Acharya Prashant: Please see, there appears a very difficult task in front of us.
One approach is, the task is so difficult that I leave it to be handled by time. The task is so difficult that, being with what I am today, with my energy, my resources, my understanding, my knowledge, I am not equipped to handle this task. So, what do I do? I don’t look at the task. I leave it to some imaginary date in the future. Or to some well-planned date. Doesn’t matter. Both are same.
The other is, I know that there is urgency in the situation, I know that the right action needs to be done, but the fruits of the right action are not in my hands. I do not know when the whole thing will bear fruits, will materialize. But at least the action is happening right now. And if the action takes time, so be it. And when I say the action takes time, I mean the appearance of the fruits takes time. And the fruits obviously come only when they have to come. You do not know when your actions will bear fruit. And it is not wisdom, to keep thinking of the fruits.
So, you do what you must do. You keep hitting on the walls. And if the wall, comes down brick by brick, so be it. One has been given only limited energy and time and resources. The only thing is that one should not postpone it. One should not depend on the future. One must not say, that I understand what is right, and yet I will not do it because doing it is impractical. And that is a very convenient argument with most of us. Right?
The difference between the wise man, the spiritual man, and others is not that one understands and the other does not. The real difference is that one has faith and the other refuses to have faith.
One says, “I understand and I will do what is right.” One says, that I understand what is right and I will do what is right. Not bothering with the results, I will do what is right because I understand what is right.
The other says, I too understand what is right. Remember, the other does not say that I do not understand what is right. Everybody knows. We all know what is right. So, the other one also says, I know what is right. Just as the first fellow does, I too know what is right. But still, I will not do what is right, because I am afraid of the results. That is the essential difference between the spiritual mind and the faithless mind. The faithless mind, in spite of knowing what is right, does the opposite because he calculates. He tries to predict the results. And if in his own calculations and imaginations, the results are not as per his liking, he will not get into the right action.
Is that not what our story is? Don’t we often say, Oh I know what is right, but if I do what is right then the repercussions would be unbearable? Right? Don’t we say that? That is the difference between us and the seer, the sage, the spiritual warrior.
He says, once it is right, it must be done. The consequences, we will see. Because,
The consequences of a right action cannot be wrong. The very definition of right action is that it cannot have right consequences; whatever are the consequences, must be taken as right. Consequences cannot be labeled as right or wrong, as per my judgment. The only way to ask, whether a consequence is good or bad, is – is this the consequence of right action? If this is the consequence of the right action, it is the right consequence. Now it doesn’t matter if it hurts you. And if, it is the consequence of the wrong action, then even if the consequence appears to be sweet, it is terribly bitter.
It is not the action or the fruit of the action that matters. What matters is, where is the whole thing coming from? Coming from the right place it is right, even if it appears to be wrong. And coming from the wrong place, even if it appears to be pleasurable, it is terribly wrong.
Listener: There is a kind of a situation that there are few things that are right, but you need not be knowing that this is right or this is wrong. We may be having a conceived notion, this is right; which probably may be wrong. So, how to differentiate between right and actual wrong which may be perceived right. That’s a kind of a challenge. That is why we may dwell on wrong actions, and which are resulting in wrong outputs. So, how to differentiate?
AP: You see, this is not tricky or complicated at all. The question is, how do we know, whether an action is a right action. It’s not a very complicated question.
Whatsoever makes you feel limited and small, whether it gives you pain or pleasure, that does not matter. But whatsoever reinforces your belief in your limits, in your smallness, cannot be right.
You earn a lot for yourself, and you feel happy about it. Now, apparently, this is a pleasurable event. Right? I am earning a lot. But earning a lot ‘for myself’, and if you are earning a lot, ‘for yourself’, then this is strengthening your belief in your limits. Similarly, you felt hurt and you are crying for yourself, apparently, this is a painful event. But whether it is pleasurable or painful, does not matter, what matters is, that you are crying ‘for yourself’. And that again, makes you feel as if you are cut off from the rest of the world. Whatsoever, makes you feel limited in time, limited in relationships, limited in being. Whatsoever makes you feel like an island in the sea, or even an oasis in the desert, just cannot be right.
I could have put it, more classically, more technically, and said, that the ego is boundaries and limitations and these things and how the ego is enhanced; what is meant by body centricity, what is mind centricity. I would have talked about all those things. But I am putting it, very very simple. The more confined an action makes you, you must know that the more it is emerging from confinement. And it cannot be right. Are you getting this?
And you will know this. My words may not be very sharp, or may not be capable of communicating it to you very clearly, but if you are attentive to your own situation, then you know when it is not the right action. Your very attention is the final judge. In that honesty, you immediately sense discomfort when you are not acting from the right point. Then your responsibility is to not let that discomfort continue.
These are the only two things that matter. If you are attentive, you will come to know what is not right. Having come to know what is not right, if you are faithful, you will not do what is not right. Attention and faith, if either of these is missing, then life remains incomplete.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Where do right decisions come from?
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