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Calling versus Interest || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2014)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): Ekansh is saying, “Sir alright, you said my work should come from my calling.” He is saying, “But today I am interested in one thing, five years later I might be interested in another thing. Then what will happen? Should I change my work, my trade, my stream then?”

Ekansh, a couple of misconceptions. First, calling is not your interest, I am not asking you to follow your interests. Interests are flimsy, superficial. Interests are very-very flimsy. Interests come and go, born in India you are interested in cricket, born in Brazil you will be interested in…

Questioner (Q): Football

AP: There is no value in interests, born a male you are interested in girls, born a girl you would be interested in boys. There is nothing in that, no awareness, no understanding in that.

Born in South India you are interested in Upma, born in North India you are interested in Poha. What is there in that?

When I am talking of vocation it is far deeper than interests. That is the first thing. It is something that does not come to you as a result of external influence.

You can use a test. The test is, is it something that everybody approves of? What I am drawn towards, is it something that everybody approves of, if everybody approves it then there is an eighty percent chance that it is only an interest.

Whereas, if you are drawn towards something which is unpredictable, a little unusual, and you also face resistance in going towards it, then there is an eighty percent chance that this is your calling. And calling and interests are two different things.

Calling is like that intoxicated, drunk call of the lover. Interest is nothing. Calling is when you do not know what you are doing. There is just that on your mind and you do not bother for the rest of the world. Just that, the Truth, the extremely lovable Truth. And everything else disappears, that is your calling.

When you will move towards your calling, I am saying there is eighty percent, in fact, there is a ninety-nine percent chance that you will meet opposition. Others will resist you because you know unfortunately, we live in a very loveless land. The world is full of people who are deeply conditioned, these are the people who are running corporations, governments, businesses. These are the people you will find in your homes, in your markets, everywhere.

So, they will resist you. Whenever you will do something that is acceptable, socially approved, conventional, they will support you. The moment you listen to that mystical call, and you move in its direction, they will become bloodthirsty. They will oppose you. That is one way of testing. Have you heard of honor killings? I am not saying, honor killings happen because one has really found love, but they give at least one very clear indication. Whenever you will find even a semblance of love you will meet opposition. And you will meet opposition from the same people who are very close to you. They will kill you.

And if you are being continuously supported, then there is an eighty percent chance that you are only doing that which is worthless. Whenever you will do something really valuable, be prepared to make enemies. You will find a lot of enemies from within your close circles. They will not spare you, but you must have the guts to stand. Right? That's what being young is all about.

I know the Truth and I can stand for it, silently, patiently. I am not violent, but I am not succumbing. Remember, I am not violent but I am not succumbing. That is the first part, learn to differentiate between interest and calling.

Second part, you said interest keeps changing, after five years the interest may change. Even the calling may take different forms, let it take different forms, it’s alright. Let the calling take different forms, when it takes different forms then you get a new color of life.

Life has a billion colors, what prevents you from experiencing the entire spectrum of the rainbow? Experience it, go through it, don’t be held hostage by one color. When another color calls feel free to move towards it.

Remember all colors belong to the same rainbow. You are not being disloyal; you are not becoming an infidel. Today green quenches my thirst, tomorrow green changes into yellow. It's alright, it’s beautiful. They are all part of the same rainbow. And they are actually all white we know that. They are actually all white, the same white appears in different colors. The same source appears in all kinds of manifestation. Today this looks nice, tomorrow that may look nice, go towards it, don’t feel guilty.

Rohit is saying, “Why does everybody give so much importance to academic percentage when often the percentage depends on the whims and fancies of the examiner.” Right, that is why you should not be serious about all that. You should be serious about what you are reading, not about your percentage. Fall in love with your books, not with your result card.

There are only two kinds of students; one who are serious about the books and the others who are serious about the report cards. Be committed towards the book and forget the result. And in any case, if you are committed towards the book, your result can’t be too bad. Simple.

Why should you take your result so seriously? Forget it! I never realized what happened. I wrote the IIT entrance and at that time the Roorkee entrance used to be separate. I thought I had thoroughly spoilt my IIT entrance and done better in the Roorkee entrance. The results came, I didn't know what had happened. My IIT rank was way better than my Roorkee rank.

Who knows what is happening? And in any case, these things are comparative. You might have done a good job; others might have done a better job. It is all relative, so why are we bothered? You look at what you are doing, don’t be bothered about what others are thinking, how others are assessing you.

Q: Sir, but we need to form an opinion of others...

AP: What’s your name son?

Q: Rishabh.

AP: Rishabh, as you are listening to me do you need to form an opinion of me? Anybody who can claim that he or she has been listening, deeply, intently, please raise your hands. I will ask a very simple question, yes raise your hands. Don’t be afraid.

As you have been listening to me, have you been simultaneously thinking of some opinion that you have of me? (Pointing at the members of the audience) You, you, you, it would always be like this.

If you are really present, then you cannot have an opinion, because all opinion comes from the past. All opinion is your frozen mind, the entire history. In the present, there is only presence, no opinions, just presence, no opinions. And that is sufficient, why do you need to form an opinion, why do you need a conclusion, a judgment.

Mere deep presence is enough, in your presence we two become related. And that is enough.

That is enough!

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