Acharya Prashant: Ambition and anger

Acharya Prashant: What is your name?

Listener: Kshitij Aggarwal.

AP: The question asked by Kshitij is why do needs often dominate ambition?

And he surely thinks that it is quite unfortunate that needs to start dominating ambitions. The reason is simple, he probably gives a lower priority to needs and higher priority to ambitions because he thinks that the ambitions are his. He has kept ambitions very close to himself. He believes that they are his own.

So, he deeply wants the ambitions to be fulfilled. But finds that instead, something else has to be done, first of all, we will understand this conflict. And we all face this conflict, this conflict is not only in Kshitij’s mind, this conflict in the mind of every single one of us. But we are all confused, we rarely know, what to do. There are always one or more options in front of us, and we are unable to see clearly which one is suitable. Right?

This happens not only once in six months, at the time of admissions or at the time of choosing a job, it keeps happening daily, day in and day out. What is this conflict? you will have to understand.


Our mind is dominated by ‘external influences’ which we have so far called is the development of ‘Ego.’

Our mind is not our mind, our mind is a collection of all external influences.

Our mind is divided into many many segments and many parts, and there are so many different forces that are controlling these separate parts. So, one part is being controlled by parents, one part is being dominated by media, one part is being dominated by society, one part by peers, one by corporations, one by thoughts of career, one by XYZ, and very very large number of parts.

Now, these different parts are your different masters. It’s like a person is tied to fifty different ropes being pulled by fifty different people in fifty different directions. Will that person be able to move towards any definite direction, any one direction.

Read more

How to get one’s passion and sensitivity back?


Question: I am at a stage in my life, where I lack passion in everything. Be it my intimate relationships with my loved ones, or be it my career, I feel numb. It is like life has become a movie, or a moving painting, and I am a detached viewer. I want to get my sensitivity back. What can be done about it?

Acharya Prashant: You have already done a lot. That is why you probably feel a little numb. And this numbness, you are also calling as detachment.

Detachment is not numbness, detachment is not aloofness, and detachment is not insensitivity.

Have you seen that if there is a cut, a wound on the skin, soon the new skin there comes a little hard? And the deeper the cut or the wound, the harder is the scar. Have you seen it? Read more

A pursuit of God is the most ungodly pursuit




jaag (arise) dard-e ishq (pain of love) jaag, dil (mind) ko bekrar (restless) kar

Chhed de aansuon ka raag, jaag, jaag,

Jaag dard-e ishq jaag, dil ko bekrar kar


Arise, oh pain of love,

I do not want a comfortable state of mind,

I would rather have the mind become restless in love,

Let there be the music of tears,

Arise, pain of love.

AP: He is not asking for peace, he is asking for disturbance. He is saying I have had enough superficial peace, it’s useless, I would rather want to be disturbed.

When you are deeply in peace, then you do not fear being disturbed. Now, you can take on disturbances, now you can invite disturbances. Only the superficial mind begs for peace and joy, the really brave ones, they pray for troubles, for disquiet, for disturbances. The really spiritual mind does not ask for peace, it already has peace; it asks for troubles. It does not ask for love, it is already secure in love. It says fine, let there be separation, I do not want love, I want separation, let me see whether I can brave the separation.

Read more

You are free, now why do you act helpless


Question: Consciously, let’s say, I come to Dharamkot.  Five days ago, let’s say, I decide to come to Manali, in Manali, I would have had a different life style. And I come to this Dharamkot because I travelled by different things. That’s why based on this limited information I have, I made this decision. In reality, all my decisions might be wrong. I probably was wrong for these five days.

Acharya Prashant: You see, if you decide as the restless one, do you know where the restlessness is? The restlessness is in your mind. Right? You do not hold it in your hands, restlessness is in your mind. It is the very foundation of all your decisions, thoughts, experiences, perceptions; it is quite deep. It is that assumption from which all other experiences and observations emerge.

You go to Manali, what do you carry along with you?  The restlessness.

You come to Dharmkot, what do you carry along with you? The restlessness. Read more

Passionate living

Watch movies the same way, you listen to me here.

That is called the passionate living; that is called an intense living.

Be intense.

Be total, not selectively; be total, totally.

We all decide to be intense only on special occasion. No, be total and be total totally. Then you have removed time because time exists only when you divide, classified and make distinctions. When you are intense always even on the commode then time is gone because now there is no distinction. What will time do? 8 o’clock you are intense, 9 o’clock you are intense, 10 o’clock you are passionate, 11 o’clock you are passionate. Now, what is the significance of time? It doesn’t matter what is the time. Now you have gone beyond yourself, gone into timelessness.

We don’t usually relate spirituality to commodes — that is the problem. We keep saying, everything is God but everything disappears when it comes to commodes. We must talk of commodes, they are terribly important. Are they not? You will realize that when you don’t get one.

To read the complete blog: What is passionate living? To sit in a movie theatre as you sit in Satsang

Continuous realisation and passive waiting

Question: Is there anything that I can do to have realisation in this point of time apart from waiting? Or should I do something?

Acharya Prashant: No, nothing.

In fact, already you have said something important. You have already realized that waiting is so important. But this waiting must be a very passive waiting; a very inactive waiting. You cannot actively wait. You cannot count minutes and hours and years. It has to be a very passive waiting. You are not even waiting, you must forget that you are waiting. That kind of waiting. Not the kind of waiting that you have on a railway platform.

Because active waiting is arrogance. You are in some sense wanting the other to comply by your wish. Wanting the train to arrive as per your wish—that is active waiting.

Passive waiting means that, ‘I do not know whether you will come, I do not know whether you should come, I do not even know whether you exists, yet, I wait. And this waiting is no obligation upon you to arrive. I wait without bothering you to come. You may come, you may not come, I do not even know whether you exist, yet, I wait’.

That kind of waiting.

Very dormant, very sleepy waiting.

Listener 1: I become negative again and again, and I have realized it. But it keeps on repeating. What to do about it?

AP: Nothing.

You see, this is the load of your living, this is the load of your past. You weigh a particular number, now, what can you do with it? Can you wish your kilograms away?

They came to you because you lived a particular kind of life. All that you can now do is to not to live the way you were living. Thinking about your weight will not help you. So, all this that you experience- resistance, this and that- is the kilograms that you have accumulated all your life. Now, thinking about that would hardly make it easier for you. Rather, get rid of the pattern that has brought you to that hefty condition.

Your patterns brought you there; give up those patterns.

L1: I have realized that I have put on weight..

AP: No, keep realizing.

There is nothing called realization in the sense of completion.

There is nothing called realization in the sense of accomplished realization.

Realization is an ongoing process.

Realization never happens completely; it never comes to an end.

You must keep realizing. Keep realizing.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Continuous realisation and passive waiting

Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant


What is passionate living? To sit in a movie theatre as you sit in Satsang


Listener: It is disappointing to see that the way I sit in your session and in a movie theatre is predetermined and hence conditioned. And that affects the learning.

Acharya Prashant: And then your learning would remain incomplete because a movie has as much to teach as a session like this. How will I speak in this session if I don’t watch movies with attention? I can speak here, in the same way, I watch movies. I speak here in the same way as I am when I am playing with you, or sharing a joke or performing in a play or just shouting at someone.

If you divide, if you say, ‘No, this one is a more serious, holy occasion. It has to be kept on the holy pedestal’, then you are missing out on something which is very important, which is the wholeness of life, which is the oneness of life. Read more

Passion cannot be activity-specific, Passion is a way of life

When you say, ‘passion’, I will substitute this word with ‘Intelligent choice’. How to find out that I am passionate about? I will rephrase it and say that how to find out what is an intelligent choice? How to choose intelligently? The intelligent choice happens in the understanding of this moment, and the intelligent choice is not a dead choice. Not dead in the sense that it is capable of changing, day-to-day, moment-to-moment. Today you are capable to choose out of intelligence, it will surely come from your intelligence. You will surely be very passionate about this. Isn’t it obvious? But there is no guarantee that tomorrow the passion will be the same, very same.

You are asking me a definite answer assuming that there will be a definite passion. Life is not a monochrome. There are a thousand colours in it, moment-to-moment. Do not restrict yourself to any one thing. Get rid of this concept that there is one passion and I must pursue it all my life. Do today what is right for today. Do tomorrow what is right for tomorrow and then you will be acting passionately today and you will be acting passionately tomorrow. You are listening, listen passionately. You are playing in the evening, play passionately.

Passion is moment to moment. It is a constant thing. Let it change. It must change. You say that you are passionate about playing the guitar. Will you play guitar twenty-four hours a day? What about the remaining nineteen hours? Do you want to say that you are only passionate about your guitar, with everything else you cannot bring the passion? NO!

Passion cannot be object-specific. Passion cannot be activity-specific. Passion is a way of life. The activity will keep changing from moment-to-moment, but the passion will remain intact because you could not be possibly doing the same thing twenty-four hours or seven days of the week.

Does it not tempt you? Then life will be wonderful. Boredom will evaporate. No dull faces, no drooping shoulders, no sitting in the class on the back benches, no cursing the world, no thirst for entertainment. You are thirsty for entertainment because you are deeply bored. Won’t it be wonderful? Passionate always! Always! Let the activity keep changing, let the person keep changing. Whatever I am doing, I am into it.

Be passionate about everything. There is no one single passion.

The Spontaneous Dance of Intelligence

Question: Sir, does Intelligence leads to disorder?

Speaker: (Picking up a bottle which is one-quarter full of water and three-quarter empty) Let’s consider, does this bottle has water?

Student: Yes Sir.

Speaker: You see this quantity of water? Can you just estimate the number of molecules in it? Not very difficult at all. If I tell you that this weighs around 50 grams, you can easily calculate the number of H2O molecules in it. Matter of a minute. Now, it may appear to be still, if you don’t disturb it then it appears still but what actually is going on within?

Students:– Random motion

Speaker: Random Brownian motion. What are the molecules all doing? 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

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

Self-awareness is not self-stalking

Question: I seem to be moving from the so-called liberal, open to a highly moralistic type of woman. It is a movement from one end to the other. But nothing has changed actually. I may just be repressing myself, and keeping more watch on myself. What is happening to me?

Speaker: Do you want to ‘know’ what is going on, or you want to change what is going on? What is the intention?

Listener 1: Both. 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

Your ‘individuality’ is just a deceptive name given by ego to itself

Question: On one hand the HIDP tells us to be individuals, on the other hand we are being asked to read texts. Why are we not allowed to write what we think?

Speaker: What is the difference between an ‘individual’ and a ‘person’? Let us understand this. Let us depict the mind of the individual by one circle, and the mind of the person by another circle. The word ‘individual’ is linked to ‘indivisible’. That which is neither divided nor can be divided. There is no possibility. So there is this circle; the individual’s circle. And it’s an empty circle. Zero cannot be divided. There are only two entities that cannot be divided; zero and infinity. You can represent the individual by any of them. They both are indivisible. Zero and infinity. Read more

Whatever you choose will bring sorrow to you

nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo na medhayā, na bahunā śrutena:
yamevaiṣa vṛṇute, tena labhyas tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanῡṁ svām.

                                     -(Katho Upanishad,  1.2, 23)

Translation: This Self cannot be attained by study of the Scriptures, nor by intellectual perception, nor by frequent hearing (of It). He whom the Self chooses, by him alone is It attained. To him the Self reveals Its true nature.

Speaker: The aatman cannot be attained by studies of Vedas, nor by intelligence, nor by much hearing. It is gained by him who chooses It alone. To him, this aatman reveals his true nature. So the question is, ‘Isn’t studying the scriptures also choosing it? What does it imply?’ When we say that it is gained by him who chooses it alone, what does it imply?

Whenever we choose, we choose in hope of something else, we never choose the thing itself. The thing is just a promissory note. When you say that you are choosing something, you are not choosing the thing, you are choosing a promise, a hope, you are choosing the thing as a medium to reach something else, so you never choose anything alone by itself. You choose an entire story, you choose a process, you choose a chain, a series that will probably, eventually lead you somewhere, or so you hope.

To choose It alone is to come to the end of choosing.

To come to the end of choosing is to come to the end of time, is to come to the end of ego itself. Have you ever chosen anything after which there would be no need to choose? Have you ever chosen anything that would be final? Ever? You choose in the hope of reaching ‘the final’. You never choose ‘the final’ itself, because ‘the final’ itself is probably not a ‘thing’ to be chosen. Are you getting it?

To choose it alone is to come to the end of choosing, and that ego cannot do, because the ego itself will not agree to its own annihilation. So who chooses It alone?

Whatever you will choose will just be a promise, a hope. You choose a man or a woman, what do you think, you are choosing the man or the woman? No, you are choosing something beyond the man or the woman, which unfortunately a man or a woman cannot give to you. That’s why all our choices fail, because what they promise, they never provide. What do you think; do you choose a nice piece of jewellery? No. It promises joy, but unfortunately, it never gives that, that’s why you need another piece and then the next one, and then the next.

Behind all our endeavors is a deep thrust to come to the end of endeavouring. Behind all our choices is a deep desire to come the end of choosing. In some sense, all that the ego wants is, its own end. The ego is actually suicidal; it’s just that it cannot commit suicide. It’s so afraid. The ego wants to come to an end because its existence only gives it suffering, so it does want to come to an end. But it doesn’t have the guts. It wants to disappear, but it can never choose to disappear. It can only choose a hope of disappearance, it can only hope the ultimate. And that is the reason why hope is such a deception. The ego uses hope to continue itself.

 ‘One day ‘I’ will come to the ultimate, so today ‘I’ can continue. One day the final will happen, so today ‘I’ can just live with the old pattern.’ It can never choose the ultimate. Very beautifully the Upanishad says that ‘your’ activities will never bring you to the aatman because you will never exercise that simple and direct choice.

(Speaking in Sanskrit) नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यो, न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन. This Self cannot be attained by study of the Scriptures, nor by intellectual perception, nor by frequent hearing (of It). These are the activities that you do, and your ‘doing’ will never bring you to That, because all you are doing is just an escape from That. How can you come to that from which you are escaping? How can you come to the centre while moving to the circumference? So what is the solution that the Upanishad is showing?

The aatman is gained by him who chooses it alone. To him this aatman reveals its true nature.

Choose it alone, nothing else. No medium is required, no hope is required, no future is required, no middleman is required. What do I want? Joy, not joy through a man. This otherness, this intermediation is a problem. What do I want? Freedom, not freedom after two years. Freedom is unqualified and instant, right now.

When that choice comes to the ego, it retreats. The ego will never make that direct choice. It will keep clamouring for freedom, while never choosing freedom. What will it choose? It will choose different types of bondages that will supposedly lead to freedom. Rubbish, obviously rubbish!

What can you do then? Nothing. You are anyway choosing all the time. Just know that your choices are useless. It does not mean that you should exercise a different choice. Kindly do not interpret it to mean that. All you interpretations are anyway your choices. The Rishi is not asking us to choose differently. What is he telling us? ‘Whatever you will choose, you will only choose from escaping That which deserves to be chosen.’ So take your choices with a pinch of salt. Never think that you have made a great choice, that kind of compliment you can reserve for people who are changing their fifth girlfriend. ‘Oh! You have made a great choice this time around’, or for a woman who has brought a new sari, ‘Great choice’!

You should know that no choice is a great choice. The moment there is a choice, there is just rubbish. That does notrt mean that you should stop choosing, because ‘you’ will choose. I am speaking to the one who chooses. Right? I am not speaking to the great aatman. I am speaking to the one who chooses. To whom am I talking? The ego, and the ego will choose. So I am not asking you to not to choose, because you will choose. I am not asking you to choose differently, because whatever different choice you will make, that will anyway come from the one who is choosing. So I am saying none of that. All I am saying is that you will continue to choose, just know that your choices are useless, and then choose. Keep choosing, and be aware that all these choices are useless. Is this clear?

Listener 2: I have observed that whenever I choose to buy something, there is an initial excitement, there is a hope that the product will be good. But after the product arrives, that excitement vanishes away.

Speaker: Nobody ever sells you anything except hope. Realize this. Nobody ever sells you anything except hope, and that is why you need to be hopeless. (Everyone laughs). How else will the market survive then? A promise is what you buy. A fairness cream is not a skin treatment cream, it is the promise of love. Realize this. It is the promise of love. That’s what you buy. A promise of love!

Listener 2: So one should go for everything then?

Speaker: Yes, everything.

-Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Whatever you choose will bring sorrow to you

Article 1: Why do we choose to suffer silently?
Article 2: Whatever you choose for yourself will be poison
Article 3: Confusion arises from choice; choices from ignorance

A vulnerable mind will have a vulnerable relationship

Question: Why is it that we knowingly let our loved ones hurt us?

Speaker: The hurt is not coming from the loved ones, the hurt is coming from the shallow nature of the love itself. It is not the loved one that hurts, it is your fake love that hurts. Kindly do not unnecessarily put the blame on somebody else. What hurts you is that in spite of being the object of ‘my’ love, he hurt me! Read more

How can I get my ex-girlfriend back?

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?
Read more

What does freedom mean to you?

Question: Sir, you just said that intelligence demands freedom. What kind of freedom?

Speaker: To begin with, there has to be freedom from something. You asked what kind of freedom. It depends on where I am standing. If I am standing in deep bondage, then the first step of freedom is, ‘freedom from’ something. Freedom from compulsorily thinking. Freedom from necessarily following. Freedom from being like the rest of them. It is like getting rid of your chains. ‘Freedom from’, this is Neti- Neti (Neither this, nor that). I am already doing a lot, I want freedom from it. This is freedom from my existing ways.
Read more

Travelling, not destination

Question: Sir, I saw one of your videos titled, ‘Ready to write a new story?’. In this video you have said that we should not follow the same, old story. I understand that we should write our own story. I know what I want to do and I am walking on that path. What is it that will keep me going? I know which way it is going but what is it that will keep me stick to it and stay motivated about it? Can something be done which will help me save myself and write a new story?

Speaker: The sheer enjoyment of walking keeps you going. If you think that the lure of reaching, that the lure of the destination keeps you going, then sooner or later you will be exhausted. Those who are attracted by the destination become exhausted. That is why we make goals, but we find that our goals are transient. Goals come and go. Our resolutions keep breaking. It is because they are all focused on the destination, what you want to get.

Enjoyment of walkingContrasted to this, there is another man who is not thinking at all of the destination. It is because there is hardly any destination. He is enjoying the movement, the travelling itself. The fun in travelling keeps you going. There is no other motivation.

When I meet senior students, they have lots of queries regarding their career. They would ask that how should they choose which organization to work with. My advice to them on this is, choose a job that you can do even without getting paid. If you can get a job that you would like to do even if it does not pay you anything, then you are in heaven. Then every moment will be joyful.

One of my old students once came to meet me. I asked him where he was working. He told me that he has set up his own company. He had established his own firm. He told me a few things about the work his company was doing, and he also added that his company was not making enough money. He was feeding it out of his own saving. I asked him why he was investing so much in it then.

He answered, ‘Sir, some seven-eight years back you told me that if I can find a job that I can do without getting paid, then it would be very beautiful. Today I have a job that I am doing without getting paid for it. So, you can imagine that it must be very, very beautiful.’

People work and then they say, ‘I have worked, so give me money.’ That is what you call as salary. ‘I have worked so you give me money’. And then one reaches a point and says, ‘I thank you that I could work in this way. Now that I have worked, you take money from me. I am so happy that I got an opportunity to get this that you can take money from me.’

What keeps them going? What is their motivation? The work itself is their motivation. Not the destination. When you will find something of that kind in your life, then all the stupidity will vanish. All the immaturity and all the childishness will go away.

Do you know who is a mature man? The one who has known enjoyment. If most of you are immature and appear idiotic, it is because you are suffering. You have never known enjoyment. The day you enter joy, you have entered maturity. All distractions and fidgeting arise from suffering. The mind is suffering that is why it is restless. It can’t stay put at one place. It is searching for something.

The motivation cannot be in the search. The motivation has to be in the movement.

 -Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

 Watch the session at: Travelling, not destination

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: To go for goals is gloom to fantasise a future is frustration

Article 2: Before you chase goals become goal-less

Article 3: Your goals come from your borrowed self-concept

Article 4: Motivation is slavery

Article 5: Motivation and ambition symptoms of suffering

Work-Life Integration -1

Question: What is Work-Life Integration?

Speaker: What is work? What do we mean when we say, ‘work’?

Listener 1: Work is any activity, a job, a responsibility or a duty.

Speaker: Someone said, “Anything that we do.” And you want me to speak on Work-Life Integration. So does it mean the integration of anything that we do, with life? When you say, ‘Work-Life Integration’, what is the sense in which you use this word ‘work’ here?

Listener 1: Professional life.

Read more