Suffering is the disease in which the sickness becomes the doctor || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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Question: Sir, behind suffering there is pleasure. It is this pleasure after which we run. Is this what life is all about? 

Acharya Prashant: This feeling too is suffering.

You are saying there are three things:

  1. Pleasure.

      2. Suffering.

      3. The one who has feelings about the first two.

You are prepared to accept, at least in principle, that suffering is suffering, pleasure too is suffering; but you are not ready to accept, even in principle, that all your feelings about anything in the world are also suffering. You will not accept that 1 and 2 cannot exist without 3.

All this that you call as your comprehension and your suffering, your face right now which is struggling to understand, this face is suffering. All your efforts are suffering. That which you call as your understanding is suffering.

That you won’t accept, right? You are saying, “Yes, there is something called suffering out there. There is something called pleasure out there. And this here is me who is trying to make sense of both of them.” That is suffering. That is suffering. This too is suffering, please see. And that and that are no different from this. Which means that pleasure and suffering are nothing except your feeling about them. Which means there are not three things—pleasure, suffering and feeling—but just one—feeling. And the feeling is there for the feeler. So, there is just this one thing—the feeler, which is you. This you, this I, is the only problem, the only suffering.

You have great belief in your wisdom, right? Why couldn’t you simply say that “Even my feeling is suffering”? You are taking your feeling very seriously. “Sir, I feel that if I do not pursue pleasure, then life might not be worth living.” Did you say that this feeling too is nonsensical? You said, “Going after pleasure is foolish because going after pleasure means suffering”, but did you say that thinking the thoughts that you think is equally foolish? That you didn’t say, because you take your thoughts seriously. You have belief in your smartness. “I am the one who could comprehend the dualistic game of pleasure and suffering. I am the one who feels.” And of course, you feel that your feeling has some substance.

It is just the labeling that is fooling you. You call it pleasure, it fools you; and you call it your comprehension of the pleasure, it has fooled you again. You call it ignorance, it has fooled you; you call it knowledge, it has fooled you again. Call yourself deluded, you are fooled; call yourself arrived, you are fooled again. You come to me, “I want to get rid of suffering”, the question itself is the suffering. Get rid of the question. The question sustains the questioner, which is you. So, don’t ask the question, that is the only answer.

Where else is suffering?

An imagination?


Suffering lies in not knowing what is all this, and to whom is all this appearing—that is the simplest definition of suffering—Suffering lies in not knowing what is all this. So, you are coming and asking, “I want to get rid of suffering”, not knowing what this question is, and what is the relationship of the question with the questioner. This question itself is the happening—that happening which you are calling as suffering! Get rid of the question, the suffering is no more. But you have a great belief in your question, so you won’t drop it. You believe that suffering is somewhere else. When you say that ‘Right now I am asking a question about suffering’, you are saying that the disease is somewhere else. You say, “Right now this question is about the disease“, you will not accept that this question is the disease; and this question is persisting only because you think that this question is not the disease.

Why do you take your questions seriously?

Why do you take your understanding—so-called understanding—seriously?

Because you want to believe that at least some part of you is unconditioned, right? You want to claim that everything else might be decayed and rotten, but still some part of you is pure. That is one belief that you really, really want to hold. You would be very easily prepared to concede that “Life is rotten; well most of it!” You will not be prepared to say that “Every bit of it, every bit of it is steeped in suffering”.

Every single cell in the brain is conditioned, every single second of time is illusion, and if that is not known, that condition is called suffering.

Suffering is the disease in which the patient does not know that he is not sick; suffering is the disease in which the sickness becomes the doctor.

It disappoints, right? Every single bit of you is false. Without exception.
“Can I have just one exception?”
“Just a little bit?”
No, no.
“Maybe everything else is fake, but my God is not fake. Kindly spare him at least.”
No, no, no, sorry! Your god is as fake as you, because he is your god. You, well you, how can you have a real God?
“Sir, I have lied all the time, to everybody, in all situations; but I assure you, my ‘love’ is not a lie.”
That cannot happen, baby. Sorry, that cannot happen. All means all, A.L.L.

That is why while listening, you must not try to act smart or wise. You must not try to think, compare, analyse or whatever. Thought is the product, the substance of your conditioning. And when you are listening, you are listening with the hope of a medicine. Are you not?

How can you take these two together?

Do you take a medicine along with your own excreta?

What kind of prescription would that be?—“Take this syrup. Mix it in your own urine. And then drink it.”

Thought is your own shit, full of all the infections that you have.

You want to mix the medicine in the infection? You want to mix the words of the Teacher with the disease? You want to use thought to analyze what the Teacher is saying? You want to take a shot of antibiotic rolled in your own puss? Thought is your puss!

Listener 1: Yes, it’s true. Thought itself is the illness. But if the thought breaks on a wall, then it’s also a way out.

AP: The wall itself is thought.

L1: Yes, thought comes as a question,  it breaks, and is no more.

AP: The breaking itself is thought. Being no more is also a thought. Say anything which is not a thought. ‘Something’ is also a thought.

L1: Yes, only if you accept it.

AP: Acceptance, Sir, is also a thought. When you are not thinking, is there anything called acceptance?

L1: Yes. When we accept without exception. Simply be.

AP: Sir, ‘Simple’, ‘Being’, ‘Without’, ‘This’, ‘That’—do any of these come to you when you are not thinking? You were sleeping peacefully a while back. ‘Simple’, ‘But’, ‘Exception’, ‘Thought’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘This’, ‘That’, ‘And’, ‘Without’, ‘Within’—were any of these there then? When you were sleeping, were any of these there? All of these are thoughts. But just as we said a while back, one thing we definitely want to maintain: “Some part of me is real. Some part of me is not thought”. You will not see that this ‘me’ was not there when you were sleeping. This ‘me’ is just this particular state of consciousness.

So, don’t try to heal the ‘me’. Don’t act as the healer. The ‘me’ itself is the disease.

Watch the session video:Acharya Prashant: Suffering is the disease in which the sickness becomes the doctor The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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