How to become a child again? || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, how to become a child again?

Speaker: The child is there, let it loose. Why do you cage it? Why do you suppress it? Why must you act so mature and grown up? Why must your face be so thoughtful? Why must you appear so serious and absorbed? Why cannot you act a little stupid?

There is a difference between being childish and being childlike. The child is innocent but not stupid.  Do you understand the difference between innocence and stupidity? My teacher once said to me, “Bholepan mein aur bhondupan mein antarr hota hai” (There is a great difference between being innocent and being stupid). The child is bhola (innocent).

Here is a simple key to follow. If your thought stands in great opposition to something, then there is a fair chance that it is opposing nobody else but the child. Even action seems like coming to you but your entire defense mechanism starts opposing it. Then pause for a while and inquire, it is quite likely that it is the child that is being opposed.

The mind and its stuff is what has come to you in the process of growing up. This is the parent that is sitting here (pointing towards his head). In psychology one of the basic things that they teach you is the three ego states. So there is a parent ego state that sits here (pointing towards his head). Obviously, there is another one, the adult state.


It is alright to not to be respectable. It is alright to not have all those things that grown up, mature ones are supposed to have. It is alright to sometimes just run naked like a child. It is alright sometimes even to harm yourself a little, or let the harm come to you. It is alright to wonder what the whole thing is about.

Somebody has said, “You are grown up when you are again a child”. See where you are right now; both at the point of growing up and the point of regaining the inner child. Right now most of us are in a very intermediate state. Nor are we adults and neither are we kids. And I am saying, that you will either get both of these together or you will not get any of them. Real maturity comes with regaining the child. You will have to be an adult and a child together. You cannot be one of them. A really grown up man is the one who is again a kid. Most people never grow up, neither do they remain kids nor do they become men and women. They get stuck at the psychological age of around 13 or 14, which is a no where stage. And that is called being childish.

Very serious kids I have. It seems you are double my age. (smiles)

Listener: Sir, we have been told that our Heart does the unconditioned thinking and our mind does the conditioned ones. So if you remove all the conditioning, it comes on to instincts and that also we have gained from the ancestors. So what exactly does the term ‘unconditioned thinking’ mean?

Speaker: Instincts are a part of the mental stuff. Whether you gained it from the society today or whether it is the part of ancient baggage, it is there in mind. The Heart is none of that. It is a popular misconception that when conditioned thought is removed, then one operates on the basis of instincts. It is not so. In fact, you cannot remove thought till the point instincts are there because every thought requires the foundation of an instinct. Thoughts and instincts go together. When it is conscious, you call it thought. When it is not so conscious, you call it instinct. The Heart is neither thought nor instinct nor intuition. It is a different thing all together, unreasonable, joyful, very wise and equally stupid, exhilarating and dangerous. That is why people choose to avoid the Heart. They say, “Fine we can live without exhilaration, we can live without joy, we can live without ecstasy but we cannot live with danger.  We want safety”.

How many of you want safety?


~ Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

 Prashant Tripathi: How to become a child again?

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