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Question: How do we know, with whom to stay and whom not to stay?
Acharya Prashant: Whosoever makes you feel free, must be there in your life. Whosoever brings freedom, must surely be in your life and whosoever creates bondages upon you, bondages of any kind either implicit or explicit, must not be welcomed at all.
Even to see whether what you are doing is in awareness or lack of awareness, you require freedom. Bondage cannot be a route to freedom, and remember this cannot be said to an 8 year old. An 8 year old sometimes requires to be told, to be lead but none of you is 8 years old. At your age, bondages have no place in life, at your age, the biggest disservice that can be done to you is to impose a particular code upon you. The only way you can be helped today is by setting you free, and whosoever does not set you free is not your friend but your enemy.
That enemy might be a hidden enemy, it may contain a name of a beautiful relationship, it may even appear to be sacred but it is an enemy nevertheless. Remember, no body accepts the bondage if he/she knows that it is a bondage. Nobody would accept to be chained if he knows that these are chains.
Why do we accept to be chained?
It is because chains come in lovely names.
Can a person sitting far from you create chains? Only the person very close to you can be your enemy. The person who is far away from you cannot put you in bondage. If I tell you I am going to enslave you, you will resist and run away with all you power. But you will not resist if I say that I love you and I am coming to you for emotional and sentimental reasons. Then all of you would willingly become slave, and that is the most deceptive and dangerous slavery; because you are willingly accepting, the slave will not even know that I am a slave. He will not realize that he is a slave and continue with the bondage.
Somerset Maugham has written a beautiful novel ‘Of Human Bondage’, it is a thick volume and the entire piece is the story of how a man lives in all kinds of chains all his life without realizing it. Sometimes in the name of duty, sometimes in the name of love, obligations, responsibilities, religion, sometimes in the name of social convention and we never realize it.
We must realize the moment we talk of bondage, the first name is of parents. Now I never said that parents are putting you in bondage, and I assure you there are parents who are wise enough to not to put their kids in bondage and only they are real parents, only they are real friends of their children. Other people do not realize that they are enemies of their children. It is not that there intention is not right, but they don’t realize, they don’t have the awareness.
They are acting like the enemies of their own kids, their intentions don’t matter, and it is the intelligence what matters. Somebody has said that ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Intentions do not matter, what matters is that you realize, whether you are aware; and parents are not aware because parents are first and foremost conditioned persons, human beings, as deeply conditioned as anybody else.
See, today you see yourself as ignorant, and you realize that we are not aware. Now given the age group you are in, you too can become parents. One year from today, if you decide, you can have a baby in your hand. Now will that change anything?
You are ignorant today and when the baby comes will you suddenly become wise just because you have produced a child?
Every animal on the roadside is producing a child, does that makes the animal wise?
Nature brings you to a particular age and in that age every specie reproduces, including human beings. Now what is so great about parents, but then you are conditioned to believe that if somebody is a father or mother, he would be divinely great, that he would be suddenly wise. There are teenage pregnancies where 16 year old becomes mother, does this makes her wise?
They are absolutely stupid, but the kid will grow up saying, ‘This is my mother and mother is incarnation of God.’ And that will just be conditioning.
You are an adult, parents are adults, and the only healthy relationship between an adult and another adult is that of friendship.
There is a Chinese proverb which says that, ‘When the father and the son start wearing shoes of the same size, then they are no more father and son. Then they must be friends.’
Now, the mother is an adult, the daughter is an adult, where is the question of mother and daughter?
These should be two ladies talking like friends, not dependent upon each other. Relating to each other in a loving and healthy way. But we do not have love in our relationships, we have bondages and where there is bondage can there be any love?
A chain is that which prevents your fundamental nature from expressing itself.
What is our fundamental nature?
It is to be joyous, it is to be free. Do you see any blade of grass, any animal, or a human child that likes bondage? This is the nature of the entire existence is. In the entire existence, freedom prevails except in human mind. The human baby is born free and then you teach the baby to remain in bondage which is alright, because the baby has to be a dependant till a particular age.
But the problem is most people get stuck at the mental age of 10 and 12 year old. Till 10 or 12 you remain little dependant, it is inevitable, it is obvious as the child does not know. Those who advocate bondages are mentally stuck at the age of 10 or 12.
After the onset of puberty, a different process must begin and that is the process of freedom. If the parents are really loving towards their kids they would initiate the process of freedom. Most parents do not do that, because they are not aware enough to do that. They treat their 18 year old just as an 8 year old. They think that my daughter is still 8 years old. They do not see the obvious that she is no more a girl, she is a woman and she needs to be treated like a woman.
Even the law says she is an adult, even the law allows her to elect the leader. The entire world and nature knows that you are an adult and you must be free, but parents will not see that. You have a driving licence, you are allowed to drink and marry, allowed to vote, to go abroad. In every matter of life you are now grown up and need to stand on your own feet, but parents do not realize this. Parents will not see that and the worst part is that we become so habituated to conditioning, that we start getting attached to our chains.
A prisoner who thinks that handcuffs are beautiful bangles can never be set free, who thinks the four walls of jail are walls of a beautiful palace will never go out of the jail and that is the deepest crime that can be done towards anybody.
There is only one way of looking at any relationship: Does it set me free?
When I am with that person do I get closer to myself or does he take me away?
These are the basics, whosoever is your friend will always bring you closer to yourself, your real nature of truth, of freedom and love.
Whosoever is possessive about you obviously does not love you, he does not brings you to yourself rather takes you away. Whosoever is attached to you, dependent on you or makes you dependent on himself, obviously he does not love you; because love is none of this and that person is not worth being with.
You can help that person, but that is another thing.
You cannot help a patient by becoming sick.
Our love is like ‘Gandhaari’ (a character from the Mahabharta Epic), if my husband is blind I will also chose to be blind but this is not the way.
Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.
Watch Full Discourse: How to identify the right company for oneself? || Acharya Prashant (2013)
To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.
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