Acharya Prashant, with students: Will living without ego cause one to starve?

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Acharya Prashant: The question is how do I fill this stomach if I don’t have an ‘ego’?

Firstly, you must see that you are deeply afraid. You are deeply afraid that if you don’t follow the orders of this ‘other’, that that other could be society, friends, family, corporations, the entire trend of career making. You are deeply afraid that If you don’t follow ‘that’ then you will end up starving. You won’t have enough eat.

Now, is this fear yours?

Even, this fear has been instinct to your mind by ‘that’ other. Don’t you see how cunning that other is? He repeatedly tells you that unless you become my slave, you will starve. But is that the Truth?

Is that the Truth?

Would you really starve if you don’t toe the others line? If you don’t develop an ego, that is If you don’t develop a sense of ‘Self’ dependent upon the other. You won’t.

I Invite you to find out whether you would really starve. The world will always have enough for you to eat. You won’t starve but you may not be able to fulfill these ambitions.

The funny part is even the ambition has been given to you by outside. So there is nothing lost if you can’t fulfill it. You don’t lose anything at all if you don’t meet your ambitions. Remember, there will always be enough to meet your needs. And a free man will always find enough to meet his needs. Because his needs are always so small.

You don’t need too much but yes, your ambitions depend upon your subservience to the society.

Needs don’t make you a slave, ambitions make you a slave.

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Risk is only when I am bothered about success and failure

Risk is defined as variability in outcome.

Risk is, ‘I may succeed, I may not succeed.’

What if I am not at all thinking about success and failure?
Is there any risk then?

Risk is only when I am bothered about success and failure, only then there is a risk, otherwise there is no risk. I see there is an eighty percent risk of failure.

What if I am not at all thinking of failure? What if I am happy with just trying? Then there is no risk; so why think in the language of risk at all? Let stock brokers do that. They talk a lot about risks, rewards and returns.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘On Strength and Risk

Read more about ‘Success and Failure’: Success and Failure

If I find no joy in living, what success am I talking about?

We say: “I must have money, I must have reputation, I must have good grades, I must have a particular kind of body, I must have a boyfriend or a girlfriend.” That is what success is to us.

It would be wonderful if someone could come up and say: “What is this? You can cry about this success and that success, but success depends upon where I am. If I am a kid, then riding a bicycle may be success for me.”

So, success just depends upon living a moment in its fullness. There is no other success. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, if you are completely into it, that is success, you are already successful then. Now it does not matter if you get a certificate for it or not.

Success is not a certificate given by somebody else. Success is not a grade sheet. Success is not how many marks somebody gives you. Success is not what your friends call you. Success is not a particular number in your bank account or a particular number upon your report card. Success is the joy of living. If I find no joy in living, what success am I talking about? I am a complete failure!

All the time, I am tensed and bothered about my results. If I am all the time worried about what will happen after two months, I am surely a big failure.

Success is just the joy of living. And when do we live? We live right now. We do not live in memories or in hopes. We are living right now, and that is success. If you are playing, play fully. If you are talking to somebody, then be with that person fully. If you are sitting in a lecture, listen clearly. If you are reading a particular book, read it as if there is nothing else.

Success is not about that results that you will get after reading that book. Success is your immersion in that book, in that moment. I repeat, success is the joy of living in the moment.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘Success is just an image with no substance

Read more on ‘Living Fully’: Forget perfection, live fully

Forecasting is one thing and desiring from the future is another

We all have the ability to forecast. Forecasting is one thing and desiring from the future is another thing. Based on how economy is going, the economist can forecast how the economy will grow in the next year, that is also looking into the future but that is not the
same as being future-oriented.

If I have the capacity to project the future, that is one thing, but to be obsessed with the future is the entirely different thing. To make the future the center of your action is totally different.

 

There can be two ways of acting: one is that I am acting right now and the other is that I already have the image in the mind and based on that image I am working for the future. Unfortunately, ninety nine percent of us work according to the second order.

See, the first model says that, “I am in love with my books and studies in the present and because I study well in the present, so I will do well in the examination, which is in future.

The second model says that, “When the examination will be announced, when the exam date-sheet will be put up, then to do well, I will start studying. To do well in the future, I will start studying. Future comes first for all.” That is our model. That is the way of life for ninety-nine percent of the people.

 

Future comes first for you and then the present comes. You are reversing the flow of time. In our minds, future comes first, “I want to succeed in that examination, so today I must study”. The appropriate sequence is, “Because I am studying, hence I will naturally do well in the exam. I am not studying for the sake of exam; I am studying because I love to study.

Would it not be beautiful if you live this way? Then marks would be a by-product. Marks will not matter, what will matter is the time that you spend with your books; the joy, the fun with the books, that is more important.

 

Feel free, let it come. Fearlessly, let it come. Let there be faith that, “I am capable of handling whatever will come. I can take it. I will not be scared. I will not shiver. I will not be afraid. Just bring it on. I have a way to respond to it. My intelligence is adequate. There is a challenge, I will respond.”

The world is not a threatening place. Existence has given all this to you, how can existence be hostile towards you? The past was not hostile, the present is not hostile. How can future be hostile?

Essentially, all planning for the future is planning of the present.

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~ Excerpts from the article, ‘Plans of future come from fears of past‘. Edited for clarity.

Why you have come to this Campus? || Acharya Prashant (2012)

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


Speaker:  If somebody asks, “Tell me about yourself”, then how will you talk in the language of ‘We’? You see, this is what it is. I do not know myself and I claim to know everybody else as well.  It is already dangerous to claim self-knowledge, and I am claiming knowledge of others as well. Yes, so ‘I’…?

Listener 1: But Sir, I am not getting you actually.

Speaker: “I am not getting you”, right? Not “We are not getting you”. What did you say? “I am not getting you”. Correct? So, ‘I’! Yes?

Listener 1: Sir, I was saying, up to now, it was just a growth. But now I am here for development. Growth plus progress.

Speaker: Alright Sir. Now how do you differentiate between growth, progress and development?

Listener 1: Sir, according to me growth + progress = development.

Speaker: What is growth? What is progress? When you say X + Y = Z, you must first know ‘X’ and ‘Y’ in order to come to ‘Z’. What is growth? What is progress?

Listener 1: Growth is just increase in size and when some progress is included in that, it becomes development.

Speaker: When some…?

Listener 1: Progress is added to it.

Speaker: What is progress?

Listener 1: Progress means enhancing your views, observations and all the things.

Speaker: When you say increase in size, increase in whose size? Your body’s size. Is that what an educational institution is for? What do you mean by increase in size?

Listener 1: Sir, knowledge, mindset. It is a part of development.

Speaker: Growth. Let’s first focus on one thing. What do you mean by growth? We will then come to progress so that we can come to development. What is growth?

Listener 1: Simply as you have told that…

Speaker: Why should what I have told? I am nobody.

Listener 1: You were saying one thing…

Speaker: (Interrupting) You tell me, what do you mean by growth because it is your life, not mine. Right? It is your life. Not mine. So you tell me, what do you mean by growth.

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A life free of incompleteness and inferiority

Question: Sir, we have learned that we should not have ego, as it is conditioning. Ego arises because I feel incomplete within. But to fill this incompleteness is what I want in life. It gives me satisfaction in life. So, shouldn’t we be egoistic?

Speaker: What exactly is the logic? That we should be egoistic so that we continue feeling incomplete? Is that the argument?

Questioner: No sir. If ego is giving us completeness, shouldn’t we have an ego?

Speaker: It’s like saying that disease is giving me health. Is ego giving you completeness? Or is ego itself a continuous feeling of being unwell, of being incomplete and lacking and small and unworthy? How can a feeling of unworthiness give you worthiness? How can a feeling of incompleteness give you completeness?

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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.

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How to cope with stress?

Questioner: Sir, how to cope with stress? I get disappointed easily.

Speaker: Is there disappointment without a specific expectation?

Listeners (in unison): No Sir.

Speaker: And when you expect, then obviously you never expect bad things for yourself or do you?

Listeners (in unison): No Sir.

Speaker: So when you expect, you expect good things to happen to you. “Good things will happen to me.” Now, just think of the good things that really happen to you or have happened to you. The really good things, not the small ones. I repeat, the really good ones. Have they happened to you because of your expectation and imagination?

Alright, let’s look at those good things. The first thing you probably like about yourself is that you are, your being, the fact that you exist. Did that happen out of your expectation?

Listeners (in unison): No Sir.

Speaker: It didn’t, right! Now, these essentials that you need for living, do they come to you because you expect them to come? And could you ever have expected them to come?

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What is one’s ultimate goal in life?

Question: How do we understand our ultimate goal?Goalless

Speaker: Your ultimate goal is to come to goalessness.

As you are, you are bound to have goals. I cannot advice you to not to have goals. Because it is impossible for you. It is impractical for you. You will need goals. Given your constitution, your stage in life, the makeup of your mind, you will need goals. And if you must have a goal then the goal must be goalessness.

Till the time you have goals, keep telling yourself- “I am not yet done.” You have reached the goal when you forget everything about goals. You will have goals and if you must have goals then this is the goal to have- “Can I go beyond this goal? Can I really see what this goal is?”

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Respond to His call and He will take care of the rest

“I didn’t come here of my own accord and I can’t leave that way.

Whoever brought me here, will have to take me Home.

~ Rumi

Speaker: Now, Rumi is saying, “I didn’t come here of my own accord and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here, will have to take me Home.”

Rumi-5

So, “I didn’t come here of my own accord”. The mind is a machine and no machine drives itself. The mind cannot know who is driving it? So, Rumi is just being honest and saying, “I don’t know, why is all this happening? I didn’t come here on my own accord.” And because I didn’t come here on my own accord, look at the man’s simple, innocent intelligence; he is saying, “For sure I cannot be the one who can achieve salvation for myself”.

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On having motives in life

Question:  Sir, is it not important to have motive in life?

 Speaker: See Sana, motives are there. So the question: “Whether or nor motives are important and whether we must have motives?” is a little irrelevant because motives are anywhere there. And who is asking this question? Is it optional to have motives? If I say, “Don’t have motives”, is it within our capacity to not to have motives? The one who is asking this, will necessarily have motives. Why? Read more

How do I get rid of my bad habits?

Question: I want to get rid of my bad habits. I have tried all the things to get rid of them, but I am still unable to do that. What is the reason?

Speaker: How do you know whether a particular habit is good or bad? How do you decide?

Listener 1: It has been told to us earlier, that what is good and what is bad.

Speaker: You have been told earlier that what is good and what is bad. That is the way we go about deciding everything – what is right, what is wrong, what is fair, what is unfair – on the basis of criteria that has been given to us in advance. That this is good, this is bad.
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Happiness cannot be the purpose of life

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

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

  1. Earning money or,
  1. Happiness.

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

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

Listener 1: For livelihood.

Speaker: And, why does one want a livelihood?

Listener 2: For comfort.

Speaker: What does comfort give you?

Listener 3: Satisfaction and happiness. Read more

How can I get my ex-girlfriend back? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Speaker: ‘How can I get my ex-girlfriend back?’ The question comes from Shubham. Shubham you will have to die (audience bursts into laughter). There is no other way, you will have to die.

You know, it was Kabir who said:

ये तो घर है प्रेम का, खाला का घर नाहिं ।
सीस उतारे भुँई धरे, तब बैठें घर माहिं ॥

You will have to die. And obviously it is not death of the physical kind. When Kabir says, ‘Cut your head before you can enter the house of love’, what does he mean? What does this denote? Kabir says, ‘Cut your head down’. What does this denote?

Listener 1: Ego.

Speaker: Yes, wonderful. This denotes the sum total of your past. This denotes the absolute sum total of your past, your attitude, your conditioning that you carry forward. You cannot get your ex-girlfriend back if you continue to be the same person who broke up. Are you getting it?

After all there was a context to the breakup. Am I right? If you are the same person who broke up, how will you engage with her again? To engage with her again you will have to be an absolutely new, fresh person, that old fellow must die. Unless the old ‘Shubham’ dies there is no possibility of a new relationship. Is this becoming clear?
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Friends, jobs and the need for entertainment

Questioner: Sir, everyone is expecting something. Parents are expecting something, friends also expect something but sometimes I prefer to be alone. What to do in that situation?

Acharya Prashant: Do you really have a friend? What kind of friend is this who does not like you to do what really gives you joy?  If I am your friend and you want to be alone, what am I to do? Chase you? Get stuck to you? Or allow you to be alone? Do we really have friends? What kind of friends are these?

Somebody has said that a person is worth being with if you feel alone in his company. Only that person is worth being with. That’s the test. Read more

On strength and risk || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question 1: Sir, if I say that facing a person is my strength, how would you justify it?

Acharya Prashant: Why should I justify it?

Remember one thing.

Nothing outside you can ever be your strength. Something outside of me can be a crutch. Do you understand a crutch? A support – a support helps for sometime, but ultimately it is the strength of your own legs that carries you forward. So your strength is what you are.

I repeat that. Anything outside of you, be it your parent or anybody else, cannot be your strength.

Question 2: I think that I have an ability to take risks. I don’t think much before taking any challenges. Is it good for me and my future or can it land me into trouble?

AP: What do you mean by risk taking?

Risk is defined as variability in outcome. Risk is, ‘I may succeed, I may not succeed.’ What if I am not at all thinking about success and failure? Is there any risk then? Risk is only when I am bothered about success and failure, only then there is a risk, otherwise there is no risk.

I say there is an eighty percent risk of failure. What if I am not at all thinking of failure? What if I am happy with just trying? Then there is no risk. So why think in the language of risk and all that? Let stock brokers do that. They talk a lot about risks, rewards and returns.


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

Watch the session video: On strength and risk || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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

Or, call the Foundation at 9650585100, or write to requests@advait.org.in


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How to make career choices? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: Sir, after completing B.Tech, should I go for higher studies or a high paying job? How can I decide that?

Speaker: What’s your name?

Listener 1: Sonu Singh, 3rd year B.Tech.

Speaker: After completing B.Tech I do not know that I should go for the job, or for higher studies, or something else. Sonu, usually in life when you are stuck between two or three choices, you will find most of the times that none of the choices are really good for you. So, my question will be that why I am unable to choose between A, B and C. Life says that whenever you are unable to choose between A, B and C; had any of these three been really what your life is looking for, then you would not have been confused. Confusion itself is an indication that these, all three, all five, all eight, are sub-optimal choices.
Read more

Difference between Satisfaction and Contentment

Speaker: See these are two different words- satisfaction and contentment. And one has to understand the difference between them very clearly. Satisfaction is gratification. Satisfaction comes out of achieving something. Satisfaction is a demand. A demand that is never really met. You say, ‘I will be satisfied when I get something’. So, it is always conditional. There is a condition imposed, ‘If I get this I will be satisfied’. And then there is contentment. Contentment says, ‘Not that something is to be achieved for peace, I am already alright, already full, already peaceful and in this peace I am operating.’ The satisfied person says, ‘I am working so that I may get peace’. The contented man says, ‘I am already peaceful, that is the reason I am working’. You know only the first way of living and that is a very horrible way of living. Because you are saying that I will work only when I am dissatisfied. So to keep working I must be..?
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Hurt arises from dependence

Question: We expect from others and we get hurt. What should we do?

Speaker: Sameeksha has raised question of dependence and hurt. Why do we depend on others and consequently why do we get hurt?

Sameeksha, who depends on somebody else, you have both your legs alright, fit legs, strong muscles; would you depend on somebody’s support to walk?

Who depends on somebody else? The one who is incapable of doing for himself, deciding for himself; he is the one who depends on somebody else. The one who has a weakness, is dependent. Now, if it were a genuine weakness, then dependence could be tolerated. I actually have some problem in my legs so I have to be dependent on somebody’s support or a crutch to walk. It’s alright! But what would you say, when, in spite of having two healthy legs you still keep looking at somebody else for support, you are dependent on somebody else? The only reason could be that you have forgotten that you are healthy, you have forgotten that your legs have enough power that you can stand, walk and you can even run.
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Were you born with a sword? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Speaker: Do you see the difference between these two approaches?
Model 1 says, ‘I study so that I can get a particular result’. Model 2 says, ‘I study because I love to study’.

Now in which case are the results going to be better? And even if the results are not better for some reason, which of these is likely to be found in a good mood always? Read more