Tag Archives: Food

The real cause of human poverty || Acharya Prashant, with students (2014)


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The real cause of human poverty

Question: Whenever I visit any temple, I see a lot of children begging on the roads, outside the temple. I give them some money, and also think, that what can I do for them. I often feel, that had they been literate, they would have not been begging like this.

If we are not literate, then what can we do to know ourselves?

Acharya Prashant Ji: First of all, the need for your normal, conventional education, and it’s relation to poverty.

Where does ‘poverty’ come from? Do you see anything in entire existence, that is poor, except human beings? There is the grass on the ground, is it ever poor? When there is rain, it is green. And when the Sun would be beating hard, the grass would just hide beneath the surface, with it’s roots intact, only to emerge back again in the rains. There is no poverty. It does not cry that – “I am short of resources.”

Birds, animals, trees – nothing is ever poor. Nobody needs to go out, fight, earn, save, secure the future. Not at least as much as human beings do. Nobody has as much knowledge, as human beings have, and yet it is only the human beings, that are dying of starvation, of poverty, of war, and of ten other things.

Hundreds of millions of human beings have died, because they did not receive enough food. You would have not heard of hundreds and millions of animals dying this way. They don’t.

So, where does poverty come from?

Poverty is not at all natural.

Poverty is just the dual opposite, rather the dual partner, of greed.

If a few humans are seen begging, it is not because there is something wrong with them. It is not because they did not go to schools and colleges. If you pay attention, it is really because, there are few handful of other humans, who have out of their greed, hoarded all the resources with them.

I do not know whether you are aware of this, but more than ninety-five percent of the world’s wealth, resides in the hands of less than 1%, or 2% individuals. When all the resources have been taken over, by just a few individuals, is it not obvious that starvation will be there, and rampant poverty will be there?

Trees and animals, and everything in nature, takes only as much as it really needs. Go to a jungle, and you would never find an obese animal, a fat animal, because no animal ever eats more than what it really needs. You will never find that a tree has saved, hoarded, for the next fifty years, for the next seven generations.

It is only human beings, that collect, hoard, and that they glorify as ‘savings’. And why is that so? Because there is deep security in the human mind.

Work has been done by economists, who studied the famines and food shortages. And they found out that, the food shortages are not really from the supply side. They are more from the side of distribution. Enough food is there, enough food is there. It is just not reaching everybody. Why is it not reaching everybody? Why is it not reaching everybody?

Similarly, is there really shortage of space for kids to study? No. Every kid can have space in the school, but the school will not admit the kid. The school has enough space, but the school won’t admit him. Why would the school not admit him? Because the school must take the fee.

And why must the school management take the fee? Because it has to pay somebody else. And why must somebody else be paid? So that somebody else may be paid. And ultimately, where is the money going? In the pockets of the few greedy, and insecure individuals.

It is because of these handful of people, that the entire world is suffering. But again, that does not mean, that we are apportioning the blame on somebody. Those handful of people, are able to exist and prosper, only because the remaining ninety-nine percent of the population supports them. Not only supports them, it actually respects them, worships them.

Your great corporate icons, you do not understand that it is they, who are responsible for your poverty. And remember, poverty is of two kinds – absolute, and relative.

Absolute poverty is when your basic needs are not being met. Absolutely, not many of us are poor, because our basic needs are being met. We have food, clothing, shelter. But, relatively, each one of us, is very-very poor. Each one of us, lives in a complex, that we have lesser money compared to somebody else. And that is why, there is this thirst to acquire more and more.

You look at the large buildings, and the great palaces that these people have raised. And what do you feel? I must also have this. This is called ‘relative poverty’. “Oh, I am so poor, compared to him.” Now, no animal is poor, compared to another animal. At least not in the degree, one human is compared to another human.

So, is poverty something, that existence gives you? Or, is poverty something that you bring upon yourself? is poverty something, that existence gave you, or is poverty something that society has given you?

Listeners: Society.

Acharya Ji: If existence were to be blamed, then ask yourself, “Why is nothing else so poor?” The rose is shining so majestically, without earning anything. The animals are leaping, and playing, so beautifully, without going to work. And, man is being told again and again, that unless you make a career, you will die of starvation.

We have not seen rabbits, and lions, and elephants, die of starvation, because they don’t wear a tie and go to offices. In fact, they are so healthy. They live their full, natural life. They don’t get heart-attacks. They don’t suffer from aids and cancer. They don’t have to go to psychologists to get treated for depression, unless they are in contact with human beings.

They don’t do MBAs, and they have no bank accounts. Yet they are all so happy. Look at the flowers in your campus, and look at your own face. Whose face looks happier? And why is your face so sad? And not only not is it sad today, it is going to be remain sad till death.

It is so rare, to find an really joyful man. And, it is equally rare, to find a sad flower. The flower may be this small, but it would still be laughing. And man, would be sitting in this large a car, he would still be sobbing that – “The car of the neighbor is bigger. That corporate honcho has a private jet, I only have a  Mercedes. I am so poor.”

So, who gives poverty to you?

Does existence give poverty to you?

It is the society that gives poverty to you. And even if, absolute poverty is eradicated, relative poverty would always exist.

Because that is the nature of our culture, of our education, of all training and conditioning.

Isn’t it ironical, the kids that you are talking of, are standing in front of a temple? And that temple must have been built, for a crore, or a five, or may be fifty. So, was there shortage of money? Money is there, but where is the money going? Where is the money going?

The kids are standing on the highway. Do you know how much does it cost, to build one kilometer of the highway? So, is there shortage of money?

Poverty is the companion of riches.

There cannot be riches, unless there is poverty.

Look at your corporate structures, for example. They are shareholders, then there is the CEO, and the COO. Then there are the managers. And then there are the workers. Come what may, the workers would always be getting, less than one percent share of the profit. Right? Who would always be getting a huge disproportionate share of the profit? The shareholders. Right?

So, the more this firm progresses, who will progress more and more.

Listeners: The shareholders.

Acharya Ji: Whose poverty will deepen more and more?

Listeners: The workers.

Acharya Ji: That is the nature of your economy. This fellow, the worker, will gain five rupees. This fellow, the shareholder, will gain five crore rupees. When he will gain five crore rupees, that five crore will be used to make things, even more expensive. You see, when there is somebody, who is prepared to pay fifty rupees, for a twenty rupee thing, what will happen to the price, of the twenty rupee thing?

You are there, and your neighbor is there. You are the worker, your neighbor, is the shareholder. In front of you two, is the seller. You can spend twenty rupees, but you cannot spend more than that. Your neighbor bought something, and the seller was selling it for twenty rupees. Now, your great neighbor, the share holder, comes out, and says, “I am prepared to pay fifty rupees for it.”

Now, what is the price of thing increased to?

Listeners: Fifty rupees.

Acharya Ji: Now, can you purchase it anymore?

Listeners: No.

Acharya Ji: Is this not artificial poverty? There was no poverty. But, poverty has been artificially created by somebody, who has an obscene sum of wealth.

You are alright with a bike. But then you see a four-wheeler, and the bike is not alright anymore. And then the poor ‘Alto’ sees a ‘Corolla’, and it becomes ashamed. Then the ‘Corolla’ sees a ‘BMW’, and then ‘BMW’ sees a Jet. And then ‘Jet’ sees a ‘Spacecraft’ to Mars.

(laughter)

And everybody becomes the poor.

Who suffers?

The poor kids in front of the temple.

Because everybody must have his pound of flesh, so the one who is the most vulnerable, will be left begging.

A day may come, when out of economic progress, these kids may have enough to feed their stomachs. But, remember, with this kind of a system, they will never have enough to feed their souls.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant, with students: The real cause of human poverty


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Market, Money, Food, and Liberation || Acharya Prashant (2019)

Market, Money, Food and Liberation

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Question: Acharya Ji, which are the industries I should invest my money in?

Acharya Prashant Ji: There are two industries those are not going to fail. First one, that thrives on kids. Second, that thrives on sickness. And the two are one. The school industry is never going to starve, and they will always make very big bucks. What else do we earn for? To pay to the schools. And the hospital industry is always going to prosper, and they will make very big bucks. What have we earned for? To pay to the hospitals.

You can avoid spending anywhere else, but these two places, you will not only spend, you will always overspend – kids education, and health.

And it should be obvious to you, that these both have to do, with your deepest vrittis (latent tendencies). We began this evening, talking of what this Prakriti rely on. It relies on continuation of this body, and procreation. This body should continue, and more bodies should keep coming. So, these two are also the two ways, to loot away your hard earned money.

I recently found out, the apparels of a fully grown-up man, are only as expensive as apparels of a two-month old. If you purchase something for yourself, for two-thousand rupees, and that thing is this big, size forty-four, rest assured, if you buy something for your infant who is one month old, that too will cost equally the same.

Look at the margins. And you will not be able to question it. It’s a matter of love, you know. Don’t you love your child? Can you question the fees that the schools charge you? It’s preposterous.

Listener: It’s a matter of pride now-a-days, to say that our kid’s fees is higher than the fees of your kid.

Acharya Ji: You are being looted in broad daylight, in the name of your kid’s fees. And you will accept it, even if you happen to be the intellectually strongest person in the world. The fellow is IQ 140, emerging from the best institute of the world, a post-graduate in Astrophysics. But the moment he gets a kid, he can be looted in broad daylight. And he won’t be able to resist it. Because he is hitting you, where it hurts the most.

You might be very, very smart, but you can still be looted, because now you have a kid. Same with the doctor. It doesn’t matter who you are. If he says, “Twenty lakhs,” twenty-lakhs is ‘twenty-lakhs’. You don’t argue with him.

It’s actually not the doctor, it’s the hospital. Just as it’s not the teacher, it’s the school. If the hospital says, “Twenty lakhs,” it is twenty lakhs. It’s all spiritual, if you can see.

This is what tells you, how Prakriti fails you. Man gets attached to continuation, and in the name of continuation, man is robbed-off the precious resources, that should have gone towards his liberation.

Your precious resources, that should have been invested towards your liberation, rather go towards your, continuation.

To hell with such continuation.

I don’t even have an insurance. I have no medi-claim. I am very clear, the day she comes and says, “I have to take you away,” I will say, “Why wait? I don’t even have to pack up. Come, let’s go! I am done.” I neither have life-insurance, nor medical insurance.

For my small medical needs, I have enough. And if a giant medical need comes up, I will not meet that need. I will not allow Prakriti, to rob me, of my real occupation.

My real work is not to save, for the furtherance of my physical life.

My real work is: this.

My real work is not to fill, and bloat my bank account, for the sake of my physical security, and physical continuation.

My real work is – liberation. My liberation, your liberation.

I must work for that.

Getting it?

Listener: There is no point in living on, if you cannot live for liberation.

Acharya ji: Wonderful! There is no point in living on, even for one day more, if liberation is no more possible, or if you have no desire for liberation. Kabir Saheb has put it so succinctly, in so many verses. “Jaa tan prem na sanchare, so tan jaan masaan. Jaise khaal luhaar kii, saans letu bin praan.” (If you do not have love for Him, then your body is just a graveyard. You are breathing, but you are really not alive).”

Life should either be a great rhapsody in love, or otherwise it is just a spell of irritating noise. Who wants to tolerate it? There is no valor, or pride, in continuing to live. Finish -off your work, and retire. Go away! Go to sleep. 

There is no great virtue in living for a hundred years, and living like a maggot. Turtles, crocodiles, they all live longer than men. So what? 

Question: Acharya Ji, does poor food habit become an obstacle in the path of liberation?

Acharya Ji: In general, you eat badly, only when only food starts becoming meaningful to you. The body knows it’s food. Does it not? Do you have to teach the cow to take grass, and not flesh? Do you see any animal species, that needs to be tutored on the topic of food? Monkeys, mosquitoes, they all know the kind of food that is right for them. Why does this question become pertinent for ‘man’? Because man identifies himself with, just about everything.

Man is different from mosquitoes, in the sense, that man has more heightened desire for liberation. So he searches for liberation, everywhere. Even in paani-puri, he searches for – liberation. In titillation of taste buds, he assumes liberation.

If paani-puri becomes liberation for you, then your kidney will complain. So, rather than regulating your food habits, you should rather ask the question: Who am I? Once you know, that you are the one who can never be satisfied through paani-puri, you will lose all fascination for paani-puri. You don’t need to be tutored on what to eat, and what not to eat. All that is largely useless. 

Why do you get attracted to mithai, or pizza?

Listener: Because of desire.

Acharya ji: And desire is really for?

Listener: Liberation.

Acharya ji: And that has to be realised. “That that which I really want, will not come to me, through mithai.” And then mithai will lose its charm.

Listener: That is known, but for now instant gratification is demanded.

Acharya ji: That you have to remember, at that moment. As you said that, one has to be constantly reminded. That is why ‘ing’ is needed. You will have to create mechanisms, that will keep constantly reminding you.

Have somebody by your side, who shouts into your ears, right when you are about to pop in the next puri. This is not That. That’s the mantra that you need. What?

Listeners: This is not That.

Acharya ji: This is not That. So, you will just spoil the body, and get nothing in return.

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

Watch the session:  Market, Money, Food, and Liberation || Acharya Prashant (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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Man likes to be governed by morality rather than spirituality

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Question: In response to the broadcasts we do, I always keep getting moral stories – this is evident after this discussion that we just had. How come they remember the moral story only when I forward something to them?

Acharya Prashant: It’s a wonder – how man gets accustomed to using morality as a pole-star. You have your eyes, you have your mind, you can figure out your direction. There is some kind of inner laziness, some kind of a deep fear. We all have been terrified. We all have started believing that things can go wrong any time. I better be careful, I better take the beaten route. Continue reading

What is inspiration?

Question: How can inspiration be so effective that it changes life of a person?

Speaker: Person have no inspiration, they only have ‘expiration’. Do you know what inspiration is? That is “in spirit”, your very core; when it arises from there, only then it can be called an inspiration. In spirit! Are we ever inspired really? No. (Smilingly) We keep expiring. That is why a saint has said that “you die a thousand deaths before you physically die“, because we always expire. Inspiration means when you really know not when you have heard, read or thought about it and it has stopped at that.

The person is made up of the world. He cannot have inspiration. He has nothing actually that can take control of him and comfort him and relax him. He is always at the mercy of the outside buffeted by and in between a thousand forces.

Because a person is asking this question that is why the person is asking, how can inspiration be so much or whether inspiration can be so much? All this is the lexicon, the tongue of the person. In the wiring of the person there are only movements and processes and reaching and doubts so he will firstly ask whether and then he will ask how.

Inspiration is about being totally possessed. Inspiration is about giving your complete command to something that you are not. And when we are talking of completeness, then it cannot happen in doubt. Doubt means hundred percent cannot happen. Doubt means something will be reserved.

Inspiration is not for those who ask for why and how. Inspiration is when you drop all this mental veneer. And allow yourself to roam naked. Inspiration will not tell you what to do in your current circumstances.

Continue reading

How to deal with social pressure?

Question: Sometimes when I try to do the work which I really want to do, society opposes me. How can I get rid of all that?

Speaker: When you will really want to do something, then all opposition will be your fuel, the force that will be against you, will become your helper. Circumstances are just that, circumstances; thing that are on the outside. The decision to allow them to become all important is always yours. And remember you will never be found in circumstances that have nothing to do with your being. The louder you cry and complain about your circumstances, the louder rings the question, “Why are you in these circumstances”? The more you say that people around you are horrible, the more I want to ask you, “Why you are living with horrible people?” That makes you appear more horrible than those horrible people. Those people may be horrible because they do not even know that they are horrible. But you claim to be the wise one, why are you still found with them? And then you make a big show of it. And then you raise a hue and cry. You sing aloud of your providence. Continue reading

What is guilt?

Question: What is guilt? Does it facilitate, or hinder spiritual growth?

Speaker: We often use the term ‘spiritual growth’. It is alright if it is used loosely, just to indicate something. But it is not alright, if you mean ‘spiritual growth’, as actually the growth of some entity. There is no spiritual growth as such. ‘Spiritual growth’ only means ‘spiritual dissolution’. Nothing grows. All growth is that of the ego. Only the ego grows, accumulates, becomes larger. Continue reading

Why can’t I leave my comfort zone?

Question: When I look at what I am doing, and why I am doing it, honestly, it gives me fear. I don’t want to take action, because of the fear of the new.

Speaker: There is no fear of the new. There is only the fear of leaving the old. The old is giving you comforts, and it is as basic as that! It is so obvious, direct and ground level, that no explanation can be given or needed. It is the most gross thing that is there. It has to be obvious. Continue reading