Your one and only responsibility || Acharya Prashant (2016)


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Listener 1: The question of responsibility—Whether we are responsible for our actions or they are just happening. If life is happening as it is then how can we be responsible for our actions?

AP: No, you are responsible. You are responsible to let it happen through you. Your only responsibility is towards the Truth. That is your first and only responsibility to let it happen. You are greatly responsible. Who says you are not responsible?

L1: Sir for example: There is a friend of mine who behaves in a very provocative way to men and the men also want to seduce her but whenever someone tries to come close to her she becomes very restricted and says, ‘I don’t want any relationship’. I said, ‘You behave in a way which attracts men towards you’, but she says, ‘I am not doing anything, it is just happening’. So she causes a lot of grief to a lot of men.

AP: You know there is the ordinary woman who is seen as a seductress, as being provocative, if suppose she behaves in a particular way. And here in Kashmir, we have had a woman who walked absolutely naked and she was the most beautiful woman. She walked naked when she was young and she has revered as a saint.

Is it the behaviour that is the cause of the grief?

It is the center from where it comes. One could be walking totally naked on the streets and yet be arousing only the element of the divine in the heart of those who look at you. So it is not as if the act is spontaneous and not deliberate. Kindly remember that when the action is not happening by you, then you would also never suffer the fruits of the action. And if you are suffering the fruits of the action, rest assured that you were the doer.

L1: So, in that case is she doing nothing?

AP: She is just not aware of what is actually happening. I have no objections to anybody walking even naked. But if, as a result of walking naked you find that you are suffering then it only means that you were the doer of the nakedness.

L1: What if other people are suffering because of the act done by one.

AP: You don’t have to be worried about that. You know your concern is not that the other people are suffering; instead, your concern is that the other suffering people can do something to you. So ultimately you are concerned about yourself. We do so much that causes suffering to the world, but as long as the suffering world doesn’t retaliate, we are okay with it.

You must think about it— Is it the grief of the other men that bothers you or is it the presumed action of those grieving men that bothers you? You don’t have to think about others instead pay attention only to your suffering. I am repeating- If I am suffering as a result of my acts then it is a proof that I was the doer of the act.

Only when you are the doer, do you receive the fruits of what has been done.

Only when you are the actor, you receive the fruits of the action.

If you are receiving the fruits then it is a proof that you did it. Now you don’t say, ‘No, it just happened in the flow, I didn’t do it. It happened through me’—Nonsense. You did it. You might not have been conscious of it but you did it. Better pay attention as to how you did it.

L1: Sir if it happens through me then what about the fruits?

AP: The fruits don’t come.

L2: So in the case of the beautiful women- she was the doer?

AP: There was always a hidden intention—may be talking to someone, may be getting noticed or may be being more acceptable, may be attracting attention.

L3: Sir isn’t it just the human connection.

AP: It is not called human connection, it is called feeding the ego—’Ah! People are looking at me’. Every woman knows about it.

L4: I think there is generally some amount of sexual vibration that is there in the communication between men and women, maybe consciously or unconsciously but if somebody tells you or you yourself realize what is happening then you really have to make a decision as to how to do things or what would be your next move.

AP: Yes. You see, in India, we’ve had male saints who’ve walked totally naked and they had beautiful bodies. We have had Mahavir and the other Jain Gurus and we even had beautiful women who walked without a single piece of cloth on them. They didn’t take a decision not to wear something because it offends social morality or it causes disturbance to men. They didn’t decide that. It is just that when you are as innocently naked as a child then everything is alright. But you have to be as innocently naked as a child. Not naked as a seductress. Then it is in some way is similar to – if I may use the word – prostitution.

L5: How do we deal with sex then?

AP: You don’t have to deal with sex, let the body deal with sex.

If you deal with sex then you’ll only enter into pornography. When man deals with sex then what does he do? He does a lot of things. You have nothing to do with sex. It is the body- its hormones, its desires, its actions, its urge to reproduce that has to do something with sex. Let the body take care of sex, why are you worried?

Now, you cannot figure this out. You cannot put this in an image. You may be trying to think that what does that mean? When a woman comes in front of me then what am I supposed to do? You have to do nothing.


Things will itself happen, and when they happen then don’t block them. The body knows, the mind knows, why don’t you trust them? Have faith. It’s like asking—what I have to do with thirst? What you have to do with thirst? When the body needs water then the brain knows and then the hand moves and then the intellect figures out that from where to get the water, and then you drink water. What do you have to do with all this business?

The body cells start losing water. What happens then? A signal goes to the brain. And what does the brain activate? The faculty of intellect. And what does intellect do? It searches for water. And what do the hands do? They move and take the glass of water. Then what does the throat do? It gulps down the water. Now where are you in all this? Why are you worried?

L6: We carry bottles with us to make sure we get water when we need.

AP: Let the hand carry the bottle.

Let material carry material.

L5: I don’t get it.

AP: You don’t have to get it. Let the hand get it.


And the hand already has it. So all this is not needed. Do you see any animal, do you see anything, even the tiniest blade of grass worried about water. They know what water is. They know that they will get water. Only man is so afraid that he plans.

L4: Sir, a man is sitting and a beautiful woman is passing by and then automatically he puts a hand on her to harass her.

AP: How do you know? Don’t imagine.

Is it not an insult to the divine within us to say that we are so stupid that if we don’t keep a control on ourselves then we’ll just start groping every woman we come across.

L5: But if you leave it to the body then it might be.

AP: It might not be. Just as you are saying that it might be then it might not be. Why not see what happens, why guess? Have you ever let yourself free? If you’ve never let yourself free then how do you know what will happen?

Just as you are saying that it might be then it might not be. Why not see what happens, why guess? Have you ever let yourself free? If you’ve never let yourself free then how do you know what will happen?

L6: But it does happen. Then in those cases what is the happening then?

AP: In which case? Is it happening in your case? If it is not happening in your case then just let it be. Let it happen. When you start controlling yourself then sex gets suppressed and then there is rape. The ones who have preached all the sexual morality, they are the ones who are causing so much of rape otherwise, in animals, there is hardly any rape.

Only because you say that I will decide when to approach a woman, whether or not to touch her according to a particular code of conduct and morality then what you get is distorted sexual relationships. Then even a ‘Hello’ or a ‘Goodbye’ is steeped in sexuality. Have you seen that?

You go to a shop to purchase a toothpaste and you ask for a toothpaste and the shopkeeper is offering you all his manliness. You asked for toothpaste and he is prepared to put his manliness in your hand. Now, this is the result of all the suppression that happens. And you have a lot of it in India. I am concerned if even non-Indians are advocating it.

Watch the session video:Acharya Prashant: Your one and only responsibility The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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