Question: When I see any children in a slum or working in a construction site, I feel like to give them all the knowledge, or at least help them to study the basic things but then a thought came that you are still not in a condition to help anyone, first acquire knowledge and get placed so that you can financially support anyone.
Acharya Prashant: How much knowledge do you want to acquire? Let’s say, you invest all your life in acquiring knowledge, how much of that would you have by the end of your life? Let’s say all your current knowledge is 1 G.B and the remaining life is invested all in just adding to this database. How much would you have in your hundredth year? Give me a number.
L: 1 T.B.
AP: What about 10100 T.B? Is that kind of knowledge possible or not?
L: It is.
AP: Even if you have all the knowledge that you can have, how much would still be left to be known?
L: A lot more.
AP: Infinitely more. Do you want to wait to get knowledge? You’ll keep waiting because knowledge is endless.
L: But there is one more thing if I am not financially strong how can I help others?
AP: How much money do you want?
Don’t you see all these are the tricks of the mind to delay the right action? Don’t you see that the mind wants to be certain of something that it can never actually be certain of? Have you ever seen a man who is convinced of the fullness of his knowledge? Do the senses ever stop absorbing knowledge? Yes? Does a man really ever say that money is enough? He may give up, that is another thing, but does he ever become contended with money?
There are people who go into retirement, say that they want no more money. That is not the same as saying that money is contentment. These are numbers and no number is ever final. You will keep waiting.
The one, who starts, starts today itself because it is possible only today. You don’t have to start in a big way. You feel you are small, start in a small way. We talked of baby steps, right?
I was interviewing a student in a business school. So, I asked that student that why was he pursuing his business education. So, he said that he wants to go into the corporate life and want to quickly make money.
I asked him, “How quickly?” So, he said that within seven years he wants a particular amount of money so that he may retire and start an NGO of his own. I said, “Good, but why so?” He said, “So that he can take care of kids on the streets.” I just looked out of the window and there were slums right there, adjacent to the school.
A building, adjacent to that school, I am talking of a place in Greater Noida, was still being constructed and where there are the laborers, there are their kids as well. I said “They are right here and you are also here for two years. How many of them did you teach even for an hour?” He said that he didn’t.
I said “When they are right here, you had nothing for them, you didn’t extend your hand, you didn’t go out to teach them, do you really think that after 7 years you will do something greatly charitable to them? Whom are you cheating?
Don’t you see all this is self-deception? You don’t have to start with a bang but what prevents you from investing half an hour from your daily routine? What? People get heart disease, people get obese, not because they are not exercising 24 hours, people get heart disease because they do not exercise even for half an hour. Don’t you see what that half an hour means? It means your life. And when I am saying heart, take it as a euphemism.
Start where you are, your start does not have to be according to your expectations, it does not have to be heroic, it does not have to be spectacular, it just has to be a start. Start and let things flow from there. You never know how many roads branch out from the first step.
But waiting for something grand, we never start out at all. Does that not happen? Waiting for that fabulous holiday, we do not allow the mind to experience a certain inner vacation at all. The entire year we remain tense in expectation of the year-end vacation. Why can’t you have your little vacations every day? What prevents you?
I don’t want to get to the extent of saying that every moment can be a vacation. It can be probably, but it would stretch your imagination. And you will experience a horrible pain that how can every moment be a vacation. But why can’t you have half an hour of vacation every day? We don’t even allow ourselves that much.
You don’t need knowledge to help kids, you need freedom from knowledge. This is knowledge that you need knowledge. Be free of this knowledge.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Do you really need knowledge, power and money to love?
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