Helplessness of the Guru || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant: In some sense, it is very cruel to be a Teacher, absolute helplessness one experiences, one feels like asking, why does one have to inflict daily wounds, rather carnage upon himself.

You know what is it to be a Teacher, to know everything and have power over very little, you can see but you cannot act on the other’s behalf. The admission and the action has to come from the other and it is very cruel, to know, to see and yet not have the power to translate the seeing into action.

You can tell someone, ‘Kid, this is the path of destruction, leave it!’ but you cannot forcefully pick the kid up and take her away. You see these things happening in front of you all the time, and can’t stop them, you can’t stop them because fellows have to live their own lives, you cannot live on their behalf, you cannot get into their mind, their body and soul, and start living as if you are them, you cannot give them an ideal script.

Isn’t it a bizarre thought?

To live on somebody’s behalf, life cannot be outsourced. The coach cannot play on behalf of the player. It is extremely frustrating.

I was six years old, my sister Pragya was three, and younger brother was being born, mother was in the maternity ward, so we two kids were having good fun, we had been relieved from school for a month because mother had gone to another city, to be admitted for the delievery and it was a caesarian and all, a little complicated.

So, these two kids would be playing and fighting the entire day, and I was playing with my sister and I broke her arm, just casual kid’s play, I didn’t intend to, I didn’t even hit her hard, she got a fracture in the arm, she was three, and now I was very guilty. I had not deliberately caused, but it happened, and it happened once earlier as well, I was chasing her, she entered the kitchen and hot boiling kadhi (an Indian curry) fell over her, and she had burns all over the body, she recovered fully, but I had that memory as well and now the fracture. So, it was a shock to my consciousness.

Now, she had the plaster on her arm, from the same hospital and her hand would itch now, under the plaster, and since she was just three, so the plaster was not very thick and I was feeling very guilty. Now, what she would try to do?

She would try to itch herself, scratch herself under the plaster, she would take a pencil or a pen, and try to put it in, and slowly she was trying to dismember the whole thing. The plaster was coming of, after all, it is just a plaster, POP, I think, and as an elder brother and also someone with a guilty conscience, it was now my responsibility to ensure that she does not fiddle with her plaster. So, I was keeping a watch on her all the time and all the time she was trying to do something with the plaster, all the time, and I knew the doctor had told, and it had been told to me in very clear, rather exaggerated ways that if her plaster comes off or if she keeps fiddling with the arm, then the arm may not join properly, or it can get bad for the entire life.

So, I was very concerned now, I would be watching her the entire day, and the entire day she would be doing something with arm.

That is the first memory that I have of powerlessness. Great powerlessness. I really wanted her to recover, and she was doing self-destructive things, and I couldn’t even scold her because somewhere something in me was guilty that I had caused it. For two months, even as a six year old, I was having troubled nights, she would be troubled because it would itch, she would get up and do something, and whenever she would get up and do something, I would get up and try to cajole her, and convince her, somehow pacify her into not doing that thing.

Mother was busy with her own physical condition, and after sometime, the younger brother had arrived, and he was extremely sick, and both the mother and the kid were sick. So nobody was looking at her, and I was the one trailing her all the time, and she was doing something with her arm, she recovered fully, but I remembered that period it is marked on the mind.

You know something is not right for the other person and yet you can’t help her from doing it, and you also can’t give up and you also can’t get angry.

You can’t give up, you can’t get angry, and you can’t stop what is happening.

That’s how I felt as a six year old, that’s how a Teacher feels.


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Acharya Prashant speaking in a Shabdyog session at Advait Bodhsthal, Noida on 29th August 2018.

Watch Full Discourse: Helplessness of the Guru || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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