Tag Archives: Confusion

How to know one’s calling in life?|| Acharya Prashant

How to know one’s calling in life

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Question: How can I understand my ‘calling’ in life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What do you mean by ‘calling’?

The question is: How do I understand my ‘calling’? How do I decide what to do?

Do you mean in terms of profession, or career? Are you already not confused, about whether to do this or that? Are you asking from clean slate?

Questioner: I am confused.

Acharya Ji: If you are confused, that means you already attach importance to two or three options, right? And you are confused only because you cannot choose, from in-between those pptions. That is your confusion. Correct?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: Right?

Questioner: Yes.

Acharya Ji: You are confused because you cannot choose between Wine, Vodka, Gin, or Whisky. And even when you want to ask regarding your calling, you want me help you, put your finger on one of the four bottles, right? Wine, Vodka, Gin, and Whisky.

That is the reason behind your confusion. What is the reason? You have these four options. Now where is the apple juice? Where is the apple juice? Unless you first remove these four, would apple juice ever figure in your mind? That is what is meant by – asking from a clean slate.

Whenever you ask a question, you already have a set of ready-made answers. All you want from this speaker to do, is to help you choose from A, B, C and D(Wine, Whisky, Gin, and Vodka). Now had these A, B, C, D  not been already there with you, you would have anyway not asked the question, because there would have been no confusion.

Instead of trying to know your genuine calling, just remove all the options that are there in your mind. Just remove them. Now, that appears so dangerous. You will say, “I am anyway not able to figure out when I have four options, how will I figure out, when I have zero options?” But that is the beauty of the game.

With four options, all you get is – confusion.

With zero options, all you get is – direction.

The solution to the confusion, that four options cause, is not a fifth option, not a sixth option. Not eight options. When four options are causing confusion, the solution will emerge, when you remove all four. Remove all four, and now you are free to know. Now, a decision will arise from your freedom. As long as these four options are available, there is no possibility of any kind of solution.

That is the thing with questions. They have preset answers, ready with them. The question already decides the scope of the answer. And when the question has pre-decided the scope of the answer, then the answer cannot dissolve the question. Then the answer is just a continuation of the question. And the question is a problem. So the answer then, is the continuation of the problem.

Remove all the options that you have.

See that you are just newly born.

See that you have no experiences.

See that you can decide on a totally clean slate.

That totally clean slate, is called ‘the Self’, or ‘the Atman’.

And now see what is possible for you.

Don’t imagine about it. Just keep all your existing priorities away, and then ask yourself, “Had these not been in my life, how would have my life gone?”And then you would know, what to do with your life.

As long as you keep deciding, from within your existing priorities,

you will only get that, which is anyway already existing in your life.

For a moment set aside all of this, and ask yourself, “Had all of this not been there, how would have I lived?” then you would know what calls. Then you will know the meaning of ‘calling’. Right?

A fellow comes to commit suicide. And you are on the other side of the counter. And he is asking you to choose between four kinds of poisons. Is there any real choice involved in this? Would you say, “I am helping him choose rightly?”

“I will give him the best kind of poison.”

Choice can happen, only when there are no choices.

Remove it from his mind, that he needs to be poisoned. And then see what is the fresh decision that arises. Then he will know how to live his life.

When you are shopping, for a car, may be what you actually need, is a bike, or a cycle. There is no point in asking for expert advice, to choose the best car.

The real thing that you want, may lie outside the domain of your choices,

the whole set of your choices.


Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant: How to know one’s calling in life?


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When to think and when to act? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

When to think and when to act

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Question: Acharya ji, all my thoughts are unable to come to expression because of fear of judgement or social restraints. Should I free them only by deeds? Kindly throw light on this.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes, Parmeshwari, of course. There is no more a final arbiter than action, deeds, life. What else is life? A continuous flow of actions. One finally has to give oneself the liberty, to do it. Talking, as a precursor to doing, is alright, acceptable. But, talking as a substitute to doing, is evil.

If you want to use talking, or thinking, or discussing, as a preparatory method, before leaping into action, it is okay. Sometimes, the beginner needs that. Sometimes, everybody needs to think a little, before one takes a leap.

Sometimes one needs to talk to herself, sometimes to others. All that is understandable. But, if one becomes a professional thinker, specializing in nothing but thought and deliberation, and therefore vacillation, and therefore inaction, then it is merely self-deception. Also, I must warn you against the temptation, to be fully sure at the level of thought.

No absolute clarity is possible, at the level of thought.

Thought can bring you a certain level of clarity.

It would be a relative level.

So, if you insist that unless you are totally clear with your thoughts, you won’t move, then you have ensured that you are never really going to move. Then you will always have  a reason to think a little more. Because thought by it’s very design, can never be fully certain. An iota of doubt would always be residually present. And you can very well exploit that last iota, to keep stretching the thought.

This is where Faith is important. Faith is needed so that you can act, without being fully certain even at the level of thought. Thought is still, raising it’s habitual objections. But you say to thought, “You might not be clear. I am clear.”

Have you ever found thought coming to a final conclusion? That which appears like concluded today night, reopens for discussion tomorrow morning. Because final conclusion would mean the death of thought. So, why would thought ever lend itself to conclusivity? Thought would always leave a little scope for doubt to remain. And then based on that doubt, that uncertainty, more thinking can be justified.

So, think, if you must.

But never expect thought to come to a solution.

Thought is useful.

But in matters of living, loving, and Truth, the utility of thought is limited.

Do not try to over exploit thought, you will end up being exploited. And Parmeshwari, if you are saying that social restrictions etc., are preventing you from enacting what you you know, then you will have to weigh the security that you get from social conformity, against the suffering that you get from this willing avoidance of your destiny.

What is bigger – your demand for security, or your love for Truth? This answer will determine your life.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  When to think and when to act? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


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Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance

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Question: Acharya ji, if liberation is the ultimate destiny, why don’t we get it naturally?

Acharya Prashant: Liberation is freedom, right? Liberation is freedom. So you are free to not to be free. You are already liberated.

It is because you are liberated, that you can choose to remain not liberated.

Good! You will get what you order. Everything is there on the menu. And the system respects your choice. The day you will choose liberation, liberation is yours. Till then , keep feasting on the various delicacies of life, and keep paying the bill. On that menu, everything is very highly chargeable, except for liberation.

We often judge things by the price, don’t we? Suffering comes at a very high price.

Listener: And it’s very valuable also.

Acharya ji: Liberation is there for the taking. So who wants it?

Listener: Acharya ji, how to remove confusion from life?

Acharya ji: Were you totally confused, would you know that you were confused? Who is the one, who knows confusion? Is he too confused? And if he too is confused, then how does he know that he is confused?

For you, to strongly assert that you are confused,

there must surely be some point in you, that is, not confused.

So, why are you unnecessarily cheating us? We know everything, right? And still we just pretend as if, ignorance is so deep, and wide, and overpowering.

Listener: Acharya ji, but there is something called ‘cognitive dissonance’. What role does it play?

Acharya ji: It is not even cognitive in nature. Had it been cognitive, it would have been a thing of the mind. All cognition is of the mind.

That which you really know, is at a point, a little away from the cognizing mind. The dissonance is not between cognition and cognition. It is between cognition, and pre-cognition – something that exists, prior to cognition. Something that is a-priory to cognition. Something that is foundation to all cognition.

Cognition has to be taught, freedom doesn’t have to be taught.

Cognition develops over experience.

There is something that is already fully developed, even before all experience.

And that is the difference between psychology and spirituality. Psychology limits itself to the mind. Spirituality says that even to know the mind, you have to go a little beyond the mind. So spirituality says, that even if you have to just study the psyche, you still have to go a little beyond the psyche.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Liberation, confusion, cognitive dissonance || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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Be sincere with even your wrong choices || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2019)

Be sincere even with your wrong choices

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Question: Acharya ji, is it a right decision to dedicate one’s whole life to the pursuit of something unknown?

Also, kindly throw light on how should we choose something in life.

Acharya Prashant: Whatever you are doing, there has to be honesty in that. What is important is: you cannot say one thing, and do another thing.

If you look at the great scientific discoveries and inventions, the scientist, or the explorer, would be busy in his chosen area of pursuit, having disregarded everything else.

Columbus set out for India. And you very well know for how long a period was he, on the seas. And he was not reaching anywhere. Certainly, he was not reaching India, because he was not even headed towards India.

Now, in that period, if you would have gone to him, and looked at him: the food material, the ration, as well as the motivation, all were in short supply. You would have said that this fellow is a fool. He has left everything. In fact, he has left the entire continent, for the sake of nothing. Not only that, he is going in the wrong direction as well. But look at what he got. He got America.

He got America, because, what he was doing, was not a pretense. He was doing it sincerely. At times, there were rebellions on his little ship. People even thought of killing Columbus. They said that let us get rid of this man, throw him in water, and return.

But he persevered.

It doesn’t matter, what you are chasing.

Be very-very sincere.

You must know that you are committed to it.

And you must be very-very assured that you are not blindly chasing something. You understand that, that which you are looking for, is important.

Discovering an entire continent, is important. Finding a new sea-route to India, was important. So, if this fellow feels, that there is something, very important, that he must discover, let him get into it. Let him plunge into it.

The only condition is: if you are doing it, do  it fully.

Do it completely, do it honestly.

If you have left behind one kind of life, if you have left behind one kind of job, at least  do the other job honestly, diligently. Work really hard.

You have all the right, to make a choice. But if you make a choice, and don’t do justice to it, then that is very bad. In fact, correction of choices only happen, when first of all, you have fully tried out, what you are doing.

Please see. You choose something. Now, unless you dedicate yourself fully to it, how will you know whether your choice is correct? May be your choice is incorrect. But if you are not trying out your chosen area, in a complete sense, you would always be left with the hope, that something is still left to be tried out. So, let me stay put. Let me not opt out.

Once you make a choice, plunge fully into it.

Commit yourself completely.

And then, only then, if your choice is misplaced, you will come to know that you need to change something.

You know why people continue with even wrong choices, for very long in their life? Because they don’t do justice to their right choices, and even to their wrong choices.

If you are choosing a particular way, go down fully. Cover a lot of distance. And that will tell you, whether the way, the path, the road, that road that you have chosen, is right or not. If you choose particular road, and don’t go far on it, how will you know whether the road is right or wrong?

So when you say that you are making a choice, commit yourself to the choice, so that if the choice is wrong, you can quickly change it. Otherwise, you might find that you are spending the entire life-time just being in the wrong profession, with the wrong people, with the wrong thoughts, with the wrong ideologies, with the wrong habits.

Test, test and Test! That scientific rigour must be there. That spirit of inquiry is essential to the youth. Ask, and test. Laziness – you probably have enough time for that, once you are ninety. This is the time for some real hard work. Hard work that involves the muscles, and hard work that involves the brain.

Did you get this?

Even if we have made a wrong choice, like Columbus did. He had chosen a wrong path, had he not? The navigational path that he opted for, would have never brought him to India. Or it would have brought him to India, only after covering the entire earth, because he was going in exactly the opposite direction.

From Europe, instead of coming eastwards, he was actually traveling, westwards. But even if he was travelling westwards, he at least had confidence, that he was doing something worthy. Have that confidence. And that confidence can only come by serious questioning and examination. It cannot just come from belief. It cannot just come from a kind of superstition.

You must never be afraid of questioning others,

and also never be afraid of questioning oneself.

The second part is tougher. It is easy to ask questions to others, at least it is relatively easy. Questioning oneself, hurts the ego. But that’s one must practice.

Question yourself: what am I doing? Initially, there might be confusion. But this confusion will lead to clarity. Is it not better to be initially confused, than to have false clarity? So, afford a little confusion. That will give you a lot of clarity. And a young man, and a young woman, has to make lot of decisions. Some of those decisions have consequences for the entire life.

Therefore, you must have clarity. I have seen very, very bright people, from the best institutions, in the country and in the world, just get lost, because they made some awful decisions, and persisted with them.

The best of the country, the best of the world, even they need to continue questioning themselves. That alone leads to continuous correction, and continuous light.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Be sincere with even your wrong choices || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2019)


Editor’s Note: To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here

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Confusion is a manmade thing.

Why does confusion arise? You do not know what is right. If you know what is right will you still be confused? If you really know, tell me will you still be confused? Confusion arises when we do not know what is right for us.

And except us, who can know what is right for us? If you do not know who else will know?

Confusion is not existential. Confusion is manmade. You will not find animals easily confused. They know how to live and what to do. Unless you play trick with them, they will not be confused. But, man is always confused. Confusion is a manmade thing. You simply look at the world with simple childlike eyes and there will be no confusion.

Do not give importance to what you see, what you hear, what you have been told. All the concepts that you have become attached to. Do not give them importance and then there will be no confusion. It’s simple. This is right and this must be done. Go ahead. Confusion arises because you give importance to the dirt.



Read the complete article: Why do we remain confused while making decisions?

Why do we remain confused while making decisions?

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Question: Can the human tendency of getting confused and making decisions can be gotten rid off?

Acharya Prashant: You cannot get rid of something if you don’t know what it is? There were a thousand of kinds of diseases once upon a time that are no more there. Smallpox is gone. Plague too is almost gone. How did man get rid of plague? How did man get rid of plague? By first knowing what plague is? Right? You take blood samples from the person who is infected from the plague, and what do you do?You try to see what plague is? What plague really is? Right? You come to fact of the plague. And once you have known what really is, then out of that knowing the solution emerges. Right?

Suppose this air conditioner is not working. And you want to set it right. How will you correct this air conditioner? How you will rectify it’s working? How?

Continue reading

How to overcome hesitation?

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Question: How to overcome hesitation?

Acharya Prashant: Anurag (Name of the questionnaire), you see this fan, the moment I switch it ON, it has no hesitation at all in starting, no hesitation at all. Its life is very very hesitation free. Here you press the button, and there it goes. A flash of a second. You take a stone and you throw in whichever direction you want to, and it will just go. You pick up a gun, and with that gun shoot whosoever you want to, the gun will not hesitate, the gun will not come and say that this is right or wrong or improper. That is the lowest level of mind. Continue reading