Interviewer (A senior journalist from the Tribune, interviewing Shri Prashant on his Myth Demolition Tour, Dharamshala): I was just going through your book and read about your IIT-IIM – Civil Services background, so why did you leave that and move to Spirituality?
Shri Prashant: I found this far more important than anything else that one can do – as a person, or as a professional, or an engineer, or as a manager. This is tremendously more important – not only for me, but for everybody, for the world. So, it was a very natural decision – obvious, gradual, and irreversible.
You see, one takes higher education, and we often say that the purpose of education is to liberate, is to set the individual free; so, it is natural that if one is receiving education from institutes of repute, institutes of quality, then that education should enable the individual to chart an even more free path. Education cannot become something that limits, something that sends people only in predetermined directions. So, I had my calling, I had the guidance of the Heart and all that my formal education could give me was used in service of that which was calling, that which was important. That’s what happened.
I: You are trying to destroy myths. So, what kind of myths? Are these myths regarding religion? Anything in particular, anything specific?
SP: Myths regarding life itself. Life is the vast expanse that includes religion, career – all the social institutions – the very way one lives. In spite of all the technological and economic progress, in many ways, man’s mind is more deeply conditioned and hence restrained today, limited today than it ever was. By myths, I mean everything that limits the human mind. Everything that man has come to believe, come to assume, come to take as an inexorable truth, without really investigating deeply. You see, we live in times where there is ostensibly a lot of freedom on the outside – man has a lot of power with respect to material objects – but does man have any power, any realization when it comes to himself?
Myths are everything that keep us entrapped in suffering, even when there is no need to suffer.
I: In this definition, I think, traditions, religions, everything comes.
SP: Everything. Not only tradition, even stuff that is considered modern, or even post-modern. Tradition is one kind of a limitation, and all that which today’s time stand for – that is another kind of ensnarement.
Whatever one has just come to accept as a fact – without seeing where it is coming from and what it is doing to the quality of one’s life – that is a myth that needs to be debunked, challenged.
If that remains, continues, gets reinforced then it only means more conflict in the world, more conflict within the mind, superficial relationships; and man, who may have a lot on the periphery but is essentially very disturbed inside.
I: How does your ‘Myth Demolition Tour’ relate to the Principal of Karma as stated by Bhagwan Shri Krishna in Gita?
SP: See, when you say the ‘Principal of Karma’, it is about not being the one who indulges in Karma. Not assuming oneself to be the karta of the karma- the doer of the deed; the actor in the action.
Whenever the mind will take itself seriously, whenever the mind will be covered with layers of conditionings and beliefs, the mind will act from those beliefs and hence the mind will necessarily become the doer.
The result of assuming oneself to be the doer is that one has to bear the consequences of the deed. Karmphal. Karmphal – consequences – future, reaping the fruit – all of these emanate only from a mind that lives in stuff that it has borrowed from the world, stuff that has come as a result of time and hence will bear fruit in time.
The only way to be liberated of the action, as well as the fruits of action, is to see that the actor is a myth.
So when we talk of the ‘Myth Demolition Tour’, and if we want to relate it to the ‘Karma Principle’ then the Myth Demolition Tour would say that the karta is a myth. That the doer is a myth. That the one that we take ourselves to be, is a myth. So maybe one session, or a part of a session can be devoted to that – the myth of the doer, the myth of the actor, the myth of the karta.
We are the doer, and we believe that we are the ones who have the right to decide what to do, we are the ones who will plan how to do, and we are the ones who know what will result in what; and all of this knowledge, all our confidence in this knowledge is proven false repeatedly. Yet because we find no alternative but to live as self-contained beings, we continue to depend only on this knowledge. Depending only on these beliefs, this knowledge, is to depend on one’s conditioning and reject the existential Grace that is always available. The more man depends on his cleverness, his intellect, his own doer-ship; the more he gets mired in misery. Because of faithlessness, because of not seeing any alternative, we get beaten again and again and yet continue.
I: In fact, there is a saying that ‘Ignorance is bliss’, so the more knowledge you gain, the more myth you have.
SP: Yes, yes. It could be probably better rephrased as, “What we call as bliss, is ignorance.” Not really that ‘Ignorance is bliss’, but what we call as ‘bliss’ is just ignorance. And ignorance is misplaced knowledge, false knowledge. So even our bliss is not really bliss but something that we have been told to be ‘good’. It is just more knowledge arising out of conditioning.
I: It is also being believed that science, science education, development of science is itself is negating myths, solving myths – so, do you see it as a tool?
SP: Science is wonderful, but science is limited. Because science would always look at the world assuming the looker to have a degree of perfection that can look clearly at the world. You see, in a scientific laboratory, one is concerned with the objects one is looking at – the machines, the molecules, the atoms, the entire universe – one is bothered about that. Science never turns back and looks at the investigator, science is not at all concerned about how ‘you’ are.
Science will not ask,
“What is the state of the scientist?”
Science will keep asking,
“What is the universe? How is the universe? From where does it come? To where does it go?”
But it will never ask,
“To whom does the universe occur?”
Now, is there a universe independent of the perceiver of the universe?
If you want to know the Truth – and the stated objective of science is to know the Truth – if you really want to know the Truth, if you are honest in enquiring then we will look not only at that which is out there but also that which is in here (mind).
Science is partial. Science looks only at the pendulum and tries to know everything about the pendulum but never looks at the mind which is looking at the pendulum.
So, Spirituality is dimensionally above science.
Spirituality looks not only at that which is outside, but also at that which is apparently inside and looks at the outside.
Spirituality looks at both- the object out there and the subject in here (mind).
Science looks only at the object.
Spirituality looks at both – the object and the subject – which means that science and Spirituality are in no way opposites.
There can be no conflict between them.
It is just that Spirituality is an infinite super-set which contains all kinds of sciences.
Spirituality is the vast expanse in which many sciences keep coming, keep going.
If one is limited only to looking at objects, one would obviously be deceived. Because one does not live in objects. We live here (pointing to the mind), within. We experience our mood swings, we experience pain and pleasure and all of that is here – love, attraction, joy, repulsion, hope, fear – all of that is in here.
That is the rightful topic of any investigation.
All investigation must begin from there and then proceed outwards.
I: Thank you, Sir.
SP: Thank you.
(A Senior journalist from the Tribune, interviewing Shri Prashant on his Myth Demolition Tour, Dharamshala)
Watch the session:
Book of Myths
This is the most challenging book one can ever come across. It will questions all the popular beliefs one harbours. Never imposing itself on the reader, at the same time the book facilities a thorough enquiry of popular knowledge which is blindly accepted as an obvious fact. It demolishes our so called holy concepts.
If you are someone who has read anything on self-help or on spirituality this book is a must for cleaning of spiritual information.