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Be possessed, and be free || (2020)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner (Q): How to have the faith, strength and trust to let go of my identities and dissolve into the One? How to avoid being carried away by the fragmented identities in the middle of my everyday activities?

Acharya Prashant (AP): You will have to allow something big to take possession of you. That’s the only way we can work rightly: by allowing ourselves to become servants to the right master. Sounds counterintuitive, right? We want freedom. If you want freedom, that’s possible only by having the right master. Huh? Slave to a master begets freedom? It does, because the mind cannot exist independently, ever; the mind will always require something to follow. What else are all desires? Your attempts at following something—that’s what every single desire is. You want to follow something—that’s a desire. When you are desirous you follow something, don’t you?

So, the mind is a born follower. You cannot straightaway tell the mind to become a non-follower. How to gain liberation or freedom, then? By following the right thing. And how do you follow the right thing? Stop following the wrong thing.

In fact, even if something great comes in your life, you will not be able to follow it unless you firstly make space by dropping the false. You cannot come to the camp without suspending a lot of your usual activities, can you? The true and the false cannot coexist. The false will have to make space.

Allow something colossal to overpower you. Be steamrolled. Be bulldozed. Lose control of your life. Lose all this systemic sleeping, eating, rising, bathing. Let the Truth put you in total disorder and disarray, because our order is the order of the false; our lives are like very, very orderly jails. A jail or a slaughterhouse is a very orderly organization; they cannot operate without that order, can they?

Let the Truth destroy your inner order. Be prepared for a holy chaos, and drop this image that spiritual people live very regulated and systemic lives. Maybe that happens at an advanced stage, but to begin with, you will have to invite disorder in life. Relish it. Let your mental landscape look like a cyclone-hit village. Picture it, send it to Nat Geo—you can make good of any situation!

But if you want to continue with your usual organized life and still want to drop fear and falseness and timidity, it’s not going to happen. “I want to sleep daily at 10 and 11 and, you know, I am a good boy, I get up at 6:30 sharp, and I must take my bath before 9 a.m.”—not going to happen that way.

The Truth is tremendous. You know what a tremor is? What is a tremor? Big vibration, seismic movement. Ever thought why the word ‘tremor’ has been associated with Truth? Because it’s like an earthquake. When you let the Truth come to you, it flattens everything in your inner village. And that’s not such bad news because the foundations were weak, the walls were hollow; the thing could anyway have crashed on your head anytime. And even when it was not dropping on your head, it was keeping you constantly frightful.

All that is weak and foundationless, let the Truth destroy it in one go. Now there is space for the right beginning.

If you go back from here and resume your normal schedules, you have taken back nothing from the camp, nothing at all. This cannot adjust with your normal lives. You cannot say, “I will do all the same things, and before I go to bed I will watch AP on YouTube for half an hour.” It cannot work that way. You are reducing the Upanishads to something very small by making it coexist with something very small; you are making the elephant and the mouse dine at the same table. No, the elephant won’t feel nice and the mouse won’t feel comfortable. Don’t make the Truth sit with the false. Don’t make the Upanishads a part of your everyday activity. If you are fed up of the way your life is running, get into the business of Truth.

The Truth enters life as a master. It can only be a master, nothing else. You cannot command the Truth. Whenever something extremely right, extremely worthy, extremely important enters your life, you will have to turn a slave to it; otherwise, that thing will go out of your life. Whenever something very, very valuable comes to your life, whether through invitation or coincidence, simply allow yourself to turn a slave to it; otherwise, you will lose that thing, you will just lose it. It came to you, but you wanted to turn it into a companion, you wanted to treat it as an equal; you didn’t give it the respect and the place it deserved, so you lost it.

Q: If life goes on without much trouble and one does not suffer in an explicit way, the suffering seems to take on subtler forms and is hence harder to identify and drop. How should we approach situations like these?

AP: You have to test your mettle. Even if you are operating in a defective way, you can still keep operating if you are not entrusting yourself with something challenging. The bike is not serviced and the engine has many faults; still it can run at a speed of 40 km/h, still it can run for a period of fifteen to twenty minutes. Now, challenge the bike to double its speed and run for a continuous hour; then you will realize that you need change.

If you do not bring challenges to your life, your defects, your flaws, your falsenesses will never be exposed. Let there be challenge.

One of the things in the Japanese manufacturing philosophy is JIT, ‘Just-in-Time’. Why do they do it? They say that inventory hides mistakes, we will not carry any inventory; everything has to be just in time. The process has to be lean enough, smart enough, and efficient enough.

For example, a video is to be published every day. I will not keep any inventory of videos ready to be published, because if that is there, and even if I miss producing videos on two days of the week, it will still not show up because I had buffer and I published from that buffer. So, I will not keep any buffer. No inventory—you produce everyday, you publish everyday. This is ‘Just-in-Time’. ‘Just-in-Time’-philosophy affords no flaws.

Similarly, keep no inventory. Let the challenge be huge. And when you are operating JIT, the entire production line can stop if you have messed up somewhere because you are not carrying any inventory. The assembly line is there, and if the supply gets disrupted at any point, the entire line will stop. So, the whole thing has to be flawless. To attain this flawlessness they said, “No inventory. Because if there is inventory, then we can afford flaws. We want to chase any defects in the process that exist. So, no inventory.”

No backups, no buffers, no security cushions—none at all. Because if they exist, they will hide your flaws. So, what do you do if you want to improve? You remove all cushions, all security, all inventory. You play barechested; you go for broke. It’s all or nothing.

Now, this sounds so intimidating. “But why run such risks? Why invite so much trouble?”

Truth comes riding on trouble. If you have a trouble-free life, you have a Truth-free life. No troubles, no Truth.

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