Why does one suffer from inferiority complex? || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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

Question: Sir, how can I know that I am suffering from inferiority complex? How to become self-sufficient?

Speaker: How to know or how to correct the complex?

Listener: How to correct?

Speaker: How to correct the complex. Everybody is suffering from an inferiority complex, everybody. This whole world that you see around yourself is a proof of our sense of inferiority. Inferiority means, ‘I lack something’. Have you seen how desperate we are to gather, to collect? What all do we collect? Tell me.

Listener: Good image, good salary.

Speaker: And everybody is collecting this that, everything. You collect something only if you feel you do not have it. You collect something only when you feel that there is something that is asking for fulfillment. So all this is just inferiority complex, nothing else. It is just that certain kinds of inferiorities are not termed as inferiorities in our language.

So, somebody is ambitious, people do not usually call him suffering from inferiority. But that is what ambitiousness is. I need this, I want to become that. If you really look out how much do you need? It is not much. It is attainable. I am not talking about the mental, psychological needs. I am talking about your basic physical needs, you have not much. And the body is not which feels inferior, it is the mind that feels it is inferior.

Listener: How to overcome it?

Speaker: I will go to the point from where it comes and how it is sustained. There must be people around you, who you would be feeling are not inferior and are superior when you say, “I feel inferior”? Surely, inferiorities are a relative term. You are feeling inferior compared to somebody. Can inferiority survive in absence of comparison? Can it survive? You are looking at somebody or many people, comparing yourself against them and feeling inferior.

Let us look at those people more carefully. I started off by saying everybody feels inferior. But you are labeling some people as superior. You might not be looking rightly, sharply at them. Can you give me a portrait of a man, you think of as superior. Can you sketch a man who appears superior to you? What kind of a man would you think of as superior? Who has lots of money?

Listener: No sir. Where he is living or studying and he is doing very well.

Speaker: So, he has, let me say, a good percentage.

Listener: No. Anything he does, he is good in that.

Speaker: What do mean by good work? Think of a man because we are not imagining here. You are talking of real life examples. Think of few people whom you take as superior. And tell me what is in them that you think of as their superiority. Why do you feel they are superior? What is it in them that appeal so much to you? What is it? Their looks, their success and what else?

Listener: Mainly success.

Speaker: Success. How well do you know these people? How well do you know these people? How much time do you spend in the day with them?

Listener: Twenty four hours.

Speaker: Twenty four hours you are not even with yourself. How can you be with somebody else? How will you feel if those whom you admire so much, they come over and say we feel so inferior? How would you feel? Suppose one of them, your admired ones, is sitting here and says I suffer from a deep inferiority complex. Can you help me?

Listener: Now, I will feel superior.

Speaker: Then you will feel superior, relieved (laugh).  That is the story of every person. Let me give you a proof. This fellow that you are talking of, enquire whether he has reached the pinnacle of his success even in his own eyes. You think he is superior to you because he is successful. In his eyes there are millions of people who are more successful than him. So he is?

Listeners: Inferior

Speaker: Going by this, is there anybody who does not suffer from an inferiority complex? And all inferiority is psychological, mental. You feel you are inferior, the other fellow also feels he is inferior. Then are you inferior? You are inferior only if there is at least somebody who is not inferior. But what if everybody is feeling inferior? Then are you inferior? Because inferiority is relative. If you are INF, he is INF, he is INF, he is also INF then you are no more INF. Because then you cannot be compared as inferior to anybody.

Listener: There are a lot of people who are below than me.

Speaker: It is not a question of ‘below’; it is a question of being on the same boat, on the same page. The same feeling, that hunts you, that hurts you, hurts everybody. The situation may change, the comparison may change, but the feeling remains the same; I am? Inferior. The bench marks may change, but I am? Inferior.

So if everybody is inferior then are you inferior? Compared to whom? Everybody is on the same boat. The moment you realize this, that this mind is bound to play this dirty game because in playing this games it is able to protect itself, continue itself, continue the functioning of the ego. Then you will not take yourself to be especially unfortunate. If we are unfortunate then all of us are unfortunate.

Everybody is suffering from the same disease. So, if you are diseased then you are atleast not especially diseased. If you are diseased then you are not the chosen one. What is happening to you is the fate of mankind. What is happening to you is the very structure of the mind. When you look at this, when you agree to this, when you submit to this; that this is bound to happen. I look at someone who is taller, more handsome, I immediately get that feeling. I look at somebody who is earning more than me, I immediately get that feeling.

Now, you know that this feeling is such an automatic thing and happens to everybody. You cannot give it great weightage, you cannot then carry it around with you. Then it stops meaning anything to you. These are two different things. For a thing to disappear and from a thing to remain, yet not mean anything to you. If you are looking for disappearance it will never happen because your appearance, your being, is related to that thing. Till the time you are there, the mind will keep playing its games, till the last breath. But it is possible that these games may stop meaning the world to you. Now, they do not mean much to you.


For example, there is so much in this room. Just because I am talking; the things, the articles in this room have not disappeared; they are still there. But do they mean anything to you right now or do they? So, jealousy is sitting in that corner, comparison is sitting on the top of this platform, attraction and repulsion are there inside those drawers, noise is there from that AC. All of these are still there. Not that they have disappeared, the game is going on but the game does not mean anything to you. And because you know that these will be here, so you are not resisting it either. Are you resisting them?

You have submitted to the game, it will continue. In fact it is foolish to think that the game stops because if all the articles in this room disappear, you too will disappear. You too are just an article. So it is foolish to have that kind of a wish. That let all the bad thoughts from within my mind disappear. If all the bad thoughts disappear, then you too disappear because you are just a thought. Let them be there, poor things, why do you want to be so revengeful?

“Good thoughts are chasing away bad thoughts. And then good thoughts kill the bad thoughts and feel guilty. Oh! Right now we murdered somebody. Now, good thoughts have become bad thoughts”. (laugh) Why do all this stupidity?

 The game continues. The AC continues to make this whirling sound, the game continues. The game continues to do what it does and you continue to do what you do. Let the game continue. Even as you are sitting here things are happening in your body or are they not? Have you stopped breathing? Do you know so much has happened in your intestines even as you have been sitting? So, game is continuing, the game is continuing and you too are continuing. Let, the game continue.

Or will you say that, “I am so impure, my intestines are full of stinking material. How can I enter this sacred room?” Right now, if there are thirty people inside this room, there is at least thirty kilogram of excreta in this room. The game continues. Game continues and we also continue. Should we not? Or will you go and purge yourself first.

So, accept your inferiority. I am inferior, yes. Now, what to do, tell me? Yes, I am inferior. Who am I?

Listener: Inferior. (laugh)

Speaker: Inferior. Thank you so much. Now tell me what is next. If we are done with this topic, can we move on? I am inferior, thank you. We have Anubhav (pointing to one of the listeners) here and I shout from my place, “Mote (Obese)” and he immediately responds. Yes I am obese, now what? (laugh) Why should I contest that? It is okay I accept it. I am fine. I am inferior. He does not come and say, “Look, who is talking?” (Pointing towards himself)


Everybody is on the same boat, we feel as if we are specially disadvantaged.

It is okay. Let the mind play its games. And rest assured it plays the same game even with those whom you consider?

Listener: Superior (in chorus)

Speaker: Superior. They are victim of exactly the same game. The richest man in the world feels inferior. So there is no point at which you can get rid of this feeling. And if you have to get rid of it, you can get rid of it, right now. By not allowing it mean much to you. Right?

Listener: Sir, how to overcome from people’s judgment? How to get out of the thought that they are judging you?

Speaker: No, they would be judging you all the time. So, what can you do? Let them judge. In fact you can go and ask for their judgment. So, now that I have come to you, instead of talking behind my back you can just tell me, directly, simply. What is your judgment? What is the next abuse you have invented for me? Let them say all that they have to. Take it in a bag, bring it out and then empty the bag.


Was there ever a time, ever an age, when people were not judgmental?

What kind of a utopia are you dreaming?

~ Excerpts from a Clarity session. Edited for clarity.

View the Session at: Prashant Tripathi: Why does one suffer from inferiority complex?

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