How do I know if I am acting from the right center? || Acharya Prashant (2016)


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Questioner: Sir, you had told us about the right center. At times, I can see the action that should be taken but am not able to find out whether that action is coming from the right center or is it coming from the past. What should I do then?

Acharya Prashant: The attempt to know that the right center is indeed the right center, gives birth to the false center.

You are to follow, you are not to ascertain. When the command comes, you follow it; you do not sit and question it. The moment you question the command, you are already disobedient.

Whenever somebody will try to determine whether he is operating from the right center, he is already at the wrong center.

Whenever you will try to be sure of yourself, you are already quite unsure.

How does then one live by the right center?

As the winds live, as the leaf dances in the wind, it doesn’t think twice. Comes the wind, comes the dance, it doesn’t try to be sure whether dancing is appropriate. The moment you try to be certain, you will only come up with all kinds of mischief, a thousand arguments will arise. They will convince you that something else is right and the opportunity for right action would have been lost.

It’s an order, obey it instantaneously. As the scriptures say, “Let there be light” and when it is said “Let there be light” light doesn’t come after 2 hours. Let there be light and there is light. You don’t pause to think. You don’t pause to be sure. You don’t say, ‘Okay I’ll sit over the matter, I’ll chew and then if I find things alright then I’ll oblige’.

You simply let yourself be drawn in.

The second center is the center of conditions, the center of ifs and buts. The right center is the center of unconditional obedience. Done! No gap between your command and my action and when this gap keeps shrinking, ultimately you find that the commander is the actor.

By being a total slave, you do not even realize that you have become a total Master.

The commander says, ‘Do’, the slave says, ‘done’.

The commander again says, ‘Do’, the slave says, ‘done’.

And ultimately the do and the done become one. So the commander and the slave are one now and that is the right center — do – done; do – done; do – done. Now where is thought in this? Cause and effect have shrunk into one. Where is thought? Where is the space and the time to think?

Q: Sir, in this, can it not  happen that an impulse is arising out of us, which in turn, is coming from the conditioning?

AP: If it is arising from an impulse, what can you do with the impulse?

Q: We indulge in it.  

AP: What is the other thing that you can do? Because you really believe that something else is possible, what else can you do?

Q: Think.

AP: Think, and suppress it or enter into some kind of opposite action, different action, right? This is what you call as self control, correct? Who is the other one who is acting? Is the other one not just another apparently different impulse?

One influence is there on your mind, you call it an impulse. Another influence is there on your mind, you call it the Wise-decider, the adjudicator. Don’t you see that this other one is another impulse?

And this other one requires not your support. It’s a funny thing — wherever the first one will rise, the second one will rise in opposition. You feel that you are the one who is promoting the second one. No, you are not promoting the second one, and you are only identified sometimes with the first one and sometimes with the second one.

You feel a desire to eat a pizza — you call it an impulse. Right? At this moment who is the desirous one? You.

Now, the desire is there, you are identified with that desire. Along with the desire to eat pizza, simultaneously, also arises something else – the end of the desire, the opposite of the desire, which is there even when the desire comes in the first place; but you are identified only with the desire and not with the other part.

Now, having ordered the pizza, you start feeling that, ‘Did I do the right thing? Am I not getting over weight? Am I not yielding to my desires and you start feeling as if this is something new that is happening’. You say, a moment back there was the impulse and now there is a different thought, even a corrective thought. No, it is just that now you are identified with the other end of duality. A little while back you are identified with that one, now you are identified with this one. The fact is: even if you are not identified, these two will continue their mutual play.

Try that.

Even if you are not identified, these two will continue their mutual play. The body has its rhythms, the mind too has its rhythms, they wax and wane, they rise and fall. You only have to see that this is happening and seeing that this is happening is not about not letting it happen.  The desire will come and the end of desire will also come. The end will be no real end and again the desire will rise and again it will fall.

You just don’t need to feel obliged to play a part in any of this. You have no responsibility to check it, control it, correct it. This goes on. Leave it to itself. When you have left it to itself then you are free to realize what it is. This freedom and this realization is your nature, this is what you are.

Till the time you feel a responsibility to interfere with what is going on, you will never understand what is going on.

Does your neighbour not order pizza and after the pizza have you not at least sometimes seen him regret? Your neighbour has ordered the pizza and thereafter, your neighbour is regretting the pizza. When he is ordering the pizza, do you go to support him? When he is regretting, do you go to console him? No. Then why do you feel responsible to do that in your own case? Why can’t you laugh and tell everybody “Do you know I just ordered a pizza.”

Maybe that changes something, maybe that does not change anything. If that changes something you could then say “Oh, cancelled the order” If that does not change anything you say “Oh, ordered the pizza, ate the pizza, enjoyed it” Or if you feel a tinge of remorse, then you could say “Oh, I don’t know why I ordered it.”

It’s going on, it’s happening.

Listener 2: Sir what would be the action in this case?

AP: The action happens on its own, the action is happening all the time.

L2: Sir, was the pizza ordered or not?

AP: The actor is ordering the pizza, let him order. He may cancel, he may enjoy, he may have pleasure, he may regret.

This puzzled look on your face, do you know what it is asking?

‘Now what is my role in all this? Tell me something to do, yes of course, all that is happening but I am so unemployed, give me some occupation.’


You need not be occupied. Did your desire take your permission to come? It has come on its own, so let it play out on its own. You know we are like that overly hospitable host who becomes anxious when unannounced guests arrive.

‘Did I invite you to come? Now, that you have come arrange yourself!’

Anybody here who invites his desires? Do your thoughts take your permission to come? So the thoughts have come now let them play out. Why must you start meddling with them. But you feel an obligation, “Oh, these are my thoughts.” Are they your thoughts? And if you wanted them to come then you should also be able to ask them to go away. Try!

Neither do you call them nor do you see them off, all happens on its own, you only make a mess of your life. Thought came, thought departed and you have been rolled over for no gain, no purpose, and no sense.

We have no obligation towards thoughts.

We have no obligation towards influences.

And when you don’t have these obligations, that is realization.

You don’t have to be involved in all of this.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How do I know if I am acting from the right center?

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