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Freedom from expectations || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2012)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Acharya Prashant: Are we young? Are we really young? To be young means, to be energetic, means to be open. Oscar Wilde had said, youth is lost on the young. Do you understand its meaning? That we only turn young in the body. Either we remain a child throughout life or enter old age directly, bypassing the real youth.

Do I really have to go too far, to enquire why am I living like this! And ‘Why’ still comes later. First, do I know ‘How am I living?’ Why am I doing engineering? Whenever I sit in a class, why do I get bored? Are we able to clearly look at these ways of our day to day living? Am I just dancing to the tunes of the external world in this life? Is there something really mine. One doesn’t need to go and read books to see ‘How am I living?’ One just needs to look at oneself, one’s actions with clarity. You are in the second year, most of you must be thinking about the jobs, whether you will get a good one or not? Always, buffeted by doubts, queries, insecurities, confusions.

Wherever I am, am actually never there -strained between the pulls of the past and the pulls of the future. Let us first look at our life.

When I honestly do this, only then will I realize that life is precious. I am important. And it cannot be wasted away like this. There must be something more to life. But that wholeness, that completeness, which life deserves, that you can give to it only when you first realize the incomplete, the fragmented, the divided, ways in which we are living.

First, become sensitive to your own suffering. Only then there is the possibility to go beyond it and live a rich, full, joyful, energetic life.

We are getting recorded here, and if right now I ask them to record the expressions on your faces and then I show that recording to you. For a moment if you forget that these are your faces, and if I ask you are these faces looking joyful. Then you yourself will say, no, they are rather looking depressed. What has happened to them! What made them like this? These people don’t look like young, energetic youth from any angle. So, first, we have to really understand this state of ours.

But we have become so accustomed to our own misery, that we have no realization, no sensitivity left to ourselves.

My request to you is, become a little more sensitive to yourself. Don’t be so cruel. We are utterly cruel towards ourselves. We do not even know how we are feeling. Given our so-called emotions, are nothing but conditioned reactions.

Become a little more sensitive, become a little more responsive towards yourself! Yes? Would you?

Is there anybody who wants to say something?

Student: It is about expectations. People keep expecting out of us, but no one would ask our expectations from them.

AP: Meghna, These expectations are a part of a trade-off that you have agreed to. These are part of a business transaction that has your approval. This I would rather call as, ‘extracting my pound of flesh.’ You see, we know how people are, we know how society is, we know how we are, we know how the families are.

If we give just a hundred rupees to somebody, we want it back. Right? Or we want some return of some kind. Now, somebody who is spending lakhs and lakhs upon you, you are taking that money from him, right? As adults. And you are not kids, three or four years old.

You are all adults. If you are taking lakhs and lakhs from somebody, rest assured he will extract it back from you. If not in cash, then in kind. Just to maintain a facade of relationship, the fellow may not ask you to return money in cash. But then, it will have to be returned in some way or the other. It will have to be returned in some way or the other. And hence, you are pressurized to follow other’s expectations. Can a man on the road pressurize you?

Students: No.

AP: Can just anybody come and pressurize you? No. Only, the one to whom you have surrendered by way of obligations, only he can pressurize you.

I am very very surprised, in my campus happened to be one of the most prominent institutions in this country. More than half the students were studying on education loan. Not that their parents were beggars, not that they really desperately needed to take a loan. But they had taken a loan because they wanted to remain free. And when I visit colleges of your University, I do not find many students on education loan.

How many of you are on education loan here? One.

Now, is it any wonder that when you are taking lakhs and lakhs and lakhs from a person, that person automatically now gets the right to decide your future. When he is giving you so much doesn’t he now get the right to have a decisive say in the future?

Why are you doing that? All of you are adults, and we all know how much workload is there in the University! There is nothing. Absolutely nothing. But then you would go and beg for pocket money. Why can’t you do some small work, some chores and earn some stuff for yourself, at least for your daily expenditure? And then you claim that we are being pressurized! Others think that we are a slave and want us to follow their expectations.

You are the one who is making yourself a slave.

Nobody can make you a slave without your consent.

You are giving your consent to becoming a slave.

You withdraw your consent and you are free.

But withdrawing that consent would mean moving out of your comfort zone. Would mean that you do not squander away your time away, after college hours. Would mean that you actually go, work and earn something for yourself. Are you prepared?

Freedom does not come free. Freedom has to be earned. Are you prepared to earn your freedom?

Freedom from expectations, freedom from obligations!

Are you prepared to earn your freedom?

I do not hear anything from you. You are not at all prepared to earn your freedom. And hence you will remain slaves. You have chosen to remain slaves. Nobody has forced slavery upon you.

The day you decide, the day you see that I am free and I deserve a free life, you will actually be free. But first, let that realization come. Unless that realization comes, nothing can happen.

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