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Question: How to deal with childhood mental and sexual abuse, which makes a deep impact on one’s mind? Do these things happen due to past life karma?
Acharya Prashant Ji: If I tell you that they indeed happen due to accumulated actions from the past, past life, what would you do? What would you do with that knowledge?
I am walking in a shopping mall, and a piece of merchandise captivates me – the color, the luster, the texture. The total appeal has just captivated me. And I walk up to the salesman and ask, “Where is the factory? From where does it come?” Does it liberate me of that piece of hardware? Does it?
Next I ask, “What exact shade of blue is this?” and he tells me that this exact shade of blue is this. He comes up with a fancy name for the color. Does that liberate me of the attraction?
What liberates me of the trap I have walked into?
I just keep walking.
When something in the shopping mall just fascinates you, almost overpowers you, how do you walk out of that trap? Just keep walking. Just keep walking. The good thing about continuing to walk is that – your walk may take you out of the mall. You walked your way, out of the mall.
Don’t stop there.
This attracts, that attracts, this attracts, that attracts, you keep walking. But given the way we are, we won’t be able to walk past something attractive, unless we have something more attractive to egg us on.
Are you getting it?
So, for the commoner, for the beginner, it is important to have a purpose, it is important to have a high, lofty purpose. If you are rushing towards the pharmacy, it is unlikely that you will be tempted and stopped by a toy-shop.
You need a purpose.
Purposelessness is for those, who need no personal purposes.
Their purposes now come from the Absolute.
Their purposes now come from somewhere else.
So they get the authority to now declare that they are personally purposeless now.
Those who are infested with purposes, those whose mind is a huge inventory of desires, aims, purposes, a bee-hive, they better have a better purpose. Because you anyway have not one, but multiple purposes.
How many shops are there in the mall? And every shop is a potential purpose. Is it not? Every shop is a potential purpose. It is important that you have a bigger, better, more appealing purpose with you, so that you can walk straight.
This, that you have written Kiran (the questioner), is coming from one of the shops. There are shops that attract you, by talking of the future. They tell you, “Come to us. We will make you a more dynamic personality. Come to us, and three years later you will have a house of your own. Come to us, and after a while you will have a baby in your arms.” And equally, there are shops that attract you by talking of the past. Aren’t there restaurants with retro themes? How do they attract you? Using the past. Nostalgia!
“What’s the theme?”
Strange things are happening these days. Parties are happening with themes like – ‘Tughlaq’. ‘Aurangzeb’ is the theme. And some of them claim to be Sufi Parties. There was this recent Sufi party, theme was – ‘Draupadi’. Every woman had to come with five…… Only the best ones could make it. I mean the best women. Who else can gather five around her and ensure that the five do not kill each other along the way?
The past can be very attractive.
You might be feeling offended Kiran, that we are making fun of such a serious and sensitive question. I deliberately want to make fun of it, I don’t want to take it seriously. You have already done a lot of damage to yourself by taking these things seriously.
Where is that five-year old girl who was sexually abused? Show me! Where she is? If she comes to me, I will talk to her. She is not. She is dead, and you are keeping her on the ventilator. You are exhuming her from the grave. You have collected her ashes, and you are not prepared to give them away to the river.
What pleasure are you getting from all this? No, I am not sympathising with you at all. But there is pleasure in retro themes. Or is there not? And one gets attracted to shop – whether it sells the past or the future – when one does not have a purpose. Your life is deficient in something very important – Vitamin I.
This is a Buddhaesque experiment, try it. Show me one fellow whose past is blemish-free. You know where it is coming from.
A woman goes to the Buddha, and says that her kid has died. And Buddha tells her to go to all the homes and get him grain from a place where no death has ever happened.
So, I am asking you to tell me the name of one person whose past is ideal, heavenly, blemish-free. Surely you know of the ‘Me too’ movement. A huge number of women showed up. They came forth and said, “Me, too.” And I tell you, the number of women who did not show up, is ten times the number of women who have declared themselves. And ‘ten’ might be, by the way an underestimation.
There is nobody in the world who goes untouched. Why do you want to call yourself ‘special’? Don’t you see that this is a trick? You are not special, this is happening with everybody. And when I say, “Everybody,” I mean – every body.
You are born human, right? And to be born human is to be born cursed. Yes you have some memories of somebody touching you inappropriately, perhaps, but even that is after your consciousness became memory-capable, after three years of age, or four years of age. Right? How do you know that you were not inappropriately touched when you were two years old? And how do you stop that?
And what do you think, that happens only with women? I would be delighted to disappoint you. That does not happen only with women. It happens with male kids as well, albeit less frequently. But then, the male babies have their own tragedies, their tales are no less steeped in tears and blood. They have their own trials and tribulations, that women will probably not easily appreciate.
It is all pervasive. Just get over it. Why do you want to talk of only the period of adolescence or childhood? Are you not being abused today? Are you not being abused today? But we call abuse, as an ‘abuse’ only when it is explicit. I say that explicit abuse is more apparent and more honest, because it does not seek to disguise itself.
When you slap a person hard on his face, you are sending across a very loud, honest and powerful message. You are not concealing the message. You are not disguising it, you are not coding it. You are telling a person what really is going on.
Far more rampant and evil, and poisonous is the abuse that happens daily at workplaces, in our homes. The kind of abuse that is the bedrock of our civilization, and culture.
But we don’t even call that abuse as ‘abuse’.
When the body is offended and penetrated, we raise a big hue and cry, and probably, justifiably so. But when the mind is serially abused in a school, in a college, in a university, in a house, in a home, in a temple, in a mosque, in a church, in an institution, at a workplace, then we don’t bat an eyelid.
I am asking you: “Were you abused in the past, or you being abused even today? Do you have kids? Do you know how they are being abused in the schools? And that does not mean that somebody is fondling them in the genitals. Have you looked at their teachers?Have you studied their curricula? Have you seen what is entering their mind? Won’t you call all that ‘rape’?”
But no, we are extremely body-centered people. We agitate only when the body is offended. And when the body is offended, we run aghast – “Ah! Body, body. Somebody touched my body.” And you have no concern of the mind. I am not an advocate of physical rape, by the way. I am pretty sure there would be many who would be ready to pounce upon this chance and declare me ‘misogynist’ or whatever. They are welcome.
I will tell you what the ‘rape of the mind’ is.
When the mind has non-sensical purposes, that is the ‘rape of the mind’.
When things like stuff that happened in the childhood, or teenage, attracts you and dominates you, then the mind is being raped.
Forgive me the cliched expression, but – the mind needs a lover. And whenever the mind does not get to that lover, the mind lands in the hands of rapists.
What is ‘rape’? When somebody enters a place that he should not have entered. That act is called ‘rape’. And that is why you have expressions like – ‘rape of the city’. The enemy entered forcefully and plundered, and that you call as the ‘rape of the city’. The entire world has entered your mind, and is plundering it, spoiling it. Kindly be concerned.
Your rightful purpose, your solitary purpose must be to move towards the Solitary One, the Lover.
If you are engaged with any other kind of nonsense, this-that, this matters to me, that matters to me, he insulted me, she said something to me, this happened, that happened, then you are inflicting rape upon yourself.
I know I am sounding harsh. I will punish myself later. Right now, I need to do what I am doing.
We have become so habituated to getting ‘raped’, I have no other word, that it doesn’t even concern us how this whole social machinery has entered our sanctum sanctorum, and is defiling it, desecrating it.
You don’t like it when you are defied, but you don’t bother when you are defiled.
What kind of a person are you?
When the ego gets hurt a little, then you start crying, but when life is getting wasted minute-by-minute, it all appears normal to you.
In the shopping mall, if someone comes and gives you a shoulder-push, or darts his elbow a little bit into your ribs, you will quickly say that you have been violated “The fellow pushed me with his shoulder. I have been violated.” And there is no doubt that this is an act of violation. I am not supporting that act. I am just questioning the dissonance, the hypocrisy.
If a shoulder-push matters so much to you, why doesn’t the mall matter to you? The one who is pushing you by the shoulder is just hitting your body. What is the mall doing to you? What is the mall doing to you? About that, you don’t talk.
You would be happily allowing yourself to be violated in shopping-mall, provided your so-called shallow honor is safe-guarded. But if the security misbehaves a little, they ask you to display what is inside your handbag, or if the body-check is a little too hard or intimate, then you start saying, “O! this is too bad.”
All the shops together can keep spoiling your inner purity. You do not complain. Why? Because you say, “I am here on my own accord. This is my personal choice. My freewill. After all, the shopkeepers are not forcing me to buy something. It’s a matter of my personal liberty. I have come here on my own.”
Have you? Have you really gone there on your own?
You don’t even know how you have been subconsciously dragged into that mall, not even pulled. Tethered by thick ropes to an old jeep, I saw the video of a few people being dragged on a rough road. That was a video, that was titled, ‘Barbaric bestiality’, because it was so very explicit. The ropes were visible, and it was quite apparent that the fellows were being dragged against their will. But when the shopping-mall of the world, the shopping mall that this world is, drags you to itself, then you never complain.
You know, a few months back this girl came to meet me. It was a bit of a complicated family. Both the mother and the father were into their second marriage, and this girl happened to be from the mother’s first husband, and now the second husband was not treating her properly. And there was so much. She was quite young, twenty, twenty-one. And she had already had two or three abortions.
She broke down many times while narrating her story to me. She had, had abortions, and she also had, had a divorce. Her education could not be completed. And when she was a kid, she was beaten up, and all those things. She could not pursue the course she wanted to. She wanted to get into the beauty business, she was not allowed to. And all those things.
While she was narrating this tear-soaked story to me, it came to a point when she talked of her current boyfriend. After she was done with all the gory details of the past, she now talked of her current boyfriend. And I was a bit interested, and I said, “Tell me more.” And it was so very obvious that the current boyfriend is every bit as much as, or an even bigger violator than all the demons she had seen in the past.
But she was not talking of the current boyfriend.
That’s how we live – we do not see what great violation is happening to us right now.
We rather keep ourselves engaged with shops selling retro-stuff.
Even in the moment when she is telling me about her misfortunes of the past, she is actively carrying a boyfriend, who is currently bringing, or if not currently bringing, would soon bring an even more heinous violations upon her.
But we don’t want to talk of what is happening right now. And I tell you, it is not possible that something equally dastardly is not happening right now. I have a proof. The proof is that you are so very interested in the past.
If the present were what it should be, then you couldn’t have been so-very interested in the past.
The very fact that past haunts you so much, shows that trouble is brewing in the present.
Had trouble been not brewing in the present, the past couldn’t have been so material to you.
And that’s a rule of thumb.
When someone comes to you and says that he is bothered about what happened yesterday, or last month, or ten years back, when somebody comes to you, and that somebody could be ‘yourself’, when you feel that you are bothered with what happened yesterday, or ten months back, or ten years back, then you should immediately know that something terrible is happening with you right now.
What is the proof?
Had the right thing been happening to you right now, then you couldn’t have been bothered with the past. So, whenever past bothers you, you should immediately know that some danger is lurking immediately in the present.
And that is what past does.
It serves as a very deceptive distraction from the present.
Now you are distracted. You are busy wailing in the past, and the trouble is inching closer and closer to you in the present. And you cannot look at the present trouble, because you are busy with the past.
And I tell you, it is not a coincidence that happens sometimes, it is always going to happen. Whenever the past would be bugging you too much – “Something happened yesterday, and I am bothered about it” – rest assured something far worse is going to happen to you, right now.
It’s a bad trick, but we fall to it.
And it’s such a set trick of maaya, but it still succeeds.
It was said about Waqar Younis, when he would bowl, everybody would know that a yorker is coming. They would know that a yorker is coming, and they would still get bowled out. The batsman would say, “I know that he is now going to send a yorker, and still the middle stump would be found flying in the air.”
That’s how adept she (maaya) is. You better be cautious.
So Kiran, your homework is to figure out what is happening today. And I am not denying that all the bad things happened in the past. No, I am not denying them. But dear, my commiseration or consolation would not help you. If you want to have me as an agony-aunt, come cry over my shoulder, but that would not hep you.
So, excuse me for being a little rude. Actually, quite rude.
Something is cooking, and it’s cooking right now. Figure out what it is. That’s your homework. Would you do that?
Watch the session video: How to deal with mental and sexual abuse of the past? || Acharya Prashant (2018) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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