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Forget perfection, just do the best you can || Acharya Prashant, on Vedanta (2021)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Questioner (Q) : The problem usually comes from the idea when one says that to attain a higher pleasure, you have to go through higher suffering. For a common mind, there is his suffering (common suffering), and then there is pleasure, which is a lower pleasure. Now, in Vedanta or the Upanishads , they say, “You have to go through higher suffering. A higher pleasure is there, but for that you have to go through higher suffering.”

Acharya Prashant (AP) : There is a way out. In your current level of existence, which you might call a lower level, you have a certain capacity, a certain appetite to take suffering. It is not beyond you; not a higher suffering, but a lower suffering – a suffering at your current level which you may call a lower level. The thing is, if you exercise even that level of suffering, it will bring you a disproportionately higher pleasure. Once you taste that pleasure, then you realize that a formula has opened up, and then your willingness to take more discipline upon yourself increases, because now you have tasted the results.

At your particular level, you did the little you could, but the little you could do, the little you did do, was the maximum you could do at your particular level. The good news is that at any level the maximum you do is sufficient. You are not demanded to do something beyond yourself. Just do the maximum that is within your capacity. The good news is – you don't have to exceed your capacity. The challenge is – you have to do the maximum that is possible within your capacity. Once you do the maximum within your capacity, you get results; and once you taste the results, your willingness to impose more discipline upon yourself increases.

Well, now you know that a formula has opened up: The more I exert myself, the better the results will be. Now, you have been convinced with a proof. What is the proof? – the results. The results have arrived. Now, I know. Now, I am unstoppable. Now, I’ll go further, and further, and complete distance. But the trick is, at your current level, you have to do at least as much as is needed to show some results to you; otherwise, you will be disappointed. The worst situation is of those who work, but do not work hard enough even to get the minimum kinds of results possible.

So you've worked, you have exerted yourself, you have taken some suffering upon yourself, and yet you have not done enough to get even some kinds of preliminary results. So your scorecard stands at zero. Neither do you get anything, nor are you left with any motivation to do anything more. So, if you are doing something, I'm saying, do at least as much as is needed to get some basic results, and those results will then egg you on.

I repeat, the good news is, each of us, irrespective of how weak we are, has within his capacity to work as much as is needed to get the basic results, and the basic results will bring some trust in you, some inspiration in you; they will help you experience something that is totally new to you; and its taste will be so convincing that you will be inspired now to move ahead with deeper vigor. There is that initial period when you are working, and there will be no results. That is when you require faith and patience.

Once the results start arriving, the results will keep spurring you on, and then, as I said, it's so formulaic: now the ball has been set rolling, it will keep gaining momentum. You don't have to take up a very high kind of suffering. Do only as much as you can, but please do as much as you can. On one hand, I am saying, do only as much as you can, and in the same breath I am saying, please do as much as you can. But in neither of these cases, am I saying, please do more than you can. That is not needed because that cannot happen, how can you do more than you can?

That is the reason nobody else is to be blamed if we fail because you are not even required to go beyond your capacity. It was within your capacity to succeed. If you failed, it was only because you didn't exercise your capacity. But if you scold someone for failing, he will say, “You know, I did my best and still am being scolded.” Had you done your best, you would have obtained at least the basic results. If your scorecard always stands at zero, it is clear proof that you are not doing even half of what you are capable of. That's why life punishes you.

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKsEnRapcQQ

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