Externally you may be comparable but Essentially you are beyond comparison || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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

Question: Sir, why is comparison required for growth and what is the real meaning of comparison?

Speaker: Why is comparison required for growth and what is the real meaning of comparison. As we look at the world, all we see is things, objects, materials, and everything that we see with our eyes or think of with our mind has a definite shape, size and other characteristics. Right? It is limited. And whatever is limited, can be expressed as a number. Whatever you see around yourself can always be expressed as a number. Look around, you have this pillar.(Points out to a pillar in the room) This pillar will have a definite height, and a width, and a breath, and the color of the paint has a definite wavelength, right? And there is a definite strength of the pillar? And all of these things can be denoted through a number. Can they not be? You are sitting here and breathing and there is the air, and the air has a particular density, and the density can be expressed as a…?

Listeners: Number. 

Speaker: As a number! Look at your own body, your height, weight, blood pressure, composition of your bodily fluids, all of them can be captured in numbers, right? Is that not so? And wherever there are numbers, comparison is simply a fact. Somebody is five feet seven inches, and somebody else is five feet ten inches. Obviously ten is greater than seven. So, that is a fact and that is alright.

You have one particular temperature and there is another temperature and second temperature is higher than the first one. So, the world that we live in is a world of comparison because this is a world of definite material, shapes, sizes and other properties; all material.  Is that clear? So comparison, as a fact, is alright. In fact it is inevitable. Comparison is inevitable. There is nothing wrong with comparison. The sun rises at one particular time today and tomorrow the sun is going to rise a minute earlier, and that is alright. It is a matter of knowledge, it is a matter of knowing. The size of the Indian Ocean, is less than the size of Pacific Ocean. That is alright. This is when comparison is merely a fact. There is nothing wrong with comparison. What is comparison? Merely a fact. Seventy is greater than sixty-five. This is just a fact. It’s alright. And in the world, everything is a number. Is it not? In this world, that we live in, everything is a number. So comparison is just a fact. But comparison can also become a psychological disorder. It can become a disease of the mind. Let us understand how.

You will have to be very attentive. When you look at yourself, there is height, weight, breathing rate, the rate of your heart beats, the complexion of your skin, the width of your shoulders, and all of these things can be expressed in numbers. Can they not be? Tell me, can they not be? If you go to a doctor, do you know how many numbers he can write about you? More than you can probably imagine. There are so many machines and they measures you on various parameters. And you, your body can be totally sized up in numbers and all numbers can be compared with another number. But can any doctor, any laboratory, any pathology, put numbers in terms of your peace, your understanding, your silence, your attentiveness, your love? Is it possible to put all these things in numbers? It is not possible. But a great problem starts when we look at ourselves, as if everything about us can be numerically expressed, and I said, wherever there are numbers, there is bound to be comparison.

If a man says that I am the one who earns thirty thousand, then we all know that thirty is less than forty. And if he has defined himself only in terms of that about him, which is a number, then he will live in inferiority complex. Remember, there is nothing wrong with comparison because thirty is indeed less than forty, but there is something wrong with the definition. He has said that “I am the one who earns thirty”. Are you getting it? You cannot define yourself only in terms of the material. But when you look at the mirror, all that you see is body, which is material. When you look at yourself in the mirror, everything that you see is a number. Is it or is it not? House-surgeon can open up your body and even there, everything that will be seen, will be a number. Will it be not? The length of your intestines! Is it not a number? Is it not a number? It is a number.

So, when you look at yourselves, with these eyes, you will only see numbers, and wherever there is number, there is bound to be comparison, and where there is comparison, there will be one higher and one lower. If A and B are compared, one is bound to be higher, one is bound to be lower. The moment you are declared lower, you will not feel good about yourselves. And you will always be lower, compared to something else. You might be a body builder but the size of your biceps will always be less than the size of somebody else’s biceps. Is that not so?

ComparisonSo comparison, which is just a fact in the material world, becomes a disease of the mind, when applied to the essence of human beings. When one human being looks at himself as a number and then compares himself to the other, then there is a problem. Then there is a problem.

You have to find That about yourself, which no number can capture. And you have to know That, that is the most valuable. Are you getting it?

I am not saying that whatever is comparable about you is of no value. It is obviously of value. So, you have your BP, diastolic-systolic, and they have to be compared to a particular benchmark in order to know whether your heart is alright or not. But that is not your introduction, that is not your identity, or will you want to say that “I am the one who has the right blood pressure”. Who are you? “The one with the right blood pressure”. How would that feel?

(Everyone bursts into laughter)

Are there things about you that are not really ‘things’? Is there something about you, which cannot be expressed in numbers; which is not in the plane of material objects? That is the really valuable thing and unless you are valuing That, living close to That, you will end up living in complexes, in a sense of incompletion, feeling restless.

“My house has two storeys, the neighbor’s house has three”- comparison. “My car is of ten lacs and the other one’s car is of fifteen lacs”- comparison. And the fellow knows no other way to look at himself. That is how he measures the worth of human being, by the size of his car. “My bank balance has X amount, his bank balance has one point five X amount”- comparison. And he is sulking, and he is sad and he wants to rise to one point five X, but numbers have no end; from one point five you will rise to four, from there to fourteen, from there to twenty four. Is there any final number? Whatever number you take, it can always be compared to that number plus one. And you will find that the number is smaller. Do you see how such a direct and simple thing as comparison can quickly become your neurosis? You know what neurosis is, ‘a mental disease’. And most of us live in this mental disease.

We do not know ourselves, we know ourselves only as numbers. “Who is he? Ah, he is a ‘sixty percentile”.  And who is he? He is the topper, the one with eighty percentile.” That is the only way we know people, through something that is numerical. Now, that is a great problem.

Know yourself as so vast as so immense that no number is large enough to contain you.

Are you getting it? I am not saying that comparison is bad; I am not at all saying that comparison is alright in its proper place. Let comparison be there in the world of material, let comparison be there in the world of facts and objects, but you are not merely material. If you want to look at your height, compare, there is nothing wrong with it. “I am five feet six inches tall and he is five feet seven inches”. It’s alright, you have compared. But do not measure your self-worth through comparison. Do you understand this? Obviously if you are getting sixty five marks and somebody is getting seventy marks, seventy is greater than sixty five, and you can easily compare. There is nothing wrong with that. But after comparing do not say that “I am smaller than the one who got seventy”, because seventy and sixty five are not representative of ‘who you are’.

Even if all numbers related to you are very small, very insignificant, you are still wonderful, unique, perfect and special. Your numbers might be terribly bad, but compare them and boldly declare that my numbers are bad. Your body might be sick, and when the body is sick, then all the machines in the lab will tell you that. Your numbers will be bad. In fact when the report will come from pathology, you will see that he has marked things in red. How does he mark things in red? By comparing your numbers.  So, what is your white blood cell count? He looks at that and he knows that there is a problem. It’s alright. The body is sick, as the number suggest but the mind is not sick. You must declare that “I am alright, even with a sick body, I am alright.”

So, you should know both. You should know the proper place of comparison in life. You must always know that. For example, you solved a problem in mathematics, on your own. And it’s wonderful when you apply your mind to something and give it your attention and solve it. So, there was a problem in mathematics and you solved it. And then somebody comes up and says, “Mate, I have a method for solving this problem which appears better, shorter and more efficient to me.” Do look at his methods, do look at his approach and do compare. Here, comparison is alright; comparison is alright. Do not then say that “Why should I compare, comparison is bad?”. No, comparison is not bad, compare! But also know that your power to understand is not a digit, not a number and there is no point comparing it. That within you, which realizes, is not to be compared, not to be talked about. So, even when you look at somebody else’s method, let that not be a judgment upon you.

“Yes, comparably your method is better but that does not mean that you are better and I am inferior. Your method is better, your marks are higher, but that does not mean that I am inferior. I am not denying that your marks are higher, obviously they are higher. I am not denying that your house is bigger, I am not denying that more people know you, but that does not mean that there is something wrong with me. High numbers or low, number or no number at all, I am immeasurable, I cannot be measured. No yardsticks can measure me up, size me up, nobody can take my stock.” Have that internal sureness within you. Go out boldly into the world, see where you stand, and then compare.

Compare boldly without fear. But after all the comparison, do not feel small, because you are not merely the material. You are more than the material. Material never understands anything.

Right now you are understanding what is happening, are you not? Had you been merely material, how could you understand what I am saying?

You talked about growth. In terms of external growth, comparison is helpful. So, do compare. But never compare the Essential! That would not be growth. You are underweight and you are taking medication to increase your weight and you keep comparing your weight with the last reading. Here it is good to compare. But do not compare the quality of your Love. Do not compare your intrinsic values. They are not things to be compared, no growth ever is needed there.

Growth is needed on the outside, and hence on the outside comparison is fine. But inside, no growth is needed because you are already perfect.

Have that sureness, have that certainty that “On the outside I might be having several shortcomings and everybody have the shortcomings on the outside, right? I might be having several shortcomings and I know those shortcomings through comparison. So I’ll compare fearlessly. But deep within, there is no need to compare because everything is good and fine. Essentially I am perfect.” Is this clear?

Listeners: Yes Sir.

Speaker: “Yes, I did not pass a particular exam, so I can compare myself with those who passed. I can look at their answer sheets, I can look at how they have approached the whole thing.” Compare yourself but failure in examination does not mean that you do not have the ability to understand.

The ability is there; a perfect ability is there. It is just that, you did not allow the ability to take expression. Only expressions can be compared. Ability is incomparable. It is immeasurable. It is so vast and immense that there is no point trying to compare it. And you do not even know how able you are. Most of you have no sense of your great abilities. We live in a needless inferiority. Do you know how strong, capable, powerful and able you are? You do not know. You only have an idea of yourself, a concept of yourself, which is mostly a borrowed concept. And that concept tells you that you are limited, small and petty.

Getting it?

Listeners: Yes Sir.

Speaker: Alright!

Watch session at: Prashant Tripathi: Externally you may be comparable but Essentially you are beyond comparison The transcription has been edited for clarity.

Each one of us deserves the Truth. So, we made a conscious choice: to keep our work open for all, regardless of whether they can afford to donate.

A tremendous body of our work – around 10,000 videos, 3000 articles, and more – has been made freely available to all on the internet. Just one piece of statistic to put in perspective the magnitude of our charitable work: Around a million minutes of video content is consumed daily by our viewers on YouTube alone, absolutely for free.

This would not be possible without financial contributions from our audiences, who support our work from around the world.

We have upheld our independence in the face of the disintegration of genuine spirituality – with more and more contemporary spiritual content being just disguised commercialism, consumptionism, and egoism. We refuse to belong to any lineage or tradition, we refuse to identify with any ideology or community, nor do we pander to base sentiments to gain followership or financial assistance. This enables us to freely say the truth without inhibition.

Your financial support has meant we can continue to keep bringing you the truth and the undiluted essence of the scriptures. You have supported our independence, and we are grateful.

We need your support so we can keep bringing the truth to you. Any amount contributed by you towards our noble cause is valuable.

We need your support so we can keep bringing the truth to you. Support us from as little as $5 – it only takes a minute.

Donate via PayPal:

(In multiples of $5)


Or, you can donate an amount of your choice directly at our website.

To know more about Acharya Prashant and his work, click here.

To connect to  PrashantAdvait Foundation, call at +91-9650585100, or mail to requests@advait.org.in

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s