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Question: There are lot of things that are going on in my life right now. Right now I am eighteen, and I have just finished my Class 12th Board exams. Two years back I started turning into a very bad girl, and that started causing loss of my parents’ trust.
They started keeping an eye on all of my actions, and asked me to keep some promises I was forced to make. Eventually after a year I exploded, because I was told to become a person that I was not. Then, I fell in love with a boy. According to me I was not doing anything wrong, so I went ahead until my mother caught me one day.
My parents tried to convince me that it was not love. I want to ask, “What is love?”
Acharya Prashant: Is there really a need to debate whether a particular word can be ascribed to a relationship? Right now the debate seems to be whether or not it is ‘love’. You are saying, “It is love,” they are saying, “It is not love.”
Questioner: I don’t know what love is.
Acharya Prashant: Should you rather not ask, “What is it doing to me?” Even if its ‘love’ let’s say, some International agency comes and certifies that it is love, but if it is not healthy for you, would you proceed with it?
Questioner: I don’t think so.
Acharya Prashant: Similarly, if somehow many grown ups just get together and manage to convince you that is not love but Olympus (some name), that Olympus is really healthy for you; it nurtures you, it gives you life, would you drop Olympus, because it is Olympus and not love?
Acharya Prashant: So it is not about the name, right?
We have to get real and find out, what is this relationship doing to us. The name doesn’t matter. So what is relationship doing to you?
Question: It makes me feel good.
Acharya Prashant: Ah! Does it just make you feel good as you are? Or does it turn you into a better human being? Because, to set the background, we all have our likes and dislikes. Must we give a lot of attention to and give a lot of importance to what we like and dislike? Or must we rather focus on that which we may like or we may dislike, but is really useful?
Question: That which is really useful.
Acharya Prashant: Love that feels good, or a relationship that feels good, is not necessarily something useful. Pizza feels good; we know that it is not very useful.
Is the relationship really elevating you, advancing you in some sense?
Questioner: I don’t think so.
Acharya Prashant: Are you able to look at yourself and the world, with more clarity and maturity, after this relationship?
Questioner: No, not really.
Acharya Prashant: Then there is not much to it. I am not saying that it is evil or something; it’s not significant. It’s just one of those things. And that does not mean that you have to necessarily drop the boy or something.
Questioner: Okay. Now the next part of the question. My parents told me to take a break and find myself, and then go ahead and start a relationship, because right now if I do that, I might lose myself in the process.
They said, “Find yourself.”
Acharya Prashant: You cannot find yourself just all of a sudden. Even finding yourself requires that you investigate your relationships.
This Self knowledge cannot come to oneself, except by looking at the stuff one is related to. Self knowledge cannot happen in a vacuum, or in isolation.
See, it is alright. You are a human being. You can relate with some other person. There is nothing disgusting or offensive about it as such. But there is no particular need to call it ‘love’, because love has cultural associations. It somehow becomes a big thing in the eyes of many people, the moment you say, “It is love.”
One teenage girl, one teenage boy, obviously they can talk to each other, they can hang out with each other; it’s okay. Be mindful of what the company of that person is doing to you; be very-very alert about that. And equally alert, if you really wish well to that person, that boy, what your company is doing to him.
Is it a good investment of your time when you are with him? Or could you have expended your time in a better way? What kind of thoughts does that person introduce in your mind? What kind of thoughts do you induce in him? Are you becoming more insecure, or are you getting more rooted in yourself? Have feelings of jealousy and possessiveness started occurring to you, or to him? You have to pay alert about these things.
You have to see how your mind is being impacted in that relationship, in the company of that person.
If the impact gives you Peace, if the impact enables you to look at everything with a clear eye, proceed.
If not, then you should reconsider.
But there is no need to turn it into a taboo or a stigma. Its okay.
(Referring to people sitting in the audience) Just as he can talk to him, and she can talk to him, you too in God’s universe, have all the rights to talk to and be with anybody you prefer; it need not even be human being. If you want to be pally with a dog or a crow, that too is a sovereign right; nobody can infringe upon it.
Questioner: Okay. There is next part of the question too. I took my parents’ advice and I told this boy that I need a break, and we can still remain as friends. This boy took this personally and called me ‘selfish’ for this action, and said that I am thinking only about myself.
Acharya Prashant: This is in spiritual language called ‘attachment’, and this is not good for the mind. I am surprised that how early even teenagers pick up all these things. They are supposed to be the adult’s zone, all these things – “You broke my heart,” and, “I am missing you,” stalking, calling, calling somebody’s brother.
Anyway, it’s not about age, it’s about the fundamental human tendency. That’s what is called ‘the ego’. The ego needs something to cling to – this is ‘attachment’. Relationship per se is neither good nor bad. You have to see what this relationship comprises of. Now this relationship seems to have a strong flavour of attachment; that’s a problem, that’s a big problem.
Questioner: Yeah! I realised this, and I wanted to drop this. And I told him that.
Acharya Prashant: You don’t have to drop it in a cruel way.
Questioner: So, I told this boy that we can just be friends. But even then, this boy is saying, “How can you do this to me?”
Acharya Prashant: But what are you doing to him?
Questioner: I am just asking him to just be friends, and he cannot take it.
Acharya Prashant: No, that’s no offence. That’s no cruelty upon anyone.
Then you have to see what all this implies. Where is it that the fellow is seeing the difference between just being friends, and being more than friends? Then you will probably see the role of lust as well. And then you will come upon another aspect of ego; it is very-very body-identified. And because it is body-identified, it looks at the other as a a body.
And that is not ‘love’.
When you look at the other as a body, then you are motivated to consume the other’s body. And that’s why you won’t like it when the other one tells you, “We are just friends.” You want to be more than friends, you want to get into probably the physical aspect of it.
And again there is no need to just denounce it, or ridicule it, or condemn it. It’s an opportunity to understand it. It’s an opportunity to see how we are as human beings. And we all are like that – man, woman, young, old – even a newborn kid has the same tendencies. Some of them may surface later on, but all of them are present even in the kid.
Just be very alert. Be on a watch out.
Questioner: So, what am I supposed to do?
Acharya Prashant: That is one question that I never answer. That is something that each one of us must figure out for herself. Once you know that the other is operating from base tendencies, do you want to encourage him further? You don’t want to encourage him, right? Because if you encourage him, it would be bad for both you and him.
Once somebody is in the grip of attachment, then his consciousness keeps falling. He keeps becoming more and more vulnerable to all the bad things. So you don’t want to encourage attachment in somebody, right?
Friendship is about wishing the other well.
So do things that would probably help him get out of the attachment. Don’t do anything that would be a cause of misery for both the parties.
Watch the session video: How to know whether a relationship is good for you? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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