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Question: Acharya Ji, why do we ask questions?
Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s remarkable, how I am always greeted with questions. We are quite faithful to questions, we believe in their power. Otherwise how do you know that this is the best thing to offer me, or to use to connect to me?
So one walks in, and what does one find? Questions.
You know what this insistence on ‘questions’ is?
In some way, it is an insistence on oneself.
We believe a lot in this stuff. We believe so much in this stuff, that we feel that something related to this stuff would lead to Liberation. So, there are questions, and there are answers to questions.
And it appears as if that would close the deal.
The ‘question’, in our eyes, is always legitimate. It is just that the question doesn’t have an answer. If you ask the questioner, “What is missing?,” he would say, “The answer is missing.” But he would never say that legitimacy is missing from the question, that authenticity is missing from the question.
The ‘question’ is always assumed to be, claimed to be ‘real’. So, the question is real, the question is alright, all that is needed is – an answer. Now is that so? Is that so? You really think, if I answer these to the best of my ability, that would redeem you of your burdens?
Is there any question here that I have not answered at least a dozen times already?
A question is not merely a ‘question’. First of all, please understand that. A ‘question’ is an assertion.
A question appears quite humble. It is saying, “I do not know.” Right? That’s what the question appears to be saying – “I do not know.” But if you look carefully at the question, it is actually boasting – “I know a lot. I know everything, but for the little missing piece called ‘the answer’. All is known, what is missing is the little thing called, ‘the answer’. Just provide me with that last piece. Everything else is known, and settled, and in place.”
Do we see that once the question has been rigidly defined, it leaves very little scope for an answer? The question, the more rigid it is, the more dogmatic it becomes with respect to the answer.
In fact, the question can become so rigid, that it can accommodate only one kind of answer. So the question can mischievously dictate the answer, and still pretend to be humble and innocent – “I do not know”.
Are you getting it?
For example, if someone says, “Acharya Ji, why is God so cruel?” you do see the question. But it should not be difficult to see the huge assertion contained in the question. What is the assertion? You know God, and you know that – God is cruel.
Having known so much, all that you want to know now is – ‘Why is God so cruel?’ Ninety-eight percent of the matter is already known and close. “There does exist someone called ‘God’, and to whom I am well-familiar. And not only I am familiar, I also know that God is cruel. The only little thing that is left to be known is , ‘Why is God so cruel?'”
This is obviously an extreme example, meant for demonstration. But if you go into the way mind frames questions, are not all questions like this? Our questions, they already know so much. Don’t they? In fact, they know so much, that if they try a little hard, they will find that the answer is already contained in them.
Is that not so?
So the question contains the answer.
Why is this speaker needed then?
If the question is such that it already contains the answer, it leaves scope of only a pre-determined kind of an answer.
Watch the session video: Why do we ask questions? || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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