Acharya Prashant: Should one compromise on his principles?


Acharya Prashant: Ashutosh is asking, ‘Is it wise to not to compromise on one’s principles?’

Ashutosh, whereas not compromising has a beauty about it, it has a vigor about it, it has the warmth of  life about it, it has the resilience of life about it, ‘I will not compromise.’

On the other hand, principles are in  themselves a compromise! I am all for not compromising, surely one must not compromise, but principles themselves are a compromise.

Will go into it, pay attention:

What is a principle? What do you mean by a principle or an ideal?

A principle says that, ‘Given such a situation, this is what must happen’. A principle says, ‘This is right and this is wrong’, and the principle says this is fixed. This has been determined for all time to come, ‘siddhant’, done, proven, finished.

Now can life move according to principles?

I understand principles are very close to our heart, so what I am saying will sound a little jarring, but stay with me; can life move according to principles?

All principles are based on acceptance and rejections, on right and wrong, on proper and improper; but life is complete, life has space for everything.

Principle says  ‘A’ is right, and ‘B’ is always wrong, where as A and B both are parts of life, life consists of A and B, principle says only ‘A’, so what is the principles doing with life?

The principle is dividing life into two zones, one of acceptance, one of non-acceptance, at its proper place, at its proper time, everything is alright, that’s why it is present in life, whatsoever is there in life is good, is welcome, its auspicious, at its proper place and time.

Had it not been right, it would not been present at all in life. The very fact that it is there, even though it may appear cruel, and bad, and violent, still it has a specific place in life, you can not just outrightly reject it, you can not impose a blanket upon it, peace has its place, you may be principled, and you say that, ‘You know, I am all for peace, man must live in peace, society must live in peace, nation must live in peace and war is bad’.

That’s how principle sounds, right?.

‘Peace is good, war is bad.’

Now, war is not always bad, there is place for peace, there is place for war as well, at its appropriate place and time. There is place for black, and there is place for white, there is place for sweet, and there is place for sour, there is place for man, and there is place for woman, there is place for all opposites in life. Life is a sum total of all opposites and life will become very-very unlively if sum of these opposites are taken away.

In fact, if you take away black, white also can not exist. Now you say that, ‘I love white, so reduce all black, remove all blackness’, the problem is, if all blackness goes away then white will also not survive. You write on the blackboard with a chalk, the chalk is white but the white is visible only because the board is black, so if you remove the black, white will also lose it’s meaning. Black and white both are needed at their proper place. Black board and white chalk, but principle says only one is good, the other is bad.

Principles are always a partition, a division, and that division too is a pretty determined division. You have already decided. You are not looking at the real-life situation, you are not seeing what this moment is asking for. You are just operating according to a dead principle, now life places new and new demands. Its challenges are always fresh and principles are always old. Life cannot be lived according to principles. Life has to be lived in intelligence, and intelligence does not know anything, intelligence has no inventory of knowledge, intelligence is just wisdom in action. The ability to act, that is intelligence, the ability to understand, that is intelligence.

Principles are the mind’s substitute against intelligence, ‘Why bother to pay attention and understand what is going on, just apply some old principles!’ Principles are like formulae, you know, a problem in mathematics is there in front of you, you do not really understand what the problem is asking but you pick a formula from somewhere and plug-in the value and you hope to get you answer.

That is what principles do, If I really understand the fundamentals, then, I don’t need principles, and that’s how the intelligent man lives in life, in the fundamentals, not in principles. So that’s why I said the principles themselves are a compromise.

The principled man, the man who lives in ideals is a very dangerous man, and very stupid man as well. First of all, he does not know what is going on, he is living in his own world of principles. Secondly, he is so occupied with his own world that he will not listen to anything. He has the added ego that, ‘I am a man of a principles’. First of all, he cannot listen to anything, he is disconnected from life, secondly, he is so full with principles that nothing can get in now.

Principles are in, life is out; principles are in, reality is out. He does not know the reality. He only knows his principles. Now, intelligence is to respond to reality as it is, and that response cannot be within the domain of any principle, that response is beyond all principles, beyond all ideals.

But the principled man will say, ‘No, I am a holy man’, and somewhere within, ‘He will say I deserve respect because I have lived my life according to principles’, and that’s his temptation, ‘Be a principled man, you will get a lot of respect, at least self-respect will be there!’

So, I am saying be very unprincipled!

Don’t be idealistic, an ideal is an imagination, why live in imaginations?

Live in reality and don’t compromise.

The biggest act of defiance, the biggest statement, the loudest statement that says, ‘I will not compromise’, is intelligence.

Intelligence is the biggest defiance, the loudest proclamation of your freedom.

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

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Should one compromise on his principles?


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Acharya Prashant: Choosing the Right Profession


Acharya Prashant: Kaustubh is saying he wants to be an IAS officer, and there is a huge burden of expectations and that is just draining away his life.

Kaustubh, do you want to be an IAS officer or is it out of expectations of others?

Please understand this: You are just beginning your second year of a B.Tech programme, have you really seen life? Do you really know what it means to be a bureaucrat? What makes you come to the conclusion that you must be an IAS officer?

If it is the expectations of others then you are condemning yourself to a lot of suffering.

You see, I was born in a family of bureaucrats, from both my mother’s and father’s side, and as providence would have it, I was a topper, topped the state, stood all India third rank. Continue reading

Thought is not bad

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not. The question is, who is the thinker? If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Is the river of your thoughts pure enough to allure Shiva to dance in it? And Shiva will not dance in a stream impure.

There is understanding without thought and there is understanding with thought as well. Just as there is Truth, formlessly, and there is Truth, formed as well. There will be occasions when the Truth will strike you like a thunderbolt, like a flash of lightning. And understanding will be complete in a split second. And there will be occasions when you will be required to think.

But I understand your predicament. All the spiritual masters are treating thought as the worst offender. As if thought has brought in sickness and disease to your life. Not really. Thought is your expression, just as action is your expression. As you are, so your thought is. In fact, thought is so very helpful. You cannot look at your tendencies, your vrittis, directly. But thought is gross, palpable, definite, it can be watched.

When you think, you come to know of yourself. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have known. The thought of jealousy or the thought of fear arises, it helps you know that deep within somewhere, you are? Afraid.

Thought is not bad. ‘Useful’ or ‘Useless’ is the place, thought is coming from.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?


Acharya Prashant: Is physical proximity to the Guru necessary?

Acharya Prashant: The next one is from Roosmarjin, from the Netherlands. And she has tried the devanagari script today. That’s what I say, you Love playing games. And you keep trying your games upon me as well. I too am a sportsman. Right? If you offer me a game, I won’t refuse.

So, yes Rosie, let’s have a ball.

“Acharya Ji pranam.” Rosie ji, “Pranam.”

Freedom is compulsory.” Of course.

“At a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer. I want to do or drop, whatever it takes in order to not resist the process. Day by day, the pull to be in physical proximity with you and devote my life to you, the Truth, grows stronger. Most of the thoughts that are in my mind are related to moving to India, to be in your physical proximity. Only if it would be wanted for the sake of the mission at large, will I stay there? But the thought of not coming to live close to you literally makes my heart contract. Maybe this message is not suited for the class, but it is ‘the one thing’ I am serious about. If you don’t stop me, I will come. Please tell me, what is being wanted.

Yours Roosmarjin”

[Holding a cat in his hands and showing the cat towards the screen] Say “Hi” to Roosmarjin. So what do you want from her (asking the cat), she is the Oracle (referring to the cat). So, what do you want from Roosmarjin?


Yes, Oracle, speak !  (still holding the cat)

Nothing. Please. Just a meow would be enough. Say something, say something!

She is not refusing. She is not even saying, that consent is needed. She wants to sleep (lets the cat off his hands, and while she goes, comes a meow). And to this, she said, Yes.

A few things you have said.

You have said, “at a grace given moment, no thoughts come up in the mind any longer.” When you were here in India, I had spoken about this, I will repeat!

It is not at all necessary or advisable, to target a state of ‘no thoughts.’ To extend the metaphor of the last answer, will the Sun ever be without its radiance? It’s rays? Will the ocean ever be without its waves? Will there ever be God, sans godliness? Will there ever be the creator, without the creation?

Thoughts are like waves. And waves only give dance to the substance of the ocean. If the ocean itself has somehow become contaminated or spoilt or corrupted. Then the waves too would have that corruption.

There is the mind, and the mind has the ability to think. The question is not whether you are thinking or not.

The question is, who is the thinker?

If the thinker is devoted to the Truth, then thoughts are just like the dance of Shiva.

Continue reading

Man’s world is one of stories

Man’s world is one of stories:

myths, morals, codes, institutions, money…

Man is an animal that weaves stories.

Animals live in objects, man in stories.

Why does man weave stories?

Because man is a story.

To defend his inner story, man is compelled to dream external stories.

What is mysticism?

The story that ends the inner story.

~ Acharya Prashant

Continue reading

Acharya Prashant: Ambition and anger

Acharya Prashant: What is your name?

Listener: Kshitij Aggarwal.

AP: The question asked by Kshitij is why do needs often dominate ambition?

And he surely thinks that it is quite unfortunate that needs to start dominating ambitions. The reason is simple, he probably gives a lower priority to needs and higher priority to ambitions because he thinks that the ambitions are his. He has kept ambitions very close to himself. He believes that they are his own.

So, he deeply wants the ambitions to be fulfilled. But finds that instead, something else has to be done, first of all, we will understand this conflict. And we all face this conflict, this conflict is not only in Kshitij’s mind, this conflict in the mind of every single one of us. But we are all confused, we rarely know, what to do. There are always one or more options in front of us, and we are unable to see clearly which one is suitable. Right?

This happens not only once in six months, at the time of admissions or at the time of choosing a job, it keeps happening daily, day in and day out. What is this conflict? you will have to understand.


Our mind is dominated by ‘external influences’ which we have so far called is the development of ‘Ego.’

Our mind is not our mind, our mind is a collection of all external influences.

Our mind is divided into many many segments and many parts, and there are so many different forces that are controlling these separate parts. So, one part is being controlled by parents, one part is being dominated by media, one part is being dominated by society, one part by peers, one by corporations, one by thoughts of career, one by XYZ, and very very large number of parts.

Now, these different parts are your different masters. It’s like a person is tied to fifty different ropes being pulled by fifty different people in fifty different directions. Will that person be able to move towards any definite direction, any one direction.

Continue reading

Acharya Prashant: When you don’t give the world importance, it simply vanishes


Listener 1: Acharya Ji, when I woke up today in the morning, I was afraid, I didn’t know why…

Listener 2: Earlier when I used to come for camps, I never felt like reading, but this time I wanted to read more and more and more.

Acharya Prashant: Whatever you feel, learn how to not to give it importance. Your knowledge will not help you, your mind, its content, all these readings, nothing will help you. What will help you is this: so many things will keep happening, learn to not to give them importance.

So, if you woke up and you found out that you were afraid, is it really worth mentioning?

Learn to call this not as reflection but as gossip!

If ‘n’ things happen with you, I assure you that ‘5n’ things happen with me and they are not very sacred and beautiful things. Just that I have learned to not to give them importance. I keep doing what I have to do even when a thousand other things are happening.

I know what I have to do being what I am, all this dance of this and that keeps happening. I avoid giving it importance, body will say a few things, the mind will be afraid, thoughts of this and that will keep coming, why should they be called important?

L: I guess, the more we give importance to something the more thoughts it generates.

AP: But it’s a feeling of great power.

You know something is hurting and you are still walking. You know the mind is sad, it is almost feeling like crying out, and you are still speaking in a meditative way. It’s a feeling of, ‘You cannot touch me. I cannot be defeated.’

You think of a man, a crowd is beating him up black and blue, blows are landing on his face, on his chest, on his back, and he is still reciting a shlok, think of it, not that he is not experiencing the blow, not that pain is not arising; but he knows what is important; after a while he simply forgets.

Continue reading