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A single mantra for success || Acharya Prashant, with NIT, Trichy (2021)

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

8 min
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Questioner (Q): Many of my friends say that optimal allocation of resources is the best way to achieve success. How can spirituality help us achieve the optimal allocation of resources so that we may achieve success easily?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Let’s say I am drunk and I am to allocate resources to ten of my priorities. There are ten channels in front of me each demanding resources, and I only have a finite sum with me to divide and allocate to each of them, and I am drunk. What will I do? I will probably allocate the lion’s share to the liquor vendor, no? I have ten thousand rupees and I have ten things to take care of. And in a drunken state, this is the kind of allocation I will do: out of the ten thousand rupees, I will probably allot eight thousand to liquor supply. You know what this discussion is going towards.

So, in any act, the actor comes first. In allocation, the allocator comes first. Spirituality is about purifying the actor, the allocator. If I am alright, then I will know my priorities and I will also know their relative importance, because I will know the one thing that is of prime importance. Knowing that one thing, I will know everything else in the context of that one thing. If I know the Truth is very important, then I will know the direction help towards Truth is going to come from, and I will pay maximum attention to that and allot maximum resources to that.

Spirituality is about first of all knowing your central priority. Your central priority is Truth or freedom—‘freedom’ is a better word, I am talking to youngsters. Your central priority is freedom.

Now, having known that freedom must be of prime concern in life, and having known that right now you are not at all free—you are in bondage in so many ways, inner and outer—what do you want to give your time, energy, money, and life to? These are your resources, right? Your intellect, your time, your money, your energy—these are your resources; the biggest resource is time itself.

Now, what do you want to give your time to? Having known that freedom is the most important one in life and you are not free right now, what do you want to give your time to? What do you want to give your money to, your energy to, your youth to? You want to give your time to procuring the axe. Don’t you want to do that? You want to sharpen the blade—that is what you want to pay money for. And now you know how to allot your resources. Now you don’t want to pay ten thousand rupees to the liquor vendor. Now you don’t want to invest your entire savings in a trip to Goa. I hope you don’t go to Goa for liberation or freedom from bondage. If you do, then it is another matter!

So, it is not about what you do, it is about who does it. That is self-knowledge. “I am doing something, I am attending to something, I am rushing towards somewhere—who am I when I am doing that? What is causing the desire to do this or that?” Go to the root of your desire and figure out where it is coming from.

And I am not talking metaphysics here. Our desires are not metaphysical; our desires are very very physical. See where the desires are coming from; see who implanted that desire in you; see who told you that such one thing is called the good life; see who provided you the blueprint, and then you will see how deeply you are in bondage. Everything about you is coming from somewhere else.

Once you see you are in bondage, you will not at all like it. You will not like it, and when you will not like it, you will know what to put effort towards. That is resource allocation.

Q: Sir, you used the word ‘desire’. In pursuing desire, there are usually two possible outcomes: one, I will be trapped in a cycle of constantly running after something without ever getting any satisfaction from the achievement; two, if I fail to get what I want, I fall into depression. So, both outcomes of desire are harmful, regardless whether I get what I want or not. How to deal with this? Can desire be useful somehow in the spiritual process?

AP: You see, obviously you cannot be fulfilled and yet be crazy with desire, right? Desire requires unfulfillment. You need to have a certain itch, a certain vacancy, a feeling of incompleteness, and only then you will be desirous of something.

So, desire comes from there, that inner hollow. That inner hollow, classically, is called the ego. The ego is like a free radical: it is unstable, it cannot just exist by itself, it cannot be alone. It always requires something to bond with; it requires company, it requires something to attach itself to, be identified with. And that is desire: thinking that something in the world will suffice to make you feel fulfilled, rushing after objects believing that one or more of them will give you completeness, failing in the attempt, yet not acknowledging your central mistake—that is desire.

Can desire be useful in the spiritual process? Can it lead to upliftment or betterment of a young person, or any person? Yes, of course.

Now, there are two kinds of desire. One, where you want to just follow the configuration of the desirous entity—what is the configuration of the desirous entity? It is incomplete, that is the configuration. It has an incomplete configuration. Now, one kind of desire just exists to extend the incompleteness: “I am incomplete, and I am desiring an object that will keep me incomplete.“ This is foolish desire, and this is desire that prevails the most. So, 99.999999% of our desire is that. Most people desire this way, most of the times. This desire is self-defeating, because all desire desires fulfillment but chooses in such an unwise way that it can never have fulfillment. The object of desire has to be chosen very carefully.

Now you would have guessed what the second kind of desire is. The other kind of desire desires to unravel itself; it doesn’t desire to keep itself intact. The first kind of desire followed the configuration of the desirous entity; the second kind of desire exists to demolish the desirous entity. And in the demolition of the desirous entity lies the fulfillment of the desirous one.

Your desire is to come to an end, to a final fulfillment. Your desire is to come to a point after which you don’t have to desire anymore. And if you don’t have to desire anymore, that will be the end of the desiring one. So, in a sense, we all desire our end, not physical so much but psychological.

So, that is why you have to be very discreet, very wise when choosing your desires. In fact, there has to be choice in the first place. Mostly we don’t even have a choice in our desires; our desires are blind and powerful waves that just carry us away. First of all, develop a choice. Learn to say yes and no—more importantly, no.

Learn to say no to desires. Be discreet in saying yes. And when you say yes to a desire, give it all your energy, time, passion, resources. It must be worth it, first of all. Otherwise, desire is a great dissipation. You will have twenty thousand desires in a day and you will just waste yourself rushing after each of them.

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