All attitudes are dangerous, whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ || Acharya Prashant (2013)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Question: What is the difference between ‘right attitude’ and ‘wrong attitude’? If external forces ask one to change his or her attitude, then how does one know or decide that what is ‘right attitude’ or ‘wrong attitude’?

Speaker: What is the attitude? Attitude means mentality. Attitude is a predetermined, frozen set of beliefs. Attitude means, “I already know.” Attitude says, “I already know.” Attitude says, “I have beliefs about this, and this is it.” Attitude says, “Even before I know the reality, I have made up my mind.”
Read more

Why can’t I change my behavior?

Question:I am distracted, both mentally and physically.The world pulls me in different directions. I chase this and that. I chase respect. I chase accomplishments. I chase women and sex as well. All this is a problem, because it interferes with my day-to-day comfort. The urge is so over-powering that it disrupts my daily patterns. How to deal with this? Read more

Solve your mind, all your problems will be solved

Question: I have resigned from my current job. At present I have different options from different fields, to pursue as a career. I do not know what to do next. How do I know what is my calling? How do I know that this is really my calling and not just boredom from the present job? How do I know that it is not just the tendency to escape from one thing to the other? How do I know that? Read more

Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’

Spontaenity

Question: While reading the various articles on your blog, I feel that they are like medicines for the mind, but despite having gone through several of them, I am still not able to cure the mind from its illness.

Acharya Prashant: You have several diseases, several illnesses, and what do you do? You go to a pharmacist. You go to a large pharmacy shop and thousands of medicines are there. Will you be cured by going to a pharmacy shop? Yes, indeed the blog is full of medicines, just as a pharmacy shop is full of medicines. And you are full of illness. So you go to the pharmacy shop, the shop is wide open to you and you have all the choice to pick anything as per your convenience, as per your likes and dislikes. And the medicines are there. These are complicated medicines. They have come after years of research. And you are standing there, all the medicines are there, and you start popping pills.

“I want that one, the deep pink! Aah! This syrup looks nice, this smells of alcohol! Give it to me!” And what will all these medicines do to you? Which medicines do you like? Do you know how these cough syrups sell? The government actually had to regulate their sales. You know people with drug addiction, they just like to taste things like Iodex, even Fevicol.

How can medicines help you when ‘you’ are choosing the medicines? All the medicines might be available, but which medicines will you choose? The one which has alcohol or the one which has the glossiest cover, or the one which is branded. That’s the one you will choose. (Referring to the questioner) So that is the reason our friend chooses to read what he chooses. That is the reason why Anshu would come here and then go back and send an article, explaining how spirituality is exploitation and how all the gurus have only exploited everybody, that too right on the day when he has been advised on closeness.

When you choose that particular article, you choose the medicine for yourself, and all the medicines are available.

I sometimes do feel that this is one of the worst injustices that can be done to mankind: to give it a free hand in picking up their medicines. When you allow just anybody to pick up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, then you are actually harming that person. He is not eligible to read the Gita, why is he being allowed to lay his dirty hands on Krishna?

You do not know a thing about spirituality, you do not know the Guru, but with great confidence in yourself as a scholar, you are sending those mails. Pitiable, pathetic. Without a prescription, must you pick a medicine from the pharmacy? Then why do you just roam about picking up any book and reading it? You will be greatly harmed. In fact, don’t read at all, that is better. But to read the wrong book is like consuming poison. And I assure you that you will only choose poison for yourself. That’s all that you can choose.

So I will advise you . . . your life is so dry, it has no movement, no liquidity, it is like a rock, a fossil . . . so I will advise you to sing and dance and go to the saints. But you will not go to the saint, you will go to J. Krishnamurti. And there might be a superstitious fellow who is steeped in belief and he is all the time only reading Ramayana by Tulsidas, to him I would say, “Go to J. Krishnamurti.” But he would not go to J. Krishnamurti. He would say, “No. My chowpais (quatrains) are enough..  I only know Ayodhya and Vrindavan.  Radhe radhe. No Krishnamurti for me.”

The one who must not read Krishnamurti is drawn towards Krishnamurti. The one who must read Krishnamurti is drawn towards some other rubbish. Because you are so clever, you want to choose your own medicine. That’s what you do with the blog as well.

I have recently heard a very, very clever statement from one of you: “Sir, we don’t need. After all, blog is there. Whatever you will say in the camp will ultimately be posted on the blog and the blog is available.”

Have you not heard that?

“Sir, all the videos are there. Why do we need to come to the Clarity Session?” There is no need. Why travel all the way from Lucknow, Kanpur or Moradabad? There is no need. After all, whatever will be said, will sooner or later appear on the blog or on YouTube. So there is no need.”

And we will choose. We will decide what is important, what is not important.

And there are others who say, “Alright. Let him prescribe the medicines. I will not take any medicines outside the list that he prescribes. But from within the list, I will choose. So, if he tells me to do three things, I will do one, and I will choose which one to do. After all, I cannot be harmed. Had it been harmful, he wouldn’t have prescribed.”

You see, I take some Methotrexate, which is a poison. But along with that, my doctor has given me something which is a remedy to the side effects of that poison. So he has given me two medicines together, and he has cautioned me to take both of these. One will treat your illness, but will also give you a side illness. The second medicine will treat the side illness. But I am so clever. What do I do? I take only the first one and I avoid the second one. What do I say? “After all this is the real medicine. This cures the illness; why do I need the second one?” So what will I get? I will get a new disease. I am so clever.

And there are some others as well. “My doctor says, Take both these medicines, but do not take alcohol.” So, what do I do? I say, “See, I am not taking anything which he did not allow me to take. I am not going outside this list. Am I taking any medicine outside this list? No. And whatever is there in this list, I am taking. But why should I follow the other rules that he has set for me? I will take alcohol!” So that’s the kind of mind we have.

“Sir has given us certain books to read. We will read them. But why should we write daily reflections? That is not needed.”

What you do not realize is that the entire thing works together. Even if you take all the medicines and yet do not take the precautions that the doctor has advised, it will not work. The entire thing has to work in totality. But you are so clever: “Why should I do it?” And then look at your face, then look at all the sickness that is there. I am so clever. In thirty different ways you apply your cleverness, and in three hundred ways you suffer. Don’t you see?

Don’t you see? You pick up a book. The book might be by a great master, by the so-called enlightened ones. But don’t you see that you are the one who decides which chapter to read? And don’t you see that those answers were given to somebody else? Are you sure that had you asked that same question that is there in the book, you would have received the same answer?

Let’s say that you are reading Krishnamurti . . . and there is a question and an answer . . . that is the format of the book. Is Joydeep asking that question?

Listener: No.

AP: Is the answer for Joydeep then?

L1: No.

AP: Then how can you be so stupid? Is that answer for you? Look at this very venue, look at this occasion. If Manjeet asks me a question versus if Anushka asks me a question versus if Rahul asks me a question, will I give the same answer? But you record the answer that I gave to Anushka and play that answer to Rahul. What will happen? Will he be helped?

That’s what a book does to you. You don’t even realize that what Krishna is saying in Bhagavad Gita, is for Arjun. Are you Arjun? But you love the blog: “Blogs are good. I am a reader. I read so many other things as well. I am a very well-read person.”

What do you get after reading so many other things? Concept is all that you get. You become a walking inventory of medicines. You smell and reek of medicines. When you talk, you only talk of medicines. In fact, the medicines talks, you are nowhere to be seen. And it can be pinpointed that this statement is coming from this Upanishad.

Yes, speak more, “Yes! This is from the bible.” Speak a little more, “Aah! That one was from Nisargadatta.”

So medicines are talking. Where are you?

Have you seen those patients who take many medicines daily? Now, only medicines are there, like a patient on ventilator. Only the ventilator is there, the man is long gone. The ventilator is breathing. The ventilator is pumping blood. Only the medicine is remaining, you are no more there. But books are such a consolation – “I will read.”

I start feeling a little jittery when I see people who are very well-read. It is very difficult to talk to them, very, very difficult. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t read. I don’t know what you will make out from these words. Next time I advise you to read, and you will say, “Yuck! Poison”

(Laughter)

“That day you said that never read. And now you are saying read!”

L1: Sir, isn’t the choice of book related to what is going on inside?

AP: Yes, yes. Obviously. Always.

L2: Sir, I am pursuing a particular course of study. So I have to read. I sometimes feel guilty that the knowledge given in that course, is in a different light as compared to the discussions that we do here. Yesterday I was reading something, but I was not able to concentrate, because I felt guilty, because I thought that this book will only substantiate my ego. What should one do in that case?

AP: See, one does not go to a temple with the same mind that he has while bargaining in the market. You are not pursuing a spiritual course, you are pursuing a marketable course. When you are in a market, you should know that this is the market and this is knowledge. I must know what the rate of potatoes is. That is what your education teaches you. So you must know that these are potatoes, not a Shivalinga – just a potato. You cannot take it seriously. Alright, you are pursuing some academic course. Is that what you are saying? Which course is it?

L2: English literature.

AP: So all these poets that you read in your English literature course, are they Kabir or Jesus? You must know that this is something for livelihood, and there is the poet who is saying this and that. A poet is not a Rishi (Sage). Is he? So read the poet, it is alright.

Bhagavad Gita is about the mind, and so are the Upanishads. One of you is pursuing a psychology course, and that too is supposed to be about the mind. But will you pursue a psychology course assuming it to be spiritual? There is nothing spiritual about it. It is like looking at the mind just as one looks at the shop. There is no self-observation there. It will never take you to the root of the mind. In fact, it will be very difficult for a psychologist to turn spiritual.

And Bhagavad Gita too is just psychology – how the mind functions.  But you cannot take these two, try to compare them, and co-relate them, and what not. These are just toys that man has made for his entertainment –this study, that study. Let them be there. It’s alright. You must have a reason for pursuing that course. It’s alright. Pursue it, pass it, and get that degree. Don’t take the whole thing so seriously. There is no need to feel guilty about it.

There is this bread here and there is jam inside. The jam has a particular color and I am feeling guilty about the color. How can I take it so seriously? It’s alright. I may eat it; I may not eat it. In fact, I don’t want to eat it! So, it’s alright.

You eat it, it’s alright. You do not eat it, it’s alright.

You must know, what is to be taken seriously; that itself is called vivek (discretion). What is vivek?

The art of knowing what to take seriously and what not to take seriously.

L3: Then the question arises: Who is saying it?

AP: Okay, but at least in the moment of your seriousness, if this can arise, “Does it deserve it?” then there is some possibility. “Does it deserve that seriousness?” When you are fighting and quarrelling with your wife, in that moment if this thought can arise, “Does she deserve this seriousness?” Then you will just shrug the whole thing off and maybe get out of the house, take a walk, sip nice tea somewhere and come back. “She doesn’t even deserve this much of seriousness. How can I even fight with her seriously? You want to shout, keep shouting. I don’t take you seriously enough to fight with you.” This is called discretion, vivek. But obviously, it must arise at that moment, at that time.

L3: How can this arise at that moment, because at that time emotions are very high?

AP: Nothing can be done at that moment, because your mind is a product of time. So everything depends on what you have been doing in time.

On Sunday afternoons it will be difficult for you to fight with your wife, assuming that Sunday mornings are being spent here. So, what you have been doing in time, how you have been spending your time, decides the quality of your time. Are you getting it?

Spend your time wisely and then your spontaneous response will shape up. We talk of ‘spontaneous’ response. But remember, that to have spontaneous response in that moment, you must first have gone through an entire process of cleansing – cleansing in time. A time drawn process, a long process. So the response is spontaneous, but to reach that spontaneity, you must first pass through a long period of time in which there has been an effort, a devoted effort, to take care of the mind. And then you become capable of spontaneity.

L3: Sir, my looseness in this moment will welcome the trouble in the future . . .

AP: Yes, obviously. Wonderful.

That is Karma, fruit of the action.

L3: I am regularly reading Kabir. Chances are that I wouldn’t get into a fight. On the other hand, if I am reading a magazine, I would get into fight . . .

AP: Yes. So there is a man who is attending the session right now. His chances of remaining peaceful in the afternoon and in the evening today are more as compared to a man who is reading a magazine right now, or to a man who is spending Sunday morning lazing in the bed. Evening depends on the morning.

L2: Can that be sustained?

AP: Depends on how desperate you are. Depends on how much your wife has beaten you.

There can be no other answer. There can be no other motivation. You must see that you are suffering. You must clearly see, clearly realize that your ways are of blindness. That they are only giving you pain.

L 3: Sir, a few days back, I read a blog article on anxiety and fear because I was feeling anxious and fearful. Would reading that article harm me?

AP: (Sarcastically) You have already taken it. The medicine has gone in and done whatever it had to do. What is the point? It happens in families where there are small kids.

“Doctor, my son has taken in phenyl.”

“When?”

“Two days back.”

Now what had to happen has happened. Maybe it is because of reading that article that this anxiety is there.

You read something on anxiety and now you are anxious. “What will happen to me? I have read that!”

The medicine will show its effects . . .


– Excerpts from a Clarity Session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1 : Whatever you choose will bring sorrow to you

Article 2 : Your own essence is the Guru, the essence of everything

Article 3 : Why do we choose to suffer silently?

In victory and in defeat, you are always a winner

Question : Sir, is truth necessarily cruel and dangerous? Whenever I listen to you, I feel fear of losing something. Why is it so?

Speaker : Who is losing something? If you unnecessarily identify yourself with somebody who has possessions, only then you feel that you are losing something. We will understand a few things.

First, there is no need to take any of your possessions seriously. Because what is really yours can never be taken away. You will be wasting your energy by being serious about it. See, you are feeling serious about something, and you are afraid that you might lose it. Right? You are saying, “Whenever I listen to you, I fear that I will lose something.” If there is the fear that you might lose something, then this fear is the proof enough that, ‘that’ thing is external. It is not really yours. Read more

How to know what is good for me?

Question: Is it necessary that I need be good in something that I like doing? Sometimes it may happen that I like something, but I can’t be good at it. So, what is best for me?

Speaker: There are two things you are talking of. One- liking something. Second- being good at it.

These are the two things on which your question rests. Right? “I like something”, that is the first one query. “Whether I am good at it”, that is the second. Right? Examine both of these.

What do you like? What does one like? See you are giving importance to both of these. Right? You are taking as ‘important’, something that you like. Right? “I like something and hence it is important for me.” This is the first important thing. Second important thing is- being good at what I like. “It is not sufficient to just like what I like. I must also excel in it. I should prove my performance. I should be able to act on what I like.” Right? It should be considered good, as per the standards of performance, considered acceptable by others and by me.
Read more

Remember by Heart, and let the memory forget

आचक्ष्व शृणु वा तात नानाशास्त्राण्यनेकशः।
तथापि न तव स्वास्थ्यं सर्वविस्मरणाद् ऋते॥

          – अष्टावक्र गीता (अध्याय-१६ सूत्र-१)

Translation: Even after hearing from many scholars or reading many scriptures, you will not be established in self, as after forgetting every single thing.

Speaker: The question is: What does ‘forgetting’ imply?

Whatever we have in the mind, is related to the world. Usually we think that ‘forgetting’ means, that what is there in the mind is no more there in the mind. It was an image of the world and the image is just no more there. In a way it has gone back to the world. It came from the world and it is no more there, so it’s gone. Gone where? Gone back to somewhere else. It’s no more in the mind. No more in the memory. It’s gone.

There is another kind of forgetting in which what came to the mind is no more there in the mind, because it has penetrated deeply to some other place. See, understand this.
Read more

What is sweet at first, is poison in the end

Question: ‘What is bitter at first is sweet in the end, What is sweet at first is poison in the end. To everyone is given the choice. It all depends on the effort put in, and the unflagging determined will; for whoever strives must soon arrive at the city of his choice.’

Please give us clarity on the words, ‘effort’, ‘determined will’, ‘striving’ and ‘choice’.

Speaker: ‘What is bitter at first is sweet in the end, What is sweet at first is poison in the end. To everyone is given the choice . It all depends on the effort put in , and the unflagging determined will; for whoever strives must soon arrive at the city of his choice.’ Read more

Don’t chase the Truth, just stop running away from the Truth

Question: Is there any spiritual journey that leads to enlightenment, like it was Buddha’s case, or is every movement a journey and destination, like it was with Krishna?

Is there a journey that leads to enlightenment or is it instantaneous, right now?

Acharya Prashant: What makes you say that with Buddha there was a journey? Why?

Listener: We know his struggle. He changed a hundred masters and then finally he got enlightened.

AP: You are right. He did all that.

L1: But there was no such thing with Krishna.

AP: Let’s first stay with Buddha.

Somebody roams around for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, somebody goes to ten masters, twenty masters, and then we are told that there is an event called ‘enlightenment’. That’s what your story is. Yes? How do you know that what you call as ‘enlightenment’ was the effect of the cause called ‘wandering,’ ‘seeking,’ or ‘searching’? How do you know that there is a cause-effect relationship there? Read more

Any and every image you make of yourself is an ugly image

Question: How do I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams in life with my family’s expectations from me? How can one fulfil both without compromising on either?

Speaker: How can I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams in life with my family’s expectations from me? How can I fulfil both without compromising on either?

There is a slave, and there are two men who are fighting over the rights to own that slave. The slave is greatly interested in the fight, the slave wants to know who will win. The slave sometimes even wants to support one party over the other. There are these two men who are quarrelling, who are fighting, it’s like a tug-of-war, and the slave thinks that he is asking a very meaningful question. ‘Who should be my master? To whom should I be enslaved?’ What would you recommend to that slave? Read more

Happiness cannot be the purpose of life

Question: Sir, what is the purpose of life?  Is it earning money, or happiness?

Speaker: The lady is asking, ‘What is the ultimate purpose of life?’ She has already presented us two options:

  1. Earning money or,
  1. Happiness.

But you already know. You have already discounted everything else and zeroed in on to two options. What are they? That the purpose could be either to earn money, or to be happy.

Alright. So let’s first look at these two. What does one earn money for?

Listener 1: For livelihood.

Speaker: And, why does one want a livelihood?

Listener 2: For comfort.

Speaker: What does comfort give you?

Listener 3: Satisfaction and happiness. Read more

Is hard work the key to success?

Question: Sir, everyone says that hard work is the key to success. Is this true?

Speaker: Rohit is asking that is hard work the key to success. Rohit, you have picked two entities and asked whether they can be equated.

You have said, ‘hard work’ and you have said, ‘success’. You are asking that are the two synonymous. Does one lead to the other? Is one guarantee to the other? Is the presence of one necessary for the presence of other?
Read more

Motivation and ambition, symptoms of suffering

Question: Sir, how to stay motivated and ambitious even after repeated failures in life?

Speaker: Our friend is asking that how to stay motivated and ambitious even after repeated failures.

Do you understand what is ambition? Do you understand what is motivation? Do you understand what is failure?

What is motivation? What is meant by ‘motive’?

Motive means greed. Motive means, ‘I want to get something.’

Same is ambition. Ambition is an enhanced form of motive. ‘I want to get more and more.’ That is ambition. Be it motive or be it ambition one thing is certain, you are saying that I want to get something, that I want to achieve something. I can understand that the voices around you have been constantly telling you that you must get something, that you are incomplete, that there is something missing in you, there is something wrong in you, and you must make up for it by obtaining a particular degree, a particular job, a certain respectability.
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Without self-awareness, your life is not your life || Acharya Prashant (2013)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Question: Sir, so are you saying that we lack self-awareness when we are not able to decide what is good for us?

Acharya Prashant: Obviously.

Listener 1: So, we lack self-awareness?

AP: Obviously.
Read more

Planning is a product of fear

Question: Sir, you said that life is going from the last two thousand years or so, and we are here for just sixty or seventy years. So, how can we change anything?

Speaker: Do you require two thousand years? Do you require sixty years? If you really, really want to do something, you would do it right now. Why do you think of sixty years or six years, or even six months or six minutes. You wanted to ask the question. Were you worried before asking that I am going to live for only sixty years? Did you think that what is the point in asking this question?
Read more

Ego and attitude

Question: What is the difference between Ego and Attitude?

Speaker: Ego is internalization of an external statement about you. Right? Ego says,”I am something”, and that something comes from outside. Right? The moment you are something, there will be an attitude associated with that identity.

To be something is an identity, and with every identity, there is an attitude.
Read more

Money and growth will not fill your internal hollow

Acharya Prashant: A nice question has come to us. Our friend is saying that greed is making people work. If we remove greed from people’s life, they will not grow.  So I’m asking him, ‘What is growth?’ Read more

Of Confidence, Falseness and the Idea of Perfection || Acharya Prashant (2013)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Speaker: The question is, “How do I know whether I am confident or overconfident? One is considered positive, the other is considered negative.” I ask you again. How can I declare a quantity ‘x’ to be positive or negative if I do not know that quantity. I must know something about it in order to understand it as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. Do I understand what is ‘negative’ or ‘positive’?Do I understand what this confidence thing is? You will go back to your home, most of you, after few hours. When you are with your parents, let us say with your mother, sitting in a very relaxed way, do you really require confidence to speak to her? Do you really require courage to speak to her? It’s a natural, smooth, free flow. You do not require any confidence. Right? But when you have to speak in front of an audience, when you are standing on the podium, then you require a lot of confidence. Right?
Read more

There is no need to reject the mind || Acharya Prashant (2013)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Speaker: Does understanding oneself as different from the conditioned mind mean that we have to reject the mind, shut it down, numb it down, kick it away, do away with it?

No, none of that. In fact, those who know the mind as the mind, the collection of external influences, as a pre-programmed entity, those who realize that this is the nature of the mind, are the only ones who are able to utilize the mind in a proper away.
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Quantifying yourself leads to jealousy

Speaker: How should we get rid of jealousy and anger? By deleting the word, ‘we’ from this. Why could not you ask, “How should ‘I’ get rid of jealousy and anger?”

Listener 1: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Why this plurality? Why does ‘me’ become ‘we’? That is why the jealousy and anger are there. See ‘M’ and it has been inverted. The letter ‘M’ in ‘Me’ when inverted becomes letter ‘W’ in ‘We’.

And then, the entire life becomes inverted. The absence of ‘I’ is the root of jealousy and anger. This ‘we’, is the cumulative mind, the collective mind, the social mind, the comparative mind that lives in ‘we’, that lives in a tribe. Jealousy cannot be there without ‘the other’.

Jealousy is born out of comparison. Jealousy is born from a mind in which many, many are living. To say that there are many, means that they are different entities. And to say that there are different entities, means you have already compared them. Can you say that ‘X’ is different from ‘Y’ without comparing ‘X’ and ‘Y’? ‘We’ means that different entities are present. And whenever there are different things, there would definitely be comparison and hence, jealousy. Read more