Acharya Prashant, with students: Will living without ego cause one to starve?

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Acharya Prashant: The question is how do I fill this stomach if I don’t have an ‘ego’?

Firstly, you must see that you are deeply afraid. You are deeply afraid that if you don’t follow the orders of this ‘other’, that that other could be society, friends, family, corporations, the entire trend of career making. You are deeply afraid that If you don’t follow ‘that’ then you will end up starving. You won’t have enough eat.

Now, is this fear yours?

Even, this fear has been instinct to your mind by ‘that’ other. Don’t you see how cunning that other is? He repeatedly tells you that unless you become my slave, you will starve. But is that the Truth?

Is that the Truth?

Would you really starve if you don’t toe the others line? If you don’t develop an ego, that is If you don’t develop a sense of ‘Self’ dependent upon the other. You won’t.

I Invite you to find out whether you would really starve. The world will always have enough for you to eat. You won’t starve but you may not be able to fulfill these ambitions.

The funny part is even the ambition has been given to you by outside. So there is nothing lost if you can’t fulfill it. You don’t lose anything at all if you don’t meet your ambitions. Remember, there will always be enough to meet your needs. And a free man will always find enough to meet his needs. Because his needs are always so small.

You don’t need too much but yes, your ambitions depend upon your subservience to the society.

Needs don’t make you a slave, ambitions make you a slave.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: You are the mother of all importance

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Acharya Prashant: All your student life, you have been talking and studying about this and that. The languages, Science, Social Sciences – History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry. Now, Technology.

But there is one entity that you have forgotten so much, that it is very difficult at this moment, to even remind you of that entity. That entity has never been in the domain of your education. You have studied about a lot of things, but there is one entity that you have never studied about. Never bothered to attend to.

What is that entity?

Listener: Personality.

AP: Personality?

You will get to study a lot of Personality.

In fact, you have been studying about nothing but ‘Personality’!

‘Personality’ by definition is nothing but what you gather from outside.

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Acharya Prashant: Choosing the Right Profession

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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

Artificial intelligence and Real intelligence

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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.

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Whatsoever tells you about the fundamentals of life comes in the purview of religion

The various religions are one of the major reasons why man’s search remains elusive; and when I say ‘religions’, I do not mean only organised religions. Whatsoever tells you about the fundamentals of life comes in the purview of religion.

So, if parents are trying to tell the kid about the importance of grades, about the importance of getting more marks – this is religious education. If peers are trying to tell a child, how absolutely critical it is to clear a competitive examination – this is religious indoctrination.

If a particular employer is motivating his employees to forget everything else and focus on sales targets, and he is saying, ‘Forget everything else, this is what you need to do!’ – This very much religious activity. This is religious activity because it is attempting to tell the listener that by undertaking this activity you will get That which you really want.

The man who is telling a woman that she should come with him and he will give her the highest happiness possible, is making a religious promise. He will never say — and romance hardly ever looks like religion, but the promise is essentially religious — he is promising God to her, he is saying, ‘Come to me, I will give you fulfilment! ’ It is another matter that he will never be able to keep his promise. All such promises get broken, all such affairs fail.

The shopping mall that is telling you that you can get enjoyment by visiting it is again making a religious claim.

All the institutions that the society has set up, that promise deliverance, completeness, satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment, are all trying to do something religious. When there is so much of purported religious activity being attempted, it is obvious that getting lost would be the easiest thing to do.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘What is Religion?

What kind of mind needs entertainment?

What kind of mind needs entertainment?

The restless, bored mind.

Now, what is important? To find a solution to the problem of entertainment or go to the root problem? ‘Why am I bored at all? Why do I need entertainment?

Obviously, I need entertainment! All the shopping malls are crowded in the weekends. Everybody needs entertainment. And why do people need entertainment? People need entertainment because they do soul sapping jobs throughout the week.

For five days I do something, I shouldn’t have done, so last two days I want to get away somewhere. They have those weekend getaways, weekend parties. What should I do in this situation? Entertain myself more or look closely at the boredom? For five days of the week I am being killed, last two days I want to drink a lot. What should I do? Drink more and more or avoid being killed? If your friends help you get more and more entertainment, are they really your friends?

If they are removed, chances are you will get the space to look clearly at the real problem.

You are stressed out because there is the possibility of the weekend. Why do I tolerate my Tuesdays and Wednesdays? It is because there is a Saturday and Sunday awaiting me. Remove Saturdays and Sundays and people will stop tolerating their Wednesdays and Thursdays. So Saturday and Sunday are the reason why all the torture of Thursday and Friday is tolerated. Remove Saturday and Sunday, and things will be alright. Nobody would then engage himself in such mindless work.


~ Excerpts from the article, ‘Friends, jobs and the need for entertainment

Read more on BOREDOM :Why is life not lively?

Where is the growth?

(Setting: Auditorium of a Business School. The speaker is addressing new joinees during their orientation program)

  • When you were in class six or seven, small, then they would say at home- read so that you get good marks. You must have a good position in your class – helps to tell the relatives and the neighbours – and when you would not study, you were shown a carrot: ‘you will get X if you study’.
  • And there were all these external forces of motivation and work. And then you came to class ten and you were told that in a job interview, they look at class tenth marks as well, so you must study.
  • And when you entered twelvth, you were told that this year is critical for your professional studies, entrance examinations, admissions, and so you studied.
  • And now what do you want to do? Extend that same stale story further? Add another boring chapter to it?
  • This script is so predictable. You have been a machine all your life, chasing numbers- marks, percentage, and you will chase a few numbers here as well. Then you will chase a salary – another number. And grow a professional network – another number. And then rise up rungs of the corporate ladder – another number. And have a family, and a nest, and so on. All on pre-decided lines. What a drag!
  • If the same story is being extended, then that class six kid, and this MBA student, are they different at all? Where is the growth? Where is the movement? Has any evolution been happening?
  • Are you really going ahead or is it the same script being enacted again and again? Different platforms, different theaters, but essentially the same script
  • At some point as a kid, at the next point as an adolescent, at the next point as a young man, at the next point as a professional, then as a husband, as a father…all roles being enacted by you but scripted by someone else. And you are acting, without knowing why there is action. Like a man sleepwalking.

Do you really know why you are here?

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Edited for clarity.

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