Tag Archives: Technology

An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them|| Acharya Prashant (2012)

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Questioner (An engineering student): Acharya Ji, what made you inclined towards Spirituality, after education from premier institutions like IIT-D and IIM-A?

Acharya Prashant Ji: A couple of decades ago, I was on that side, where you all are sitting now, in another engineering college, IIT-Delhi. We too used to take a lot of things lightly. We too would fool around in lot of sessions, tutorials, lab sessions. But we also knew what is not trivial, not casual.

Once in a while, such a thing happens, and then we should be awake to the happening.

We will be together.

So, one of the members of your organizing committee, immediately asked this question, when he met me. His question was: After IIT, after IIM, after Civil Services, and after a few years of successful corporate life, why this?

I said, “Let me first look at the anatomy of your question.” Your question pre-supposes, assumes, a couple of things. The first is: Education gives you a few specific directions to move in. And that is why, you are surprised, even shocked, that someone is breaching those directions, violating those directions.

Before we discuss the breach of violation, it is more important that we see whether education is supposed to be a liberating force, or a constraining force.

If you look at people, who are not educated, you will find them captivated, you will find them option-less. We  could even say, ‘enslaved’. They can say, “Because we are not educated, because we did not have that kind of luck, or merit, so we are forced to take up, just these kind of jobs. Our spectrum of choices, is very narrow.” That is what a person with little luck, or ability, or understanding, would say.

Now, if you go into an institution of higher learning, even a couple of such institutions, and then you would say, “I cannot find the entire life open for me. I cannot see that all kinds of possibilities, and opportunities open up for me, irrespective of the direction they come from. Then what is the use of such education?”

Is education there to widen your choices, or is it there to constrain your already narrowed down choices?

If the purpose of education is to liberate, then why should you feel that after your educational degrees, you must follow a particular kind of script? Why must you move in only pre-determined directions?

The questioner is surprised at me taking a particular direction. I am surprised that why do you do, what you do.

A particular company arrives in campus, for campus placement. When I was a consultant, in corporate sector, then I would go for the campus hiring, to the best of institutions. And it would be quite amusing, as well as insightful to observe them.

So, four hundred students from fourth year, would have applied for the same job. And if you ask them , “Why have you applied for the same job?” half of them would directly say that this particular job is their dream job, and other half would indirectly imply this job is their dream job.

I would listen to them with patience, but at some point during the discussion, I would start laughing. I would ask them, “How is it possible that all four hundred of you, have the same dream. Is there any individuality, or are all of you, meant to follow the same current?”

Now, what is more surprising: that intelligent, empowered students, are all following the trend, or that a few break away? Breaking away should be the norm, breaking away should be the trend. Breaking away should not be the exception.

In fact, I should be the one, who should turn around, and ask the premier students, in the premier campuses, in the country and the world, “How is it possible, that after all your education, you constrain yourself to a narrow pattern of working and living? How is it not possible, that you branch out in all directions? How is it so, that an already chained life, becomes all the more chained, after going to an IIT, or an IIM?”

A fellow, who has not had the best of education, would say, “I can accept any job. I can start any kind of business, because I do not have any background in anything.” But I have seen, not only as a matter of principle, but actually practically, that unfortunately it so happens, that we become even more constrained, limited, in our decision-making, because we have been empowered with an elite degree.

That must not happen. That assumption is invalid.

If life has given you power, use it to blossom.

Use it branch out.

Use it to express all your creativity.

Do not feel pressurized.

Do not feel limited. 

You are not obliged to follow the trend.

You must, first of all, try to gain maximum clarity, as to what is right. And then, the only remaining task, is to commit yourself wholeheartedly, to what is right.

Know what is right.

Do what is right.

Nothing else matters.

Most people do not know what is right. Obviously, they lead their lives in ignorance, in darkness – a drunken kind of living. And then, there are others. Others, who have the intellectual capacity, to know what is right. And it is absolutely tragic, that such people, in spite of knowing what is right, do not ‘do’ the right.

Now, this would be  very impotent life.

One could have been forgiven, had one been totally in the dark. Had one not known at all, what to do. But, if you know, and still do not ‘do’, then your life itself is a punishment. You would be leading an incomplete, and compulsorily blind life. 

A man, with eyes, who has been forced to act blind, his suffering is limitless.

So, please get the first assumption, out of your mind. If you will go into it, if you will question it, then it will be easy for you, to surmount it.

The second assumption that you have is that – somehow technical or managerial work, is superior, in it’s class and dimension, compared to Humanities, and specially compared to Wisdom and Spirituality. No, if such is the opinion that you carry, then this opinion is misplaced.

I understand why this opinion gets the better of us. It is because, whatever happens in the field of Science and Technology, is quite tangible, quite direct, quite measurable, and precise. Whereas, what happens in the field of mind, in the field of words, rather than numbers, is intangible. Often hazy.

But just because something is intangible, it does not mean that it is valueless. It only means that it’s value is subtle. Something may have a gross value, (referring to a bottle kept on the table, in front) this may have a gross value, but there are other things that have a subtle value. Things like Joy, things lie Understanding.

I can hold this bottle in my hand, I cannot hold understanding in your hand. You cannot hold love in your hand. You cannot hold clarity in your hand. Just because there are certain things, that are not material enough, to be formed, to be weighed, to be experienced through senses, it does not mean that they are valueless.

You are right now listening to me. Even ‘listening’ cannot be held like this bottle. But then, if you are listening, you very well know the value of listening.

All education, all civilization, all progress and advancement, is for welfare.

And what is ‘welfare’?

That which gives man peace.

Yes, material welfare does give man peace, and is quite important. But there is another more important, and dimensionally higher component of welfare, that needs to be addressed. As engineers, you work for welfare – others’ welfare, and your own welfare.

Spirituality too aims at welfare. And what spirituality can accomplish, the other fields of human endeavor, cannot.

So, it becomes obvious now, why one can move into the field of understanding life, if that can be called ‘a field’, at all. Life itself is the field, because it is a terrific field, because it is the most important field. Because that work is more important, than the work of an engineer, or a manager.

That does not belittle the work of the scientist. It’s only to say, that – the work of the scientist, is ultimately, to bring welfare and peace to man.

Science addresses only that, which is measurable, numerable, experiencable, perceivable through senses.

And there is a lot, that involves human welfare, but cannot be the material subject of any science, any technology, any mathematics.

That must be addressed, otherwise, science will remain blind.

Otherwise, the products of science, the entire area and produce of science, will be channelized, only towards devastation.


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

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant, with students: An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them


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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Acharya Prashant, with students: You are the mother of all importance

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Acharya Prashant: All your student life, you have been talking and studying about this and that. The languages, Science, Social Sciences – History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry. Now, Technology.

But there is one entity that you have forgotten so much, that it is very difficult at this moment, to even remind you of that entity. That entity has never been in the domain of your education. You have studied about a lot of things, but there is one entity that you have never studied about. Never bothered to attend to.

What is that entity?

Listener: Personality.

AP: Personality?

You will get to study a lot of Personality.

In fact, you have been studying about nothing but ‘Personality’!

‘Personality’ by definition is nothing but what you gather from outside.

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Are you able to break out of the circuit, or are you energizing the circuit even more?

Please understand something about duality and non-duality. The dissolution of something does not lie in its opposite. Something appears uncontrolled, you control it, you have just taken a phenomenon to its opposite, to its mirror image. You are going left, now you are going right. That is not dissolution. That is a continuation in duality. And, that is the mistake we make so often. We go for the opposite of something when we are tired of that thing.

Tired of left, you go to the right. Tired of the first floor, you go to the basement or to the second floor, or sometimes to the 50th floor. Tired of the metro, you go to the hill station. Tired of the car, you take the bike. Tired of animals in the office, you go and visit a zoo. Is that not how we live? And, we think this is change. Hopping from one pole of duality to the other pole, we think this is change. Traveling from the North Pole to the South Pole, we feel that we’ve overcome the gravitation of the earth. How does it matter that you have swapped poles?

Firing energizing emotions is one thing, and letting that same energy direct and control emotions, is just the same thing. You are just naming it differently, you are just naming it as the opposite. And the change in name will not help here; you need a change in the whole game. Is it not a part of being emotional that you must not be overly emotional? So, one is emotional and is angry, and suddenly he remembers that he must not be angry and he gets even more angry at having forgotten that he must not be angry, “How could I forget that I needed to control anger? Control yourself. Don’t be so excited.”

Are you able to break out of the circuit, or are you energizing the circuit even more?



 

Read the complete article: How to control emotions?

The scriptures, and parallelly observation of life, I stress equally upon the two.

There are two things that must be parallelly done. One, knowing it from those who have known, supposed to have known, if you are a skeptic then. Learning it from those who have known or are supposed to have known. Secondly, testing it out, for yourself.

So, first thing, the scriptures, and parallelly observation of life. I stress equally upon the two. Please be very very observant, what’s happening. How am I spending my day? Why are those two countries fighting? You will learn a lot about the mind. A lot, a lot, a lot. It’s great to watch yourself. But if you can’t watch yourself or in addition to watching yourself, also watch the world. Watch, how people are going about on the streets? Watch how communities are behaving? Watch, what’s there in the newspapers? That too is useful.

But if you just let that in, there is a danger, it can just become accumulated knowledge. I know, I have general knowledge. You can become, worldly wise. So, parallelly there must be the blessings of scriptures. These are like you know, two wings of the bird. Together they make you, help you, fly.

Seek it from all the Gurus of the world, and also rely parallelly on the unique and the independent capacity of your mind. Be so confident of yourself that you are not hesitant in seeking help. You must have so much confidence that you can confidently seek help.



Read the complete article: Is it necessary to go to scriptures?

How to control emotions?

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L: Sir, how to control our emotions?

Acharya Prashant: So, Shantanu is talking about controlling emotions. Let’s say Shantanu is driving his car. Do you drive your car in a controlled way or in an uncontrolled way? Obviously in a controlled way. Now, what is all control about? You are taking your car to the right, and because you control it you decide that you will not take it to the left. What is all control about?

When you say that your emotions are running amok, uncontrolled, then that is movement, right? Something is happening. And when you say that you the emotional one is now controlling emotions, what is really happening? In the name of control, you are continuing. The driver controls the car; does the car, or the control change the driver? You are the controller; you will change the direction of the car. But, changing the direction of the car is not going to change you.

Continue reading

Is it necessary to go to scriptures?

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Question: May I ask a question here? Once you feel that you are determined for this journey, is it necessary to go to the scriptures?

Acharya Prashant: It is not necessary but it’s wise. It is advisable.

Listener: When I started the journey, the first task that called me, was to throw away what I had read. Now, I feel empty and again the question arises that should I go to the scriptures or a living Guru, or should I listen to my inner voice that let the right time come?

AP: What if the call, brings you to the scriptures? Is it an either-or situation?

L: I didn’t understand that!

AP: You said, “Should I do this, or should I do that?” What if these two are one? What if the inner voice you are talking of takes a formal shape, in the form of…?

L: Form of urgency to read scriptures!

AP: Yes, the scriptures themselves. What if the inner voice you are talking of take a formal shape, a worldly shape, a material shape? The material shape could be that of a book, a Granth, or a person, a Guru. The inner voice that is there of the Truth or the Center or the Atman at all is not a voice at all, you see. You cannot hear it. The Atman does not know any language.

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One must be prepared to modify his conclusions all the time.

Just as all things come and go, conclusions also come and go. One looks at a room from a keyhole, and one gets a little, finite, contained glimpse. And one has a tendency to conclude because conclusion has an assurance of security, conclusion helps one believe that he knows. So, one wants to conclude quickly because one does not want to remain in uncertainty. But, the moment the keyhole widens, the moment you get another opportunity to have a relook at the room, you find that what you had been concluding, needs to be modified, or even totally changed.

So, like everything that rises and falls in the mind, conclusions also rise and fall. Now, how can one take his conclusions seriously?

Conclusions have a way of popping up and one must not suppress the mind’s tendency to conclude. At the same time, one must not be identified with the conclusions. Let the conclusions be there as some sort of a temporary phenomenon. Waves keep on rising and falling. Conclusions too must keep on coming and going. One must not have a permanent association with any particular conclusion. One must be prepared to modify his conclusions all the time. And that can happen only when you know the flimsiness of all the conclusions and all mental knowledge.

Just see that and when the conclusions come to you, then use them as a temporary method, as a temporary utility.



Read the complete article: Honest Observation is detachment itself