Question: When I used to ask questions to my mother and father, we would have conversations, and our conversations often ended on a bad note. My brother and sister would say, “You better not talk to them like this, because if you are right, then they are wrong; and if they are wrong, all these years which they have lived through will be wrong.”
Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, and they have invested a lot in those years, so it proves that all their investment has gone waste, which means all their life has gone waste.
Listener (L): So it makes it very tough for them to just listen.
AP: It is these very simple and obvious things you know. “I put in so much of effort in the last thirty years, now will you just come and tell me that I was being stupid?” — It hurts. And just to avoid that hurt, you continue living in the same way.
L: To make those kinds of people happy, and at the same time live by your own way…
AP: But, you know, when you look at others falling in this trap, do not think of it as something that happens to others; we are all one. If it happening to them, it is quite likely happening to you and me as well. So, use – use is a bad word here but I’ll still use it – use the others to see your own mind. Because our minds are fundamentally the same.
It’s easy to criticize others, but to see that you are in the same trap is difficult.
He may be a victim of religiousness, and you might be a victim of some other social propaganda, something that the media has brought to you, something that the corporations, the big industry has brought to you. But we all are susceptible to being conditioned. So, one has to see that.
Today’s religion is very different. We may say that we are Hindus, Muslims, or Christians, but the religion today is greed; information is religion; knowledge is religion; progress is religion. You have to be equally alert against these neo-religions. Coolness is a religion, is it not? You have to be “cool” these days. I have seen it especially with the young people, their religion is coolness! So you have to see that this religion is equally false.
It is very easy to criticize the existing religions: to criticize Islam or Hinduism, criticizing them is easy, but why don’t you criticize this coolness with equal vigor?
L: So, have the mindset to accept that whatever you are following might be wrong too.
AP: Yes, of course.
There is this inner honesty, this inner openness, and a very uncompromising sense of inquiry which says, “I must know what it really is, I will not accept just any nonsense.” You are young, it’s wonderful, you must not compromise, not at all compromise. You must be very open, very humble, very surrendered, and you must say, “I have one God, and I want to know.”
L: If I go and tell all this to my parents, they won’t be happy. I don’t want to make people unhappy because making people happy is why you live in the first place.
AP: Your objective has to be the Truth. Your objective cannot be other people, neither their happiness nor their unhappiness. If you are moving in Truth, guided by the Truth, then you are bound to make a lot of people unhappy, and if, as you said, you don’t want to make people unhappy, you will have to compromise, and you will have to live in false, and if you are living in the false you will only become a source of suffering for others. So in trying to help the others, you will only become a source of more suffering for them.
So, do what is right and do not worry about the results. A lot of people were unhappy with the Prophet, were they not? He had to fight so much. People were so unhappy with Jesus that they crucified Him. Krishna is fighting a war, a huge army is firing arrows at Him, were they saying, “Oh! He is the personification of God, we must respect him” No, he is the charioteer, people are after his life.
So, Truth necessarily ends up making a lot of people unhappy. You must not bother too much about that. It must not be your intention to hurt anyone. You should not be violent. As far as possible you should avoid means and methods that rub people harshly. But even after all this if someone ends up feeling hurt, then you only say, “This is God’s wish. I didn’t want to, but what can I do if you are carrying a pre-existing hurt within you? I am not responsible for that, and I have to take care of the Truth first. It is my first priority.”
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Acharya Prashant: How to tell the truth to parents?
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If you are someone who has read anything on self-help or on spirituality this book is a must for cleaning of spiritual information.