Tag Archives: Welfare

An IIT – IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them|| Acharya Prashant, with students

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An IIT - IIM education must widen your choices, not limit them

Question: Acharya Ji, what made you inclined towards Spirituality, after education from one of the premier institutions like IIT and IIM?

Acharya 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


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Quotes, January’19

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1.

Love is a vast sky, it has no opposite.

It is so vast that it has space enough for hatred.

In Love, one hates as well, and that doesn’t reduce love.

Do not feel guilty. Provided your love is vast enough.

And you can have love so vast, only for Vastness.

A Vastness called Freedom.

2.

By reasoning out

your situation,

you try to remain

what you are.

All reasons are

hidden justifications.

Realise, don’t rationalize.

3.

Having lived rightly for long, one becomes incapable of living wrongly.

Having lived rightly for long, if one even decides to live or act wrongly for a while, he will face failure in his chosen wrong action.

The reward of living rightly: failure in one’s attempts to live wrongly.

4.

Enlightenment is a series of endless enlightenments, each one being complete and final.

5.

Being so enamoured by the Sun,

You keep watching the moon all night!

That’s Love.

6.

What is the way to Liberation?

Suffering.

An honest acknowledgment of suffering,

Without trying to hide or colour or glorify or rationalise it,

Is the way to Liberation.

7.

The great Intelligence that is never touched, spoiled, created or destroyed is not personal.

The person can decide to follow that impersonal Intelligence. And the person can also withdraw from the service of Intelligence.

That choice is always available and that choice is Maya.

8.

The spiritual pursuit faces humongous obstacles. It sometimes appears the entire world is lined against you.

We all are in a big holy war.

We will definitely lose some battles.

The trick is to not to mind the defeats, and quickly get ready for the next win.

9.

Questioner: What is the definition

of ‘Stupid’?

Acharya Ji: Knowing what is right,

doing what is wrong.

10.

Your interests, your welfare, don’t depend on things.

Witnessing means not seeking interest in anything. Not attaching your self-interest, self-worth, to anything. When you are not interested, you are the knower and the master.

Here, kingship comes only to the reluctant king.

11.

She troubled him for being awake at nights, “Your eyes are full of someone beyond.”

Helpless, he kept mum.

One night a mysterious tune woke her up. Since then, she dances all night to music.

And he laughs. He has had his revenge.

Love is so foolish it knows only one revenge: Love

12.

In the mirror, he saw many faces.

One wanted food, air, water, sleep, sex.

The second one wanted prestige, power, money, happiness.

A third one just looked on sorrowfully, sometimes at the two, sometimes at the distant horizon.

13.

If not religion, who will teach you secularism?

Secularism is a new religion; just that it isn’t yet deeply religious enough.

The development of secularism depends on its ability to learn from religion the value of meditativeness, devotion, and surrender of ego to the Beyond.

14.

The new, the happiness that you are looking for,

will not come through experience.

It will not come to you via time,

It is not contained in the future.

It comes when you are a little less

insistent upon cheating yourself.

15.

You had a dream,

you came to me,

and I have not helped you

reach there.

But tell me,

are you not glad

that now you are not

what you were?

~Acharya Prashant@Prashant_Advait

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Start with your own welfare

It is not for social responsibility or for social welfare or for the progress of humanity that you probably want to have a child. Ask yourself is it not because of social pressure instead that you are feeling the need to confirm. Surely somebody is pressurizing you. It is the prerogative of the Buddhas and the Saints to think of human welfare. And they have gone to human welfare only after they have done themselves a lot of good. Only after their own eyes have opened up do they start opening the eyes of the entire world. Have your own eyes opened up? Then how are you talking of the welfare of the mankind?

Have you been able to come to your own welfare? Don’t you see it is such a bizarre situation? You do not know your own welfare but you are intending the welfare of the world and that too how? By having sex and getting a kid.

What exactly is the thinking? What is the logic? What is the inner argument? Are we living in an age where populations have been wiped out by war or plague? Are we living in a country where the birth rates are so low that the government has to incentivize births? Are we living as tribes in a jungle that are in a danger of extinction due to their underpopulation? Are human beings the threatened species on this planet? Then how exactly are you thinking of social welfare through reproduction?

Don’t you see that it is just absurd? Instead, the matter of fact might be that you are feeling pressurized by social norms or by somebody, in particular, maybe somebody of the household. Maybe neighbors, relatives, maybe one of the old ladies in the house who are constantly bugging you to become a father or a mother. Or, maybe the movies that keep on telling you that unless you are a father, there is something missing in your life.

If you really intend anybody’s welfare and welfare is wonderful, I love it and respect it when you talk about the welfare of others.

Start with your own welfare. See what life is like, understand what sex is? Understand what is procreation? Know what it means to bring a baby into this world. Know what human being is and what his relationship with the society must be? Know what is birth? Know what is bad for a human being? Only then you will know that in which lies human welfare.



Read the complete Article: Sex for fun, sex for social obligation

Sex for fun, sex for social obligation

SR Generic_ English

 

Question: “Acharya Ji, my whole life, I treated sex as fun due to my early age experience. I would treat it as fun-just to relax my body. But now, at my mature age, I feel that it’s a responsibility to have a son or a daughter for humanity, to strengthen our world. I feel I must procreate for the welfare of humanity. And I realize that at the time of such creation, both the partners must be aware of what they are creating- it must be for the betterment of society and not only for fun. Only then will one be responsible, otherwise both I and the society will suffer.”

Acharya Prashant: You are saying that in your teenage, in your early youth you had sex for fun and now you want to have sex in order to fulfill a social responsibility.

It is far better to have sex for fun than to have sex to fulfill some social obligation. Sex is something very intimate, it cannot be driven by the dictates of others, it cannot be driven by social norms, it cannot be a method to fulfill a responsibility towards others. Having fun and then moving on is a far more innocent and spiritual thing. Because in having fun, you are not aiming for the future, in having fun, you are not expecting a reward after the action. In having fun you will not try to hold the other captive, you will not say that you must now stay with me and fulfill your responsibilities and sign this contract with me that obliges you for such time into the future.

Continue reading

On Khalil Gibran: Hidden tendencies have great power; but power of Truth is greater

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That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you
is the strongest and most determined.

Is it not your breath that has 
erected and hardened the structure of your bones?

-Khalil Gibran The prophet (The farewell)

Acharya Prashant: There are two ways one can look at this; which of these two are more beneficial to us depends on who we are. We will talk about both the meanings.

‘That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most determined. Is it not your breath that has erected and hardened the structure of your bones?

What we call as strong is that which is materially strong. What we call as purposeful is that which has a material purpose, a tangible goal. Truth, Tao or Brahm or Emptiness has no material strength, neither does it have a material goal. Even to say that it does not have a goal is not quite proper. It does not have a goal but it also does not not-have a goal. It would be more appropriate to say that the Truth is beyond purpose and goal. The truth is beyond strength and weakness; beyond strength and beyond goals.   Continue reading

You are unnecessarily sad

Question: Whenever you’re looking for spirituality, you tend to leave some things and you tend to walk towards some things. And in doing that, you are obviously, creating some disturbance in the ecosphere that you are leaving behind. So, how do you justify this?

Acharya Prashant: You see, what is it that you want – a superficial peace, or real welfare?

If I really am in love with myself and hence, in love with you, would I want you to live in a superficial peace or would I want your real welfare?

What you are calling as a disturbance in that which you leave behind, is just a superficial disturbance, yes? And that disturbance, is not of your creation. Unstable systems are prone to be disturbed. They have no equilibrium. What have you done? Why do you hold yourself responsible for all that?

And this question that you are asking is behind so much of human misery.

“I know what the right thing is, but if I do this, my wife will feel bad, so I am not doing this.”

That’s what this question amounts to, right?

“I know that I am not in the right job, but if I leave my job, then my project will suffer, or my boss will feel bad. So I am not leaving it.”

“I know what the right thing is, but if I do the right thing, then my society will not approve and will be disturbed, so I am not doing it.”

“I am in all sorts of filthy relationships, but if I drop those relationships, if I change the quality of those relationships, then the other will not be happy. So, I am not changing anything.”

Why don’t you see that if you are really in love, then it is not the other’s happiness that you want; it is the other’s welfare that you want? And these are two extremely different things.

Sometimes, Ah! Most of the times rather, what is really helpful to the other, would not make the other happy.Why use the word “other”?

Look at your own case – what is really helpful to you, does it make you happy? No, it rather makes you shiver.

L1: Yes, when you think it first.

AP: Yes, now don’t you want to endure that pain? Don’t you know that it is important to pass through that pain? Can you avoid that pain and still be free?

And if you can’t be free without passing through that pain, why do you want to insulate your loved ones from that pain, why?

Let them pass through this pain and when they will pass through this pain, if you love them, you too will pass through a pain. This pain will purify both of you.

Are you getting this?

In trying to avoid disturbance, we create hell for everybody including ourselves.

Don’t avoid disturbance. What you are calling as peace is not peace at all. If it is peace, then it is peace of the graveyard. It is not the peace of the meditating yogi.

L2: You said that, most often that which helps us actually brings us pain rather than happiness, but the help is needed because some pain or sadness is already there. So, that must help us. How is it bringing more pain and more sadness? Why is it going in the opposite direction?

AP: It is not bringing more pain. When you are sad, what do you do with your sadness?

Quickly, please tell me! When you are sad, what do you do with your sadness?

L3: You push it!

AP: You push it away, you suppress it; you hide it under the carpet, don’t you?

The words of the teacher don’t give you more sadness. They just expose your pre-existing sadness. You suppress your sadness and suppression makes it all the more powerful.

The work of the teacher is to show you that you are unnecessarily sad.

Both — that you are sad and that sadness is unnecessary;

that you are unnecessarily sad.

Firstly, he must show you that you are in fact sad and then, he must show you that you are unnecessarily sad. But if you have not been shown firstly, that you are so sad, how will he show you that you are dealing in un-necessities?

But it is a common complaint — People come grudging that the teacher makes them unhappy! It only shows how out of touch we are with ourselves.

The teacher didn’t make you unhappy. He just held a mirror in front of you and said, “Look, how unhappy you already are.”

“See, how unhappy you are, that you must keep smiling!”

Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho… (You are smiling so much – singing a song)

He just shows you your smiles and says, “See, you are weeping!”

Kya gam hai jisko chhupa rahe ho? (What worries are you trying to hide?)

Now, would you say that the teacher has made you sad? Yes? But we often shoot the messenger, don’t we?

L4: What is wrong with suppressing your sadness?

AP: Because, it doesn’t go away. It doesn’t go away just because you have suppressed it.

L4: But for you, it is no longer there.

AP: No, It is very much there. It is very much there. Otherwise, why would you have acted in ways that oppose sadness? If there is no fear of the enemy, why are you walking around with your gun?

L5: Having that gun is better than facing the enemies, sometimes at least.

AP: What about not having the enemy at all? What about showing you, that the enemy is unnecessary? You think that the gun gives you protection. No!

The gun only keeps proving again and again to you, that you indeed do have an enemy. The enemy is a fiction. Your answer is the gun!

The gun is not the solution.

Miserable and bored, you go out to party. You really think you are partying? Left to yourself, with everybody else gone from that venue, do you know how you would feel? You are just trying to hide behind noise. That is why you must have loud speakers and woofers there. That’s why all those thousands of watts of music are needed.

Suppressing something cannot make it go away.

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

Watch the session: You are unnecessarily sad


Further Reading:

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‘Advait in Everyday Life’ by Acharya Prashant

This book is a much needed and rare attempt to bring spirituality and philosophical teachings to everyday life. The author’s genius lies in being delightfully able to bridge the abstract world of theorizations and principles with day-to-day circumstances, happenings, emotions and relationships.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/GbHByV
Kindle: https://goo.gl/VXdQdA