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, 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: Is it selfish to love oneself first?

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Questioner: Is it love to take care of myself and my belongings?

Acharya Prashant: Yes, it is love to take care of yourself; but to take care of anything you must know what that thing is. Can you take care of a car engine without knowing the engine? Can you take care of anything without knowing what that thing is?

Yes, love is about taking care of yourself; but really taking care of yourself, you must first know what your real problems are, you must know what you really want, you must first know what keeps you afraid, nervous, alert, and then you will be able to take care of yourself. and yes that is love.

Q: Is it not selfishness to love myself only and not the rest of the world?

AP: What do you mean by myself?

If your definition of myself separates you from the world, then this self that is separate from the world is anyway not worth loving. If your definition of love is that you and world are separate entities then this you is anyway not worth loving because this is not the real you.

First of all, figure out who you are and what your relationship with the world is, then you would be able to answer the question, ‘Whether it is possible to love yourself while simultaneously being indifferent to the world?’

It is not at all possible!

If you really love yourself while being apathetic to the world, that self-concept which places you as separate from the world is a flawed concept like all concepts.

That concept will only lead to violence.

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Acharya Prashant: How to never make the Guru unhappy?

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Questioner: How to never make the Guru unhappy?

Acharya Prashant: By not thinking about what makes him happy or unhappy.

You cannot predict that; you cannot have control on that. The Guru if he is really a Guru is beyond you; you will not be able to anticipate his mind, his mind doesn’t work in patterns, so you will not be able to put your finger on any trigger, you will not be able to say that if do this then the output will be that. It is not so programmed with the Guru’s mind, it’s the mystic’s mind, it works mysteriously, you will never be able to detect whether a machinery exists there.

Not only that you will fail in your attempt, in fact your attempt indicates that you are quite arrogant.

If you can make someone happy you can control it, and if you can make someone unhappy then too you can control it. Do you see that if I can give you happiness you are my slave and if I can make you unhappy even then you are my slave.

If you can make the Guru happy, you are trying to get on top of the Guru, and if you can make the Guru sad even then you think that you are bigger than the Guru; so stop thinking of the Guru that’s the best you can do.

Take care of yourself.

That’s what the Guru wants.

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Acharya Prashant: If you want the immense, why not pay a little price?

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Questioner: Acharya Ji, Pranam.

There is a lot happening in my life, the whole day is full of innumerable actions and reactions. What is it to be at the centre and then be doing all this?

Many times I catch myself slipping, at times, I see chaos, there are times when I have glimpses. Please shed some light over it.

Acharya Prashant: See, how smart Nisheeth is, he is saying, ‘What is it to be at centre and then be doing all these?’

One thing is sure for him, what is happening is sure to be done, on that he will not compromise.

He saying, ‘I want to do all this, there is no way I want to leave all this, you tell me a technique how can I do this without getting disturbed?’

‘Murder I must do!

Because that I have chosen as my profession now; because that is where my greed and my ignorance has taken me, but I want to be a very peaceful murderer.

So, please teach me peace.’

It’s a great question he has asked, and it is a great instruction for everyone here. Continue reading

Acharya Prashant on Upanishads: The limited, the limitless, and the dance

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Acharya Prashant: Hema, is saying, “Good, bad, evil, are all reflections of our inner-selves. How do we understand the limitless, with our limited mind?”

As long as you keep calling yourselves limited. You will continue to have a fascination towards comprehending the limitless.

You must ask, “Why does the infinite, the immense, appeal to you so much?” It appeals to you only because you have fundamentally defined yourself as limited.

What is bondage? Except the word ‘bondage’. The moment you say that there is a word called ‘bondage’, you have brought something fictitious to Life. The moment you call something as a bondage; you have called yourself a limited entity, vulnerable to bondage. Is the limitless susceptible to bondage? Just by talking of a few things, or even by seeking solutions to a few problems, you needlessly substantiate those things and problems.

You are saying, “How does one understand the limitless, with the limited mind?”

It’s exactly the other way round, Hema. You are asking, “How does one understand the limitless, with the limited mind?”

You know how it works?

You understand the limited because you are limitless.

Obviously the limited cannot comprehend the limitless.

But the limitations can be comprehended.

By whom?

By the limited one? Obviously not!

The limitations can be comprehended, because ‘you are unlimited’.

The unlimited one is not to be comprehended. The unlimited one is the one shining behind all comprehension!

How are you able ‘to know anything’? All things are limited. But if the knowing of the thing is also limited, would you ever ‘know’ really?

The ‘thing’ is limited. The ‘knowing’ of the thing, the ‘understanding’, is never limited.

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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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