Acharya Prashant is a spiritual teacher rooted in Advait Vedanta. His unique spiritual literature is at par with the highest words that mankind has ever known. Equally, one could simply call him a teacher beyond any tradition. He is a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom.
The sections most benefited by his work include:
Animals: Given that the overwhelmingly biggest threat to animals of all kinds comes from the ignorance of man about his own body and self, reforming man’s mind is the best way to save animals. It is estimated that millions of animals especially animals used for food – chicken, goat, sheep, cows, buffaloes, fish have been saved due to his work. Besides a large number of wild animals too have been saved. With his efforts over the years it is broadly estimated that lakhs, if not millions, of people have adopted vegetarianism or veganism and have chosen an awakened lifestyle involving environmental consciousness and a low carbon footprint. Many see him as the spiritual face of the vegan movement.
Youth: Youth, especially in India, face multi-directional challenges coming from the conditioning acquired from family, society, education and media, career challenges, dilemmas about physicality, love and relationships and deep existential questions about the meaning and purpose of life. They are in delicate situation where the chances of making suboptimal decisions and life taking unhealthy turns are quite high. Acharya Prashant has been unique in addressing the energy and conflicts of the youth. There are so may who remain indebted to him for having received lifesaving clarity at critical junctures of decision making.
Women: Women throughout the world, and especially in India, continue to be recognized as the largely disempowered half of mankind. While there have been concerted efforts in the social, political, economic ways to instill women with due agency and power, yet nothing is really effective without the inner dimension of clarity and freedom. Acharya Prashant's work has been to awaken women to their true identity beyond the compulsions of the body and the conditioning of the mind. Countless women today - from the teenage schoolgirl to the septuagenarian homemaker - owe their sense of liberty and clarity, and the courage to rise against external oppression and internal debilitation, to the teachings of the master.
Spiritual seekers: There are spiritual seekers for whom spirituality is a mere entertainment. Then there are those for whom spirituality is a respectable name for medieval superstition. Then those who come to spirituality to escape the bare realities of life. Then those who suppose that spirituality consists of esoteric rituals, methods, and exercises. Then those who want only superficial treatments to deep underlying life problems. Acharya Prashant has been well known to vigorously shake such seekers out of their self-deceptive psychic stupor. And then there is the odd genuine seeker. The one who has already tried hard to go into the recesses of his mind, and the reality of life. The one who is prepared to work hard for his liberation. The one who is fed up of self-imposed bondages, and is prepared to pay the price for freedom. Acharya Prashant comes as a rare and real friend to such seekers.
The Vedas are the oldest religious documents known to man. And Vedanta is the crown jewel, the absolute peak, of the Vedic essence.
The world today finds itself grappling with problems unseen in history. The problems of the past were mostly related to poverty, disease, hunger, illiteracy, lack of knowledge and lack of technology. In short, the challenge was external, the enemy—whether in the form of a microbe or lack of resources—was outside. It was about man struggling against the tyranny of his external circumstances.
The last hundred years, however, have been different. The spectre of man’s conflicts has risen to a very different and difficult theatre in this century. The secrets of the atom and the universe have more or less yielded to man’s relentless investigation. Poverty, illiteracy and disease are no more the invincible monsters they used to be. Today, matter is at man’s beck and call, and there is ambition to colonize the universe, and even beat death.
It should then sound like the best of times. The current period should be the best one in the history of our species. Far from that, we find ourselves staring at, as we said, a very different dimension of challenge in the inner theatre. Having conquered almost everything in the external world, man finds he is a bigger slave to himself today than he ever was. And it’s an ignominious slavery—to rule all, only to find that inwardly one is a huge slave of an unknown oppressor.
Man has immense power over his environment today, but is himself controlled by his inner destructive centre he has very little knowledge about. Together, these two mean that man’s tendency and ability to wreak havoc over his ecosystem is unlimited and unquestioned. Man has only one inner ruler—desire, the ever-sprawling desire to consume and experience more and more happiness. Happiness, that is experienced only to find that it evades all experience.
In this context, Vedanta, as the pure essence of spirituality, becomes more important today than it probably ever was. Vedanta asks the questions: Who is the inner one? What is his nature? What does he desire? Will fulfilment of his desires give him contentment?
As a response to the situations mankind today finds itself in, Acharya Prashant has taken on the solemn project of bringing the essence of Vedanta to the world today. His calling is to bring the pure essence of Vedantic spirituality to all, and apply it to solve today’s problems. These problems of today are borne out of man’s ignorance towards himself, and therefore they can be solved only by sincere self-knowledge.
Acharya Prashant has approached the matter of bringing Vedanta to the public in a two-pronged way. One, he has spoken on scores of Upanishads and Gitas and his comprehensive commentaries are available in the form of video series and books. Two, he addresses the daily mundane problems of people and demonstrates how to solve them in the light of Vedanta. His social media channels are dedicated to hosting tens of thousands of such open QnA sessions.
Prashant Tripathi was born on the auspicious day of MahaShivRatri in 1978, at Agra, India. Eldest of three siblings, his father was a bureaucrat and mother a homemaker. His childhood was spent mostly in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Parents and teachers found him to be a child who could often be quite mischievous, on occasions, and then suddenly, deeply contemplative. Friends too recall him as having an unfathomable temperament, often not really sure whether he was joking or serious. A brilliant student, he consistently topped his class and received the highest commendations and prizes possible to a student. His mother fondly remembers how she was honoured several times as ‘Mother Queen’ for the academic performance of her child. Teachers would say that never before had they seen a student who was as brilliant in Science as in Humanities, as adept in Mathematics as in languages, and as proficient in English as in Hindi. The then Governor of the state....