If others can predict you, others will enslave you

KG-10“Thus, I became a madman

And I have found both freedom and safety

in my madness;

the freedom of loneliness

and the safety from being understood

For those who understand us,

enslave something in us.

Khalil Gibran

Question:  Why is Khalil Gibran saying that those who understand us enslave something in us?

Speaker: The context, in which Khalil Gibran is using these lines, has to be seen. When he says ‘loneliness’, read it as ‘aloneness’; when he says ‘understand’, read it as ‘think of’. What he is saying is that, those who are able to know us via thought, are able to know us only in terms of material; name, form, shape, size, time, past, identities. So, those who know of us in terms of these time and space bound variables, have a relationship of master and slave with us. They act as the master and slave, and we too act as the master and slave. Only such is the quality of the relationship.

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What is your ultimate desire?

sshed

I once had a thousand desires,

 but in my one desire to know you,  all else melted away.

– Rumi

Acharya Prashant: “I once had a thousand desires.” We all have a thousand desires. We all have thousand desires, right? What does each desire say? Each desire says, “Fulfil me, and you will get satisfaction.” Now, what is this satisfaction? When you are satisfied, do you still have desire? Does the desire say, “Fulfil me and still I will remain?” No, what does the desire say? “Fulfil me and I will go.”

So what does each desire want? To be fulfilled. And to be fulfilled means that the desire gets vanished. So each desire wishes for its own disappearance. So the desire only desires the disappearance of itself. That is what every desire wants. That is the nature of desire. Read more

What is unconditional freedom?

Question: Is there any difference between freedom and unconditional freedom?

Speaker: We live in bondage. What we call as our normal, usual, daily life, is a series of bonded movement in time. Our thinking, acting, even breathing is bondage. It is happening as per forces we have no understanding of, and hence no control over. And then suddenly, without our explicit demand, it so happens that this series, that this chain gets disrupted for a while, like a flash of lightning in dark sky, not lasting long, but having its distinct presence, an undeniable presence. It didn’t last, but it illuminated as long as it was there, and I can’t forget that it illuminated Read more

What are hobbies and interests?

Question: I am doing something due to somebody else’s wishes. Instead of that I want to pursue my hobby. How can I start working towards it without hurting others?

Speaker: The world is full of people who pursued what they call as their ‘interest’, or their ‘hobby’, or even their ‘love’, and kept feeling as frustrated as you probably do. See, the influences that others have upon us, we resist them. So, as you are saying, your parents have a certain influence upon you. You want to resist it; you don’t feel comfortable with it. There is a constant feeling that- I am doing something under somebody’s influence or pressure. So, you turn to the mind and then we ask the mind, “What do you want?” and the mind comes up with an answer which I call as ‘my interest’. You say, “I want to pursue my interest.” Read more

What is the meaning of intellect?

Question: Is spirituality easier or more probable for a sharp intellect?

Speaker: We do hear this sometimes that one requires a certain level of intellect even to be spiritual. That one needs the power to think and analyse, logically discern, so as to go deep into the spiritual truths. But to what extent is this factual, that we will have to investigate. 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?

All displacement from the Present is suffering

Question: Is acceptance of everything that comes in life is same as living in the present?

Speaker: What is acceptance? What are these things that come to life? What do you mean by ‘my life’? What do you mean by ‘acceptance’?

Listener 1: ‘Acceptance’ means that the things that are coming to us, we are just watching them. I am not doing anything to change them, I am not making any effort to change them. They are leading me and taking me where they want me to go.

Speaker: They will lead you where you want to go.

Listener 1: No, where they want to take me.

Speaker: Who are you?

You are a bundle of desires; your subjective, personal desires. That is what you are, that is what your own self-concept is. “Who am I? My personal desires.” That’s what I am – the personal desires; not existential desires, not the will of the existence. You are the will of the ‘person’, the ‘me’.
Read more

Before you chase goals, become goal-less

Impart not esoteric Truth to fools,
Nor on molasses feed an ass.
Do not sow seeds in sandy beds,
Nor waste your oil on cakes of bran.
-Lal Ded

Speaker: The question is, ‘Why is a compassionate saint speaking such words? They look more like coming from a result oriented mind.’

When you say, ‘Why is a compassionate saint speaking these words?’, who are you referring to? There is a Lal Ded that never took birth and will never die. There is a Lal Ded who is so expansive that space cannot contain her and there is a Lal Ded who surely took birth and who surely die. There is a Lal Ded who is limited in a body, there is a Lal Ded who is living, eating and breathing in achievement and there is nothing left for her to get. And there is a Lal Ded who must move around, go place to place, speak and dance. There is a Lal Ded who is pure silence and there is a Lal Ded who must deal in words. Who are you referring to? Who is the saint? When you say saint, what do you mean? What do you mean? Your query is that why is Lal Ded speaking in a language that looks result oriented?
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

The delusion called ‘Achievement’

Speaker: Do you really want to understand what this whole business of ‘achievement’ is? If you really want to understand, only then we can go into it. If you are into it superficially, out of an obligation, then you will not understand anything. So do you really want to understand this ?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: If you think this must be a very, very serious thing in which we are investing our entire life, this business of achievement, then it is very important to understand it. If you think this to be of that great importance, then only you will be able to understand. And if you think that there is nothing to do, life comes and goes, and if we waste one life then another life is waiting for us, then there is no point discussing all this. So are you really sincere about understanding ? Read more

Whose desires are you chasing?

Question: What is the proof that we are still evolving?

Speaker: Who says that it is not happening anymore? That process takes millions of years. There is enough proof. If you go hundred years back, the human brain has become larger. The overall size of the body has decreased because we have moved from an agrarian society to a society that is service-based, doing far more of intellectual work than mechanical work. Do you know what is happening? Across the world, babies are being born with bigger brain and smaller body. Evolution is at work all the time. Because your life span is only eighty to hundred years, you never see that. It takes place across centuries. You never see a monkey changing into man overnight. Read more

Of Confidence, Falseness and the Idea of Perfection

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

Freedom from ego is freedom from fear

Speaker: What to do when you encounter a person with lot of Ego? He has used two words: High ego, and bad ego. Lets understand this. When you use the term, ‘bad ego’ you necessarily mean that there is something called ‘good ego’ as well? Correct? Logical?

What is this Ego? And can it have these two varieties, good and bad? What is the Ego?

Listener 1: Ego is when you put yourself above someone, when you think yourself to be superior  than other.

Speaker: Is that the Ego? You are putting yourself above someone. What if you necessarily put yourself below someone? What if you are habituated to saying that I am the worst of all? Your conditioning and culture have told you, that when someone says that I am best of all, you immediately say that this fellow is egoistic. I am asking you, ‘What if someone says I am the worst of all’? Is this not a statement of ego?

A common misconception that many of us have is that ego is pride. You often equate ego with pride. Let us be very clear on that, ego is far more than pride. Ego is far more pervasive than pride. Ego is not merely pride. Ego expresses itself in a thousand ways other than pride. The ways of the ego are very settled, and they are to be seen everywhere. You do not keep expressing your pride every time. Your mind is not filled with thoughts of pride every time. But even the other thoughts that you carry, most often are thoughts of ego.

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What is professionalism?

Question: What is the meaning of being a professional?

Speaker: What is professionalism all about? Is it just about serving your profession with excellence or is it something more than that? Whenever we hear this word ‘professional’, an image comes to the mind. Is professionalism that image?

Clearly there are two layers to this question.

One: Can professionalism be defined by a certain code of conduct, a certain personality, a certain way of carrying your self? That is the first part and that is how most of us know professionals to be. So this first layer is very important. Is professionalism about that?

Two: It is about the profession itself. If professionalism is all about being excellent, then the question is, ‘Being excellent in which profession?’
Read more

The personality is not your essence

Question: Sir, how do I respond when someone asks me to describe my personality?

Speaker: This question is the gateway to the mind. Let us understand this.

Why must I ask this question? Because I am concerned with what others think of me. So, you see, you lost the battle at the outset itself. You are so bothered about what others would be thinking of you. Do not ask me that how should I respond when someone asks me to describe my personality. Instead, you should ask, ‘What is personality?’ That is sufficient.

Do you understand the difference between these two questions? The first part of the question, the way she has put it, is other-centric. ‘Sir, what should I tell him when he asks me about my personality?’ Forget about ‘him’! The more genuine question would be, ‘Sir, what is personality?’ If you know what is personality, then it is obvious that you can tell it to anybody when asked. But you see that’s the way we have lived; other-centered.

We do not really bother whether we know, even when we claim that we want to know. We want to know so that we can tell it to somebody. Look at the way you study. You don’t study because you want to know. You want to study so that you may write in examination paper, so that the examiner can read it. You study for the sake of others. You don’t ask this question because you want to understand the term ‘personality’. You ask this so that you can listen to this answer and quote it in front of somebody else. ‘Sir, how do I respond when somebody asks me that what is personality?’ Why is that ‘somebody’ so important for you? Your own understanding is far more important. If you understand, then of course you can tell it to anybody, if needed.

020815-1Why is it so important to you that what the examiner thinks of you? But that’s the only thing that is there. You don’t study out of love, you study out of fear. The examiner can fail me. That ‘somebody else’ may not approve of what I am writing. And then there is no life in that knowing.

So, first, we are inverting your question from the point of view of the self. The question now says, ‘What is personality?’ Now, what is personality? We have talked earlier that how we borrow our sense of self from outside, how we borrow our very identity of who we are from outside. The expression of all those identities is called ‘personality’. So, the personality is anyway a borrowed thing. Anybody who is interested in your personality is anyway not a wise fellow. It is like meeting somebody and becoming too interested in his clothes. This fellow is either a clothes merchant or a mad man. This fellow either runs a garment shop or is a lecher.

Personality is like your clothes, an outer covering, an outer layer that has come from the outside. Personality is not what you are, personality is what you wear. Wear, not in the sense of clothes. Wear, in the sense of putting upon yourself.

Personality is your external layer. Why must I be interested in your external layer? Why must anybody be interested in the external rather than the internal? A person who is interested in external has surely no eyes to look into internal, to look into what is essential. But that is the way we live. And that is the way we have been taught to live. We have been told that the man is judged by his appearance. We have been told that all that is, is by appearance. We have been told that ultimately what counts is success. We have been told that you must have it by hook or by crook. ‘Get it, wear it and display it.’ That’s the way we have been brought up. That’s the way we have been taught. So, personality has become very important in this blind world because this world has no eyes to look into the essential. All of you are young and you have life to live. How can you spend your life like a blind man?

You must know the essential, and the personality is not the essential. Are you getting it?

Personality is what you wear. Be more concerned with what you are. And what are we? Move a step behind. As far as we know ourselves, we are just thoughts. Be very-very mindful of your thoughts.

An obsession with personality means that I do not care about what is going on here in my mind, because it is not visible. Expressions are visible, my clothes are visible, facial colour is visible, words are visible, my way of walking is visible, but my thoughts are not visible. So, I won’t bother about them. That’s what an obsession with personality does. It makes you forget what is more important than your personality, the content of mind.

So, first thing: become more concerned with what is going on in your mind. We think that nobody knows what is going on here(pointing at the head), so we think that this mind is our kingdom. Anything goes. We think that we are thinking but nobody knows what we are thinking. ‘Let me think, let me roam around anywhere. Let me harbor any kind of thought, let me be worried, let me be lustful, let me do all that which is otherwise permissible to be done in action. If I kill someone then I will be arrested, but at least I can think of killing that person and derive pleasure out of it.’ Now, nobody can see the thoughts so its alright. Keep thinking about killing that person and that gives us a certain satisfaction.

Law surely cannot punish you for your thoughts but life and existence will surely punish you for your thoughts because all your thoughts become your mind itself. They cause a permanent change, a permanent deformation of the mind. Are you getting it?

Please have some sensitivity towards yourself and be much more bothered about what you are doing to yourself. Your thoughts punish you. Or we can say that to have thoughts is a punishment itself. You do not require any external agency to punish you. Look attentively at your beliefs. See how you have allowed yourself to borrow the idea of success from others, the meaning of career, and so on and so forth. These are the deep-seated beliefs in the mind. How come I have just borrowed and accepted the meaning of the word ‘life’? How come others have written a script for me and I have internalized that script? Be much more concerned about that.

Look at the contents of your mind, forget the personality.020815-2

‘How am I living my life? I sit just as the way others are living? Why is my life so predictable? Why am I afraid, desirous? Do I know love?’ Be much more concerned about these questions and when these are taken care of, then intelligence shines. That is the very function of intelligence. And in that intelligence, personality is automatically taken care of. An intelligent man will know by himself what is the right kind of clothing and appearance for an occasion. He will not need to be told. That is a very minor thing or secondary thing. Be concerned with what is major, what is primary.

I repeat: You are the content of your mind. Personality is just an appearance that you wear.

Be bothered with what you are, not what you wear.

– Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at:  Prashant Tripathi: The personality is not your essence

Article 1: Why do people find personality important

Article 2: Let personality be an expression of your essence

Article 3: What is a good personality

There is nothing called ‘my success’

Questioner: Isn’t there something called an individual business effort, not conditioned by others? Is it not possible that a business or entrepreneurship effort could be free of society and based on one’s own mind? We are all students of social entrepreneurship.

Speaker: Is there something called business untouched by society? The real estate business, or pharmaceutical business, or the business of selling shoes or software — if one enters into these, with the ambition of success, then it is already a social phenomenon. Real estate is not significant. What is significant is that the individual is entering with a view to earn success. Remain with that: from where does your motion of success and failure come? If somebody wants to prove himself, don’t you see the mental game of success in his desire?

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Freedom begins with a ‘No’

Speaker: Karan has asked that he is unable to say ‘No’ and that often lands him in trouble, gives him a lot of problems. Are there others who face this problem?

Listeners: Yes.

Speaker: Alright, so this question then comes from all of us. Let’s understand this question. I am unable to say ‘No’. Now why I am unable to say no? Obviously, there is some fear that holds me back. If I say ‘No’, then obviously such and such will feel offended, if I say ‘No’ something may happen, if I say ‘No’ I may lose a relationship, if I say ‘No’ the other person may harm me. Read more

A passionate life

Question: How do I explore my passion?

Speaker: I am sure this question is relevant to many others if not everybody. First of all this question has to be asked on a clean slate. Those of us who have already believed some external passion to be the real passion, they are not eligible to ask this question. Are you getting this? When you ask this question you are standing at a point where you do not know your real passion. Right? You are confused. You have come to know that whatever is known to you can be doubted. What to do with those who live in a deep belief that they already know their passion, or a belief that knowing that passion is not important at all? Read more

An ambitious mind will remain in conflict

Speaker: The question can be broadly put as, ‘why is it so that our happiness comes at the cost of others?’ Why is it always a zero-sum game: if I win, you lose, if I am happy then you are sad? Why is it always like this?

This is the basis of the entire system in which you are living. What else is competition? Today all the systems that you have are in some way or the other based on competition.
The question essentially is, ‘can there be a way of living in which one’s joy is not dependent on the suffering of the other?’ Can there be a way of living harmoniously, such that there is no conflict, there is no win-lose situation? This is a very important question, because till the time there is this obsession with winning, winning essentially means defeating the other, till the time there is this obsession with winning, with achieving, we and the world will always remain in conflict. Are you getting this? Go into this along with me.

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Fear is the influence of others

Speaker: How many students are sitting here? Around eighty, ninety, some number. I said to all of you to get up and ask your question. Who is the one who displays courage and instantly gets up and asks me a question? Who is the one?
Listeners (everyone): Aviral (The one who asked the question).
Speaker: Who is actually not afraid?
Listeners (everyone): Aviral (Again the one who asked the question).
Speaker: Are you afraid right now?
Listener (named Aviral): No, Sir.
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