Question: Are we born with destiny or choices? Why don’t things happen as per our wish?
Acharya Prashant: Is it not a great mercy that things don’t happen as per our wish? Do you really want existence to punish you by granting all your wishes?
Your wishes are not granted so that you may be granted your destiny.
Your destiny is realization; your destiny is Truth.
If you start living in your wishes, your desires, then how will you come to the Truth? Because, directly, you never wish for the Truth. You never desire Truth.
If I circulate a sheet amongst us and say, “Write down your top ten priorities in life.” How many of us would write ‘Truth’? Okay, this is a so-called ‘spiritual occasion’. So, some of us may indeed write, keeping in mind the decorum of the place. But on any normal day, if you are asked your ten priorities in life, how many of you would say, ‘Liberation!’?
In fact, even right now, the lady, my friend, is asked of her top-most priority, she will say, “Getting rid of the spider!” Where is the Truth? Where is the Truth? So it is great that our desires remain unfulfilled—That helps us reach our destiny. When your desires remain unfulfilled, you see that un-fulfillment is the nature of desires. And that fulfillment is not something that desiring can bring you. The moment you stop using desires as an instrument of fulfillment, you find that fulfillment is so near. It appeared far only because you were using the wrong tool, the wrong vehicle, the wrong method.
You are destined to be free; you are destined to live in your nature. Only That is your destiny. You may try hard, as hard as you want, to remain in bondage, but you will have to be liberated- against your wish! And I tell you, liberation always comes to you against your wish. In fact, you do your best to run away from it. It is liberation that catches you by your collar and says, “Come! You will have to be enlightened.” Left to yourself, you would keep wandering for an infinite length of time. Playing Hide & Seek with the Truth.
(Smilingly) We say that we want the Truth, we say that we want freedom but is that not just something to profess and never to practice? In your daily life, how much weightage do you accord to the Truth? Just a while back I had asked your top ten priorities, where is Truth? So when the Truth comes to you, surely it cannot come to you because you wanted it. It comes to you in spite of all that you want. You only want freedom from little things, but sometimes, a big thing also comes to you – that is called Grace!
That’s why it is called ‘Grace’. It is serendipitous. Do you know what is serendipity?
L1: When things just happen by chance, when they are just meant to be.
AP: You are so afraid of the spider that you start running hard, and then you went and embrace the Truth, shouting, “Please save me from the spider!”
Now it’s not as if you were running ‘towards’ the Truth; you were running ‘away’ from the spider. That’s Grace! Running away from the spider, you go and hug the Truth! That’s why suffering has often been so instrumental. When you suffer a lot, then running away from the suffering, you find liberation.
L2: Sir, I want to know more about destiny. Is there anything in control? Can we control anything that happens to us? Or is it just happening and are we just playing the parts? Are we just born in a drama and just playing the parts? Or can we really control anything?
AP: You give yourself up to the controller to control you.
L1: So, there is nothing I do to have…
AP: (Laughing) You still want to do more? Are you not fed up of doing so much already? Everybody comes here asking, what more to do; what next to do? What more to do? And I am amazed! You are already doing so much, aren’t you tired?
L1: So, say I am working in a pharmaceutical MNC company marketing and I want to write a book. But I don’t know if I am destined for it. But it seems like too big a risk to …
AP: Risk to what? Risk means uncertainty; uncertainty towards what?
L1: I don’t know if I will do well…
AP: So risk towards what? Be precise.
L1: To a good life.
AP: To a good life, which means money! Of course, admit that.
AP: How much do you need? How much do you need?
How much will you eat?
How much will you sleep on?
Most of your money is just psychological security in the bank account, right? How much of it do you really eat, breathe, live? You use it just as a number to console yourself. Don’t you? Will you ever use that money, seriously? For most of us, money is just a mental comfort. Something to be used in future. The whole concept of saving, is it not a disease of the mind?
Keep saving! Keep saving! Saving for what? And mind you, if you die, even with one rupee in your bank account, then is that not a tragedy? Why did you spend your life earning that one rupee? Why? Now you have died and that one rupee is still there. The fact is, most of us die with so many rupees in our account. Why do you leave anything behind?
Ask yourself sincerely, “How much do you really need?”
Destiny is real. It comes only to those who ask real questions. Not imaginary stuff- here, there, Brahman, consciousness, evolution. You live your life in petty stuff- money, security, home loan, jealousy, servicing the car, pleasing the boss, spying on the neighbor. So, ask those questions. Those are the real questions. Only in those real questions will you meet something Real, otherwise, you can keep blabbering – pure consciousness, seventh heaven, depths of meditation; flowerings of blissfulness; Hari Om! (Sarcastically)
“When can I get my paycheck, please?” “Hari Om!”
“Is my wife seeing somebody else these days?” “Hari Om!”
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Advait in Everyday Life
Advait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.
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