Acharya Prashant, with students: Is the ego a gift from God?

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Acharya Prashant: Himadari’s question is, “Does ego have a negative impact on one’s life?”

Himadri, we found out that ego is a disease. What effect can ego have upon you, except a negative impact? There is no positive impact that the ego can have.

We have been saying all along that ego is slavery, ego is lifelessness. Are these not clearly negative? Do you know what ego means? Ego means that you will be always afraid. Those of you who have experienced fear. Fear of any kind they must know. That all forms of fear come only from the ego.

Don’t you see directly that ego is such a terrible thing? It makes life hell. Because ego comes from the outside and you start internalizing it. You also realize that it can also go back to the outside. So, you are always afraid. You always think that someone can take it away from you. Your sense of self is given to you by a group of people. So, those group of people will become your master. You will remain always afraid because they can take back their acceptance. You are at their mercy.

When you come over to speak on a podium. Don’t you see why you are so terribly nervous? Many of you? Would you be nervous had you been told to speak in a vacant room, just in front of the mirror? You won’t be nervous. Right? But you are nervous in front of the audience. Why? Because your self-image comes from that audience. If the audience tells you, “You are wonderful.” You start believing that you are. And you are afraid that now the audience may say that I am a coward. So you start shivering. All forms of fear come from the ego. From a borrowed sense of the self. There is no other cause of fear.

Now you tell me, “Whether it is positive or negative?” Yes, what is it?

Listener 1: Sir, if it is always responsible for fear and other things. So, should one be egoistic?

AP: You tell me.

L1: I am asking you.

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Acharya Prashant: How to earn more money?

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Acharya Prashant: (Reading a question) One may have good knowledge, but he might not be having a satisfactory job or salary. What to do in such a situation?

You see, as long as knowledge to you is a means of earning a higher salary, you will have to realize the limitations of knowledge. Higher salary does not come merely on the heels of higher or deeper knowledge. This is assuming that you have already set a goal. And the goal is to get a high salary. I am going by your goal. You want to get a high salary.

If you want to get a high salary, you must know what all factors drive salaries. It is just not dependent, merely on your knowledge. It is a function of many many variables. And even those variables are variable.

Today, high salary might be a function of x, y, and z. And tomorrow, high salary might be a function of s, t, and u. So, variable variables are there. You just can’t know.

Yes, you can catch hold of one variable, and put all energy into it. But that may not necessarily help. The car might be in neutral, and you are pushing the accelerator, would that help? You would only burn more and more fuel, and the engine would get heated up. You are trying to push just one variable, and you are not seeing that the other variables are all? Choked. They will not let you progress.

So, you have two options now. Either you go out and determine all the variables that drive salary. And when you determine all the variables, you must remember that the variables themselves are? Variable. So, that which is driving salary today, might not be what would drive salary? Tomorrow. And that which is driving salary in one place, might not be what drives salary in another place, another room, another building, another company.

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Acharya Prashant on Vivekachudamani: How to discriminate rightly, and get rid of fear?

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Questioner: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranam.

Discrimination and renunciation have been given the highest importance in Vivekchudamani. I do discrimination of real and unreal by enquiry of objects and situations around me and observing my mind attentively. It is clear that all structures are bound to collapse in time. I see the fakeness of me to some extent. Yet, I have not gained a firm conviction of truth. Dear Acharya Ji, please tell me how can I discriminate, further, diligently so that I am able to see things with clear eyes and get rid of the fear caused by snake vision?

Thank you.

Acharya Prashant: Parameshwari, continue doing what you are doing; just continue.

When one starts getting success on a particular path, then excitement tells her to do more. This excitement seems like a supporter of change, a supporter of progress. But this excitement is actually intent on blocking the progress. When something is going right, then just put your head down, and continue doing what you are doing.

A lot of people let the valuable slip away from their hands because they took the valuable for granted. Once you get it, then it is your duty to stop looking this way and that way, then, it is your duty to just serve what you have, without any deviation, without any question.

If the medicine is benefitting you, better complete the course.

There are so many who suffer just because the medicine is extremely good. The medicine is great, and you had to take it for six months. And the medicine is so great that it started showing its effect in the first two months itself. There was not only improvement but actually improvement beyond expectation.

So, what do you do?

Oh, you give up!

Have you not observed this with kids?

They get a fever and the doctor says, ‘This medicine has to be taken for ten days.’ The medicine is good and so the fever goes away within 3 days.

Now, it’s the fifth day, and the kid refuses to take the medicine, now the medicine has been discontinued precisely because the medicine is very good. You see, this is how the ego works, ‘I have got it, it was so good; I have benefitted.’

‘I have already benefitted’, and on the 7th day, the fever is back.

And now the doctor says it is a chronic fever and the course will run for one month.

The original prescription was for ten days.

Now he says the case is spoilt, now, it will run for one month.

See, you have done a little Parameshwari, and with that little you are getting results beyond the little.

Do remember that you have so far not put in much of investment. You have only done a little; and see what you are asking: ‘Yet I have not gained a firm conviction of Truth.’

How are you entitled to gain a firm conviction of Truth?

In two months’ time? With a bit of reading?

That’s ego, which tells you that God is easy, facile, just round the corner. Just do a bit of reading, just apply a bit of discrimination and you will have the fellow in your pocket!

Sadhana must continue uninterrupted.

Uninterrupted, unquestioned.

And never ask, ‘When I will have a firm conviction?’

Truth is not a conviction.

Truth is not something that you have.

Truth has you.

You are never going to have the truth.

Little kids, they plant sapling, and for one week they water them. But the little thing has just been planted, it doesn’t grow by much, or even if it grows, all you see is one or two little fresh sprouts, that doesn’t satisfy the one who is constantly watching, and eagerly expecting.

So he says, ‘Probably there is something wrong with the little plant! Are the roots really healthy?’

So, he will go and uproot it, and check the roots, and again put it back, and every week he does that. He wants to check the length of the roots, if it is firmly established in the earth just like you are asking a firm conviction of Truth, for how much? How much have you given? How much time, how much patience, how much sadhana?

Continue doing what you are doing; just continue.

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Victory is absolute

All slaves to slaves. Twenty thousand slaves, each a slave to another slave and all these slaves are quarreling with each other. That is war.

To decide you require options, and each option has its own merit and demerit, right? That is war.

Those who have ever known spontaneity will know what it means to be warless, what it means to be peaceful.

When you are internally at war, then you will be very easily able to find a  lot of enemies outside.

Had you ever know ‘Love,’ you could not have been internally at war. ‘Love’ is such a great victory, it admits no war. The victory is absolute, now who is there to fight with. There is not even a loser left, who do you fight against? Only in ‘Love’ do you know peace and it is another matter that in ‘Love,’ your life appears very, very turbulent. At the center of that turbulence lies great peace.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Albert Camus: War is what is normal


 

Acharya Prashant on Albert Camus: War is what is normal

“There’s always been war,”

But people quickly get accustomed to peace.

So they think it’s normal.

No, war is what’s normal.”

~ Albert Camus

Question: Acharya Ji, which ‘war’ is Albert Camus referring to?

Acharya Prashant: Vageesh has asked that Albert Camus has said that ‘war’ is what is normal. What does he mean by that? Which war is he referring to? ‘War is what is normal.’ Conflict, basic inner fragmentation, lack of total flow, indecision, our fractured movements. That is the war he is talking of. Basic duality, the presence of two-ness, the mind is split into two and two means twenty thousand. So, there is no smoothness in its functioning.

Twenty thousand parts, each part talking a different language and each part talking a language that is fake, alien, foreign, imported. Twenty thousand parts and no part a master of itself, all slaves to phony masters.

All slaves to slaves.

Twenty thousand slaves, each a slave to another slave and all these slaves are quarreling with each other.

That is war.

Each of us is the site of a civil war. You know what a civil war is? When a nation doesn’t have to fight against the other. One part, one group within the country is fighting, that’s how our minds are. That is the war that Camus is referring to. Are you ever able to proceed without decision? We require decisions, and decisions require thoughts. That is war.

To decide you require options, and each option has its own merit and demerit, right?

That is war.

Should I do this, should I do that, this says ‘come on’ be with me, this says no, proceed with me, that is war.

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The greatest dependence is psychological dependence

Before you talk of the future, shouldn’t you first understand what you are doing right now?

In your moments of deepest enjoyment, have you ever thought of the future? Tell me?

To look towards future, one would have to take his attention away from the present, right?

Your goals cannot be bigger than your awareness. Goals will just be within the circumference of what you know.

Life is the present moment, there is nothing else. If you are free right now, there is no need to become enslaved the next moment. Why do you want to pretend that we are slaves? You are not! You are free this moment!

And remember, financial dependence is not a great dependence. Even physical dependence may not be a great dependence. The greatest dependence is psychological dependence.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: On plans and goal-setting


 

Acharya Prashant: On plans and goal-setting

Question: Acharya Ji, we should have future plans also. What should set that in our minds that what we are going to be in future!

Acharya Prashant: Alright, that is a very sensible question. What’s your name?

Questioner: Aanchal.

AP: Right. Aanchal, suppose if one day, you give one of your friends a call. And say, tell me, which road goes to Chandigarh? How do I reach Chandigarh? And you are feverishly asking her. How do I reach Chandigarh, tell me, how do I reach Chandigarh? If your friend is sensible enough, what is the question she is going to ask you?

Listeners: Where are you, now?

AP: Where are you right now? To reach anywhere, shouldn’t you firstly know where are you right now? To talk about future, shouldn’t you firstly know what the present moment is? And if the present moment is known, is Chandigarh too far away?

Before you talk of the future, shouldn’t you first understand what you are doing right now?

And right now means exactly right now! Are you aware of how your thoughts are wending? Are you aware, from where are these questions arising? Are you even aware, why there is incessant thirst for the future?

In your moments of deepest enjoyment, have you ever thought of the future?

Tell me?

Have you noticed? Have you been attentive to the fact that when is it that you really start thinking of the future?

When you are? Insecure. When you are insecure, and tense and anxious, that’s when your mind rushes to the future.

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