Man is born in pain and to live through pain.
Man is born with the tendency to experience pain, resist pain, and create more pain.
Pain is inherent in life. And man is designed to resist pain. This is the basic conflict in life, as also the motive behind all human actions.
Man is not designed to understand pain or life.
Resisting pain, without understanding it, is called suffering.
In suffering, one creates more pain. Life becomes more full of pain. Man resists more; the downward spiral continues.
An understanding of pain rather than an impulsive resistance to it is the solution.
Man is not designed for the solution.
~Acharya Prashant

Cross the river and burn the bridges

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Question: What do I do to cross the river? To me, it is such a challenge.
Acharya Prashant:  Crossing the river is easy. Just hold the hand of someone who knows the other side, and cross.
You have already crossed the river a thousand times with me.
Your failure is elsewhere: You are not burning the bridges.
Cross the river and burn the bridges.
If you do not burn the bridge, rest assured, you will use that bridge.
You have left too many unburnt bridges in your life. That is why you cross, and still, do not cross. You succeed, and yet remain failed.
Unless you have burnt down your options, the options will not let you live the Truth.
Merely crossing over is not sufficient. Do not cross over like a tourist, cross over like a native.
Anybody who wants to distract and confuse you will keep giving you options. Know your enemy by this sign: He puts choices in your head. If options are there, they will be used one day.
Have you burnt the damn bridge?

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me?

Look a little closely!

Am I in the Stupa, am I in the Shrine?

You really want me, or just images of mine?

… a little closely!

The crowds in the Ashram are all misled,

What you call as Yoga is such a dread,

It’s stupid to wind your legs round your head.

… a little closely!

When you really look for me,

Very straight must you see.

You need no Sadhna, just basic honesty,

From hopes, methods, and future, set yourself free.

… a little closely!

Watch your twice of woods, watch your cup of tea,

Watch your violent fears, watch your ugly modesty.

Watch the flesh you eat, watch that bird,

Watch the tree…

… a little closely!

Seek no Moksha, chase no God,

Chase is fear, fear is death.

How near is Truth,

As near is your breath.

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me?


~ Acharya Ji

(25.2.2016, Myth Demolition Tour, Rishikesh)

Artificial intelligence and Real intelligence

First Question: In the age of artificial intelligence, where does man stand in front of machines?
Second question: What kind of personality development does man need?
Acharya Prashant: Computation and information technology has been, and is, evolving rapidly. Machines bring with them the benefits of efficiency, scalability and predictability. Everything that a computer system, a mechanical arrangement, can take care of will be sooner than later assigned to the machines. Which means that all pattern based jobs – work that involves repetition and adherence to procedures – will go to machines. This is happening, and will happen, not only in engineering and management fields, but in all fields of human activity.

Continue reading

Ideals and Intelligence

Student: Sir, what is an Ideal?

Acharya Prashant:  You tell me. What is Idealism?

S: It is a prescription by the society in regard to how we should be.

AP: For an idealism to exist there must be an ideal and for an ideal, there should be an idea. Let’s see what is an idea, an imagination is. To imagine something new, you must first know what is. And to know what is, one must be awake. Otherwise, imagination is absurd; it is just a dream. But if I am awake, I can’t be imagining. If I am imagining, I can’t be in the present. When we are thinking, we are out of touch with Reality.  Reality is what is right now. Reality is not a thought of the mind. Either I can be directly in touch with this moment, or I can be thinking. So idealism is imagination.

S: Why do people want ideals?

AP: Because people are dissatisfied with the present.  If I am present here; if I understand this moment, won’t I have a spontaneous response? For example, if there is a fire in this room, do you require an ideal to know what is the best thing to do?  People have created ideal as a substitute for understanding what the current moment is.  And so are all ideals, like planning, setting targets or any thought relating to future. You all are great idealists. You don’t know, you are following a set pattern that has been given to you.

If I understand this moment, deeply understand what is right now, then I have infinite possibilities. For example, if I am a die-hard communist, can I really take any action out of an understanding ? Or am I bound to act as a communist? Intelligence or Communism? Idealism will hamper my action because I don’t want to keep all possibilities open to me. This is so because either I am not courageous or I am not open.  So I need one course of action.  Hence Idealism must be demolished.  We are intelligent human beings who can understand.  Idealism is against intelligence. All intelligent men have defied ideals.

S: It is an ideal that we should not kill people. What would you say about it?

AP: There will be times when killing is appropriate. What else is Bhagavad Gita saying?

S: Sir, What about speaking the truth?

AP: Do you really know what Truth is?  How can you speak the truth, if you don’t know the Truth? What is your truth except a mere repetition of facts? In the name of truth, you only express your opinion about the truth. Truth is a situation vested in a person.  There is no objective truth. When I stand clear of my thoughts, dogmas, prejudices and pre-conceived notions, only then I can see the truth.

S: Religion gives us ideals like reading Quran 5 times a day.

AP: You are not talking of Religion; you are talking of a dogma of religion, a set of prescribed activities. Talking of religion, you see, the most repeated words in The Sermon on the Mount are ‘But I say unto you‘.There were 10 commandments that Moses had prescribed. Jesus takes up each one of these and puts all of them to the test of ‘But I say unto you’…meaning that each of these commandments is limited and violable. Just see the reality, understand it; where is idealism in all this? That alone is the basic obligation of a human being, to use one’s intelligence and understand.

S: Sir, what about God?

AP: Do you really think that believing something without knowing is good for you?

S: Sir but we feel God’s presence sometimes.

AP: (sarcastically)If you really feel God, then would you be the way you are? Your feeling is also a thought which has been borrowed. This God too is a concept of yours.

S: Sir but God is something which is unknown?

AP: Is the fact that God can’t be known your own personal truth or is it again a borrowed thought? Have you really understood on your own that God is beyond logic and understanding?  If you are accepting or rejecting a hypothesis, do it yourself.  If in your Maths exam there is a question in your exam that asks you to prove  L.H.S. = R.H.S, what would you do? Would  you just write in your paper that ‘I believe it is so’? I believe that LHS=RHS, and hence there is no need to prove !


S: Sir, you are talking about two opposites-sciences and spirituality, your example doesn’t fit in the area of science.

AP: Who is the one, who talks about science?

S: I

AP: Who is the one talking of Spirituality?

S: I

AP: You being one, how can the understanding be fragmented? How is it possible that the same individual who explores life and iron ore on the moon, chooses not to step out of his house on a Lunar eclipse! All such rubbish is caused by the fragmented individual who has compartmentalised Science and Spirituality in two different minds.

S: Sir, you are talking about a Utopian world.

AP: Is this world, your world, a Utopia? Or am I talking about a Utopian world? I am the one talking of reality and you have been continuously talking about your dreams and imaginations.  The world of goal, planning, targets is a Utopia. We are living day in and day out in a Utopia.

S: Sir, you are saying that we have borrowed everything from outside, is it possible for me to be intelligent, to be able to accept or reject on my own?

AP: By virtue of being a human, you are intelligent. You are talking like a man who has all the riches in his pocket but has been made to forget that he is wealthy.

S: (Mockingly) Sir you really think we are intelligent?

AP: Your conditioning has made you believe that you are a slave.  The way you are brought up in your family, your education system, society—all have made you believe that you are a slave. Just see what it has come to! You are asking me whether I really think that you are intelligent and you are laughing! You are laughing at yourself ! You deride yourself and take pleasure in it ! You giggle so incredibly at my suggestion that you may be intelligent.(sudden silence)

Please understand that the way you are right now, you are not intelligent. Look at the chaos in the street, look at the mad crowd, look at the sheer obligation you enter this class with! Is that intelligence?

Can a person who is asleep, know that the other person is awake? Even to say that somebody is intelligent, you must be intelligent yourself. You are talking in this manner, “suppose somebody is intelligent”..What is this supposition? You know intelligence only when you yourself are.

There are two ‘I’s- One of them is your self-concept and the other is what you really are. Of course, we can’t explore it in just 20 minutes, or with a person in front of yourself as an authority. This must be done individually, with a tremendous sense of Self-love.

S: Is it not my intelligence to follow ideals sometimes?

AP: Sometimes ? How many times? How many times have you been intelligent? Whenever intelligence dawns upon you, it will show you something that you don’t want to see. That‘s why society has established guilt inside you. That’s why your ‘sometimes’ is so rare.

S: Me coming to this session, is it not intelligence?

AP: No. Intelligence comes out of understanding. Intelligence is not a thought.  Everyone is caught in thought and conflict. Intelligence happens in the absence of thought. In thoughtless observation, things are known.  The moment you borrow a concept, you also borrow the belief in the concept. If you are attentive, whatever comes to you is intelligence. Did you come here out of your understanding? Then you would have been free. Understanding is freedom. But you come at my behest, and you will go when I will close the session. And in between coming and going, you listen to me mechanically. Some of you are resisting me, some of you are gaping at me in sheer awe, some are coolly indifferent to the proceedings, and some are simply asleep. Where is intelligence in all of this?

Dated: March 12, 2012

Place: Session at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi

The Novel


The fan is on as usual. He is beneath a thin blanket. It’s 3 at night. There’s always a 3 at night. He sees it daily. Today he went to bed at 10.  But he woke up to see the 3. He feels cold. The fan regulator is set at 3. He wants to make it 2. If he does that, he would feel uncomfortable beneath the blanket. He can’t put the blanket away. It would feel a little cold then. He huddles himself in a bundle. The touch of his body feels warm and he closes his eyes. Continue reading

Ego likes fear and fears faith

Question: Sir, can the situation change? Suppose a person realizes that the whole problem is because faith is missing! Can it be regained? Can a person who does have faith, get it? How can one develop that faith within oneself?

Acharya Prashant: Adita,

You have asked:
“Suppose a person realizes that the whole problem is because that faith is missing. Can it be regained? Can a person who does have faith, get it?How can one develop that faith within oneself?”

How do you know that asking this question to me will be helpful?
How do you know that there is anything called the Truth and that the Truth can be known?
And lastly, how do you know that it makes sense to keep living?
We already have faith. Faith is not to be obtained. You have it.
But the ego stands in front of the faith. The ego does not want to surrender. The poor thing is so afraid, it wants to fight.
Tell ego,”Dear kid, there is no need to worry. You are in safe hands. Relax.”
The ego will ask for some kind of proof, some reassurance. So ask the ego to look attentively at everything that can be looked at.
Ask her:
Dont you see that everything on Earth is just fine for you to live?
Don’t you see that the air is perfect for you to breathe?
Don’t you see that you have been given a life without showing any deservedness?
Don’t you see that all your internal organs work well without you even knowing how they work?
Don’t you see that you can understand what is written?
The ego, in attention, will surely reply, “Yes, I see”.
Then ask her, who is providing all this to you: life, air, water, consciousness, love, understanding, joy?
The ego, in deeper attention, will reply, “I don’t know. But there surely is a system in place which is taking care of me.”
Ask her, “The system is doing so much for you, continuously. Don’t you trust that system?”
The ego, with its voice shaking with gratitude, will reply, “I do. I have no option but to trust”.

Ask, “Then why do you show frequent signs of distrust?”

Ego will say, “Because I am the age-old habit of stupidity and suspicion. But surely, I want to trust. Nothing calms me down more deeply than trusting the system. My ultimate wish is to trust so deeply that I donot have to worry anymore. Just that, in inattention, I feel that trusting is harmful and suspicion is needed.”

“Are you feeling that way now”

“No way”

“Do you ever want to feel that way- suspicious, insecure, stupid?”


“Then remain attentive, and remain in trust. This trust is called faith.”

(Dated: 6/24/2014)