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Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! A child’s fate is majorly decided in the family one is born. Things like money and knowledge can be achieved by hard work, but there are a lot of physical ailments or disabilities that one is born with, or certain tragedies like losing someone in war or being an acid attack victim, which are part of one’s fate. They cannot be overcome by just hard work.
How can one deal with such disabilities or tragedies in one’s life?
Acharya Prashant Ji: You talked of kids being born with physical infirmities and such things. And you present the situation as if it is such a big misfortune to be born with one eye, or a brain disorder, or some genetic effect. Hidden in your sympathy for the kids who are born with genetic effects, is an arrogance about your own condition.
You feel that you are normal. You don’t have a hole in the heart, you are not born with half of the brain, all your bodily equipment is more or less alright, so you feel that you are greatly privileged.
And in comparison you feel that if somebody is born with some problem in the heart, or in intestine, or somewhere in the brain, or in the legs, then he is greatly unfortunate or disadvantaged. In calling him ‘disadvantaged’ do you see that first of all you are calling yourself as ‘advantaged’?
It is only by comparison that you are evoking sympathy for those kids. Do you see that? Otherwise, what is your yardstick? Otherwise, how do you feel sympathetic for them? You are feeling sympathetic towards them only by comparison.
And in comparing yourself with them, first of all you are calling yourself superior to them. You are saying, “I am superior, they are inferior. O! So bad for them. Poor little things!” Right?
That’s the attitude.
So first of all let us first question your superiority, then we will address their inferiority. How superior are you? Alright, a kid might be born with one hand instead of two – one of the arms is missing. You have both the arms, what have you achieved? The entire mankind has two arms, what do people end up achieving? You are acting as if you are greatly blessed, and all the elixir of the heavens is raining upon you.
“O! The poor baby was born with a low IQ.”
Yes you have 120 IQ, what great intelligence have you displayed in life? “You know, Mr. Sharma in the neighborhood just got a baby. And doctors are saying that he will never be like normal kids.” What is so special about ‘normal kids’ in the first place? What is so special?
But then you gloat over your great fortune. And in gloating over your great fortune, you parallely express sympathy with those who do not have matching fortunes. “You know, Mrs. Tandon’s Dolly? She cannot give birth. Poor girl.” She is a poor girl? Dolly cannot give birth, so she is a poor girl. Your Lolly, she has given birth ten times, look at her first of all. But you will not look at Lolly. With Dolly you have lot of sympathy.
“Poor Dolly! She cannot give birth. Poor Dolly!”
I am asking, “Tell me how do you know that somebody with an IQ of 60 or 70 is actually leading a life inferior to that of a scientist with IQ 135? Is it a matter of numbers? Is life a thing of numbers?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Then how do you know? How do you know?
It is this same attitude that makes you think that all animals are at your disposal. It is the same attitude that makes you think that you are superior to every other life-form on this planet and therefore you can use them, eat them, destroy them, do whatever you want to.
“I am privileged.”
“I have two eyes, I have a great brain, I have an able body. My entire system is better than that of somebody else. So I can rule and lord over him.”
In a similar vein you are talking of acid-attack victims. What has been taken away from an acid-attack victim? Nothing. Your own appreciation, that’s all. You do not appreciate him or her anymore, right? Because your appreciation was all body-centric, because your concept of beauty was tissue-paper beauty.
Now somebody threw acid upon the girl’s face, and the normal configuration of the face is distorted. So you now start saying, “O! Such misfortune has fallen upon her.” You first of all look at your great fortune, nobody threw acid upon your face.
But still look at your face. The mirror cringes.
The mirror association of the world has filed a suit. It says, “Just as there are human rights, there must be mirror rights also. Why do we have to continuously reflect back such ugly faces?” And ugly not because somebody has thrown acid upon them, ugly because your insecurities, your ignorance, your fears, your deceit, all shows up in your eyes, on your face.
But we don’t bother about the quality of our face. We go around expressing solidarity with acid-attack victims. I am asking you, “Why do you unnecessarily make them feel inferior? What has been taken away from them?”
If you were really a little awakened, you would tell the girl, “Darling, nothing at all has happened.” Why do you tell her, “O! Something great has happened, and now you must be a strong woman to face this great misfortune that life has given you”?
The face has gone. The face would have anyway have gone away. At 65, would her face have remained the same as it were at 25? The face was to anyway go away. Some madman came and threw acid, why do you make it a liability upon her? Tell her, “Nothing has happened.”
But we give a lot of importance to faces.
There is no end to our body-centricity and lustfulness.
For us a woman is a face – a face, a body and all the bodily contours.
So when the face gets a little distorted or ‘bad’, in popular parlance, then the girl falls in our perception.
(Acharya Ji, pointing at one of his arms). You know, this arm of mine is not fully functional, something has gone wrong with it. It can’t operate in the entire range of movement. So you must come and tell me, “O Acharya Ji, you are no more the full man you used to be. Some part of your range has disappeared.”
Tomorrow if somebody throws acid on my face, as is quite likely, will you stop listening to me? I know many of you would actually do that.
Why do you present it as such a ghastly thing that has happened to a woman? Her mind is being destroyed by so many forces daily, you never talk about it. You never take out a candle-light vigil on India Gate when a little girl is being badly conditioned by media, by the society, by the school, by all the websites, by all the influences upon her.
Have you ever seen a candle-light vigil against all the corrupting forces on the little girl’s mind? Does that happen? But when her face gets disturbed a little, then you act as if the heavens have fallen. It does not show your concern for the girl, it shows your concern for the face, and the face alone.
It shows that behind all the pretense of solidarity and sympathy, all you care for is just the face.
You want the girls to keep looking dainty, clean and pretty.
Let their prettiness not be taken away, even if their soul is sapped away, even if their minds are dirtied.
All that is okay.
So a woman with an absolutely corrupted and polluted brain might be sitting here, but with a face that is nicely plastered, you would say, “All is fine with her. She is nice.” Is she alright? Ninety percent of her so-called beauty can be wiped away by a tissue paper. Just take some tissue and rub it on her face, ninety percent of her beauty is gone. But you feel that this one is alright.
I have seen cases. A kid is born and there is some genetic issue, some matter right at the time of birth. And the kid is alright, jovial, in fact more carefree than the so-called normal kids. But the parents are depressed.
I feel like asking, “Are you depressed for the sake of the kid? Or are you depressed for your own sake? What is it that makes you feel so sick – the welfare of the kid, or the thought of the presumed difficulties in raising the kid, and the presumed loss of face when you present the kid to the world?
“O! How will this kid compete with all other kids?”
“The kid is carrying my brand, my surname, will he not be letting the family down?”
Do you really love the kid? And look at the kid, for him nothing has gone wrong. He may have an eye less, or half the brain less, or whatever. Hole in the heart, or no legs at all, some speaking disorder, some problem in hearing – all these things happen. But the kid is nice and jolly, and the father is thinking.
A lot of it passes off in the name of love. I want you to wonder whether it is really ‘Love’.
(Pointing at a little rabbit sitting in the Satsang Hall)
This little rabbit, do you see? He is not as pretty as the other rabbits. Probably he would never be. He is not the usual fluffy rabbit, with the cute bunny face. He has some drooling problem, something in the mouth that makes the saliva run on the face. It doesn’t look as cute as the other bunnies look.
Now is that a problem for him, or for you? He does not seem to be having any problem, but you have a lot of problem, because it doesn’t look the bunny you want him to be. Right? It’s your problem. Why do you burden him with your problem?
He does not look cute to you, is that his problem? As long as he is eating, and drinking, and running around, and having fun, all is okay. Or should we get him a facial? Or some hair transplant on the face? He has lost some facial hair as well.
Most of us are not the bunnies our parents want us to be. Whose problem is it? Yours? Let it be their problem, why do you worry?
First of all you unnecessarily give birth to a child, and then you burden him with unnecessary expectations.
Instead of apologising to him constantly, throughout you keep asserting yourself on him.
“You must be like that. You must be like that.”
“You owe it to us.”
“Hell! Do I?”
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Before you sympathize with the physically disabled, or acid attack victims|| Acharya Prashant (2019)
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