Question: Sir, the inequality that exists on the planet, between people, disturbs me. Kindly help.
Acharya Prashant: Where in the world is equality? Where in the entire existence is equality? Are all the planets equal in size? Are the rivers equal in size? Are the flowers, even on the same tree, on the same branch, equal?
L1: No, but it just seems like very unfair.
AP: It is unfair because we have a strange model, a strange idea that there must be equality. Equality itself is quite a foolish idea. Nothing in the world can be equal to the other.
L1: But some beings suffer more than others in their lives.
AP: Yes, of course.
L1: And some people are born deformed or blind. When they come into this world, they are born into wars; they are born into difficult situations and others are born with silver spoons in their mouth. So, I have a hard time understanding how all of that works. Karma helps me to understand it.
AP: Your question informs me that you take this to the good fortune when someone is born in a rich family.
L1: No! Not rich family!
AP: You said, ‘silver spoon’!
L1: Well, that was just an expression.
AP: Then what is it that you call as good karma? What is it that you call to be born in good fortune?
L1: To be born healthy.
AP: There are so many healthy people who commit most disgusting of deeds. How is it good fortune to be born healthy? How do you know that it is advantageous to be born in a particular way? A kid is born white, another kid is born black; you say the former had good karma so he is born white. It only shows your bias: a kid is born in rich family; a kid is born in poor family.
L1: No, for me, rich or poor or black or white is not what I am talking about.
AP: Then what? Physical deformity?
L1: No! Like somebody born into a war-torn country, where there is total war and devastation.
AP: It only tells me that our concept of peace is just external peace. How do we know that in a country where there is apparent peace, as is in so many countries right now, where there is apparently, physically, no war going on, is peace? Is peace something of the outside?
How do you know that if somebody is physically deformed at the time of birth, is a bad fortune? It only shows that we are body-centric. Because we are body centric, so we call it a misfortune when a child is born with a deformity.
Ashtavakra was a greatly deformed child. We would be totally stupid to call him unfortunate. You know Ashtavakra? He is all over the internet. And he is one of the central pillars of Vedanta. One of the strongest ones. You cannot miss him. He was born with deformity. He gave you the light that guides the entire mankind today. How do you know that something is a misfortune?
We respect wealth!
So, when somebody is born in a poor family, we say, “Oh! Misfortune!”. It only shows that we are crazy for wealth. Otherwise, all is alright. There are flowers that are born in arid areas; there are flowers that are born in wetlands. There are fish of sweet water. There are fish of saline water. Or, are there not?
Do you call one as unfortunate compared to the other? There are small flowers, flowers of grass; there are huge flowers; do you call one unfortunate? Nothing is equal. But we have this strange thing that things must be equal.
Now I will come to why we have that. We have that because we are unable to accept that human beings are not equal at all and they cannot be equal. But we have an artificial system of equality, democracy in which everybody has been given equal rights and powers and which is all so absurd.
Because we want to maintain that and believe in that. We want to impose that on existence also. An artificial, an imposed equality, we want to have in everything – it cannot be there. A Buddha, and a drunkard cannot have the same kind of voting rights.
L2: I read this about spiritual progress that if a Yogi dies, he will be born in a family with good environment for spiritual progress.
AP: He is referring to the Yogi, and when you are referring to the Yogi, you already mean that the personal sense of identity is gone. If a Yogi is reborn, it means nobody is reborn. Yogi, by definition, means the one who has attained union; the one who has dissolved; the one who is no more. The one who is no more, if he is reborn, who is being reborn? Nobody.
Kindly do not interpret those words. We have used them to feel secure. We have used them to feel, you know, “Alright! If it’s not happening right now, it will happen in some other birth.” And we have also used them to feel afraid.
“If I do something wrong, maybe I will suffer in the next birth.” Please see that you are suffering right now! The justice of existence does not wait even a second to punish or reward. Punishment is instantaneous and so is the reward.
Right action is its own reward; wrong action is its own punishment.
You don’t have to wait for the future for the reward or the punishment. If you have to wait for the future, then you feel good. You say, “Okay! The punishment will come twenty years later. For twenty years at least, I can have pleasure.”
“Alright! The justice will be done only on the day of judgement, and who knows when that day will come. So, till that day comes, I can have a rocking time.”
The Day of Judgement is right now! This is the moment of judgement. It won’t come two thousand years later. It is every day, every moment. Otherwise, it becomes easy to deceive oneself. “Alright! Let me do a little more bad karma, I will waft it off with some good karma later on.”
Have you seen people who want to lose weight? When they want to have one more bite of the burger, they say, “Alright, let me have this bite, some bad karma, I will exercise for fifteen minutes more in the gym.” Such a deception!
Be surrendered. Be simple. Be innocent.
Live in your ordinary nature. That’s all.
Forget all these things – karma, dogma! Forget all this.
What if you knew none of these concepts? What if all the great books of the world are destroyed in some great fire?
Live simply, and that’s all!
You are alright just as you are. You cannot improve yourself. By trying to improve upon yourself, you only disfigure yourself. You are perfectly tuned machine, don’t fiddle with it. The perfect one does not send imperfections. You are alright!
Don’t try to become something else. And if you have become something else, then return to what you are.
Don’t be so clever. Let those eyes not be eyes of suspicion. Allow yourself to be cheated a little. If the world wants to cheat you, allow yourself to be cheated.
It’s alright to be cheated a little. It’s alright to be losing a few things than to be robbed of your innocence. Stay innocent!
L3: Sir, it is because of Kalayuga that people do not understand this all.
AP: You pick up the scriptures, many of them are supposed to be written in other Yugas, Satyug or Tretayug, and even then they are talking of the same things. They are saying, “Oh! There are so few people who will understand what we are saying.” How is this Kalyuga any special?
If you read all the scriptures that were written in the other yugas, the other epochs, still the mind of the man was the same. So, don’t hide behind the name of Kalyuga that this is especially bad time or so! No bad time or anything!
Don’t sound too wise. Let yourself be a little stupid!
You have no obligation to act cleverly. You have no obligation to be respectable.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Equality is quite a foolish idea. Oneness is diversity, not equality
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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