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

T20

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: The fallacy of expression of love

T16

Acharya Prashant: In matters of Love and all these things, you want the other person to be ‘nice.’

We are such idiots, we want the other person to be ‘nice.’ And if the other person is not nice, we feel, there is no Love.

We have no capacity to see where the whole thing is coming from. We do not see anything. We do not understand anything. And by anything, I mean absolutely anything. Black is white and white is black.

We are ready to give up our Life probably somebody comes and says two sweets words to us. Oh! he is my friend. Why? Because he talks sweetly and we do not realize that the sweet talk maybe so poisonous because we see only the actions, because we see only the actions, the words. He comes and hugs me and then he says, ‘baba how are you? Nice!’

And because I am already living at the surface, I am alright with that. I do not want to offend him. And he asks something, I will give.

But there is another one who admonishes, who chastises, who calls a spade, a spade, who is terribly real. And I’ll say, this fellow is my enemy because he tells me that I am an idiot. You have cancer. The doctor is telling you, you have cancer. Is he your friend or enemy?

Listener: Friend.

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Acharya Prashant: Living fully means whatever is, is always full. Just go close to it.

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Questioner:  This one thing that comes up when said ‘Live fully’. So, let us take an example of bath. By fully what occurs to me is you can use hundred types of products to wash your body.

Acharya Prashant: Living fully does not mean that you have to add something to life.  Living fully means that life is already full and you must not be disrespectful towards that fullness.

I think that it’s an important thing that I missed.

Living fully does not mean that you have to go out and consume life. Living fully does not mean you have to enhance life. Living fully means that whatever is, is always full. There is nothing except fullness. Just go close to it.  The separation is the issue.

Eating fully means that every morsel is a great opportunity to know the total. It does not mean what you are eating, how much you are eating.

Q: Yes. The volume, the quantity doesn’t matter, it is the quality that matters.

AP: Yes. It’s the quality. You see, it’s not only the religious ones and the spiritual ones who teach nonsense, the corporates and the consumerists are not behind. They too are eager to teach nonsense.  This is consumerist nonsense that living fully means consuming a lot, having a lot, it does not mean that.

Life is anyway always, already happening and whatever is happening, ‘whatever’ not some special happening, is a gateway.

You get lot to eat, that is your opportunity, an opportunity to know through eating what is eating and what is it that is beyond eating and if you get to eat a little that again is an equal opportunity.

There are two tables. On one is laid out a sumptuous dinner and on the other table is a measly piece of bread.  Are the persons on these two tables having unequal opportunities?

Just tell me.

No.

The opportunity is same because the Truth is one.  Are you getting it?

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Acharya Prashant with Students: The real use of ambition

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Questioner: Why are we running when we don’t have anything to achieve in life?

Acharya Prashant: Ofcourse, when you don’t have to achieve anything in life then you don’t run; but are you that person who doesn’t have to achieve anything? The one who doesn’t have to achieve anything, ofcoursem doesn’t run; but are are you that person who doesn’t have to achieve anything?

You aren’t, so you are running.

Q: But what is the use of having ambitions in life?

AP: The use of having ambitions in life is that they prevent you from looking at your current state, you see there is that quotation that, ‘I might be lying in the gutter but still I am looking at the stars’, that’s what ambition is.

I am not doing anything about the gutter and stink that I am in, I am preoccupied looking at the stars; ambition takes you away from the present, that’s the use of ambition.

The use of ambition is: It takes you away from the present moment; it takes you into a dream future; it helps you avoid effort, if I live in the present then I have to be acutely aware of my situations right now, and I’ll have to act right now, ambition is a dream that helps me comfortably avoid the present.

Ambition is a plan about the future, something you want to happen in the future, and it is a beautiful thing, beautiful device, tool of the cunning mind is to be ambitious.

Q: Sir, but ambition helps us to act in the present because we know that we have something to achieve in the future so we act in the present moment to get that…

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Acharya Prashant: The purpose of life is to come to purposelessness

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Question: What is the purpose of human life?

Acharya Prashant: See, we ask this question assuming that there is a purpose.

We ask this question assuming just as everything about us is purposeful so life must also be purposeful. Is there any validity to that assumption?

Purpose means a finality, it means an end. But if we begin right from where we are, then we always feel a purpose, don’t we?

Because we feel a purpose, so we want to know what is the right purpose. Correct?

That is our situation.

None of us is ever without a purpose, we may be confused about the purpose — and that is another matter — but a purpose or bag of purpose is always present. The challenge then is not knowing about whether there must be purpose, the challenge we face is determining the right purpose from many that we imagine.

What about freedom from this confusion?

What about not having to choose at all?

Maybe, that is the purpose of the life. Maybe, all our purposes, this entire bag is an unnecessary load, hence, maybe the purpose of the life is to come to purposelessness.

Of course, that is not something that we can absorb here from the speaker. We all carry purpose, maybe, it is far more important to see the limitations of those purposes. The very recurring cycle, the infinite loop those purposes are. Does any purpose ever end fully? Or does it simply makes way for another purpose? Have you ever had a goal which was the final one? Have you ever had a purpose the fulfilment of which will bring all the purposes to an end?

Yes?

Have you ever had a destination beyond which you would not need to travel?

Now that invalidates the very definition of purpose.

Purpose by itself means something which when attained would give us a sense of completion, fulfillment. You would say that the purpose has been fulfilled. But where is the fulfillment? In fact, the more you go on conquering purposes, the more purposeful you feel; because more your confidence grows that purposes can give you something.

You feel that you have not achieved that something yet, and your next conclusion is purposeness is not giving me something, so let’s try hard enough; it is not as if the very premise, the very assumption is flawed, it is just that I am lacking in effort so let me put in little more efforts; let me set the next goal even further.

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Acharya Prashant: How to earn more money?

T4

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, with students: The need to impress

Acharya Prashant: How many of you see, this, a very important factor in your life? Actually, we have been able to look at the issue right in the eye then we say that we need English to impress others.

Someone talked of communication. ‘Communication’ is an expression, right? And that’s a pure thing. Uncorrupted, unadulterated. But when ‘expression’ becomes a desire for ‘impression’, then are we really aware of what is happening?

You have the photographs and words of this man (Sh. APJ Abdul Kalaam), all over this place. Have you heard him speak? If not, look at some of his videos on youtube, expression is happening, communication is purely happening. But is there also a desire to ‘impress’ anybody? Did he proceed with a particular kind of accent? Does he proceed with great fluency?

Listeners: No.

AP: Is ‘communication’ happening or not?

L: Yes.

AP: And is communication happening with great felicity or not? ‘Felicity’ means, ease, smoothness. Is communication happening in a very smooth and spontaneous way or not?

L: Yes.

AP: But is he also inflicted by a desire to impress somebody?

L: No.

AP: And what would have happened, had there been a desire to impress the audience? What would have happened? Let’s try to understand, what might have happened, had there been a desire to impress the audience?

L: The pitch goes high and higher.

AP: What have you printed here? His accent or his words, his content?

L: Words, content.

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