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Question: When I sit in open Sky, I see the vastness, and the vastness feels like Freedom to me. It gives me lot of calmness and peace. The cool breeze, the rains, the Sun, these elements of physical nature give a lot of peace.
These elements of nature, especially the wind, the Sky, is there more to it? Or is it just that the senses are being pleased? Do they have more significance?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Culture hurts. Prakriti (nature) has no culture, no civilisation.
Our culture, our civilisation hurts.
The social conditioning that envelops the brain hurts, therefore it is a soothing experience to go to a waterfall, or to a jungle, or to hills. Or to enjoy the rains, or to look at the Sky.
It just tells us that animals are better off than us.
No animal enjoys it when he somehow just strays into the city, but man really enjoys it if he gets to live in the jungle. Animals sometime crossover into the city. Don’t they? How do they feel then? “What the hell! Send me back to where I came from.” But man spends a lot of money to somehow get a week to spend in the jungle.
What does that tell you? Our culture and civilisation have gone wrong.
We came from jungle in the hope of doing better in our villages and cities, but our villages and cities have failed. We still find in many ways, the jungle to be better than our villages and cities. There is nobody who is not sometimes seized by a strong desire to return to the jungle.
Does that not happen?
It is because that which we call as ‘our education’, ‘our society’, ‘our systems’, ‘our thought’, ‘our philosophy’, ‘our civilisation’ – all are based on very material grounds. There is no Spiritual basis to them.
So they have failed to take us to a level of consciousness higher than that of jungle.
I have often said that animals are in many ways better than human beings.
Man had the potential to either rise above the animal, or fall way below it. \
Man has continuously been making the wrong choice.
If you cannot build your cities and your social systems on Spiritual foundations, then it is better to stay in the jungle.
If your family, your workplace, your institutions do not run on Spiritual grounds, then they better not run at all.
Questioner: Where did we go wrong?
Acharya Prashant Ji: May be right now.
Questioner: I don’t think things were always so bad. I don’t think humans started-off ….
Acharya Prashant Ji: See this is Leela (play).
Man has been given the option. And the chances are that he will exercise the option wrongly. Not man’s fault, not man’s fault. The option has been given to a gorilla, and the option is – Liberation, or procreation.
It is good that the choice was given, it’s an enabling choice. Choice can mean power. But look to whom the choice was given. It was given to the….? Gorilla. Now how is it a surprise that the gorilla has been choosing wrongly, and wrongly, and wrongly. Throughout.
You are asking, “When did we go wrong?” We have been going wrong. It is a continuous process. The more power you give to the gorilla, the more you are ensuring that the gorilla will cause destruction to itself and everybody else.
That’s what all our developments – scientific or otherwise – have done. Man has been giving gorilla the power, man has been giving himself the power.
When did we go wrong?
The day when somebody decided that Spiritual education needs to have only a marginal presence in the education system of the society.
That’s when we went wrong.
We have been continuously deciding that way.
Look at how your kids are being educated today as well.
Purely on material grounds.
Our cities, our culture, they exist to give us what we want. They do not exist to give us Liberation.
Appreciate the difference.
All our development is intended in the direction of giving us more and more of what we want. Right? What we want. It is not intended in the direction of Liberation. And who are we? Gorillas. So the entire thrust is on giving the gorilla, what the gorilla himself wants.
So what will the gorilla want for himself?
More food, more pleasure, more sex, a lengthy life, more amenities. And that’s what we have done in the name of ‘development’. That’s what the human progress story has been about.
That’s what entire cult of liberalism is about. They say, “Respect the individual’s choice.” And who is the individual?
Listeners: A gorilla.
Acharya Prashant Ji: What do you mean by respecting his choice? First of all educate him. You are saying, “No, no no. Individual choice, the individual ego is supreme. It has to be respected.” You are respecting just the wrong agency.
Do not be surprised if the entire world democratically chooses to have mass annihilation. Now what will you do? It’s a democratic decision. Did not Hitler gain power through a democratic process? If you do not educate the people and keep respecting their choices, this is what will you get. The gorilla is doing what the gorilla will.
Before you say, “I want,” don’t you need to be educated in who this ‘I’ is?
But the emphasis is always on the ‘want’, and never on the ‘I’.
This entire culture, the entire industry, this whole expanse of human activity and thought is on – ‘I want. I want’.
What is it that you want?
‘I want’ – without paying any attention to who is the one who wants, who the thinker is. That we are not considering at all. And people take their wants as something very sacred, they want their wants to be respected.
Want says, “Want must be respected.”
“No, no I do not want this.”
The thing is, what else will the gorilla want. Surely you will want something else. You will like what the gorilla must like.
Individual Freedom is something great and beautiful, but only when the fellow has been educated in the basics of Spirituality.
If he has no such education, then giving him the power to choose is going to prove disastrous.
It has already proven disastrous.
Last month, the temperature of Paris was at 43 degrees centigrade. ‘I want’ – that’s what the gorilla has brought this Earth to. Is this that is happening in Pune usual?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Does Pune usually receive this much of rain?
Acharya Prashant Ji: This is what the gorilla has done by wanting, wanting, and wanting. (Referring to the weather forecast of the city, the next day) I hear it is going to be much more for tomorrow, it is going to be a red Sunday. Some of you might consider staying over at this place. It might not be very easy to travel.
This is what happens when the choices of the gorilla are respected.
“I want to consume more.”
“Yes, yes, yes. Bid.”
And then what you get is this – the soaring temperature.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Why do we enjoy being with ‘nature’ (Prakriti)? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
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