Are you really so helpless? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)


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

Mortals wander lost and confused through countless lifetimes; 
their fear of death is never removed.  
Says Nanak, vibrate and meditate on the Lord, 
and you shall dwell in the Fearless Lord. ||33||  

I have tried so many things,
but the pride of my mind has not been dispelled.
I am engrossed in evil-mindedness, Nanak.
O God, please save me! ||34||  

Childhood, youth and old age –
know these as the three stages of life.
Says Nanak, without meditating on the Lord, everything is useless;
you must appreciate this. ||35||

You have not done what you should have done;
you are entangled in the web of greed.
Nanak, your time is past and gone;
why are you crying now, you blind fool? ||36||   

~ Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, Salok Mahalla
Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1428

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam. I have not done what you should have done. I am entangled in the web of greed. Now I am seeing this, and it is painful to watch all this evil. I love Lord, and feel like that these are obstacles, on the way to Lord. Seeing myself helpless.

Acharya Ji, please put some light on this. Thank you.

Acharya Prashant Ji: The first part that you are saying is – the pride of your mind has not been dispelled. Then you saying that – you are helpless.

Asha(questioner), one general rule is that, if one were really helpless, then one would be suffering-less as well.

Please understand this.

When you are really helpless, when you are really helpless, then there is no suffering left. Because to be really helpless, is to be with an undivided consciousness. A consciousness, with no choices, no options – that is ‘helplessness’. Suffering is there, not as a result of helplessness, but as a result of dishonesty.

The corpse is helpless, does it suffer? Have you seen a corpse? Have you seen how helpless it is? You put it on the ground, does it complain? You twist it’s arm, does it complain? You spit on it’s face, does it complain? It might be a King’s corpse, you call it foul names. Does it complain? That’s helplessness. It does not complain, and it does not – suffer.

If there is actual helplessness, it is the actual end of all suffering.

And here you are, and you are saying that there is lot of suffering in your life. There is pride, there is greed, there is pain, there is evil. There are obstacles on the way to Lord. And then you are saying, that you are helpless. You are not helpless. In fat, you are suffering because of your guilt. ‘Guilt’ is suffering.

You know what is ‘guilt’?

‘Guilt’ is when you are actually the culprit.

‘Guilt’ is when, you are doing something wrong, and you know that.

If inadvertently, totally without your involvement, or cooperation, something happens, then you are not guilty. Are you?

‘Guilt’ is when, with your consciousness, with your approval, with your involvement, you are still letting evil to happen. Actually abetting it. That is when you are ‘guilty’. And all suffering is guilt. You cannot suffer, without being guilty. Existence is not unjust, in this dimension.

If you find yourself suffering, know that you are guilty.

Don’t say that you are helpless. You are guilty. And you are willingly guilty. There is much that you can do. Alright, there is at least something that you can do, you are not doing it. Or there is much that you can stop, or there is something that you can stop, but you are not stopping it. So you are guilty.

There is something within your power, that you are not letting happen. And therefore you are being eaten away from inside. Therefore, something is gnawing at your mind. You are not able to pardon yourself. Some people call it ‘the conscience’. It is not ‘the conscience’, it is the ‘guilty consciousness’.

Even in those situations, that we call as utterly woeful, utterly hopeless, if we just do that which we are capable of doing, would there be space, and opportunity, and time, to despair? Please.

You are fighting a hopeless battle, let us say. You know very well that the result is pre-ordained. The enemy outnumbers you, thousand is to one. But, if you do, what you must, where is the time to suffer? Is there time to suffer?

In fact, the more adverse a situation is, the more impossibly adverse a situation is, the less is the time it leaves you with, to despair.

Do you see that?

If you were fighting a easy battle, probably you would have somehow manage to steal away some time, to sneak in a corner, and despair. And call yourself, ‘helpless’, ‘luckless’, and many other such things. Right? But if the enemy is overwhelming you, two-thousand is to one, will you really be, honestly able to find time, to sneak away in a corner, and weep about your fortune, or misfortune?

On the one hand you say, “The situations are very-very bad.” On the other hand you say, “O! I am suffering so much.” If the situation is so bad, it is good news. If the situation is so very adverse, it will you fully occupied. All your time and energy will be then consumed in, responding to the humoungess-ness of the situation. No!

The house is burning, do you have time to cry and complain? Do you have time? What would you do? You would be running around, doing your best, just to quell the fire. No!

Do the utmost that you must do, in any situation, and you will find that there is just Joy of right action.

Wails and tears are for those, who are guilty of abdicating their responsibility.

If you are fulfilling your responsibility, your responsibility will consume you fully.

It will extract the last bit of energy out of you.

Even to weep, you require some energy, even to complain, you require some time.

If you are really dedicating all your energy rightly, how are you left with energy to weep?

If you are managing to shed tears, it only means that you are a thief.

You have stolen away some energy, and reserved it for weeping and tears.

I know what I am saying is harsh. Here you are Asha (questioner), coming to me seeking succor and salvation. You would have probably expected some sympathy from me. Instead of that, I am labeling you as ‘guilty’. But I am interested in dousing the fire Asha. I don’t want to sit alongside you, and assist you with your tears.

The house is burning, you are busy weeping. You want me to offer you tissue paper? You want me to supply you with handkerchiefs? You want me to partake in the farce?

When soldiers return from battlefield, you know, the first thing they do, is to find out their injuries. Because if the soldier is really a soldier, it is quite likely, he won’t even know of his injuries.

You were playing soccer that day. Does it not happen, that after the game is over, you come to see that the knee has been bleeding? Did that not happen to you as kids? After you return home, having enjoyed the evening fully, in that rough and uneven patch of land, that you would call ‘the football ground’, Muma would locate you, put her hands on the mouth, and would say, “What have you done?” And you would look at her, and say, “What have I done?”

And then you would look at the place she is looking at, and then you would find that the socks are all soaked in blood. And you don’t even know that you have hurt yourself so badly, that you have been oozing blood since the last half an hour. Why? Because you were doing, what you were to do, as a committed player.

You didn’t really even know, that you are hurt.

There are so many stories, where the soldiers didn’t even know of a bullet sitting in their body. The bullet is in the shoulder, and the soldier doesn’t know of it. Obviously, if the bullet is in the brain, the soldier wouldn’t even need to look at it. But if it is in the knee, or in the leg, or in the hip, then the soldier keeps fighting on. Many hours later, he discovers that there is too much blood. What is happening?

Why don’t you fight Asha(questioner). It’s been few months now, and your posts are all full of, an assumed and probably convenient, helplessness.

Fight, and perish fighting.

If you win, glory is yours.

If you perish, at least all suffering is gone.

Is that not a great way to live?

Fight, and fight so hard, that you either win, or perish.


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

Watch the session: Are you really so helpless? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Granth Sahib (2019)

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

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Just grows

Whatever you think you are, is one identity that you are carrying. And that identity can have no possibility of any Love. So, forget it that there can be any ‘self- love’! No self-love is possible. ‘Self -love’ is an oxymoron.

The Great man is not a Great man. That Great man has to be Great, every passing moment inattention.

The Great man, retains his understanding of himself, as somebody who is different from his concepts. He does not get identified with his thoughts.

A cancerous cell is very very ambitious! It multiplies like hell. That’s ambition. A normal healthy cell, does not grow out of ambition. It just grows. Just grows.

Growth is your very nature. It happens spontaneously out of understanding. It does not require ambition. You don’t need to be ambitious in order to grow.

There is no target, no ambitionThis is Self-love.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Self-love, and difference between self and the Self


Acharya Prashant: Self-love, and difference between self and the Self

Acharya Prashant: What is self? Me, I.

This thing that you refer to as the self, is not one thing. Understand this.

Let’s for the purpose of understanding, call it, self with a small ‘s’ and Self with a capital ‘S’. Understand this!

This is what you think you are (pointing at the ‘self’). This is what you are (pointing at the ‘Self’). We operate incessantly with this only (‘s’). With our thoughts. And here, there is no possibility of any Love. Just ruled out.

So, when you say self-love, it’s actually a redundant term. If you are dealing with yourself in this (‘s’) domain, Love is anyway not possible and this (in the domain of ‘Self’) is nothing but pure Love. Not the kind of Love that you know of while sitting here. This is an unknown thing to you, a totally unseen beast, of which you have no idea presently.

Here, nothing called self-love can be possible (in the domain of ‘self’). Here, only tension, frustration, attachment, obsessions are there. It’s another thing that you name them Love. You can call your pre-occupations as Love, you can call all your desires as Love, you can call your attachments as Love. You can call all your dependencies as Love, you can call all your possessiveness as Love. This all, what you call love is only going to give you trouble. It would be narrow, it would be jealousy-ridden, it would be insecure. And it would be of no avail at all. Are you understanding this?

But, unfortunately, this is the Love that we know of. And this operates only here (in the domain of ‘self’). What is this self that you know of?

Listeners: With a small ‘s’

AP: This is that self in which if I ask you now, that write ten statements starting with ‘I am’ which all end in some kind of noun, you will easily write them. What would you write?

You would write, “I am a daughter”, “I am a son”, “I am a student”, “I am an Engineer”, “I am an aspiring professional”, “I am an Indian”, “I am a Hindu or a Muslim”. “I am a North Indian”, “I am a male”, “I am a female”. “I am smart”, “I am intelligent”, right?

“I am thin”, “I am long”, “I am fat”, “I am suave”, all such things? Correct?

All these self-concepts, belong to this (indicating at ‘self’). Because this is what you think you are! Are we together till this point?

Whatever you think you are, is one identity that you are carrying.

And that identity can have no possibility of any Love.

So, forget it that there can be any ‘self- love’!

No self-love is possible.

‘Self -love’ is an oxymoron.

Read more

Truth is not the thought of truth

Who is a sage? A sage is the one who is extremely sensitive, who is able to catch even that which we normally ignore.

The saint is one who has realized that life is not also hell but just hell.

Because in thinking and concluding thus, you’ve missed the happening.

Gratefulness is not the thought of gratefulness. Joy is not the thought of joy. Truth is not the thought of truth.

Gratefulness means not having any sense of like or dislike.

The spiritual man is neck deep into action. He is not an escapist.

Because all your imagination proceeds from the centre of what you currently have made yourself to be, what you currently are.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?


Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of pain and suffering?

Question: Explain ‘bad.’

Acharya Prashant: OK. Let’s take something which you call as ‘bad.’ We will begin with that. Tell me anything which you call as ‘bad.’

Listener: Inadequate idea.

AP: Too abstract. I’ll then have to make it more abstract and Do you call a disease as bad?

L1: Yes.

AP: OK. A disease is bad only when you experience the pain and suffering associated with it. Only when a disease shows up in medical report. Let’s say there is a wound here. The wound has become infected and it is oozing puss. Now, you’ll say this is bad. Won’t you say that? Don’t be so guarded as if you want to block my next step.

L1: I just…one might say it’s bad, yes.

AP: What would you call as bad? Because I have to start from there. What do you see all around that you would call as unacceptable? Is there anything that you dislike?

L1: I’m just grateful.

AP: Then, then everything is alright. You are home.

L1: I’m celebrating.

L2: If I see somebody beating a child, I call it bad.

AP: Yes, yes. I like honest statements. He’s saying he’s grateful when somebody beats up a child.

L1: I’m not saying this, I never said that

AP: Then, why not say that when you find somebody raping somebody you don’t like it. Do you like it?

L1: I don’t like it.

AP: Yes, just say that. See, living in the fact means an honest acknowledgment of what life for you really is like. Do you really like it if you’re beaten up? Then why not simply say that. Why put it in abstractions?

So, you don’t like it when somebody beats a child right, Okay? Now, beating the child is a gross act. It is visible. Let’s say somebody is carrying a cane and spanking the child with it. It is visible. Stay with this…so, it is visible when the child is being beaten and these eyes can look at that visible, material act. Something goes up, something comes down, somebody cries. You can look at that, it’s a gross thing. It’s very difficult to miss it. Now, make it more subtle, bring it down a level. Suppose the violence is not so gross. It’s a more subtle violence. What happens in a more subtle violence? Come on, speak.

L3: Shaming.

AP: Shaming. So, now he’s not beating. He’s just accusing. He’s making the child feel ashamed using words. Now, words are also gross. A little less gross than action but the words are also gross because sensory mechanism can catch them. So you still call it violence. If you’re sensitive enough you still call it violence but somebody might say that no… no… no, beating was violence, this is just counseling. Right? You make it even more subtle. Now, the violent one is neither using a cane nor is he using words. He’s just using..?

L2: Ignoring.

AP: Ignoring. Wonderful. So using nothing or just using a glance. Now, it’s very subtle. Now, only the sensitive mind will say that it is violence. If you’re not sensitive, you’ll not even know that it is violence. But violence is continuing. Violence is continuing. It is just that now you are not calling it violence. Only 1% people are now calling it violence. What have you done? You’ve done nothing. You have just been apathetic to the child. Make it even more subtle.

L4: Thinking.

Read more

Shamelessly, guiltlessly, continue with your wandering ways


Question: Two years ago, I left my job, my girlfriend and my home. Since then, I am okay but now I don’t know whether it is okay to run away? I wonder at myself.

Acharya Prashant:  But do you have an obligation to not to run away? What makes you feel that running away is a sin or a crime? Are you running away from life or are you running away from disturbance? Are you running just away from something or are you running towards something? Important to ask! Or you just running?

You have no obligation to not to avoid something. You have no obligation to remain a part of the system. It is the system that teaches you that running away from the system is a crime. Why must you feel guilty of avoiding the system? Yes, run away. By all means run away. Why must you not run away?

(Smiles) Read more

Reasonless sureness


You may be A, you may be B, you may be C or the opposite of C, you are alright.

Even when you see the deepest flaws within yourself, never take yourself to be existentially a reject.

As you stand with all your conditioning, with all your so called lacuna, you are still eligible for the Truth.

You may fall into the deepest abyss, and yet you can never fall so deep that you will be abandoned, for you’ll carry Truth with yourself even in your darkest hour.

Even when it is pitch dark outside and inside, yet there is light in your Heart.

Had you been rejected by God, you would not have been there. Neither as a body nor as a consciousness and obviously not as understanding.

Have this deep rooted confidence, have this reasonless sureness that, ‘I am alright’.

And that reasonless sureness enables you to shed all that which needs to be shed.

It is a little paradoxical, but take this—‘Only when you have no resistance towards what you are, then you are able to change yourself fearlessly.’

To read the complete article: Even in your darkest hour, the Truth shines in your heart

Cessation of mental suffering


Question: Sir, can you please speak on suffering and cessation of suffering?

Acharya Prashant:

Cessation of suffering is to know the suffering as false.

Cessation of the suffering is the cessation of the confidence that you place in your suffering.

Cessation of suffering is not the same as the stopping of something Real.

Cessation of suffering is just like waking up from a dream.

Cessation of suffering is just like getting rid of an imagination.

That is why the word “nirvana” is so beautiful word. It does not mean that you reach into another elevated state. It means your burning has seized. You are burning internally and now the flame is gone.

Suffering does not occur without your active consent.

Can you be happy without being full of acceptance for a situation? And your acceptance comes from your expectations. Can you suffer without being full of resistance for a situation? You suffer only when you do not want something to happen. Your resistance is the suffering and who is the one that resists? The one who feels himself to be threatened, insecure and small. So he says, “If this happens, then I am in danger. So let me resist.”  The moment you resists, suffering starts.

Suffering itself is a concept based on another concept.

The mother concept is “I am small”— a concept and hence, “I must resist.”— a concept. “I resist and I am unable to defeat that which I resist”—another concept. Do you see how the whole chain flows? At the center, of all this, lies a perception that you are limited.

Unless you are limited, you have no reason to feel inflated because of something, and hence you cannot be tied to pleasure.

And unless you are small, you have no reason to be afraid of something and hence you can have no reason to resist.

Then you stand in front of the winds, open chested, and then you say, “Come what may, I am not resisting something because nothing is so powerful that it can influence me or defeat me.”

Now you are not resisting. Now the universe is flowing into you, and then through you. You are a part of everything.

Do you see this?

I am again asking you—Can there be suffering without resistance based on self-preservation? There can be a lot of pain, we agree; But can there be suffering?

Suffering is always psychological.

Suffering is always tied to your inner sense of well-being.

Suffering is related to the question “Who am I?”

Pain is a fact.

You can be in a lot of pain but suffering is always dependent on whether you live a real or an imaginary life. The one who really lives, cannot suffer. And do not take me wrongly. Pain and pleasure will still come to him. You might find him in tears. You might find him groaning and grimacing but he would still not be suffering. Psychologically, he would still be healthy. Even in the moment of the greatest threat or in the moment of the greatest deprivation, he would still not be feeling bad about himself.

I know that’s loose language but I hope you are getting what I mean to communicate.

There is no way you can avoid pain if a rock hits your shoulder. But you very well know what it means to suffer. You can say, It’s a conspiracy of the universe against you and suffer. You can say you are especially born unfortunate and suffer. You can say your Guru has not blessed you and you got this and suffer.

And there are ‘n’ other ways.

This mind is very fertile.

It is just that it yields only one type of crop, which is suffering.

Man is a creature of imagination. That is probably the difference between man and the rest of the existence. Man alone lives in thought. Man alone is intellectual. The others live; we live intellectually.

It’s we who have a “tail”. The tail is the intellect. What do you think animals have tails? No, they just live. We live and then comes the tail. I don’t know when man will be able to drop that tail? Evolution has failed.

Listener: And people have been proud of carrying that tail.

AP: Yes. Monkeys have no tails. Man has a tail.

L: So do I suppose to live just…

AP: Even when you say supposed to, do you see the assumptions contained here? That there is some power outside you that will come and dictate, come and decree how you are supposed to live. What do you mean by supposed to live? Who is the authority outside of you that will declare how you are supposed to live?

But that is the sense of inferiority that we have internalized. We ask “Am I supposed to live this way?”  And who will answer that? But you know, this mind is dominated by the corporations, the media, religions, priests, mothers, fathers, teachers, books, scriptures, markets, ideologies; and when we say that Am I supposed to do this? It is their sanction that we seek.

Can someone bigger than me, outside of me, please approve? Can one of the holy books please come and grant their sanction? Am I aligned with one of the accepted ideologies? This is what you mean by—Am I supposed to just live?

As long as you ask this, you are not living.

Living is not a favour that somebody grants you.

By virtue of being, you are free to live.

Free to live and free to live freely.

You need nobody’s approval.

No God has the power to sanction your being.

If you are, you are.

And who can deny that?

You have become so burdened, so indebted, so differential that even to breathe, you require permission. Even to love we require somebody’s approval. Even to be, we seek acceptance in somebody else’s eye. Don’t we?

L: Sir, this quotation of yours says, “You will have to look at yourself as you are.” When I say ‘as you are’, I have an idea about myself and on the other hand, you say, ‘You are perfect as you are.’ How to understand this?

AP: Unless you know yourself to be perfect, you cannot look at yourself as you are.

You know what perfection means?

Perfection means it is alright the way it is.

And what does an idea of yourself say?

It is alright only if it is this particular way.

Perfection is very dynamic and flexible. Perfection says—whichever way it is, it is perfect. Which means you have all the freedom to be in diverse ways. And ideal says- It is alright only when it is in one particular way. Now, if you look at yourself with an eye full of ideals, then you will want yourself to be aligned with those ideals. So your vision would be compromised, manipulated. You would have a stake, you would be an interesting party.

I am saying, ‘I am looking at my face and my idea is that my face should be green.’ Now I look at my face and found my face to be blue. What would happen? The ideal says, “Unless your face is green, you are not worthy of living.” And I look at my face and found it blue. What would happen? Would I simply accept that the face is blue? I would say, “No, it is bluish-green or greenish-blue? Or it is blue turning into green.”

Do you see how I would cleverly manipulate the situations?

I will not be able to look at myself as I am. I will not be able to do that. But if I know that all is perfect, and I look at myself and found green or yellow or brown, and I have no compulsion, no pressure upon myself to manipulate or misreport, I will say, “Oh! It is violet.” It is violet and perfect. The next moment I say, “Oh! it is yellow.” Yellow and perfect because perfection is flexible.

Perfection means in this vast space, wherever you are, you are still in the space. So there is no way you can go away from home. You are always in perfection. There is no way you can be denied home. You may be a saint or a sinner, you still are perfect; you may remember or forget but you are perfect. So, it is blue and perfect. Someday, it is colorless and perfect. Now, you can look at yourself as you are and can just state it that way.

So to know a fact as a fact, first required a tremendous confidence upon yourself. Otherwise, you will not report the fact as fact. Otherwise, you will enter the zone of, what you call as, “creative journalism.” They look at something and they send back a very imaginative version of what they have looked at.

So only when you are powered by the Truth, only when you have no imagination that you have strayed away from the Truth, then you get the sureness to know the fact, to acknowledge the fact, simply and directly without a need to distort it.

L: This is also a very violent attitude towards the blue or to violet or to the green.

AP: Of course. Because you see, we are creatures of change. You are violet now, and blue the next moment and then green and then red.

If your perfection is an ideal,  it can never able to take into account your infinitely diverse nature.

The emptiness that we are, manifests itself in an infinite diversity.

If you are tied to some part of that diversity, you will miss the Whole.

Then you will say, “I am good only when I am behaving mercifully. But existence also requires you sometimes to hit really hard. Then you will reject yourself. Then you will fall in your own eyes. You will say that I am good only when I am abstaining from, let’s say, physical gratification. But existence has it, that one day you will find yourself in a physical embrace with someone. Then you will again fall in your own eyes. And then you will look for perfection. Then you will ask forgiveness from the God, which means the priests.

Do you see this?

L: If I have cancer, I could say that it is okay, and I could also say that I have cancer and I could want to change it.

AP: Yes. Of course! I am the one who wants to change it and this want is Perfect.

L: Yes. Everything is perfect and I stay there.

AP: Yes. It does not mean that you have to be a status quoist. When I am talking of the infinite diversity, that we are, of course, those infinite diversities, the various currents, keep mingling into each other; it’s a process of continuous change. And in that desire is included. So if I am desirous, it’s perfect. It is perfect. It’s a subtle thing. We must go into this.

I am desiring to change the situation, knowing fully well that the situation is perfect. Knowing fully well that the blue is perfect, today I decide that I want green. And who is anybody to tell me that I must not want that?

The green leaves, doesn’t it turn yellow and then brown? And then soil? Who are you tell the leaf that the brown is any less perfect than the green? Today green, tomorrow yellow, the day after it, it is brown and then it is a part of the soil. Change is happening all the time. But all the change is contained in perfection.

I repeat this.

You want to change something so that it may become perfect. Our attitude usually is, it is not perfect, I want to change it so that it may become perfect.

What I am saying is, everything is already contained in perfection and now, let’s change. It’s like all these posters in this hall. They are already contained in this hall. Now let’s change their location. Doesn’t matter where you put one thing or the other, it is always going to be within this hall. Doesn’t matter what you desires to change, all desires and the pre-state and the post-state, are going to be within perfection, which means I am never going to say that I am trying to make something perfect.

Do you get this?

“Oh! it’s already good. Now let’s throw it away. It’s already perfect. Now, let’s discard it totally. Let’s come out of something new.” Why? “Maybe just for fun.”

If perfection includes everything, perfection also includes the right to refuse perfection.

Blue was perfect, but now I want a little bit of yellow. May I have it please? Who are you to declare me a sinner because I want yellow? That doesn’t mean, by the way, that yellow is anymore perfect than blue. I am not saying that; not at all. Blue is perfect and so is yellow.

L: Sir, you see a pattern and you see it happening again and you are dissatisfied with it. You want to break free of this pattern. Maybe it is green and you want to go to yellow. You don’t know what the next pattern is or maybe you have a glimpse of it. So how to be contended with all this?

AP: Feel greatly contented with the pattern. With the existing pattern. there is nothing else, everything else is just an imagination. There is the pattern and there are you—the carrier of the pattern, the expression of the pattern. It’s all right.

Who am I? The one who lives in patterns.

The pattern gets energy with your resistance to the pattern.

The day and the night are patterns; such a beautiful pattern. What’s wrong with them? The child, the young man, the old man and the death, are all patterns. Are they not? To eat, to excrete, to eat again and to assimilate, are all these not patterns?

Live with the patterns. And know the pattern as a pattern.

Don’t attempt to change anything.

Change is the law of the universe.

Just as this pattern comes from somewhere, it will go somewhere.

It is held in its place; it is tied to you by your own resistance.

Resistance is attachment.

We all live in patterns.

There is nobody who here is not wedded to some kind of pattern.

What do you do with them?


“Oh, just a pattern; I realised perfectly that I live in patterns.” And be not concerned about what will follow or replace the pattern? It may be nothing; it might be another pattern. How does it matter? All is within the sky. All is within this space. All is within this hall.

You might be a very restless bird, but will you flow out of this sky? Ever seen a bird that flew out of the sky? With all your restlessness you will keep flying within the sky. All your restlessness is nothing. It’s a child’s game. You are the bird. You are the sky. Keep flying.


It is not so difficult. You will see that it is possible to be contented along with the existence of the pattern. You must not make your contentment contingent upon the disappearance of the pattern. The pattern will be there and you would still be contented—these would be parallel. It is possible.

The limited span of the wings and the infinitude of the sky, they are both possible parallelly and together.

The pattern will be there and your infinite contented nature will be there.

Both co-existing.

L: It is also that fear also prevents you from looking at the blue; looking at what you really are.

AP: Yes and the fear that we always have is the fear of an object. Our fear is never just a fear. You fear something and if you go deep into your consciousness, you will be able to dig that out. You fear the authorities who told you must be ‘green’. And hence you fear to look at yourself when you are ‘blue’.

You must be free of your investment in those authorities who keep promoting ‘part living’; who keep saying that this particular way of living is the right one. They are the one who keeps promoting the ‘greens’ and the ‘violets’ at the cost of the whole of the spectrum.

Do you see this?

Till the time you give those authorities acceptance, validation, strength, approval, the right to be an authority; till the time you internally keep bowing down to them, you will find that your life remains divided. A narrow part you accept and the rest you will reject. But who can partition the sky? Who can tell the bird to not to fly to that particular part of the sky? The bird will fly. It is the bird’s nature to fly. Then you will curse the bird, abuse the bird, and will say that the bird needs to taught enlightenment.

L: Sir even if I did not give the authority to somebody outside of me, still I have this ego. I am ego. I live with it.

AP: Where did it come from? Did it come from your core?

L: No, Sir.

AP: So you have already given authority to someone outside of you if you have given authority to the ego. The ego is not yours. The ego is the world sitting inside you. It is a dangerous thing to give authority to a person, an ideology,  a thought, a religion, a cult, or something. It is a dangerous thing to do that.

But it is even more dangerous to vest authority in yourself. Because now those things that were outside and clearly and obviously outside have made their way into your psyche. You have internalised them. You are calling them your own. And when you call something your own, you allot to it all your energy. All sense of belongingness, all sense of mine. You say, “It is mine, it is my opinion.” But it is not your opinion at all. It is somebody else’s but given that now you are embracing it. You will protect it far more.

L: Can I say that guilt is very much similar to fear?

AP: Of course. One very well knows the relation between them. One very well knows that they co-exist and that they are part of the same phenomena.

L: Sir, there is the conflict between understanding and conditioning and it is a continuous process? Every time a situation comes, there is someone who understands, okay. But conditioning always wins. It comes and hence comes the suffering.

AP: I will not say that a day will come when this will be stopped. As of this moment, as of today, it suffices to say that it is continuous. The moment I say it is not continuous, one day, the conflict will stop then you will keep looking forward to that day and that day will become the day of judgment or the day of enlightenment for you.

So, be all right, be contented, even with the conflict. There is conditioned part of you and then there is that part, which you called, the understanding part and you see them in conflict, let the conflict be there. Even with the conflict, be all right. It is not difficult. There is no method in this.

Have you ever had a bad churning in the stomach? Is it not possible to remain all right with it?

L: It is possible.

AP: Same way. There is no great way. One part of you can be up in arms against the other part and some foreign stuff too has invaded you—some bacteria or something. So, there are many parties now; it is a multipolar contest. You can still be alright, right? Let the things fight and when it is your turn to heave a  sigh; or to groan a little, do that. What can you do?

Be comfortable with not being comfortable and be comfortable when you want to challenge the discomfort.

If you are not comfortable you have only two options: Either you keep living in it or you challenge it and try to change it. Be comfortable in both the situations. It’s all right.

You are feeling restless in your stomach and you are still continuing to sit. Be peaceful in sitting. A moment comes when you get up and walk towards the loo. Be peaceful with the decision to go away. Do you get this?

You need not say only in a particular way of operating, only in a particular way of living, only by taking a particular decision, do I get the right to feel all right. You must be all right when you are sitting here and you must be all right when you get up and walk away. All of that must be happen in the sky of contentment, it is already happening in the sky of contentment. Just that we think a little too much.

L: It is so tricky to operate like this.

AP: That is tricky, only when you think about it. If you think about it, it is trickier than you can imagine. In fact, it is so tricky that you will not be able to come to terms with it. It is so tricky that you, by yourself, can never be able to operationalize it. It can be executed, it can happen, only on its own. You interfere and you will fall to the trick.

L: If I enter with an objective to implement this, then I end up becoming insensitive.

AP: The moment you enter, you enter only because you are not contented. Otherwise, why will you enter? So your entry itself is the defeat. It is not what will you do post entering will be the defeat. The very decision to enter is the defeat. Do you get this?

L: Sir, now the question is, how not to enter into this? It’s a futile question, but…

AP: It is because you are already all right, why do you want to enter? And if you must enter, enter again in peace. Alright, I have entered. I am habituated to enter. Even when I enter, I enter not with the objective to get peace. I enter in peace. Not aiming peace.

You know and you are peaceful.

You do not know and you are still peaceful.

You are highly agitated, and you are still peaceful.

Your peace is greatly disturbed and you are still peaceful.

That’s the knack.

L: It is that corner that knows agitation and that stays away from agitation.

AP: And in saying this, so cleverly, you have lost it and it is still perfect.


Do not try to conceptualise it.

You will never get on top of it.

The bird will never have the wings large enough to span the sky. Never.

L: So sir if one tries to conceptualise it and then tries to implement it, then one ends up in having an insensitive relationship with himself.

AP: You are operating, then in some other universe. You don’t have a relationship actually. If you see some kind of relationship, it is purely coincidental. It is not happening. You are assuming.

L: Basically, if I say what we are talking about is equanimity. And one’s conceptualised, it becomes completely insensitive.

AP: Yes. Equanimity would then become indifference.

L: Sir, what is this personal relation? I mean…

AP: Live it fully. Live it fully, fully. The fear that comes to you when you express that living force within you is the fear of death. You are alive so that the mind and the body can express the Self, the great core. That is the only purpose of this body and the mind—to continue to express the greatness you are. And that greatness is not a thing of concept. When I say “great”, do not start thinking of “greats”.

That which you are, continuously expresses itself. 

That which you are not, continuously strives for its life.

Live fully.

There is no reason to hold yourself back.

L: What holds us back is mainly because of fear?

AP: Only because of fear.

L: Fear and ideal, these two are related?

AP: They are greatly related.

L: Then, what is all this?

AP: Nothing. Just life. Just life.

L: How much planning is important in life? Should we forget planning?

AP: It depends. All of these things you have complete freedom to sometimes remember, sometimes forget. In all these matters, you have all the leeway to go this way or that way. See tell me, in your own house, do you think so much before entering the one room or other? If you are in your own house, does it matter to you so much? Do you seek the advice of the Gurus, “Should I enter the drawing room or the kitchen or should I stay in the hall?”

So wherever you want to go, do go. You stay within your own house. One day, you may decide to go there, another day you may decide to go there. How does it matter? Even if it does matter, you have complete freedom.

L: Sir, I am a bit confused now. There are two situations—One is when I am agitated or fearful. So there is this and then the other thing, living totally in fear in order to get through it. How does the two happen? How to operate at all?

AP: Live in fear. Sometimes fear does come.

Live in fear. Do not become fearful.

Let fear come; experience it.

Fear is nothing but the experience of fear.

Let it come.

See that in the middle of fear, you can still maintain your well-being.

L: It is very difficult thing to do.

AP: It is most difficult rather the impossible thing to do.

You place a great confidence upon yourself, who cannot be relied upon.

And you place no  faith on That which can be totally relied upon. 

So immediately you start talking the language of doing. Who will do? You?

You must have the ability to be and to operate as a healthy being even in the middle of sicknesses, difficulties, and imperfections.

And there is no limit to it. You can carry it to extremes.

L: The bigger problem than fear is: the idea that you should not be fearful.

AP: Wonderful! And that is an ideal. That is an imagination of perfection—you must be courageous.

Courage does not mean the absence of fear.

Courage means that there is something untouched by fear; bigger than fear. 

Fear is there. You might be trembling in fear. Yet there is something more important. This sense of knowing that there is something more important than all the difficulties, than all that which is going wrong, is extremely important. Otherwise, you simply lose perspective. Perspective—that’s a beautiful word. You must know what is it that is significant.

L: And for that, you require a little trust upon yourself.

AP: Of course.

L: And that wouldn’t come till the time you trust what is and you are too much infatuated about an ideal. Too much infatuation with the ideal, no contact with what is there and hence no trust upon yourself, thus resistance, thus fear.

AP: Yes. All this is one stuff.

It is not difficult. It is not impossible. You see at this moment we all know how important is to record this session. But we very well know that both of these are discharged (recorders). Nobody charged them. And nobody has taken care to put a mike on this.

But does that mean that I should bother about that? It happens, it is happening and we are all right in the middle of that. Do you get this?

It is not difficult, not impossible, in any way.

L: Sir, I suffer, and then I get to a point where I just let go and then it again starts. Again you let go and then again it starts.

AP: It will start again and again. Do not ever think that it is going to come to an end in the future.

L: It seems like its capacity is increasing. It seems that if I understand, I have to take more.

AP: Yes. That is the reward of knowing.

See, this world will remain as it is. You are a limited being, a limited body. You are aging. You are moving towards death. Are you not? All of us are. Now can there be a bigger hell than this—to be moving towards death each moment? People think that in the future lies enlightenment. For sure, in the future lies death.

Can there be a bigger hell than this? It is what it is. Now, what do you want to do? Cry hoarse? Curse the heavens? Attempt suicide?

L: Sir, once you understand this, even if you want to run away you cannot run away.

AP: Ah! It’s stupid.  

L: It’s like you are stuck in understanding; which is very weird.

AP: And sometimes you do run away, which is again very stupid and still perfect.

L: But that thing is there and it becomes a cage in a very different way.

AP: (Smilingly) A perfect cage.


Change whatever you want to and whatever you can.

You have all the freedom to go, play around and create a mess.

You have all the freedom to do whatever you want to do. It’s all yours.

At most, you will die in the mess; that you will anyway.

Let none of this encroach upon your fundamental, essential stillness. The world is a chaotically randomly moving affair. Or at least that how it appears. Some may come and say, there is a great harmony and peace. And they are equally right. It doesn’t matter how you look at the universe. One thing is certain, there is a flow. In the middle of the flow, you are still. It doesn’t matter how it flows, it doesn’t matter where it goes, it doesn’t matter from where it comes.

Stillness is the essence of the flow.

What does that mean?

That you can flow freely. When you know that stillness is the essence of the flow, then you need not arrest yourself from flowing. Then you need not dictate a particular type or kind of flow. Then you need not say that there is a virtue in one kind of flow and sin or vice in another kind. Then you give yourself the freedom, the authority, the licence, to just flow.

When you just flow, you do not know whether you are flowing or just still.

To flow freely is just the same as being absolutely still.

Do you get this?

It is your resistance to the flow, which is still all right.


L: One thing is that there is noise and when you see that what is disturbing me is my aversion to noise and not the flow of the noise. So then what you do is, you try to find peace. You do it for some time and then the noise overpowers you.

AP: You are not obliged to bear the noise. In the noise, you are all right if you bear the noise and you are still all right if you want to go out of out it.

Let spirituality not tell you that you must be in the noise and bear it and then say that you are all right with the torture. If you are in noise, you are all right. And if it happens that you get up and rebel, it is still all right.

L: For example: If you came to know that If I go to Devpryag (A place in) there will be noise and I don’t like noise. So it is like fear of going to Devpryag. You know that there is noise there and if I go there, I will not like the noise even though if I can manage or find peace. So you remain away from Devpryag? Is it okay?

AP: For a while. You see this mind is quite flippant. How long will you stay away from Devpryag? The very fact that you are thinking about Devpryag will one day take you to Devpryag. As long as you stay away, stay away not feeling bad about yourself. The day you go, go without feeling defeated.

Back yourself. Not feeling like going, not feeling like going. One day you feel like going, back yourself. Support yourself. There is no need to censor yourself for every step. You are no authority to censor yourself.  It is not that censoring itself is problematic. It is just that the entity that is trying to assume the authority of censorship has no authority at all.

“The pot is calling the kettle black.” Have you heard that?

Who are you to pronounce judgment upon yourself?

L: Like in campus there used to be some parties. So in front of me there used to be two options; whether to go and not to go? So for two years, I tried both the cases and in both of them, I feel bad.

AP: Just go, or don’t go.

Don’t vacillate. Don’t fret. Don’t hang about.

Okay, vacillate! and still feel all right.

This end is all right. The opposite end is all right and everything in between is also all right.

L: Sir in all of this it seems as if I made a decision

AP: Your decision is a decision only if it differentiates. You come and say that you are a sinner and I decide that you are all right. You come and say that you are a saint and I decide that you are all right.

Now does my decision mean anything? So keep deciding, but let the decision always be one. Decide if you are habituated to deciding.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Cessation of mental suffering

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Morality makes the mischief of the world your personal suffering

Article 2: Mercy and sympathy – agents of suffering

Article 3: Suffering is the disease in which the sickness becomes the doctor

Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant :


Guilt is a great method to not to change



Come face to face with the fact of your being.

Grand notions, or petty notions, any notions, will not work.

They are not evil, they are just useless. It is just that in my dictionary, the useless is the evil. There is no other evil. That is the definition of evil. That which is not needed is evil. That which you are needlessly carrying is the evil.

Read more

The power of desire is the power you are using to suppress it

Questioner: My question is about anger. A few days back I got angry over the behaviour of another woman on the road and bashed out on her, without thinking anything. I then got this feeling that it should not have been done. I don’t know what I was doing. Inside I was feeling like, “How could I do that?” At the same time what was happening was intolerable.

Speaker: If it was really not tolerable, why do you blame yourself for getting angry?

Listener: No, I am not blaming the anger but this doesn’t usually happen.

Speaker: Why is the incident still sitting in your mind? Surely there is guilt. Surely you are blaming yourself. Do you remember everything that has happened over the last five days? Then why do you remember this one in particular? Because you do not like that you got angry. It violates the image that your teachers and parents and all the nice books provided you. “The nice lady does not get angry”. Why does the nice lady not get angry?

Everything has its place in existence. Why must you not get angry? Why?

Read more

Standing still, I move so fast

Unmoving, the One, than the mind is swifter.

The senses fell back as ahead It speeded.

Though standing, It passes all others running.

The air by Its presence supports the waters.


It moves and yet It does not move. It is far and also near.

It is found within all this and also outside can appear.

Ishavasya Upanishad (4-5)

Speaker: “Unmoving, the One, than the mind is swifter”, that is swifter than the mind. “The senses fell back as ahead It speeded”, its speed is greater than that of the senses. “Though standing, It passes all others running”, shows no movement yet He passes all those who are displaying any movement. “The air by Its presence supports the waters”. Then, “It moves and yet It does not move. It is far and also near. It is found within all this and also outside can appear”.

So, to say that this, all this (Referring to the world), is not the Truth would not be proper, but also to say that this alone is the Truth, too would not be proper. “It (Truth) is within all this (the World) and outside all this.” This is also how they put it across in Zen – “It is not what it appears but It is also nothing different from it.” All objects arise in It and are due to It but It cannot be objectified. Everything arises in It, due to It and goes back to It but ‘It’ is not a thing. Because It gives birth to everything, so whatever qualities they possess come due to It the One, the Brahm, the Truth. But It is not the sum total of the qualities of any object or all objects taken together. All objects along with their respective qualities of movement, speed, colour, form, whatever qualities there might be, arise from It. So obviously It has the potential for all those qualities, that is why they appear from It. But at the same time those qualities do not account for the potential that It has. So, there is the potential from which all the qualities appear but even if you take all the qualities together, if they could be taken together, still the potential would be left out. So It is within it and also outside it. Getting it? Within it and outside it. No scope is left for any kind of debate here.

Read more

How to deal with anger?

Questioner: In spite of keeping all watch and vigil, anger comes and leads to wrong actions on certain trigger points and situations. After that it is realized that a slip happened. What is the way?

Speaker: There is nothing in existence that is unnecessary, totally useless, needlessly there. It is good that we are talking of anger, its causes and its consequences, the harm that it does. But that also might be because firstly anger is very gross, very visible. There is a clear sensual expression of anger. So, it becomes very obvious that we are angry; it cannot remain hidden. And secondly our education or morality has constantly taught us that anger is something bad. So to the problem of anger, we seem like being alert. But are we equally alert, let’s say, to the fact that even in those moments of the day when everything appears normal, we are actually feeling a little down, a little dull, a little bored, a little short of energy; that we do not consider a problem as big as anger, again for those two same reason. One, anger is gross and that constant sense of background boredom is subtle. In anger you shout, your face turns red, your blood pressure rises. In boredom, well, there is not much that happens that can be caught or traced by senses. Now you are just sitting, you are weary, you are yawning, and it doesn’t seem that there is much wrong with yawning. In anger, well you are beating people up. It seems that there is so much wrong with anger. And secondly, we have been taught that anger is bad and boredom is a much smaller evil. But is that so?

Read more

Spirituality is not the renunciation of life; it is the art of living fully

Question: I am not sure about what to do in life. Whether I should go for a spiritual path and leave all material desires or do what everyone is doing. Divergence is always there in my mind. I am practicing meditations regularly, but it won’t clear my path. Secondly, how can only knowledge bring a change in me? Surely no one changes just by listening to talks?

Acharya Prashant: Why is it so that what you call as the ‘spiritual path’ must be equated with leaving something? Do you find any renunciation in existence? Do you find anything in existence that is bent upon giving up something, or dropping something? Read more

What is guilt?

Question: What is guilt? Does it facilitate, or hinder spiritual growth?

Speaker: We often use the term ‘spiritual growth’. It is alright if it is used loosely, just to indicate something. But it is not alright, if you mean ‘spiritual growth’, as actually the growth of some entity. There is no spiritual growth as such. ‘Spiritual growth’ only means ‘spiritual dissolution’. Nothing grows. All growth is that of the ego. Only the ego grows, accumulates, becomes larger. Read more

What is escaping?

Question: I see myself escaping in all possible ways. I have observed that reading too has become a tool for the mind, to escape seeing itself. I have been seeing this for the past three days.What should I do?

Speaker: Escaping in what way? What do you mean by ‘escaping’? What is ‘escaping’? What image do you have of escaping? Escaping to where? You are with an object A, you move to an object B. Is that an escape? You move from an object B, to an object C. Is that some kind of a return? Read more

The mark of a good word is that it takes you to silence

Question: When I talk about it, it is easy and understandable. But when the real moment comes, every part of the body feels fear. Is talking anymore important for me now? Do I need to be just there and not deviate when the moment comes? Read more

Love comes along with Courage

Question: Why can’t I keep my learning at the back-end, and act as a normal human being in the front-end? When I try to make people aware of the learnings I have had from you, I receive severe resistance. Is it important at all to disseminate this wisdom?

Speaker: What has the questioner just said? That the audience here is abnormal. What do you mean by a ‘normal human being’? What is your concept of ‘normal’? The one who doesn’t have any learning.  What kind of statement is this?

The one who would learn, would he still have an option to act as if he is blind? The one who is able to see with his eyes open, would he still have an option act in an unconscious way? Deep within you think that the those who are blind, unaware are ‘normal’ and anybody who realizes, is awakened, is able to see, has something wrong with him. He is abnormal.
Read more

Whatever you choose for yourself will be ‘poison’


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”


“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.”


“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?

Intentions don’t matter; Awareness does

Question: What we get from outside especially in the childhood, is the love, affection, care of our parents, family. How can that contribute to our ego?

Speaker: There is a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People’s intentions are good, but they end up doing a lot of harm. People’s intentions are good but they end up doing a lot of harm because they are not aware. Even their love can only cause harm to the loved ones.

Intentions don’t matter, awareness matters.

I may have all the intentions of helping my son, my friend, somebody. But how can I help if my notion of help itself is misplaced.

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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.
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