Acharya Prashant: What is Life?
How do you call somebody alive?
AP: A dewdrop vanishes in no time, does it have a life?
Talk about yourself. What do you call as ‘your life’, your aliveness? We have this instrument here. Anybody can push the buttons and get it to operate in the way they want to. You can record the noise of the marketplace in this, and you can record the most beautiful music in it. It’s all the same. It does something. It moves, it reacts. Would you call it alive?
L: Because it is just reacting, not responding.
AP: Then how is eating, moving, breathing, a sign of life?
L: Sir, the machine does not have consciousness…
AP: What do you mean by consciousness?
Why doesn’t it have consciousness? If I toss it up, it goes up to a certain point and then it comes back. It seems it is making a decision to come back. How is it not conscious?
It is making a decision, something is happening. Just as you wake up, sleep, eat, speak, similarly, this too is doing something.
It has no real option, in front of the forces of nature, the forces of conditioning. It has no real option. It will only do, what it is dictated to do. It might appear to be doing something. But it really does not do anything. It only gets tossed about. It’s only a plaything.
You can really do something only when you understand what’s going on. Only when you understand what’s going on. So, that’s one definition of Life. You are alive when you know. You are alive when you understand, and only when you understand. If you do not understand, then you are moving, thinking, performing activities, but not really alive.
Are you getting it?
One has to be drawn towards understanding. One must have, an affinity for knowing, realizing. That affinity is called love. One is pulled towards something. That gives us another definition of Life – You are alive if you are pulled mysteriously towards realization if you cannot do without understanding if you cannot bear to not to know and yet be breathing. Right?
And, the more you understand, the more it makes you lighter. Because lack of understanding is a burden. Lack of understanding is a confused mass that sits on your head. The more you know, the more that mass keeps getting cleared. The clearing away of that load, that freedom, is a great relief. It is an absence of needless suffering, it is called Joy. That brings us to another definition of being alive – ‘Being light, being joyful, being grateful that you could lose it’. And, understanding is a constant movement. Because it is never ever absolutely complete. It is a constant invitation, it is a new challenge every moment.
So, Being alive is movement. Being alive is energy, being alive is freedom.
Now, you must also naturally see, what is lifelessness. To be lifeless is to be in defiance of realization. That is also what is laziness, that is also what is sloth or lethargy, all the same.
Life constantly implores you to move, to move rightly. But if you are hell-bent, on remaining where you are, and what you are, you will refuse the invitation of life to move. That is laziness.
Are you getting it?
When you are in defiance of the Truth, one of the two things or both appear. They appear different but are fundamentally the same. Please note them – one, you might be in foolish defiance of Truth. So, not only are you defying Truth, you are actually actively hoping that by going against the Truth, you will reach somewhere else, where the same goodies or even better ones, might be on offer. So, instead of moving towards Truth, you actively move towards darkness and falseness and you show great energy. These people are called Ambitious in worldly parlance. They show great energy, but their energy is suicidal. They are foolish. In some sense, they are innocent. Why am I calling them innocent? Because they at least have a fondness for the ultimate state that Truth offers. It is just that they want to reach that state without the Truth.
They want to have the bounties that Truth offers through alternate ways. Truth stands for peace. Truth stands for fulfillment.
The ambitious one says, “I will have fulfillment and I will have peace, ‘in some other way’.” He has a liking for peace, he has a liking for fulfillment, it is just that he wants it using his own personal ways. Getting it?
This ambitious one is likely to meet quick disappointment, the more ambitious he is, the faster he will rush towards disappointment. He will set big and urgent goals for himself, and he will go and break his head against his own urgency. So, he will be forced to relatively quickly realize that he has been an idiot.
Then there is the one, who is not in an active defiance of Truth, but in a passive defiance of Truth. This fellow is the cunning one. I said, “The ambitious man is innocent in some sense.” Because he at least likes what Truth stands for.
The cunning one, theoretically knows very well that Truth has no alternative. He knows very well that that which Truth offers, only Truth can offer. He knows that trying in the other direction is fruitless, so he does not make the mistake of running after ambition. He plays a dirtier game. He just stands his place. He knows that if he moves in a direction towards Truth, he will have to change. He also knows that if he moves in a direction opposite to Truth, he will have to meet disappointment and therefore he will have to change. A little belatedly may be. But he will have to change even if he moves in the opposite direction. So, he plays a shrewd game. What’s his shrewd game? He does not move at all! He just holds his place. Are you getting it?
If you move towards Truth, you are gone. If you move opposite to Truth, you will meet defeat, so you will again be gone. This fellow is a dirty fellow. He would not move at all, he would just stand. He would just stand.
Laziness is the dirtiest trick!
And you are safe because you are not actively defying anybody. You are not working against someone. You are just not? Working (smiles). If you work against someone, then you can be charged, with breach of trust. But if you don’t work at all, then you cannot be charged with anything! Except? Laziness.
Laziness is a dirty trick to defy the Truth. No Laziness is incidental. And the most obvious proof of that is that nobody is always lazy. Had you really been lazy, you would have been lazy even in counting money! But the moment you find a couple of notes missing from your account, all your energy rises to defend yourself and your account. You are lazy as a dirty tactician. You are at war, and laziness is your weapon.
Are you getting it?
All the qualities associated with being alive, are found missing in a lazy person. Because, life, fundamentally is either Truth affirmative or not life at all. Life is either a fascination with the Truth, dallying with the Truth, dancing with the Truth, moving towards the Truth, getting hurt by the Truth, getting broken and renewed by the Truth, or it is not life at all.
All the things that we talked of as being characteristic of life, will be found missing from a lazy person. He will know no love, he will know no creativity, he will know no joy, no freedom. Deadness, worse than that of a corpse, will be found on his face and in his eyes. He will be able to and ready to bear all this, all in the hope of somehow beating the Truth. He is in some sense, a great Tapasvi. He is willingly bearing all the hardships, just so that he does not have to do one thing, except the inevitable. To remain in perpetual defiance of the inevitable he is prepared to go to any extent. He will make a mess of himself, he will destroy his own life. But such is his commitment, and so resolute is his determination, that he will not do the obvious. Are you getting it?
And he is not foolish. Had he been foolish, he would have turned ambitious. He would have gone the opposite way. He doesn’t go the opposite way! He just doesn’t go anywhere. He stays put. He keeps warming the chair. Neither will he work, nor will he go out of the door. Are you getting it?
The Earth is round, if you go towards some place, you reach it, if you go opposite, you reach that place. If you do not want to reach at all, you have only one possibility, don’t move! Because, whichever way you move, ultimately you will reach. If you are hell bent upon not reaching, there is only one solution for you. Remain lazy, just don’t move.
A lazy person is in some sense, a unique person. The more lazy you are, the more you must be admired, for your ego power, and patience. You see, the mind is restless; look at the lazy one, he has conquered the restlessness of mind. Even the habitual restlessness of mind is unable to get the lazy one to do anything. He is almost a Yogi. He is sitting, and in front of him, the flies are all over his food and with great indifference and dispassion, he is watching. You can take the food as his life, he is watching, and his life is going to the dogs. And just like an indifferent witness, unconcerned, untouched, he is watching.
Week after week, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, his own life, is getting destroyed, and he does not do anything. He very well knows, what ought to be done. And he knows the price to be paid. It’s just that he is determined, to not to pay the price.
Have you seen suicidal warriors? They say, “We would rather die than surrender!” Now you know why I am saying that the lazy person, is actually admirable in a sense. To protect his beliefs, to protect all the investment that he has put in his nonsense, he adopts the worst strategy. Truth baits him. The world is the bait that Truth throws at the man. Truth says, “Either come directly to me or be tempted by the world. So, if you are going to the world, you are falling to the bait that Truth has thrown at you. Though you go to the world to escape the Truth. But actually, when you are rushing to the world with expectation, you are actually rushing towards Truth.
When you rush towards Maya, you are actually rushing towards God. It’s just that you are rushing in a foolhardy way. You are rushing, in a way, in a direction, that will make you suffer. But still, at least you are rushing, at least you are alive. At least you have a fondness for something. The lazy one does not fall for any bait. Even the great pleasures of life are lost upon him. If you go to a really lazy one and try to put some activity into him; you might find that you are banging your head against a very dead wall. He is lazy even in pursuing his pleasures.
Ten people have assembled for a game of soccer, the eleventh one is missing. He is simply lazying on the bed, not even sleeping. You push him to play, he won’t go. And it would beat your comprehension. You would think that somebody might be lazy with respect to work; but how is it possible that somebody is lazy about playing? That’s the thing with laziness. Even if you rush towards pleasures, you are actually rushing towards God in an oblique way. So, the lazy one learns this trick at some point. Be so dead, that even pleasures don’t attract you. You ask him to go dance, he cannot dance. He won’t dance. You ask him to go, eat, he would be lethargic even about that. Half the times he would be snoring before sex. Why put in so much effort? When one can sleep just like that.
Everything that makes life beautiful is a dance, and the dance requires your participation. The lazy one denies his participation. Nothing lits his eyes up! Because to allow yourself, to be touched by anything, is to allow yourself to be touched by Truth, by God. So, he will become an impregnable fortress. Nothing can touch him. Very quickly, he will just escape into sleep. And when it would be the time to sleep, he would be even lazy about sleeping. If he is being invited to play, you would find him? Lazy, not really sleepy, just dozing.
Everything that is life-affirmative, will be missing from him. And that’s a conscious decision that he makes. It’s a decision, made towards self-preservation. To remain what he is, he must stand against everything that life offers. And if life somehow manages to surround him and breach his defenses, and get to him, and catch him by his collar, then one thing he will surely do against his laziness – run away. In that moment, he will demonstrate that his laziness was a conscious decision. And when it comes to the shove, he can quickly cast his laziness aside and briskly run away. In that running away you won’t find him lazy.
Remember that laziness is not an end in itself. Laziness is a dirty means. I repeat, laziness is not an end in itself. Laziness is a dirty means, a means towards? Protection of the Ego, as simple as that. You are just not prepared to get out of your dirty shell. That’s laziness.
And the lazy one is not an idiot. Had he been an idiot, he would have turned? Ambitious. He would have said, “Ah! who cares for the Truth. I am in love with the world.” And in loving the world he would have sooner than later, come to the? Truth. The lazy one loves neither the Truth nor the world. He loves just…? The stinking self. You take him one fine morning and make him stand in front of fabulous waterfall, you will still find sleep upon his face. You bring a newborn to a lazy man, and make him hold it; there is a great danger that he might doze off and the newborn might fall down.
Nothing really arouses him. He knows what arousal is; in arousal, you rise. And whenever you rise, it is possible that the hand of God might be waiting to pull you further up. He will not allow himself to be aroused. He will remain dead and inert. Be it the sound of the morning birds chirping, or be it the sound of a Kabir bhajan, or the most beautiful shloka from the Upanishads; the lazy one will always be prepared, to just fall over and collapse. It is dangerous to let anything become meaningful for oneself. If anything becomes meaningful, then your self-contained ego is gone. The ego says, “All the fulfillment lies within me.” If something outside of itself becomes meaningful, then the ego will have to make way.
That is the reason, why among the three attributes of Prakriti, the three Gunas, ‘Tamas’ has been put at the lowest position. ‘Rajas’, the tendency to acquire, chase, act, obtain, run behind, is put at a level higher than ‘Tamas’. Because, if you are ‘Rajasik’ then your chase and the futility of the chase, will wake you up one day. Further, even to chase one has to exert. And exertion is almost like sacrifice, you are giving up on something inferior in order to get something higher, that is exertion. You are giving up on fat, in order to get freedom; that is exertion. The ‘Tamasik’ mind, has no intention of giving up on that which is the most inferior. Unfortunately, a huge proportion of people belong to the ‘Tamasik’ category. The category of lifelessness. And that is why motivation is such a sought-after virtue. Most people actually need motivation.
What is motivation? Please understand. The lazy one, is squarely placed against the Truth, right? In that direction, he will never move. He won’t move even in the direction of the world. But if it comes to movement and he has to choose, whether to move towards the Truth or the world, then there is some faint probability that he would choose the world. Towards Truth, he would absolutely never go. So, what is then motivation? Motivation is to make the world, tempting for someone. Ordinarily, a man might not find the world very tempting. To motivate someone is to make the world tempting for him.
So, now the world becomes a motive, now he feels like chasing something or somebody, that is motivation. Most people are extremely lazy so they need motivation. And if you are one of them, then motivate yourself! All motivation is false. But there is no other recourse for a very lazy person, otherwise, he just keeps feeling drowsy.
If you are someone who is known as lazy, know that it is not your laziness, but your stubbornness that is at the center of your problem. You are extremely stubborn. Are you getting it?
I repeat it – To protect your ego when you move you are ‘Rajasik’, and to protect your ego, even more deeply, when you just refuse to move, then you are ‘Tamasik’. And when you are ‘Tamasik’ then the chances that you will be able to protect your ego are greater.
The word, ‘lifelessness’ is actually not very appropriate. It is not that the lazy man is lifeless. In fact, he has a very rich life. He has a very rich, ‘personal’ life. He has a very rich false and imaginary life, he is all full of himself. He is so densely occupied with himself, that nothing ever reaches him. He is not lifeless, he is surrounded by himself. That’s his life. In his world there is him, and then there are hundreds more of himself. There is nobody else.
To others, he might appear lifeless. Inside of himself, he is always occupied, always talking to himself, always busy with himself, always raising his own arguments, always conversing with himself. He is his own God. And therefore he finds no reason to look up to anybody. He is the God, to whom he is offering his own life as the sacrifice. If you find him in shambles, if you find him torn and tattered, if you find him destroyed, it is because he has chosen to keep offering himself to his own personal God. It’s a very stable situation he is in, and that is why it is very difficult to bring him out of his situation.
He has found a God already, and he has also found a way to please his God. He is satisfied. How do you encourage him to change? That is why motivation theories fail. He is already alright! How will you get him to change? In his eyes, he is perfectly okay. In fact, he is very very confident within himself. You will look at him and despise him, you will look at him and take pity. His condition is obviously pathetic, but in his own eyes, he is? Alright.
He might be stinking, but he does not feel his own stink. And even if life somehow manages to show him his ugly face, he repents superficially, while remaining internally determined to not to change. That is the description of the lazy egoist. Those on a spiritual journey have a lot to learn from the lazy ones – patience, determination, resolution, surrender, offering of the self. We often say that those who are committed to God are prepared to destroy themselves. Don’t we? We say, that those who are committed to God are prepared to?
Listener: Destroy themselves.
AP: Is that really so? If you want to see, who is prepared to destroy himself, go to a lazy man. See, how he willingly destroy himself. So that he can keep pleasing his personal God. His entire life is a great tragedy, and he is proud of it. That’s real loyalty, real dedication towards the one you love. Very few Tapasvis or Yogis or Sadhaks can match the one-pointedness of the lazy man.
And it requires a certain equanimity. Winters or summers, he is? Lazy. Profit or loss, he is? Lazy. Scolded or praised, he is lazy!
He puts such great abidance in his laziness, that even the ‘Aatman’ feels jealous. Now, do you want to call him lifeless? No, he is not lifeless. In fact, if you can take him into confidence, that will be greatly difficult, because he is far more shrewd than you are. But if you can somehow, catch him in a weak moment, take him in confidence and ask him to narrate his inner world! You will come to learn how colorful and vivid it is. It is full of fairies and angels. He has great ideas and thoughts. In his own eyes, he is some prince charming. He can go out and accomplish anything; in his own world, he does not need this world. Because this world comes from the Truth, so this world is just a ploy of the Truth to trap innocent, ambitious, men and women. So all his workings are in his own world. That’s where he lives.
We are not talking of one particular man, this man lives within all of us. To this degree (showing with hands, lesser) or to this (more)! The degree varies, but this dimension exists within all of us.
I was once with a friend, we were deciding upon a place to eat at. I suggested a particular cafe. That friend said that place serves lousy stuff. I insisted and persisted, so we both went to the cafe of my choice. The food was awesome. My friend didn’t eat. That’s the lazy man.
In defiance of the Truth, he ensures that his life remains tasteless, worthless, lifeless. Because he must prove his own personal Truth. He must remain against ‘The Absolute Truth’. He would rather remain hungry than accept that the world is delicious. And if you argue with him, he would prove to you, conclusively prove to you, that the food is indeed shoddy. He will prove it so shoddy, that even your own taste would be spoiled. You would get confused, even your taste buds would get confused.
Look at his fasting. How is it not deeply religious? Being lazy is almost like fasting. You are not allowing all the taste of the world to come to you. That’s why I said that the lazy man would beat many a spiritual seeker with his raw determination.
Life is tasty, colors are tasty, men and women are tasty, sports are tasty, the grounds are tasty, the markets are tasty, the hills are tasty, the rivers are tasty. Everything is so tasteful. And for the lazy man, there is only fasting. The wonders of the world are dancing in front of him. The greatest magic is happening and he is about to fall over and sleep. His eyes are already half closed. He is struggling hard or at least demonstrating so, to remain awake.
He knows that if he lets the butterfly sit upon his shoulder, some of the colors of the butterfly might rub upon him. He knows that if he goes too close to the river, a few drops of water might just manage to wet his dryness. He won’t go close. He won’t go close, even to disprove the might of the river. He will just stay where he is, dead. Now how do you prove to him that the river is wonderful? He is not even discrediting the river. He is not even turning the river unattractive. He is just not interested. He is so complete within himself that he has no interest in anything outside of himself. He is so total. He is almost on the verge of enlightenment. The knowledge of the greatest seers cannot move him because he is himself the greatest of all seers. No Upanishad is relevant to him, because he, himself is the fountainhead, from where all Upanishads arise. Obviously, there is no Guru, or teacher, or Master for him, because who can be the Guru of God himself? He is close to Total, Absolute.
And since he is total and absolute, you now know what would work upon him. Only total destruction. Only absolute suffering. And that is why people are not absolutely lazy. Because absolute laziness would result even in physical destruction. They are selectively lazy. As we said, they are never lazy enough when it comes to counting money. If you are absolutely lazy then only absolute destruction can help you, and so you get absolute destruction. But then that would prove to you that being absolutely lazy was a mistake. You will not let that happen. You will keep your laziness, diluted to the extent, it can survive.
You will work? Just as much as keeps you hanging. And hanging, at least till the point you are getting easy money. Look at it, till the day you are getting easy money you will keep hanging. The day the flow of easy money stops, you will not be lazy enough to not to leave. You will suddenly gather energy to leave. Now, where is laziness? Laziness is such a lazy word. We better have more demonstrative words. More suggestive words. Instead of calling somebody lazy, let’s simply call him, “His Highness!” “His holiness!” “His Godliness!”
“What may I offer you, your magnificency? Though we very well know that you are not in need of any of our offerings because you are absolute within yourself. What can the trivial temptations of this ephemeral world, mean to you, when you have timeless and eternal inertia within you. That’s what the great Self, has been described as! That which does not move.
“You are Atman, personified. That, which moves not. That, which is unchangeable, that which is unfathomable, that which even the greatest of teachers know nothing of. That, thou art. Rise, so that we may offer obeisance at your lotus feet. Who can shake you, who can make you? You are what you are! We can only marvel. You are beyond thought, beyond imagination. What you are, is beyond the grasp of ordinary human beings.”
Nitish is saying, “Sir, how to work on this problem of lethargy?”
Is it a problem at all? (Smiles) It is your greatest joy! Come on!
There are so many things that you do to yourself. That makes you come alive in pleasure. Do you go to a doctor, to get rid of those things?
“If I try to do so, then I put so much energy in it, or I can say it is as excitement that it becomes frustration after some time. Do I need a continuous motivation?”
Why are you exerting yourself in writing so much? Why work when you can shirk? Even your pen would have been amazed. (Smiles)
“Also when I play computer games, I feel bored after some time, then I immediately go for sleep.”
Those must be some old games. You must consult someone, who can refer you some decent games.
(Chuckles) You don’t need spirituality, you need more updated versions of games.
First of all, see that you do not take these as problems at all. One doesn’t call his greatest defense as a problem. That’s dishonesty.
You are saying, “Excitement can become frustration after some time.” I am sure you would be experiencing no frustration. Where is excitement in your life? You know what it means to be excited? It means, to really go crazy. Like, kids playing football. And in another five minutes, the hooter is about to go off. And the scores are tight. Two each. And one side must prevail. Have you seen them go crazy? And one is bleeding from the knee. And one is tired and all are sweating. And fat one is huffing and puffing, and still running! That’s excitement. And someone is even prepared to play foul. Someone is shouting “handball”! Someone is saying, “Last two minutes.” That’s excitement, have you experienced that? So, where is frustration?
Even to be frustrated, you must first of all chase something. Have you ever chased something? Anything? With all your might? Have you ever fallen for anything? Have you ever loved? Loved anything, anybody, a girl? Loved so terribly, so badly, that you are prepared to just go to pieces for her? What frustration do you know of? Defeat is a rare fruit, available only to those, who first of all try with all their life. What do you know of frustration? All you know is minor annoyance. To be really frustrated, is to, first of all, have really? Tried. And to really try, you have to come alive. Come Alive.
Remember, all movement is movement towards the Truth. Either, directly, or indirectly. But if you haven’t tried, if you haven’t moved, what frustration are you talking of?
Give yourself crazily to something. Sell your soul. Then you will know what life, what liveliness there is, in defeat.
You have to have a heart, and you have to let it go to pieces. You have to let it be shattered. Only then do you discover that your personal God is false, because your personal God gets shattered, along with your personal ego. Your personal God will not help you pick up the pieces. Somebody else does that, then you come upon the real one. The personal one that you have been cushioning so long, has existed so long, only because of the cushion. Let it face, the test of life, the facts of life, and it will be inexorably shattered. You know that that’s why you don’t move. That’s why you don’t allow it be tested. Because it will fail the test.
We have come to a strange point. We started with incompleteness. And we have come to horrible kind of completeness. This series started with incompleteness. And we have come to a very horrifying completeness. Where the fellow feels complete.
One of my favorite rabbits, Nandu, she died a very painful death. She got a disorder of the stomach, in which the stomach bloats up due to gas. So, the rabbit keeps feeling as if its full. She doesn’t need any food. From within, no signal arises, to take in food. Even if you offer food, the rabbit won’t take, because the rabbit is feeling already sufficient. Rabbits, continuously need to chew and take in food. Every few hours, they must eat. Nandu didn’t eat for three full days. And it was very obvious that she was coming closer and closer to death. In fact, it was a miracle that she survived even three days. Till her last breath, we kept on trying to feed her. She won’t take anything. The doctors tried some injections and other things. Nothing worked. Because it was a false sufficiency within. She died in my hands, I couldn’t do anything. False sufficiency, “I am already full.” I was trying to feed her in her last moments, she didn’t accept. She felt already full.
I don’t know what’s worse, incompleteness or false completeness?
In the eyes of the person who is falsely complete, you would never find wonderment. You know what is wonderment? When you come upon something new! He would always look at you as if he already knows you, “Ha! I know.” Because within himself, he is possessed by the thought that he knows all. He is a Master of his kingdom, the God of his territory. His eyes can measure but never worship. In fact, he knows no sacredness, for him nothing is sacred. That is one quality of the man complete within himself. He knows no sacredness. He has no feeling for the beyond. He can utilize everything. Instead of a four-session series, it has become a five-session series – Incompleteness, Defeat, Shame, Lifelessness, False completeness.
Incompleteness now appears almost a virtue. Incompleteness, at least makes you look into the world, if not into yourself. False completeness will not allow you to look even into the world. You are your own world. You will have no liking for facts. You will have no interest in what’s going around. Why do you need to know about what’s happening in Europe or America, or in Amazon’s jungles? When you are so complete and comfortable within yourself, why do you need to have knowledge? Knowledge can disturb.
Why do I need to know what’s happening? The animals of the Arctic. When I have an entire Universe, within myself! I am occupied, I am busy, and I have important matters to take care of.
But, howsoever, much you live in defiance of facts, facts have a way of affecting you, making their presence felt and troubling you. This self-contained man, copes with facts, by deliberately not putting them in perspective. You know what is perspective? Having a thing, belong to where it really belongs. Putting things in their proper place, that’s perspective. The self-contained man, has an aversion to perspective. If he comes to know of a thing, he will make sure that he puts it in the wrong place. Deliberately puts it somewhere else, so that he may not have to face the import of the fact. So that he may not have to accept the full force of the fact.
If he goes to a temple and he is asked to put his footwear outside the premises of the temple, he will say, “Why? Don’t the feet and the footwear belong to God?” And he is right. You cannot quarrel with him. He is perfectly right. But, by raising, an impertinent argument, where there should be none, he has allowed himself sufficient disturbance to escape sacredness. Now, he has set his own terms. The temple could have turned him meditative, and in meditation, he would have seen all his falseness. But by bringing in an issue, which is actually a non-issue, he has successfully managed to subvert the real issue.
Do you see this?
It’s like you receiving your medical reports from the pathology, and you start discussing the quality of the paper the report is printed on. And not only you are discussing, you are actively complaining, why is it not 80 gsm. By giving prominence to a non-issue, you have successfully diverted attention from the real issue, and the real issue is that the reports are declaring that you have Cancer. You don’t want to talk about that, so you are talking about the color and the weight of the paper.
Even if this self-contained stubborn man is in the most sacred of environments, he will find some way to somehow escape sacredness. He is like the fly in the temple. What does the fly in the temple do? From somewhere it finds filth and goes and sits on the filth. And by sitting on the filth it is successfully able to declare that the Universe is filthy. And even if it’s the cleanest of temples, the fly will manage to find filth. And create an alternate perspective, an alternate story. The priest will have one story to tell about the temple, the devotee will have one story to tell about the temple, and this self-contained man will have an entirely different story. That’s called lacking in perspective, or having a totally false perspective.
When you feel incomplete, kindly don’t fill yourself with rubbish. In time, you will invest in the rubbish and will have all the incentive then, to declare the rubbish, as rich, meaningful and true.
Your car didn’t have tyres. In desperation, you brought bicycle tyres, and fitted your car with them. The only way now, you can prove your choice correct, is by not letting the car move. You would have your car stand as a showpiece. That is the only way now you can somehow protect the tyres. If you move, you would be exposed, that’s the lazy man. He has put in a lot of investment in his falseness. He is false, from the head till the toe. He is totally and absolutely a debouch. That’s why he will not move. If he moves, everything will creek and crumble.
Life will tell him that he is a failure. Life will tell him that everything about him is false. So, he would just not face life. That’s the trouble with facing life. It tells you what all is wrong with you. So, remain confined in your self-complete world, where you are alright, “I am alright here.”
Incompleteness leads to shame and defeat. And if you are repeatedly defeated you feel lifeless. But all of these are at least states that make themselves felt. If you feel lifeless, you would be prompted to do something about it. But what if you keep feeling lively? And all attempts of life to bring you into the arena, keep on failing, “I am already good. What’s wrong with you? Why do you want to change me? Do you want to dominate me, possess me?” It’s just that the car won’t move. But still good for taking selfies. You can avoid the tyres in the selfies. Or, you can tout them as fancy tyres, latest technology, uses very little rubber, gives better mileage, eco-friendly!
When everybody else is asking for the roads, for the highways, for the hills; our man is always asking for the parking. That’s the only place, he can be safe (chuckles). So, he will search for a job, where he can safely park himself. He doesn’t have to?
AP: Movement is dangerous. Tyres get exposed, one’s foolishness gets exposed. One made a claim, long back, “I am complete.” That claim gets rubbished. One doesn’t want to be proven a liar. One earned a lot of satisfaction, by claiming to himself that I am complete. Now one doesn’t want that satisfaction to be trashed. It hurts, to see your entire life, being declared as a big grand, and lie. So I would rather park the car.
Life is a party, in which he won’t show up. To be shown up is sometimes, to be blown up. He doesn’t want to be blown up.
Where have you parked yourself?
The world is the dance of Shakti. One gets attracted to the dance, the dance is hypnotic, mesmerizes. You come to Shakti, she laps you up, takes you in. And in her insides, you meet Shiva. What if no dance attracts you? How do you meet Shiva? Not possible! Not possible!
That is why youth is such an opportunity. One is attracted. One can fall for something. One feels incomplete, so there is an urge to know the complete. And when you feel attracted, you must have conviction enough to stay attracted and do justice to your attraction.
There is the Yogi, who is attracted towards, the God within. There is the Bhogi, who is attracted to the God without. And then there is the Dhongi, who is attracted, but is such (pause); I am searching for the right word, I don’t want to offer anything short of the most piercing abuse! Help me. Let’s just say, a retard! Who is such a retard, that he won’t even accept that he is attracted? Because to accept the attraction is to become uncomfortable. If you accept that something outside of you calls you and compels you, you will have to leave your place. You will have to move.
God invites him to the Heavens, he would rather? Sleep. A heavenly girl invites him to the discotheque, he would rather?
AP: Sleep. Neither God nor girl can move him. His face remains as lively as a cow dung cake. Very organic.
L: What is the way out?
AP: Absolute destruction.
When there is absolute commitment to the false, the only way out is absolute destruction. The quantum of destruction you need is directly proportional to the quantum of your commitment to the false. If you are committed a little to the false, a little bit destruction would suffice. But if you are as committed as, let’s say… Then you need a fulsome dose.
Even in that, there is a catch. Because you are anyway destroying yourself, so destruction doesn’t come as anything new to you! In people, destruction is an alarming word. But, is destruction an alarming word even to the one, who is any way gradually destroying himself? Only God can help. Some shock of such great intensity is needed. That all the dreams immediately evaporate.
Have you ever seen pigeons perched in one line, on a terrace wall? And then off goes some cracker or gunshot and all the pigeons are off, together. That kind of shock is needed. This fellow is very stubborn. Small, piecemeal, gradual, incremental remedies, he’s gone beyond them. You need someone, who can catch you by your hair and pull you out of your hiding hole. You need to be dragged out into the Sun, and then be laid out to dry.
Yes Sir, what’s your hiding hole? (Looking at the listeners)
Question: Acharya Ji, Osho says that a lethargist is afraid of the unknown and afraid of the known. And I am fine with the role that I am in, family responsibilities etc. I do not participate in social activities, just because everyone is doing it. Am I escaping from life? Thank you.
AP: Occasionally you must keep checking, Jyothi. Occasionally you must keep checking, that this doubt is put to rest. I am not advocating that you must keep compulsively partaking in social life. But occasionally you must just go out to inquire what’s really going on. And then when you find that actually, really, do not need, what happens in the social circles, then you can bypass them. But if you remain aloof from social happenings for too long a period, then there is a probability, that you may start living in an internal make-believe world. So, just once in a while, go out and socialize. If it so happens, that you find nothing of value there, fine. Come back home. But it may happen that you may indeed find something of value there. Then take it, accept it. Learn from it, allow it to change you, remain open to the possibility. Right?
Question: A lot of time, I have seen lazy people claiming that they are more intelligent, and due to that they find an innovative way of doing things, not the hard work. Is this an example of being too full of themselves? Is Narcissism also part of the disease?
AP: Yes, absolutely. In fact, where you have said, ‘A lot of times,” this will be the case, every time.
You cannot be lazy without being too intelligent for yourself. A lazy man is not only intelligent, he is actually too intelligent. He knows all. Otherwise, how can one refuse to learn from life? And there is only one way one learns from life. By? Being with life. By allowing oneself to flow with life. The only reason, you can offer yourself, to not to flow with life is – “Do I need it? What will the flow give me? I already have it.” Narcissism is just another name for being full of oneself, full of only oneself.
I hope we are able to put laziness in perspective. Laziness is no ordinary disease. Laziness is a total denial of life. Laziness is not just a superficial refusal to work hard. Laziness is a refusal to Live, “I don’t want to live because I am already alive here (within myself).” And when you say ‘within’, the within in the case of the lazy person is not Truth or Atma. The within in the case of the lazy person is? The personal mind. That is why I said, that the lazy fellow will never be found wandering. The moment you start wondering, you have no option but to explore. And exploration is the antidote of laziness. The lazy fellow just does not want to explore, because he? Already knows!
L: So, who is more evil, the one moves to avoid the Truth or the one who just stays put?
AP: We discussed both, and we said that the fellow, who moves to avoid the Truth is less of an evil than the fellow who just stays put. Because if you are moving to avoid the Truth, you are moving into the Truth. Wherever you would go, you will go into the Truth. But if you are staying at your own personal position, that’s where you can most successfully defy the Truth. That is why we said, that the lazy man is more stubborn than the ambitious man.
Ambitious people, often scoff at lazy people. Don’t they? “Hah! lazy one, look at us, we are moving.” They don’t know what hard nuts the lazy ones are. They don’t know that the lazy ones are one up upon the ambitious ones. You had to run about to save yourselves, I save myself just by? Standing where I am.
L: So, he is not doing in consciousness?
AP: Yes, of course.
You are conscious. And your consciousness is your only hope. There might be things, beyond consciousness and this and that. But in your life, what matters is, what you do consciously because there is anyway nothing else, you have any handle upon. If I talk to you, a lot about what happens to you in your sleep, how does it help you? Only that which you do consciously and actively is that which you can change. How will you change that which you have no control over?
L: Fear can also make you lazy?
AP: You see, all fear is fear of God. All fear is the fear of total annihilation. There are small fears. But, all the small fears are nothing but shadows of the great fear. The one great fear is realization or enlightenment. That is our greatest fear.
One day we will come to know that all of this was just a dream. That is our greatest fear. I am investing so much in my friend, in my wife, in my husband, in my property, in my life. One day it might be exposed that it was all so foolish! Not only were they fake, whom I believed to be true. Even the one who kept believing was fake, that is a great fear – One day I might wake up. So, laziness implies, that you remain sleeping. If waking up is a great fear, then you will have to remain lazy and remain asleep.
All the guys on the soccer field are bullies. So, I would rather gain weight, sitting on my couch. Mumma says, that I am gaining weight because I am lazy. The fact is that I am just afraid of the bullies. Now am I lazy, or am I fearful?
L: They might not be bullies.
AP: They might not be bullies. They act as bullies because I walk into the football field as if I am rolling into the football field.
I tempt them to act as bullies.
Now, am I afraid, or am I lazy?
L: Bullying is also poking fun of something that is there.
AP: They are not bullying you for no reason.
Are you lazy, or are you just afraid?
L: Fear is still something that you can overcome. Laziness is a choice.
AP: Even fear is a choice.
I very well know when I am at the bookstall, and I have to actively approach people, then I get mocked. So, I would somehow try to convert the four hours at the stall into three hours. I would begin 45 minutes late, I would end half an hour early. My manager would call me lazy. The fact is I am just afraid. I don’t want to face people when I face people they, laugh at me! They poke fun! They offend me! I am just afraid. So, I act lazy. I am lazy about getting up from my chair and reaching up there at the right place and setting it up on time. I appear lazy. I am just afraid.
And I am even more afraid because what they are saying, is true.
But, my ego doesn’t allow me to change. I would rather sit here, hide in my hole, than face the crowd. The crowd is the fact. The crowd is revealing the fact of my life. So, I would rather warm the chair here, than reach there in time. And because I convert my four hours there into three hours, I anyway, don’t get sales. Even in four hours, the sales are not going to be sufficient. How about three hours? Even less. And that incentivizes me even more, to not to move.
Do you see, how it’s a race to the bottom? It’s a quick slippery slope. Very soon you hit the bottom and you stay there. And staying there is what you call as relaxation. I am relaxing there! Lazy!
Laid back, chilled out. Sir, you are down in the dumps. You are in the depths of the gutter, not in depths of meditation. You are not relaxing there.
L: Some of it comes from the past life!
AP: Yes. All of it comes from the past. But the question is, does that justify it?
AP: If you actually manage to walk into the football ground, bear the bullying for a while, somehow carry your fat body behind the ball, would you still have space for depression?
Remember that the soccer ground is a place that doesn’t offer you even a second of ‘me’ time. So, your personal world holds no value at all there. It’s about you and the ball and the players and the goal post. It’s not at all about your ‘Personal world’. Where is depression? The ball is coming to you! What is depression and how is it relevant in this moment?
And you just miss the ball. Even then do you have space to be depressed? You missed it, you better run! Take a new position. And nobody has the time to keep scolding you incessantly. You will get a few angry stares, maybe somebody will howl at you once, and then get occupied, with his own game. Where is the time to wallow in misery and keep thinking about all the bad things in life?
Life is like that. Isn’t life like a soccer ground? Isn’t the ball constantly being passed to someone? Isn’t there always a chance that you would be the next to get the ball? Don’t you always have to be alert? Don’t you always have to be alert?
That’s why the lazy one won’t play.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Laziness is a dirty trick to defy the Truth
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