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Mortals wander lost and confused through countless lifetimes;
their fear of death is never removed.
Says Nanak, vibrate and meditate on the Lord,
and you shall dwell in the Fearless Lord. ||33||
I have tried so many things,
but the pride of my mind has not been dispelled.
I am engrossed in evil-mindedness, Nanak.
O God, please save me! ||34||
Childhood, youth and old age –
know these as the three stages of life.
Says Nanak, without meditating on the Lord, everything is useless;
you must appreciate this. ||35||
You have not done what you should have done;
you are entangled in the web of greed.
Nanak, your time is past and gone;
why are you crying now, you blind fool? ||36||
~ Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, Salok Mahalla
Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1428
Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam. I am entangled in the web of greed. Now I am seeing this, and it is painful to watch all this evil. I love Lord, and feel like that these are obstacles on the way to Lord. I am seeing myself helpless.
Acharya Ji, please put some light on this. Thank you.
Acharya Prashant Ji: The first part that you are saying is that the pride of your mind has not been dispelled. Then you saying, that you are helpless.
Asha (questioner), one general rule is that if one were really helpless, then one would be suffering-less as well.
Please understand this.
When you are really helpless, when you are really helpless then there is no suffering left, because to be really helpless is to be with an undivided consciousness.
A consciousness with no choices, no options – that is ‘helplessness’.
Suffering is there not as a result of helplessness, but as a result of dishonesty.
The corpse is helpless, does it suffer? Have you seen a corpse? Have you seen how helpless it is? You put it on the ground, does it complain? You twist it’s arm, does it complain? You spit on it’s face, does it complain? It might be a King’s corpse, you call it foul names, does it complain? That’s helplessness. It does not complain, and it does not suffer.
If there is actual helplessness, it is the actual end of all suffering.
And here you are, and you are saying that there is lot of suffering in your life. There is pride, there is greed, there is pain, there is evil, there are obstacles on the way to Lord, and then you are saying that you are helpless.
You are not helpless. In fact, you are suffering because of your guilt.
‘Guilt’ is suffering.
You know what is ‘guilt’?
Guilt is when you are actually the culprit.
Guilt is, when you are doing something wrong, and you know that.
If inadvertently, totally, without your involvement, or cooperation, something happens, then you are not guilty. Are you?
‘Guilt’ is when with your consciousness, with your approval, with your involvement, you are still letting evil to happen, actually abetting it.
That is when you are ‘guilty’.
And all suffering is guilt.
You cannot suffer without being guilty.
Existence is not unjust, in this dimension.
If you find yourself suffering, know that you are guilty.
Don’t say that you are helpless, you are guilty. And you are willingly guilty. There is much that you can do. Alright, there is at least something that you can do. You are not doing it. Or there is much that you can stop, or there is something that you can stop, but you are not stopping it. So you are guilty.
There is something within your power that you are not letting happen, and therefore you are being eaten away from inside. Therefore something is gnawing at your mind. You are not able to pardon yourself.
Some people call it ‘the conscience’.
It is not ‘the conscience’, it is the ‘guilty consciousness’.
Even in those situations, that we call as ‘utterly woeful’, ‘utterly hopeless’, if we just do that which we are capable of doing, would there be space, and opportunity, and time, to despair?
You are fighting a hopeless battle, let us say. You know very well that the result is pre-ordained. The enemy outnumbers you, thousand is to one. But, if you do what you must, where is the time to suffer? Is there time to suffer?
In fact, the more adverse a situation is, the more impossibly adverse a situation is, the less is the time it leaves you with to despair.
Do you see that?
If you were fighting a easy battle, probably you would have somehow manage to steal away some time to sneak in a corner, and despair, and call yourself, ‘helpless’, ‘luckless’, and many other such things. Right? But if the enemy is overwhelming you, two-thousand is to one, will you really honestly be able to find time to sneak away in a corner, and weep about your fortune or misfortune?
On the one hand you say, “The situations are very-very bad,” on the other hand you say, “O! I am suffering so much.”
If the situation is so bad, it is good news. If the situation is so very adverse, it will leave you fully occupied. All your time and energy will be then consumed in responding to the humoungess-ness of the situation.
The house is burning, do you have time to cry and complain? Do you have time? What would you do? You would be running around, doing your best, just to quell the fire.
Do the utmost that you must do in any situation, and you will find that there is just Joy of right action.
Wails and tears are for those who are guilty of abdicating their responsibility.
If you are fulfilling your responsibility, your responsibility will consume you fully.
It will extract the last bit of energy out of you.
Even to weep, you require some energy; even to complain, you require some time.
If you are really dedicating all your energy rightly, how are you left with energy to weep?
If you are managing to shed tears, it only means that you are a thief.
You have stolen away some energy, and reserved it for weeping and tears.
I know what I am saying is harsh.
Here you are Asha (questioner), coming to me seeking succor and salvation. You would have probably expected some sympathy from me. Instead of that, I am labeling you as ‘guilty’. But I am interested in dousing the fire. I don’t want to sit alongside you and assist you with your tears.
The house is burning, you are busy weeping. You want me to offer you tissue paper? You want me to supply you with handkerchiefs? You want me to partake in the farce?
When soldiers return from battlefield, you know, the first thing they do is to find out their injuries. Because if the soldier is really a soldier, it is quite likely, he won’t even know of his injuries.
You were playing soccer that day. Does it not happen, that after the game is over, you come to see that the knee has been bleeding? Did that not happen to you as kids? After you return home, having enjoyed the evening fully in that rough and uneven patch of land, that you would call ‘the football ground’, Muma would locate you, put her hands on the mouth, and would say, “What have you done?” and you would look at her and say, “What have I done?”
And then you would look at the place she is looking at, and then you would find that the socks are all soaked in blood. And you don’t even know that you have hurt yourself so badly, that you have been oozing blood since the last half an hour. Why? Because you were doing what you were to do as a committed player.
You didn’t really even know that you are hurt.
There are so many stories where the soldiers didn’t even know of a bullet sitting in their body. The bullet is in the shoulder, and the soldier doesn’t know of it. Obviously if the bullet is in the brain, the soldier wouldn’t even need to look at it. But if it is in the knee, or in the leg, or in the hip, then the soldier keeps fighting on. Many hours later he discovers that there is too much blood.
What is happening?
Why don’t you fight Asha (questioner). It’s been few months now, and your posts are all full of an assumed, and probably convenient helplessness.
Fight, and perish fighting.
If you win, glory is yours.
If you perish, at least all suffering is gone.
Is that not a great way to live?
Fight, and fight so hard that you either win, or perish.
Watch the session video: Are you really so helpless? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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