Laziness is to be conditioned against a particular activity || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Questioner: What is laziness?

Shri Prashant: When you are conditioned against something, then you do not want to do it. This is laziness. Nothing else is laziness.

The Clarity Sessions at Advait Sthal start at 9:00 a.m. One day, in one such session, some of the visitors reached late. So I asked them, “Why were you late?” They said, “It was so cold and foggy early morning. Laziness took over us. And the distance between our place and the Sthal was quite a bit.

I said, “The distance will be same even while going back. If you felt lazy while coming and travelling this distance, you should feel equally lazy while going back. So today, you will not go back! Because you are so lazy. Now that you are here, just sleep, relax, and eat. Let your folks from home come and pick you up.

When you don’t want to do something, you feel lazy. It’s as simple as that. And why do you not want to do anything? Because all your wants emanate from your conditioning.

Conditioning will never want to do something which goes against it. And, conditioning will be dead against something which threatens to dissolve the conditioning.

IMG-20150608-WA0029Have a sharp look at what you call as your ‘wants’. We often say, “I don’t want this!” and we take this as an expression of our individuality. “My wish!” Or, “I do not want this.” Our ‘wants’ are just an expression of how we have been programmed. They are not our ‘wants’ at all.

All that needs to be done is, you need to be conditioned differently, then your wants will change. Do not take your wants, your desires, too seriously.

When the mind says, “Oh! I am feeling lazy. I do not want to study,” do not give importance to this statement of the mind, because the mind is the machine that will only say what it has been programmed to say. Do not take the mind seriously. Never! It may say, “I do not want to do something,” or it may say, “I want to do something.” Neither its wants or likes, nor its dislikes, are of any consequence.

Wanting and realizing are very-very different dimensions. Do not act on the basis of your want. Act on the basis of your intelligence, on the basis of your realization. Laziness will come, just do not give energy to it. Just do not give importance to it.

The body will say, “No” when it has to do something which is against its programming. Does the body ever say, “I do not want to eat,” when food is right here? (Mockingly) “Pizza!” Does the body ever say, “I am feeling so lazy. How can I get up and take the pizza. Who wants to chew”? Does the body ever say that? No. Because the tongue is conditioned to like certain kind of taste. But when it comes to going to the gym, what does the body say? “I am feeling lazy.” Not only does it say ‘lazy’, it goes to the extent of hiding its laziness by saying, “I am not lazy. It is just that today it is cloudy. So I should not go to the gym.” (Mockingly) “A research in Netherlands has proved that clouds have a detrimental effect on the muscle formation!”

You will find so many arguments. The mind is such a clever thing. When it wants to do something, it keeps on giving you wonderful arguments.

Listener 1: Sir, does it mean that whenever we feel lazy while doing something, we should decide to do that thing first?

SP: Yes. Yes. Obviously. Laziness is just the symptom of the effect of conditioning. Laziness is nothing else. How many of you feel lazy? Sometimes at least.

(Some of the listeners raise their hands)

Now observe your laziness. You will not feel lazy when it comes to do all those things that are called ‘fun’, ‘entertainment’. Have you seen, it is midnight, and you are reading, you have started feeling sleepy, and you have almost closed your books and decided to retire and sleep. And then suddenly, two of your wonderful friends arrive. All the sleep is now gone! Now you can be awake for another two hours!

Where has the laziness gone? Where has the sleep gone?

It was not laziness at all. It is just that you did not ‘want’ to read. You did not want to read, so the body gave you a reason. The body helps the mind. When you don’t want to do something the body will give you a reason.

Suppose, you do not want to come to college on a particular Saturday morning. The body will help you. How? The head will start paining. There would be something in the back. Or you will feel like vomiting. (Mockingly) You will have genuine excuses. Remember, they all will be ‘genuine’ excuses. Because the body will actually make you feel unwell. So, now you have a genuine excuse. “I will not go because I am unwell.” And after half an hour, you will be completely well. You can even get fever, such are the games of the mind!

Listener 2: Sir, sometimes this happens that we are hungry, but we don’t want to get out of our bed, because it is warm there. So, it is not that we do not want to do but…Is this also laziness?

SP: No. It is not laziness. Here you have two fragments of the mind. You are conditioned to give comfort to the body, and you are conditioned to eat. It is just that one type of conditioning is dominating the other. Which type of conditioning? To give comfort to the body. There is still no intelligence in all this! It is one conditioning dominating over another conditioning.

You know, you are conditioned to watch Cricket matches as if it is great exhibition of patriotism. You are also conditioned to go around fooling, on the Valentine’s day. Now if on Valentine’s day, there is a Cricket match scheduled, then what will happen?

Think of it. Two types of conditioning clashing with each other. And to add to it, it is your mother’s birthday on the same day. Now what to do? Three types of conditioning pulling you in three different directions. Whether to go to her and wish the mother, or meet the girlfriend or boyfriend, or watch the match? And another thing! You have a day-long session at your CAT coaching center that day, and on top of that you also start suffering from loose motions.


Now obviously, one of these will prevail. Does that mean it is laziness towards the rest of them? No. You are being pulled in five different directions. One of the forces has won. But you will still remain a slave. Five masters trying to control you. One master will be successful. But you will still be a slave.

The body may control you, so the body is the master. The girlfriend may be able to dominate you, so the girlfriend is the master. The mother’s wishes may become more important, so the mother is the master. The match may become a priority, so entertainment is the master. The CAT coaching may seem important, so future is the master.

Where are you in all this? You are still nowhere.


Excerpts from a clarity session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Laziness is to be conditioned against a particular activity

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