Why do we choose to suffer silently? || Acharya Prashant (2015)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Question: Why do we choose to suffer in silence, to not fight back? Does all frustration need to be voiced?

Speaker: If you will not suffer, how you will write this question? If you will not ask this question, how will this form get filled? If your form does not get filled, what will happen to your participation? What will I speak on? Your suffering is very important to keep your mind moving. If you do not suffer, things will come to a standstill. Suffering gives you a lot of food for thought, and lot of ammunition for violence.

“I am suffering so I get the right to fire here and there, to shoot down a few people.” Why? “My suffering has earned me a license to be a little revengeful.” Getting it? Something has to keep happening. If you will not be in pleasure, then you will have to be in silence.

So, what does pleasure take away? Silence. And what does pain take away? Silence. They might seem like opposites, but both pleasure and pain are good devices to keep you away from silence.

You go to a house where a kid has been born, and you go to a house where just now somebody has died. There would be one great overarching commonality. What is that? Lot of noise, lot of turbulence, lot of people, and movement. So, birth gives you opportunities to make lot of noise. Death also gives you the opportunities to make a lot of noise. In either case, what is lost?

Listeners: Silence.

Speaker: Silence. So why do we choose to suffer? We choose to suffer for the same reason that we choose to entertain ourselves. You do not make any choice except the choice to escape Silence and Truth. All your choices are directed towards only one motive – to protect the one making the choice. And the one making the choice, is sheer noise. When the choice comes out of noise, then the only objective of choice will be to escape silence. Isn’t it obvious?

Do not ask, “Why do I do this and that? Why do I choose this way? Why did I go that way? Why didn’t I take a U-turn?” Your actions do not mean much. Your actions are just the representation of the quality and structure of your mind. Being what you are, you will do what you do. There is no point in questioning it time and again. “Why do I keep slipping? Why do I keep suffering? Why can’t I rebel?” You can’t rebel, because you are you. “Why do I keep suffering?” Because, you are you. Being you, you will suffer.

“Why am I so lazy?” Because, you are you. “Why am I always hunting for excitement, and pleasure, and attention?” Because, you are you. What else do you expect from yourself?

Kabir has put it so succinctly. “From a Babul tree, do you expect mangoes?” Why are there no mangoes on this tree? Because, it is not a mango tree. Why are there no mangoes on my tree? Because yours is not a mango tree. But you put up such a wondrous expression – “Oh my God!”

Look at yourself with a little bit of compassion. Have some consideration towards yourself. You do not really deserve all rubbish that you experience day-in and day-out. You are not serving jail here. The world is not really a prison-house. Have you heard of those places where they take prisoner to give third degree torture. Heard of the place Guantanamo bay? That’s what you have made this world to be.

Look at yourself and then you will be able to give yourself little bit of freedom. Don’t be so harsh upon yourself. There is no compulsion to keep going through what you keep going through. There is no compulsion at all. You can stop. You can exit. You can say good-bye. There simply no compulsion to keep living the life that you are living.

Why must you be so inconsiderate, so rude? Why do you inflict torture upon torture on yourself; everyday? Many of you, after this session, will go back to places where you will be inflicting torture upon yourself. Don’t you know that? Can’t you change that? What is this slavery? What is this helplessness?

Your first obligation is towards yourself. All other obligation flow from there. If the first is not being met, the other obligation, obviously cannot be met. The first has to be given its proper place. The first is you.

Listener 1: Sir, being what I am, I will obviously resist change.

Speaker: So being what you are, what will you do? And I am doing what I am doing. Being what you are, you are resisting change. And being what I am, I am pushing for change. Let us see this. You will do, what you will do. I will do, what I will do. Let him do, what he wants to do.

Listener 2: Sir, this obligation thing is clashing with personal being.

Speaker: There is no clash. Your problem is that you do not see yourself as anything separate from the person. Your whole conception of yourself is that – “I am the body, I am the mind.” So whenever I say, the moment I say, “Your obligation is towards yourself,” you hear it to mean that – “I am obliged to need the meets of the body-mind, or the mind-body.”

I am not saying that. In fact all your suffering, all the hell that you subject yourself to, comes to you because you take yourself to be the body. So in a way I am saying is the opposite of what you think I am saying. You think I am saying that serve the needs of body-mind. I am saying that by serving the needs of body-mind, you have kept yourself in hell.

Now be merciful towards yourself, and bring yourself out of the hell. The body might be asking ten things, but you are not obliged to serve the body. The mind might be clamoring for ten achievements, but you are under no compulsion to follow the mind. That’s what I mean when I say, “Be compassionate to yourself.”

Is there any suffering that has come to you without the active participation and motivation of the body and the mind? If you know these two to be the trouble maker; why do you still keep company of them? Why do you still identify the so closely with them? Why do you say, “The body’s demand is my demand is my demand, and that I am under obligation, to meet the body’s demand? Yes the body will demand, that’s the composition of the body and you don’t need to feel guilty about it. That’s the way the body has come, that’s the evolution, that’s the law of karma. Evolution is the law of karma.

So, evolution might be playing its role, but can’t you be a little sensitive towards yourself? Yes you might be born as a woman, but why must you act womanly all the time? Can’t you see? And seeing has no gender. Understanding is not female or male. Don’t you understand?

Listener 2: Sir, when we accept ourselves as the way we are, then there is no space for thought. Suffering leads to thought. Then not non-acceptance is suffering. When you have a certain image, you cannot think how to come to that point.

Speaker: See that is what prevents you from coming to the facts. You have such great illusions about yourself, that you can’t even see the petty fellow that you are. And when the fact hits against your imagination, then you feel hurt. Then you feel hurt.

Taking that example forward. ‘20’ and ‘60’ are just numbers, but you believe yourself to be superman who lifts ‘60’ or ‘160’. Then you will be deeply hurt when you find yourself lifting only ‘20’. Otherwise, ‘60’ and ‘20’ are just numbers. And then you say, “Life is full of suffering.” Life is full of suffering? Life may have numbers. But you started identifying with numbers, for no rhyme or reason.

Listener 2: So if I say, “The maximum load I can hold is 5 kg, then lifting 20 kg will make me think – “Oh life is great!”

Speaker: That is also true. Correct. To look at a fact as a fact and to not give it any meaning or color, is simple. But we don’t do it. What is a fact? It is as it is. And it has no other meaning beyond this. How many videos did I do today? One. That’s it. It doesn’t have any meaning, in the sense that it does not tell anything about my true self. But it tells everything about my falseness. Are you getting it?

See how to use a fact? This has to be understood. When you come across a fact, neither do you accept it, nor do you reject it. It is what it is. So if I have done one video today, then who am I?

Listener 2: The one who is lagging behind.

Speaker: Simple. Somebody who claimed to do four, but did one. That’s it. Now it does not tell anything about my real identity. So I cannot take it a judgment upon my self-worth. Are you getting it? But it tells everything about what I am at this moment. And these two are parallel. This two have to be seen parallely. Not getting it?

On one hand I am nothing except the fact. Because if I am something except the fact, then I am imagining. If I am lifting 20 kg, but I consider myself of lifting 60 kg, then what am I doing? I am hallucinating. I am fooling myself, right? How much am I doing?

Listeners: Twenty.

Speaker: Twenty. But how much am I imagining myself to do?

Listeners: Sixty.

Speaker: Sixty. So what am I doing?

Listeners: Imagining.

Speaker: Imagining. And hence I am fooling myself. So, that is one thing. You are not to refuse the fact. When the fact comes, you look at it, and surrender to it. You do not refuse the fact. This is a fact. At the same time, the fact is not indication of ‘who I am’. I cannot allow these numbers, 20, 60 or 6000 to be judgments of my self-worth. On one hand facts should not be obfuscated by imagination, and on the other hand, facts should not be so arrogant that they leave no space for the Truth.

So when you come across 20, do not try to cloud 20 with 60, because 60 is just imagination. At the same time when you come across 20, do not think that 20 is the truth. You are not 20, and obviously you are not 60. But you are not 20 either. 60 is imagination, 20 is fact, and Truth is none of these. Not clear?

Listener 2: Detachable.

Speaker: Whatever you want to call it. Try to get what I am coming to. These three must have their proper places, and must not be confused. Imagination, facts and Truth. It is a great virtue to not to imagine, but it is disastrous to take facts as the last thing, because facts are always material.

MaterialWherever there is fact, there has to be material behind it. To take facts as the last thing is to believe that the world is ultimate and final. Then you are leaving no space for the Truth. Then you are living in duality and materialism. Are you getting it?

If you can get only this much, this will tell you how to live and how to act. When facts come to you, you cannot take shelter in imagination, or planning, or justification, rationalization. No, fact is fact. We cannot rationalize it. We cannot say, “You know, it just happened for this and that reason.” This is it. I endorse the fact, fully. But while endorsing it I cannot get too serious about it, because if I get too serious about it, then I am giving the fact, the place of Truth.

Now, this is problematic. I fully accept the fact, but cannot become too serious about it. “I failed. Yes I failed. Yes I did fail. And I will not go about hiding it, refusing it.” That’s it. What happened? “I failed. I failed.”

Listener 2: It looks like neglecting the possibilities. Because if I consider the fact is that I am a bamboo. But I am not only the bamboo. Am I getting it?

Speaker: At the level of the fact, I am nothing except the bamboo. At the level of fact, let me not deceive and say that “the Bamboo is the Banyan tree.” At the level of the fact, I have to very austerely say, “I am the Bamboo, and nothing but the Bamboo. Anything else that I claim myself to be, will be? Imagination. So I am the Bamboo.” Yes, of course.

“I am the bamboo,” at the level of the..? At the level of the name, at the level of the form, but not at the level of the Truth.

Listener 3: Sir, you said fact, is as it is. So do not judge it, because it is not your real identity. But it does tell everything about what I am, at the moment. So, how do I take it? I am this, at this moment. I am lazy, or whatever. So…

Speaker: Nothing, this is it. You have to stop all ways of escaping from the fact. The moment you say, “Hence,” you have created an escape route. “I am a bamboo, hence I must go and have tea.” Now you are having tea, now you have forgotten that you are a bamboo. Nothing. “I am a bamboo.” No justification, no rationalization, no moving ahead. Nothing. This is it.

IMG-20150716-WA0009And when you come face to face with the fact, it has a great transformative power. The Truth does not come or descend as the Truth. The Truth comes to you in the form of facts. So the one who pays attention to the facts, comes very close to the Truth. Will the Truth ever come on its own? No. The Truth has neither form, nor shape, nor any way of coming to you, except as the facts. Hence, pay attention to the facts and do not run away from them.

Sorrow is a great way of escaping from the fact. You look at your work and you start feeling bad about yourself. Now, this is deep deception. When you look at the fact, and from that fact sorrow emerges, then rest assured that the fact is trying to preserve itself. The fact does not want to change. Change does not come by beating your chest. “Oh my God! I am just a bamboo.”

Change comes by really, really seeing that, “I am nothing but a bloody bamboo.” Even this statement that I made has a strong color of disapproval. “Bloody bamboo”? No. Actually when you come very close to the fact, you don’t even have space for opinions. When you say, “bloody bamboo,” there is already a creeping sorrow.  “I am bamboo. Who am I? Bamboo, bamboo.”

When you are very, very honestly, nothing but the bamboo, you suddenly find that you are much more than the bamboo. But you cannot find that if you escape from your bambooness, or if you feel bad about it, or you feel elated about it. That is the reason that those of you who beat their chest most often, are the ones who are most obdurate in their non-changing.

Every day they will write, “Oh! I am such a shit. Oh, I stink,” and the next day again they stink. Why do they stink? Because they cannot come close to the fact, they derive pleasure from.

Listener 3: Sir, is it appropriate to say that when one sees the fact as ‘fact,’ then dropping starts happening?

Speaker: No, you cannot see fact as fact with the intention of dropping.

Listener 3: I am saying that dropping starts happening.

Speaker: It may happen. You leave that to the dropping. Whether or not dropping will happen, you cannot predict it. You cannot go to the fact with the intention, with the motivation of changing the fact. If you are going to the fact in a motivated way, rest assured you will never see the fact. You have to go to it in a very unbiased, in a very unmotivated, in a very impersonal way. “Yes, alright, it is my fact. Yet can I come to it a little detached?”

Listener 3: Motivation won’t be cunningness towards deriving something?

Speaker: Motivation would be sustenance of the fact. Because who is the one who is motivated? The fact itself. Right? You are the fact. By being motivated, you are just continuing the fact. So it is nothing but the internal dynamics of the fact in motion.

Listener 3: Sir, having this self-worth game is also a deep cunningness. Because now you are trying to have this correlation, so that thinking sustains.

Speaker: Thinking sustains.

Listener 3: Sir, as your quote was, “The only function of thought is to sustain the thinker.” So, till the time thinking is there, thinker is there.

Speaker: You will only think those things that perpetuate the thinking. Have you ever noticed that? Is there any thought which is the end point of the thought? Every thought branches out into more thought. So what is every thought essentially doing? Giving you more thoughts, more thoughts.

Think, and you will think more. That is the fruit of thinking. What? More thinking. Fruit of thinking is not the solution. The fruit of thinking is more thinking.

Listener 1: You have to try, as your remedy becomes your virtue.

Listener 2: And all thoughts are barricade towards the protection of the thinker.

Speaker: The thinker. The thinker (stressing on ‘thinker’).

Listener 3: Sir, you said that it is very difficult to approach the fact in an indifferent and impersonal way. I think there’s always an ideal in the mind. Since the ideal is to be maintained the fact has to be gotten rid of our ego. But, the ideal also needs to be there. If the ideal is not there, one just stays back. Let us say that if one is cunning, then one also knows that one has to be innocent. One knows that innocence is more valuable than cunningness.

Speaker: Not actually. Understand this: We took an example where we took two numbers: 20 and 60. Here it does not mean that when you come to the fact of 20, your journey towards 60 begins. It was just by way of an example. ‘20’ is not destined to become ‘60’. ‘60’is not the ultimate or the truth or the destination of ‘20’. Sixty is not the destination of twenty. If that were so, then the ideal would not be ideal. Then the ideal would be a representation of the Truth. When you have an ideal, you can at the most look at it as an ideal. And the ideal too is just a…? Fact. For an example, your temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit and the ideal temperature is 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s it. Another fact, it is just another fact.

Listener 3: I still see myself as a concept in my head. I see myself as twenty, but I might be not even anyway near twenty. How to see the fact?

Speaking: Keep checking. All facts pertain to the material, and material can always be checked. Go stand on a weighing machine. Go have a kickboxing match. Go check your bank account. Whatever is factual is material. And material can always be expressed in numbers, in some kind of way that can be verified and detected by the senses and the mind. So go and verify. Go and get a blood test done. Go and write an exam. And you will know the fact.

Listener 2: So essentially we are not trying to know the facts, or be aware of the facts, because we are cunning. Essentially we are cunning creatures who don’t want to get away with the thinking.

Speaker: You very well know where your cunningness lies. Your cunningness lies at those spots in your mental domain that you rarely want to look at. That’s where your cunningness lies. That’s what you do not want to look at.

Let me give you an example. The one who is not filling the tracker would also not be looking at the tracker. It is impossible that you look at it daily, and yet not fill it. The fact of your laziness and corruption will strike you so hard that you will have to fill it. Are you getting it? So you will avoid the fact. You will not even open the tracker.

Listener 2: Sir in this case, deception cannot be seen by all.

Speaker: Right now also, the one is not so lonely. It’s a collaborative process. We are together on that. Why are you imagining that you have to do it all your own? But when help comes, take it.

Listener 2: Sir, the choice we have been making, has been outward. So, isn’t it that we wanted comfort? So the only choice we can make is that… I don’t know if I am putting it in right way.

Speaker: No, you are putting it rightly. All choices take you outward. The choice that makes you sit where you are sitting, is not a choice. It is just that when you see that all the choices that are available to you, are rubbish, you stay put where you are, for want of a choice.

“I don’t have any choice so, what can I do? Not that I like this place greatly. But I can clearly see that at all other places, I will be slaughtered. So I am here.” That is the only way you can come to the Truth. Not that you will ever find it especially appealing. There is nothing appealing or glamorous about the Truth. It is just that you come to see that everything else is poison. So this is what you are left with. Now, what can you do? Poor you.

And you will try and test, again and again, over and over ten times. You’ll say, “Might be I made an error. Might be there are some great possibilities outside.” So you will go out and test again. And you will again find that it is all rubbish and so you again will come back. This coming back is not coming back to anywhere. It is just about, staying where you are.

It’s not that you are coming back to a place. It is only because you are in that place, that you can see the illusion of all your choices. Hence because being in your place you see the illusion of your choices, so being in that place now you cannot make the choice of going to the other place.

Are you getting it?

You are right that all the choices take one outwards. The choice to stay put, or come in, is not a choice at all. It is just an absence of choice. “I have no choice.” That’s what is ‘choicelessness’. That is what is ‘choicelessness’. Other choices are…? Rubbish. This is it.

This is it. The other choices are inconceivable. They don’t even come to my mind. This is it.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session.

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Why do we choose to suffer silently?

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

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3 comments

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