Self-improvement is a decoration of the disease || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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Question: If I want to improve, that means I am a certain person, which means I have labelled myself to be a certain person and I want to be like a certain person . . .

Acharya Prashant: And this certain person that you want to be is chosen by the person that you are, or have imagined yourself to be.

Listener: Yes.

AP: Right. You’re a drunkard; you are lying in a ditch and now you choose another destination for yourself. What would that destination be?

L1: Next ditch.

AP: The next ditch! So, self-improvement is therefore such a foolish thing. Who is the self that wants to improve? The same self that you do not like. If you do not like this self and if you want to change or improve, then how can you select or trust a destination determined by this very self that you dislike?

L2: Is it not so that the mind has two parts. One part of it is sick and the other part is smart enough to see and cure the sickness?

AP: You are one; and the proof that you are sick is that you think of yourself as two, or twenty.

Remember that there is only the Self – that needs no improvement – and the mind – that can have no improvement.

Who are you trying to improve exactly? Exactly who would improve?

For the mind, there can only be dissolution, not improvement. And the atman cannot improve anymore. It’s already perfect. So who exactly are you trying to make better?

L3: Does improvement not facilitate or lead to dissolution?

AP: Dissolution just is. It does not ride on the vehicle of improvement. Improvement will not make dissolution any easier. In fact, the pretext of improvement keeps dissolution away and away, and faraway.

What are you doing? “Improving!”

Now? “Well I am still improving.”

Have you ever called up somebody who is late and late? What answers do he keep giving?

I am. . .

L1: Coming.

AP: What does ‘I am coming’ mean?

L4: Haven’t arrived.

AP: You see, I call you up. Your time to arrive at BodhSthal is 10:30 AM. 11:30 AM, I called you up. I don’t know where you are; you don’t say, “I am not at BodhSthal.” Never do I receive the response, “I am not there.” The response that I get is: “I am coming.”

So, this ‘I am coming’ is an equivalent of . . .

L5: Not there.

AP: Not there. You just don’t want to be honest. So, you are saying ‘I am coming’ – and you keep coming. You are coming since centuries. When will you come? When exactly have you planned to come? In fact, you have planned with great determination to . . .

L6: Not to come.

AP: Because you are not coming, so you say, “I am coming.”

Keep coming . . . keep improving.

L7: So Sir, behind this dishonesty, there is certainly the fear of the pleasure coming to an end.

AP: You don’t have any pleasures; it is just that you have named some of your fears as pleasures. And you have learned that those fears that are named as pleasures are something important; and you have learned that what is important must be conserved. Have you ever seen how much your pleasures make you suffer? You don’t have any pleasure; all you have is suffering.

L7: But, dishonesty is such that even after seeing the fact of the matter, I still run after them.

AP: No, you are not seeing it.

L7: How do I see it?

AP: Seeing is always then and there. ‘Seeing’ is not an intellectual or memory based exercise.

“I screwed up yesterday and I am seeing now” – now this is no seeing.

L8: Seeing now means changing immediately.

AP: Immediately!

The action would change. It’s like asking somebody a false question; and the question is: “Why do I ask false questions?” It’s like being dishonest about the question that you are asking, and the question itself is about being honest.

What’s going on?

If seeing happens, it happens within the moment.

There, the question will change, the life would change, and actions would change.

You no more continue to act in the same groove.

Understand this: seeing is not introspection – “Later on, I closed my eyes and found out that I was wrong, so I am apologizing.”

What is going on?

~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session.Edited for clarity.

Watch session video: Prashant Tripathi: Self-improvement is a decoration of the disease

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  1. Dear Sir then kindly tell us is there any way that seeing happens or it is random or it has no ways because my mind fills with great fear when I try not to do anything then my mind asks me how the life will go what will u do and many more and Sir the more I try to settle the things the more I got entangled in my life,


  2. Hari Om Prashant ,

    While I do agree with what you say about improvement , I humbly feel that till such time we are in this body constant improvement is an integral part which alone helps us know , who we are . It is not just about materialistic or spiritual improvement , as there is nothing to improve , when we know the true state. However in this case improvement is chiselling out all the irrelevant parts that ultimately leads us to our own swaroop . It is like Being encompassing Becoming , too .Would love to have further enlightenment .

    Yoga Sharan


    1. Yogasharan ji,

      All the irrelevant parts that need to be chiselled out are the ones that firstly came to the person due to his urge for self-improvement.

      No self-improvement, no irrelevant parts.

      It is the feeling of incompleteness that leads to an accumulation of the irrelevant. Self-improvement is the other name for that feeling.


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