On the global crisis of population, consumption and climate || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: Acharya Ji, what will happen to us in old age? Will we be able to manage ourselves then? My mother fell sick a few days back. Had we not been with her, she wouldn’t have been able to manage herself. Will the same happen to us in old age?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Are you like your mother?

Questioner 1: No.

Acharya Ji: Then why are you comparing? Your mother paid for a dependent life. Do you, first of all, want to be dependent?

Questioner 1: No.

Acharya Ji: Then, why are you weaving stories?

Questioner 1: But, my father too faced the same problems.

Acharya Ji: He too would have been dependent. Why do you want to be dependent, in the first place?

Questioner 1: No, he is not dependent.

Acharya Ji: Then, why does he need you? He needs doctors and nurses.

Are you a doctor?

Questioner 1: No. But, then, because he has spent all his money on his children, so he is left with no money.

Acharya Ji: Don’t do that. Don’t spend all the money on five kids. Keep something for yourself, and your old age.

In old age, you need medicine, not sons.


And if you want a caretaker, hire a nurse.

Questioner 1: That’s right. Both their sons, live in a different city. And both my parents, are living a good life.

Acharya Ji: How many sons, anyway, return from abroad, to take care of their parents, sitting in some native village in Uttar Pradesh? Does that happen?

And why do you need to drag your life, till ninety-five years of age? If you find, that you have turned debilitated at eighty, switch it off. Do you really need to continue living, till one hundred twenty years?

Live a rich, fulfilled life.

And when you find, that you are on the verge of becoming dependent, then call it off.

(Addressing the questioner) Not one hair in your head is grey, and you are worrying about the old age. Why must you turn so pathetically old, in the first place? I am asking you. If you are healthy, then continue to live on. Ninety, Ninety-five, that’s okay. Because you are still healthy and strong, and on your own.

But then, the day you find that you tied to the bed, and dependent on others for every small thing, why do you still want to keep breathing? Call it a day. Done.

“Lived enough, lived richly. I can retire now. Can’t I?”

Questioner 2: Is it not a sensible decision, looking at the condition of the country, with temperatures rising, to move to a better country, where population is lesser?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Climate change doesn’t differentiate between countries. Wherever you go, the battle has to be fought. You can fight it here, you can fight it there. If you think, you can fight it better there, then do shift.

As far as I am concerned, I would want to be in the thick of the battle.

I would want to fight where the problem really is.

Why escape away to some land, where people are already more aware, more responsible? The bulk of population growth, in the coming few decades, is going to come from countries like India. What would I do, by preaching these things to Japanese? Their population is already reducing. They will extinct, if I preach a little more to them.


These things need to be drilled into Indians. Because this is the place from where, the world’s most population growth is going to come.

Questioner 2: But Acharya Ji, the carbon footprint of India, is way lesser than many developed countries of the world.

Acharya Ji: Sorry Sir. Look at the growth rates. What are you talking of? India is the third-biggest emitter of Carbon.

global-emissions-2019Source: Visual capitalist.com

You are probably talking of per-capita emissions. Why talk of per-capita thing? After China and U.S., India stands at number 3. And, in terms of yearly growth, India stands at number 1.

We all want progress, you know.

And every bit of that, which you call as ‘progress’, is carbon-emitting.

Every bit of that, which you as the ‘good life’, is carbon-emitting.

A fellow comes from a small town, to Bangalore, his carbon footprint probably increases five times. But, you call it ‘progress’. You call it ‘urbanization’. A fellow moves from a small house, to a big house, his carbon footprint increases four times. But, you say, “It’s great.” A fellow gets a higher paying job, and gets two more air conditioners. He has done his share of damage, to the earth. But he will say, “You know, this is ‘progress’.”

‘Progress’ itself is the problem.

As long as there are so many people – ‘progressing’. If you want the progress, then let there be a quarter of people, then there already are. Then there will be these progresses.

But, you cannot have, the kind of per-capita consumption of resources, that probably United States currently has, with the kind of population, that India currently has.

But that is what we want. We want the population of India, to be multiplied by, the per-capita consumtion of U.S. And that is catastrophic.

If you want the per capita consumption levels of the developed countries, then you reduce your (developing countries like Indiapopulation, to the level of developed countries. You cannot have the population of India, but the per-capita consumption of Germany.

Unfortunately, that is what we want.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: On the global crisis of population, consumption and climate || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Thoughts, Understanding and Realization


Acharya Prashant: We rarely understand. We only keep thinking. And we think that we are understanding.
Naresh, there is a humongous difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘understanding’.

We ‘think’, but we rarely ‘understand’.
When you look at that mobile phone, you are ‘thinking’, you are not ‘understanding’. ‘Understanding’ is a totally different thing.

‘Understanding’ happens when thoughts have been quietened.

You think about the mobile, have you ever thought about the ‘Tack Sheek’? Is there anyone here who thinks about ‘Tack Sheek’?

Listener: We don’t know what that is!

AP: You think about the ‘mobile’, because you know about the mobile already. No one here has ever heard of ‘Tack Sheek’ before! And that’s why you don’t know about it.

All thoughts come from the past. When you are looking at something, the only thing happening is, that your mind is recalling something that it already has recorded previously.

And that is why, when I said ‘Tack Sheek’, you all were clueless about it. Because there is nothing to recall. This is not ‘understanding’. This is just a recalling of the past.
There is something previously fed into your brain, and you just recalled it again. This is not called understanding. This is highly mechanical. This can be easily done by a computer’s hard drive, which has no intelligence at all, which is purely instrumental.

So, when you are looking at this mobile, then you are just dealing in an image. That is merely a thought, not ‘understanding’.

L: So, what then is ‘Real Understanding’?


‘Understanding is the fruit of intelligence.’ It operates only in an environment of attention. When you are completely still, then the process that happens instantaneously, that is called ‘Understanding.’

Read more

We have been taught to be dependent in a thousand ways.

Our entire upbringing and education has been such that we’ve been taught to be dependent in the thousand ways. We’ve been told, for example, that we must top the class. Now remember, to top the class, you’ve to be dependent on others. How? Because not only your performance is important, it’s also important that the others perform badly than you. So, there is dependency. “I might do very well but there’s somebody else who’s done better still. I can’t top.”

“You’re good only when the entire society and the entire group of relatives say that you’re good.” So, your being good is now dependent on the opinion of so many people. There is no absolute standard, it’s all relative. If they say you’re good, you’re good. And if the neighbor comes and says, “Mr. Sharma. Your daughter is disappointing.” Then both Mr. Sharma and the daughter are gone. Their day is spoiled. The daughter does not know herself. And even Mr.Sharma does not know, neither the daughter, nor himself. Are you getting it?

Parents tell their kids, “We will be proud of you when the entire world claps for you.” Now what is this? Do you want to ruin your child’s life? “Don’t do this. What will they say?” Is that not a statement that you’ve often heard? “Duniya kya kahegi.” Now you’re being constantly conditioned to become dependent.

Entire system of education, examinations, certifications, you’re only as good as somebody else says you are. There is always an assessing body outside of you. The result has been that even in this young age we’ve lost the capacity for self assessment. We’ve lost the faculty that can look directly at itself. You know yourself only via somebody, only through somebody.

If you’re to ask yourself “Who am I? How am I? Where do I stand?”, you’ll find that you don’t have any answer. And that’s horrifying. And if you have any answer that answer would surely be an answer given by somebody else. It would have been supplied to you by somebody else. Even supplied is a very soft word, it would actually have been implanted in your mind by somebody else.

Read the complete article: The deeper is your dependency, the deeper is your fear

The deeper is your dependency, the deeper is your fear

21125331_1485233508231414_8341813784503617778_oListener: Why are we always scared? In a class if I’m sitting and I’ve to ask question to our teacher, then why do we always think that what people will think of us if I ask this question?

Acharya Prashant: What’s your name?

L: I’m Kiran.

AP: Kiran. Sit Kiran. First of all it’s a little amusing that the one who’s confidently getting up and asking the first question is saying why am I hesitant to ask question. Kiran who’s hesitating to ask, you?

L: Now I’m confident to ask. But few years back I was not so confident. I just wanted to know that reason.

AP: Leave that Kiran. That Kiran is gone. This Kiran is no more nervous. Is she nervous? In front of everybody she’s interacting, sitting right in the front seat. The moment I say ‘Ask’, she shoots the question. If anybody is not nervous here it’s you. The others should ask, “Why are we hesitating? Why can’t we just come forth and speak?” Read more