Without an inner firmness, does one even exist? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: Acharya Ji, you said earlier that whatever emotions one goes through, like – anger, greed, sadness, jealousy – anything that we go through, one must examine it. I am examining it in relation to whichever object in front of me it is arising. Is this, what is – the observer, the observed, and the process of observation?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Explain.

Questioner: So, I see a luxury car in front of me, and there is greed arising out of me. I see a woman who is conventionally considered to be pretty, and there is lust arising out of me. Each of these emotions that are coming out, is in relation to the objects in front of me.

So  my understanding of this, and going more and more in depth of this, is that how it is going to work? And do I have to apply this to more and more objects?

Acharya Prashant Ji: The more you apply it, the more continuously you apply it, the more you see that you exist only in relation to objects.


The girl turns you a man, the car turns you a consumer. Who are you?

Questioner: In that moment, I am what that object turns me to. But that is not what ‘I am’.

Acharya Prashant Ji: How do you know?

Questioner: I am – Atman.

Acharya Prashant Ji: How do you know?

Unless you come to a particular firmness, the Atman is just fiction. Is it not?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Prashant Ji: So instead of dabbling in fiction, it is far better to acknowledge that – “I am just nobody. I am almost like a public space – available to all, open to all, being used, and misused, and trampled by all.”

‘The girl uses it, the car uses it. I am nobody, I belong to nobody. I have no identity. I am a public good. The car uses me to run over the place, the kid uses me as a playground. So many use me as an open space for waste disposal.”

“I have no firm name or identity. I become what the other wants me to become.”

‘The car manufacturer wants me to be buyer. So I look at his car and turn into a prospective buyer. The woman, consciously or sub-consciously, wants me to be an attending man. And I turn into an attending man as per her dictate.”

If you can realise and come to this utter helplessness, you will revolt against yourself. You will say, “No more of this.” You will then realise that all these inputs are actually assaults and invasions. And had you really been nobody, you wouldn’t have felt bad about it. A stone does not cry against slavery. Or does it?

If the fact of your enslavement curdles your blood, it means there is free-spirit in you.

But that free-spirit gets invoked, only when presented with the fact of slavery.

If you do not know that you are enslaved, your free-spirit remains dormant. Or if you keep presenting slavery itself as the free spirit, even then the free-spirit remains just asleep, peacefully.

For the free-spirit to rise, and act, and rebel, you have to first acknowledge to yourself that you are neck deep in slavery.

And then there is a contradiction between – the freedom of your spirit, and the fact of your slavery.

Now there is a conflict.

You need this conflict to arise.

You need an inner war.

Peace is great, but false peace, is deadly.

The seeker of peace must be present, and ready to forego false peace, and experience disquiet and turbulence.

Questioner: That’s tough.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Awakening begins with suffering.


Obviously, it is not going to be pretty, when moment after moment you are bombarded with the fact of your impotency and helplessness. Is it going to be pleasant? Not at all.

You would want to resist the fact, deny the fact. You would squirm and cringe. But the fact is for real, and therefore must not be denied. And when you admit and acknowledge that fact, there is bound to be an inner strife.

By spirit, you are free.

And in life, you are in bondage.

These two cannot go together.

Let there be a war.

Watch the session video: Without an inner firmness, does one even exist? || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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