. When you say, “How to?” you are asking for a method, a process. No process or method can be given. You just have to be still.

Know that there are forces that want you to expand, and then you have to leave the rest to existence. No method can really be followed. Because if I give you a ‘How to?’ a method, a process, again that method will come from outside. And that method will make you move outwards only. Even that method will not bring you inwards. Are you getting it?

What is it that brings you inwards? We call it ‘grace’. What is ‘grace’? Something that you just get, because somebody loves you. Who is that somebody? That we don’t know.

Just as there is the force of nature that pulls you away from your center, the force of nature and then the force of society as well which pulls you away from your center, there is also somebody sitting at the center, who loves you so much, that he constantly pushes you towards himself.

He calls you. He invites you. He even tempts you to come back. You just have to accept his invitation. You just have to answer his call. And you don’t answer his call by doing something! You answer his call by stopping the outward movement, which is anyway always happening.

The outward movement, does it really help you? Does it give you peace? You know, it is a very stupid movement. Why it is a stupid movement? Because you start from your center, and then you keep moving outwards, and outwards, all your life. And do you know why you keep moving outwards? To search for the center. Starting from the center, you keep moving outwards, and outwards, and outwards. And, why do you keep moving outwards? To search for the center. And where is the center? From where you started.

Why did you start at all? Was there any need to start? There was no need to start. But since you have started, you have already traveled some distance away from the center. Now you have to come back, and there is somebody at the center who is calling you to come back. You don’t respond to his call, you only keep expanding outwards.

And the more you expand outwards, the more you suffer, the more restless you are. You don’t even know why you are restless and frustrated all the time. You don’t even know why you are afraid all the time.


Have you not seen people who would do this and that, but at the end of everything they would still experience a background tension. And if you ask them, “Why are you tensed?” they would not be able to tell. Why? Because they don’t know.

There would be a fellow who has everything, and yet he would be very uneasy. There would be no lightness in his movement. There would be no simple joy in his living. And if you ask him, “What is missing in your life?,” he would not be able to explain. But, he would say,

“Something is missing. Alright! Let me buy a new car.”

“Well! Something is missing. Maybe when my daughter will be married-off, then I will be at peace.”

“Well! Something is missing. Let me win the next election.”

He would not even realize that what is missing. And that which is missing, is always calling. Always calling. It is that call which will bring you to the centre. There is no other ‘How to?’ He is calling you all the time, and that is why you are drawn towards peace all the time.

Don’t you want peace? This urge to be peaceful – is the call of the Center. Getting it? Always remember, there is somebody who loves you greatly. And he loves you without demanding anything from you. And you have no qualifications to be loved. He loves you unconditionally. You have not done anything to deserve his love. And, whatever you do, he still keeps calling.

You are close to the centre; he calls! You are away from the centre, he still calls! But, whether to respond to the call is in your hands. He is not a dictator. He will not force you to come back. He will just call and wait. That is the ‘How to?’ That is the only method.

To respond to his call.

– Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

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