How to know one’s calling in life?|| Acharya Prashant (2019)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here


Question: How can I understand my ‘calling’ in life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What do you mean by ‘calling’?

The question is: How do I understand my ‘calling’? How do I decide what to do?

Do you mean in terms of profession, or career? Are you already not confused, about whether to do this or that? Are you asking from clean slate?

Questioner: I am confused.

Acharya Ji: If you are confused, that means you already attach importance to two or three options, right? And you are confused only because you cannot choose, from in-between those pptions. That is your confusion. Correct?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Right?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: You are confused because you cannot choose between Wine, Vodka, Gin, or Whisky. And even when you want to ask regarding your calling, you want me help you, put your finger on one of the four bottles, right? Wine, Vodka, Gin, and Whisky.

That is the reason behind your confusion. What is the reason? You have these four options. Now where is the apple juice? Where is the apple juice? Unless you first remove these four, would apple juice ever figure in your mind? That is what is meant by – asking from a clean slate.

Whenever you ask a question, you already have a set of ready-made answers. All you want from this speaker to do, is to help you choose from A, B, C and D(Wine, Whisky, Gin, and Vodka). Now had these A, B, C, D  not been already there with you, you would have anyway not asked the question, because there would have been no confusion.

Instead of trying to know your genuine calling, just remove all the options that are there in your mind. Just remove them. Now, that appears so dangerous. You will say, “I am anyway not able to figure out when I have four options, how will I figure out, when I have zero options?” But that is the beauty of the game.

With four options, all you get is – confusion.

With zero options, all you get is – direction.

The solution to the confusion, that four options cause, is not a fifth option, not a sixth option. Not eight options. When four options are causing confusion, the solution will emerge, when you remove all four. Remove all four, and now you are free to know. Now, a decision will arise from your freedom. As long as these four options are available, there is no possibility of any kind of solution.

That is the thing with questions. They have preset answers, ready with them. The question already decides the scope of the answer. And when the question has pre-decided the scope of the answer, then the answer cannot dissolve the question. Then the answer is just a continuation of the question. And the question is a problem. So the answer then, is the continuation of the problem.

Remove all the options that you have.

See that you are just newly born.

See that you have no experiences.

See that you can decide on a totally clean slate.

That totally clean slate, is called ‘the Self’, or ‘the Atman’.

And now see what is possible for you.

Don’t imagine about it. Just keep all your existing priorities away, and then ask yourself, “Had these not been in my life, how would have my life gone?”And then you would know, what to do with your life.

As long as you keep deciding, from within your existing priorities,

you will only get that, which is anyway already existing in your life.

For a moment set aside all of this, and ask yourself, “Had all of this not been there, how would have I lived?” then you would know what calls. Then you will know the meaning of ‘calling’. Right?

A fellow comes to commit suicide. And you are on the other side of the counter. And he is asking you to choose between four kinds of poisons. Is there any real choice involved in this? Would you say, “I am helping him choose rightly?”

“I will give him the best kind of poison.”

Choice can happen, only when there are no choices.

Remove it from his mind, that he needs to be poisoned. And then see what is the fresh decision that arises. Then he will know how to live his life.

When you are shopping, for a car, may be what you actually need, is a bike, or a cycle. There is no point in asking for expert advice, to choose the best car.

The real thing that you want, may lie outside the domain of your choices,

the whole set of your choices.


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity. Watch the video session: Acharya Prashant: How to know one’s calling in life?

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here

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Decide without owning the decision

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Question: Sir, I want to ask you about ‘decision making’. Want to ask more precisely about procrastination, about postponing things. What if you don’t have time to postpone something and if it has to be chosen immediately, is there a possibility of choosing the wrong way or is every way the right way, which leads to the same?

Acharya Prashant: Then you have been brought to a point if it has to be chosen right now. Read more

Forecasting future is one thing and desiring future is totally 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 centre 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.


~ Excerpts from the article, Plans of future come from fears of past

Love, Compromise, Magic, God….

Speaker: Fear, what about fear?

Listener 1:  What is fearlessness?

Speaker: No fear, simple, light, straight forward; no thought that something can go wrong.

Listener 2: It is something like karma (action)?

Speaker: Like?

Listener 2: Karma (action).

Speaker: Obviously. If you toss a ball, it will come down – cause and effect. In the world of material, there is always cause and effect, that is the law of karma (action). It is nothing but the law of material. If you throw something, it will move forward. Every cause will have an effect, that is the law of karma (action), but that law does not apply to conscious beings. Read more

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.

Read more

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?

Read more

Work-Life Integration-2 || Acharya Prashant (2012)

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


Speaker: There is no question of failure unless I decide that failures constitute success. Now, for example – if you had come here thinking that spending an hour over here would be fruitful if I say a few kind of things, then you may find this event to be successful or failure against the benchmark that you have already set i.e. “my goal is to go there and gather this kind of information”.

Now you can say that “I have failed because I wanted this and this did not happen. I wanted ‘A’ and ‘A’ did not materialize”. But there may be another kind of individual present over here who did not come here out of expectations, who has just come here and is listening. Now there is no question of success or failure for that person.

Failure is only against the backdrop of a pre-existing desire. And none of your desires is yours. So, how can the failure be yours? Your problem is – your success is not yours; even failure is not yours. So, before you jump into these words- ‘my success’, ‘my failure’, ‘my goals’, ‘my ambition’, find out how much of ‘my’ is there in any of these. Find that out.

Read more

The simple, continuous, ubiquitous call of Truth is easy to miss

He may be here, and he may call her.

But like many others she may not hear.

-Khalil Gibran

Question: Why can’t he hear? What stops him from hearing?

Acharya Prashant: He is asking, “When there is the Call and the Caller, why can’t the Caller himself make the Call heard?”

How do you know that you are not hearing?

Is it possible that the Truth calls and the sons of Truth refuse to hear? Is it possible?

How are you so sure that you do not hear the call of Truth?

I am asking you, “How do you know that you are not hearing his call?”

Read more

Pay the price of living by the Heart

Question: What are memories? We are happy, we get sad, we get flashbacks. What are they? What do they mean?

Speaker: Memories are residues.

I would like to put it this way. There are two kinds of memories. Capacitor memories and current memories. What are capacitor memories?

Listeners: The memories are stored. There is no circulation of current. There is no resistance.

Speaker: What if the circulation is happening due to resistance? This is current memory.

Seeing is not resisting. To see something is to just observe what is happening. It is not about adding to the resistance. What if the circulation is happening precisely because you are resisting something?

If something is continuously there in the mind, it is circulating in the form of the thought, then rest assured that there is something that you are resisting. Either you are doing something per force or there is something that needs to be done, but you are not doing it per force. Read more

How does one stay calm?

Question: How does one stay calm?

Speaker: What takes away calmness? When you are sleeping, deeply, then are you calm? You are asking, “How does one stay calm?” Aren’t you calm when you are in deep sleep?

Listeners: Yes.

Speaker: You are calm. And then you wake up, and you become anxious.

Listener 1: It is because of the thoughts.

Speaker: It is because of the world. You can become anxious even while sleeping. In sleep if you are anxious, it is because while sleeping there are dreams. So if the world intrudes even in your sleep, then you become restless even while sleeping. The world itself is the reason for anxiety, for losing your calmness. Read more

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?”

Read more

The honest man has just One priority

Questioner: Sir, there is a quote of yours that says, “Only by being firmly tethered to one’s core can one fly freely. Wandering without a center is looseness, not freedom.”

Doesn’t that have something to do with priorities? Like, making a single priority and then letting it continue.

Acharya Prashant: ‘Who is making that priority? You talk of priorities as if priorities are something objective. ‘Who is making the priority?

What is the priority of a politician contesting elections? – To win the election.

What is the priority of a thief breaking into somebody’s house? – Steal.

What is the priority of a man out to kill? – Kill.

Whose priorities are you talking of? Your priorities depend upon your mind. We all have priorities but we do not even know that those priorities are not at all ‘our’ priorities. Those priorities have been imposed upon us by various forces.

Read more

How to take right decisions?

Question 1: How to develop the capacity to take right decisions?

Speaker: Right decisions spring from right life. We focus so much on the art of decision-making. Even management institutes teach that, right? Somebody is teaching mathematical modeling for decision-making, somebody is teaching strategic decision-making. What they don’t tell is the most fundamental thing – that the quality of your life is the quality of all your decisions.

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.
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

Confidence is fear || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: What is the difference between confidence and over-confidence?

Speaker: It seems that this question is important to many of us here. Right?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: What is confidence? On a normal day at home, do you require confidence to speak to your parents, to other family members? Before you speak to them, do you gather courage, do you gather confidence and then go there? No, you don’t. So, you don’t require confidence at home. You must be having some friends? When you are speaking to your friends, do you require confidence? No. But you surely require confidence when you are speaking to an interviewer. Then you say, ‘I require confidence’. Correct?
Read more

Happiness cannot be the purpose of life

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

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

  1. Earning money or,
  1. Happiness.

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

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

Listener 1: For livelihood.

Speaker: And, why does one want a livelihood?

Listener 2: For comfort.

Speaker: What does comfort give you?

Listener 3: Satisfaction and happiness. Read more

Motivation and ambition, symptoms of suffering

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

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

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

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

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

Same is ambition. Ambition is an enhanced form of motive. ‘I want to get more and more.’ That is ambition. Be it motive or be it ambition one thing is certain, you are saying that I want to get something, that I want to achieve something. I can understand that the voices around you have been constantly telling you that you must get something, that you are incomplete, that there is something missing in you, there is something wrong in you, and you must make up for it by obtaining a particular degree, a particular job, a certain respectability.
Read more

Money and growth will not fill your internal hollow

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

Attention is independent of action || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Questioner: Sir, as you said that if the person is free he will be joyful, he is joyful in every task he is doing. So, how will he choose the task?

Shri Prashant: No, he will not feel joy in every task he is doing, the joy is irrespective of the task.

Listener 1: So how will he choose the task then?

Shri Prashant: How are you asking this question? How am I replying to this question?

Did I know what question will you ask? Still there is a response. It appears that there is a choice of words which is being used, my hand is moving, there is certain answer coming to you. Why am I choosing? When I am saying something to you, you are nodding. How are you nodding?

By just being attentive. That’s how he will choose, by observing, by being attentive.
Read more