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Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. The Yogi worships with one-pointed mind, but I worship with a hidden desire, and a hidden self-interest. Is my devotion wrong? What is one-pointed devotion?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Parul (the questioner), it is not about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, it is about settling down with a little when a lot is available.
When you go to God for fulfillment of your desire, then at most what you will get is – the fulfillment of your desire. That is the maximum. And let me tell you, that is not much. The maximum that you can think of, desire of, conceive of, is not much at all. Not only is it not much, it may actually not be much beneficial.
If you were wise enough to know what to ask for, then why would you ever ask for anything? So when you ask for something, then you are making either both, or one of the two mistakes. Either you will ask for little in the name of much, or you will ask for something that does not serve you, and instead harms you.
Why do you want to make these mistakes?
But the ego goes on making this mistake, because it has a great, and misplaced, and stubborn belief in itself. So it says, “I know what is good for me. Now, God’s role is limited to fulfilling my self-appointed wish.”
“I will not tell God – ‘You do what is best for me.’ I will tell God- ‘I know what is best for me, and now I am dictating to you what is best for me. And your little role is to just do the bidding’.”
“Go, obey my desire,” – that’s what we tell God in the name of prayer.
Isn’t how we pray?
We decide our desire. As great sovereigns, as autonomous persons, we decide what is good for us, and then we instruct God in the name of prayer, or pleading, “Please do this. Please do this.”
Is that Devotion?
I don’t know.
What I know is, if your desires would have gone fulfilled in some other way, you wouldn’t have gone to God. I don’t know how that can be called as ‘Devotion’. What I know is that had you not been suffering, or feeling guilty, or sad, or sorrowful, or jealous, or fearful, you wouldn’t have gone to the Temple. I don’t know whether that can be called as ‘Devotion’.
You have seen all these crowds and queues in front of these places of worship. If people were not terrified or greedy, how many of them would have been still found there? I don’t know whether all that can be called as ‘Devotion’ or ‘Surrender’.
So then what really is ‘Devotion’ or ‘Surrender’?
It’s fundamentally about seeing what you are doing to yourself.
It is fundamentally about expressing the courage to face the bare facts.
It’s about not being so afraid or arrogant.
It’s about seeing how futile and foolish are one’s desires.
And how will you see the foolishness and futility of your desires? By seeing what your desires have brought upon you. For that you have to admit that your condition is really-really pathetic. But that hurts, and hurts very badly, especially if you have been an achiever or something.
That is the reason, why Devotion is so difficult for the so-called achievers, because to be devoted, first of all you will have to admit that all your achievement is nonsense, that all your achievement is just an albatross round your neck.
That you have gone badly wrong.
But if you admit that, then it pinches. Everybody is saying, “You have done well,” how do you now go out and say, “I am a failure”? Very difficult. Now even if internally you keep crying, you cannot admit or express that.
There is one man who decides to fast within his room, and there is one man who fasts publicly, and publicly he declares it too. Do you know whose fast is going to last? The one who has declared it publicly. Because now he is being garlanded, and people are coming and touching his feet, and the newspapers are writing about him, and he is being heralded as a great achiever in some sense.
Now how does he admit that he is burning from inside? He will say, “No, it’s all so blissful.” And he will maintain an artificial and contended face, whereas his heart knows that he is living in a hell.
Devotion is easy when you see that you are stupid.
And Devotion is extremely difficult when you are a man of high self-esteem.
‘Self-respect’ is such a burden.
Watch the session video: Why are we not fully devoted to ourselves? || Acharya Prashant (2018) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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